I wanted to open with a super insightful R Kelly quote (aka some ridiculous song lyrics) but I didn’t. Making public statements just isn’t my thing; I’m just not that cool. So here we are typical Lauren fashion 4 weeks later and still finishing this post. Obviously, 2015 won’t be everything I hoped and dreamed……… Or will it?
It’s no secret coconut products are consistently gaining in popularity. A quick search of Google Trends shows that the words “coconut” and “coconut oil” have been increasing in popularity as search terms since 2011. This increase in popularity can be reflected in both standard grocery stores as well as health food store shelves. Health food stores are taking it to the next level and offer everything from coconut based coffee creamer to sugar-coated coconut bites.
While many of these products are a company’s attempt to profit on this hot commodity, coconuts are, at their core, a healthy food staple that’s been around for thousands of years.
Keep in mind that health benefits would come from fresh unprocessed coconut flesh which is full of fiber and improves satiation and gut health, or coconut oil a great source of medium chain fatty acids. Candied coconut on the other hand, as delicious as it sounds, probably doesn’t core very high on the nutritional scale.
Public health has long focused on the importance of having enough vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is common in individuals that live in Northern cities such as Chicago, New York, London and Copenhagen. This phenomenon occurs because sun exposure stimulates vitamin D production, and without at least 15 minutes of sun exposure, vitamin D levels are generally not met. Vitamin D is integral in the mineralization of bones and calcium absorption, with adequate intakes set at 5 micrograms per day.
The great importance of vitamin D has been supported by a large volume of recent scientific literature; correlations between vitamin D levels and immune function, athletic performance and fall risk reduction in the elderly are prevalent. However, as with most vitamins and minerals, there is such thing as overdosing.
It has long been known that vitamin D overdosing may cause nausea, elevated blood pressure and may negatively impact the kidneys, but new findings from the University of Copenhagen certainly add another dimension to the debate on vitamin D supplementation.
“If your vitamin D level is below 50 or over 100 nanomol per litre, there is a greater connection to deaths. We have looked at what caused the death of patients, and when numbers are above 100, it appears that there is an increased risk of dying from a stroke or a coronary. In other words, levels of vitamin D should not be too low, but neither should they be too high. Levels should be somewhere in between 50 and 100 nanomol per litre, and our study indicates that 70 is the most preferable level,” explains Peter Schwartz, Professor at the Department of Clinical Medicine at the University of Copenhagen.
This immediately should send up red flags when it comes to vitamin D supplementation. While many individuals might need a slight supplemental boost in vitamin D levels, over consuming the products in a hope to obtain optimal health or athletic performance is apparently dangerous.
“These are very important results, because there is such great focus on eating vitamin D. We should use this information to ask ourselves whether or not we should continue to eat vitamins and nutritional supplements as if they were sweets. You shouldn’t simply up the dose to feel better. We should only consume such vitamins in close coordination with our GP,” Peter Schwartz concludes.
How powerful are sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs)? Powerful enough to cause most girls to have their first menstruation cycle earlier than their non-sugar drinking cohorts. Over the course of the 5 year study through the University of Harvard, researchers found that girls that consumed over 1.5 servings of SSBs daily where 24% more likely to attain menarche in the next month, and generally expected to attain menarche 2.7 months earlier that girls that did not consume SSBs. The 5 year study investigated 5,583 girls across the U.S. between the ages of 9 -14 years, classifying SSBs as non-carbonated fruit drinks, soda or iced tea.
Human Reproduction, 2015.
Men and women have fundamentally different brains say scientists from University of Exeter and Strand Polytechnic. Throughout the brain’s early development, subtle shifts in regulator molecules affect gene activation. This process (known as epigenetics), is the biology behind tissue differentiation – why do tissues become what they are. Understanding this process more in detail will help us understand issues like why autism is more prevalent in males. This might also help explain whey women are from Venus and men from Jupiter.
Spiers, et al. Genome Research, 2015.
Celiac disease is a hot topic on the internet right now. The up-roaring popularity of the gluten-free diet raised a lot of awareness of the immune disorder. While keeping celiac disease in check is a doable (but a daily effort for people with the disease) Indian scientists are saying there is anecdotal evidence indicating diagnosing and treating celiac disease might help with infertility issues. Dr Makharia of the All India institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi found that diagnosing and treating celiac disease with a gluten-free diet aided the women’s infertility issues. Further research is required to find what causes the perceived link, or if it is just a coincidence.
