Tag: metabolism

Super Healthy Ingredients That Are Not So Super (4 of 4)

And here we are. Although this is the last installment of the not-so-super ingredients, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other super food, super essential oil and the likes on the market that aren’t what they seem. What you, as the customer should really think when reading fancy marketing claims are:

  • Who makes the claim? Independent study or the manufacturers?
  • How was the claim proven? Double blind study or small, biased study?
  • Has it been proven by unrelated third party? Or this “proof” cannot be replicated elsewhere?

So without further ado, let us discuss the last of our super ingredients:

Red Wine

Alleged benefits: Super Anti-Aging, Anti-Cancer Elixir

The French has always extolled red wine as their secret of longevity known as the French paradox.  Ever since people started isolating resveratrol from the red grape, different research groups have been getting positive results on isolated researches on how it would react to the body.  This includes Italian researchers in 2006 who obtained positive results in fighting colon cancer, German researchers in 2008 on its genetic stability effect, and even University of Hubei in China confirmed in 2018 on its anti-aging impact.  All this research is done in isolation, using isolated resveratrol.  The most recent population study done in Chianti in 2014 on men and women over the age of 65 actually failed to show any direct correlation between red wine consumption and markers for cancer and tumor.  Chianti is a famed red wine producing region in Italy

Conclusion: Drink red wine if you are a wine drinker and savor the flavor, and drink in moderation (1~2 glass per day at most).  As for the longevity effect of red wine, the effect seems minuscule on the actual population compared to a host of other known factors.  Hong Kong and Japan are two places with longest life expectancy and both population do not traditionally consume red wine.

Why Most Diet Pills are Either Illegal or Ineffective (1 of 3)

I was teaching at my biology class the other day and one of my students asked about what is the diet pill I would recommend. My answer is basically in the title. To be fair, for people that have imbalanced diet, some supplements might help their weight loss. Some natural supplements can also help when combined with exercise. But the active ingredients for these items are usually very cheap and once its packed and branded by the big brands (cough.. cough… G*C), then it would be priced way above what it should be. Below are my list of common effective but illegal drugs in most western countries. It is meant as a warning when you look at the product ingredient so you can avoid them, not the opposite.

The Illegal Ones

DNP (2,4 Dinitrophenol)

Other names: 1 Hydroxy-2,4-dinitrophenol, Solfo Black, Nitrophen, Aldifen, and Chemox

Yes, it actually works. Basically we consume food mainly as a source of energy in the form of ATP. And this substance lowers the efficiency of converting food to ATP. It is so effective that a person weighing 100 kg can loose 5 kg in 10 days. This product has been banned by the FDA since the 1940’s. So if its so effective, why is it forbidden? Basically use it too much (and depending on your bodyweight, effective dose could be less than 200 mg) and you could ended up increasing your metabolism so much that you will fry your internal organs. It is so hazardous that its other usage are insecticide, wood preservative, herbicide and explosive.

Sibutramine (chlorosibutramine)

Other names:  Reductil, Meridia, and Siredia

If you can’t increase the “cost” of converting the food to energy, what do you do? You suppress the appetite. And this drug actually works. Except that this drug also increase your chance of getting heart disease and stroke, along with possible side effects as  dry mouth, paradoxically increased appetite, nauseastrange taste in the mouth, upset stomach, constipation, trouble sleeping, dizziness, drowsiness, menstrual cramps/pain, headache, flushing, or joint/muscle pain. Hence this drug has been banned and taken out of the market since 2010.

Ephedrine

Other names: Bronkaid, Primatene

Mammals such as rats have “brown fat” which unlike “white fat” commonly found in humans, continuously burn calories. Ephedrine mimics this effect in the skeletal muscle, along with slowing down gastric emptying (makes you feel full longer). This product was widely used for a long time until piling evidence of increased risk of stroke and heart disease along with common side effects such as trouble sleeping, anxiety, headache, hallucinationshigh blood pressurefast heart rate, loss of appetite, and inability to urinate leading it to be banned from most advanced countries by early 21st century.