Research (or at least public knowledge) on the importance of gut bacteria for health is becoming common knowledge. Bacteria plays an integral role in a variety of physiological functions. Defects in the gut micro biome play influence the development of inflammatory bowel disease, chronic low-grade inflammation and metabolic syndrome. Even more concerning (or revealing) is a study in 2011 that found that the gut bacteria of obese humans and mice differed from their non-obese counterparts.
Similarly, evidence has been continuously piling up over the past few years stating previously unknown health implications of popular food items / ingredients. Food additives are often vilified by “real-food” advocates, and in many cases rightly so. Research out of Georgia State University, and published in the the journal Nature, uncovered that mice fed dietary emulsifiers developed low-grade inflammation and metabolic syndrome over a 12-week period. Low-grade inflammation in the gut, along with metabolic syndrome, greatly increase the risk of someone developing type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease / stroke.
What caused the increased risk in disease?
Following twelve weeks of consuming the popular dietary emulsifiers (carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80), the mice had significant variations in gut bacterial composition as well as disruptions in the intestinal mucus. The disruptions in the mucus meant that the bacterial colonies were closer to the sensitive colon cells. To make matters worse, the emulsifier fed population also experienced weight gain, increases in fat mass and increased food consumption.
While the researchers agree that a primary cause of obesity is over-eating, this thorough investigation found that modern adaptations to the food supply potentially have drastic consequences.
Chassaing, B. et al (2015). Dietary emulsifiers impact the mouse gut microbiota promoting colitis and metabolic syndrome. Nature. 519. 92-96.
Today is Halloween, you know what that means…the holidays have officially started! Holiday weight gain is commonly accepted as a fact of life during the holiday season, but it doesn’t have to be! Even though you may not think it, you can actually balance a healthy lifestyle and enjoy the holidays without insane restriction. The goal this year is to break the holiday weight gain/weight loss cycle by being mindful and staying focused with these strategies.
Practice Intuitive Eating- Intuitive eating is a style of eating that promotes mindful eating. We eat for many reasons including hunger, performance, and enjoyment. I’m not a huge fan of counting every calorie or restriction. Instead, I work with clients in my private practice to help them achieve their health goals by tuning into what their bodies are telling them their real needs are. For more tips on intuitive eating check out this post- Healthy Habits to Master Before the Holidays
Set a Fitness Goal for January- Instead of waiting until January to make your New Years resolution, set one now! Not only will training help you burn extra calories, but it will also keep you in the healthy mindset, which will help you make better choices throughout the holiday season. You could pick one exercise, a WOD, or whatever combination you choose.
Possible goals could be focused on:
Stay Accountable- Signing up for a competition or race in January is one way to hold yourself accountable. Another is to buddy up with a friend who wants to work on a similar goal. You can help each other stay motivated to be consistent with your workouts during the holiday season and achieve your goals! You can also make it a friendly competition if that’s more motivating to you.
I’m signed up to run a ½ marathon in January, but since my distance running has been rocky since getting injured I’m setting a back up goal of being able to do an unassisted pull up by the end of January.
Your turn! Announce your goal publicly to fully commit to it! We will check back in January and see how you did!
Whey protein is found naturally in dairy products such as ricotta, milk, yogurt and other cheeses. For those without allergies, whey protein from food is generally safe for all children and adults. According to the Mayo Clinic, whey protein is considered safe (for adults) when taken following manufacturer’s directions. Recently, Formulx has been receiving questions regarding whey protein supplementation for certain groups such as infants, children, pregnant and breastfeeding women. I currently work in a clinic specializing in nutrition consulting for infants, children and pre/post natal. Hopefully I can answer some of your questions today!
Over my 6 years of competing in Olympic weightlifting, CrossFit and just general lifting heavy weight, I have come across and worn a lot of different weightlifting shoes. Picking the right weightlifting shoe is always tough, and oftentimes a very personal decision. Not only is the fit of the shoe important, but the weight, security and flexibility all play important roles. Also, as more companies improve their weightlifting-shoe range or new companies jump on board, it makes the decision even more difficult. However, through my personal experience, I know which shoes you will use the most and which shoes you will love the most.
If you are a fan of CrossFit, there is no doubt that you have seen some of the anti-CrossFit articles that have been published these past couple months. Many people have responded positively regarding why the writers of those articles were misguided in their assessment. My goal here is not to respond to those articles. Instead, my goal is to tell you WHY CrossFit is so successful. WHY so many people have joined a CrossFit Box. WHY most of the fitness industry is terrified of the potential that CrossFit has.