Rimonabant

Other names: Acomplia, Zimulti

Another appetite suppressant drug that was introduced in EU in 2006, never approved in US and Canada, and was withdrawn from EU market in 2008. Why? Because it increases suicidal and depression tendency along with common risk of developing gastroenteritis, anxiety, irritability, insomnia and other sleep disorders, hot flushes, diarrhea, vomiting, dry or itchy skin, tendonitis, muscle cramps and spasms, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, and increased risk of falling.

Fen-Phen

Other names: Fenfluramine (Podimin) combined with Phentermine

Both drugs are proven effective on weight loss and the combination of both further increases its effectiveness. Problem is that both drugs have well known harmful side effect and the combination of both have the potential to cause fatal pulmonary hypertension and heart valve problem. As of 2005, Wyeth Pharmaceutical, the manufacturer and marketer of this product had to settle billions of USD in court over the damages.

Clenbuterol

Other names: Dilaterol, Spiropent, Ventipulmin

Word on the street is that this is the drug of choice for Holywood stars to gain muscle mass and loose body fat. Unlike synthetic testosterone (a.k.a. steroids), Clenbuterol will not cause women to develop male secondary sexual characteristic. And testing on animals have shown that the effects are real. Sounds too good to be true right? well, it is.

Short term side effect of clenbuterol ingestion that was recorded due to human ingestion of clenbuterol tainted meat ranges from muscle crams, hypertension, increased heart rate, dry mouth, insomnia, vomiting, tremors, sweating, etc. Long term side effect of the drug includes heart abnormalities and decrease in bone mass. Worse yet, your body developed resistance to the drug over the long run which will cause weight gain on the user. Currently this drug is only legally allowed to be used to treat horse asthma. And once the horse has been treated with it, it can no longer be slaughtered for human consumption.

Conclusion

Yes, these drugs do work as advertised. They do so either by:

  1. Increasing your metabolism that will increase your body temperature and quite possibly either fry your internal organs, or make your internal organs behave in uncertain ways such that it ended up damaging them.
  2. Lowering your appetite or making your stomach feel fuller. Of course drugs that alter your nervous system related to the digestion system also have a chance of affecting other nervous system in your body, including your brain.

Both kinds of weight loss drug does work, but it comes with its own risk, either it will risk killing you in the long run,  due to overdose, or turn you into suicidal. There’s a reason why these drugs got banned in the first place.

Stay tuned for part two on the currently legal drugs that might not be as efficient as advertised.

Why Chicks Should Hit The Weight Room

Recently I had yet another talk with my sister regarding women doing weight training. And its amazing how even in this modern age and feminism, some women are still afraid of getting some iron diet because of misconceptions and old fairy tales. So I hope this article will help convince women to hit the barbell and for the men to cite and better persuade their gf/wife to join them at the gym.

1. You get to eat and not get fat

blueberry cheesecake

A long standing joke is that what women really want is not a dashing rich and adventurous gentleman to be completely devoted to her. What women really wants is to eat and not get fat. And its common sense that in order to loose weight, then you need to spend more energy than what you consume right? Well, what happens if I told you that long term calorie restriction leads to lower metabolism. I.e. you need to continuously reduce what you eat in order to continue loosing weight. Keep in mind that 65 – 75% of calories you spend is while you are resting. Heck research on mice even indicates that if you go on a diet for a while and then you stop, you could even get more fat with the SAME diet as before. So diet alone will not help. Meanwhile, strength training allows you to jack up your metabolism long AFTER you finish your exercise. Basically you can loose weight while keeping the same diet! Mind you all this has been proven by Oxford researchers.

2. No, women will not get ripped just from weight training alone

female bodybuilder

A common misconception is that women that lift weights will get bulky and muscular. Except that Males testosterone blood level is 7 – 8 times greater than females and that the average male produces on average 20 times more testosterone than females. Yes, male body naturally produces and absorbs testosterone at several multiple greater than female. So in order for women to get jacked as big as the image above, they need to use more steroid than men. So no need to worry about looking like a female Arnold ladies. In fact, although this below chick squats more than I do pound for pound, her legs still looks normal.

ZoeSmithLYG

Her name is Zoe Smith by the way, she competes in 49 kg weightlifting class and she squats 160 kg, more than 3x her own body weight.

3. Helps you adjust your body contour

fitness butt

And butts that squats are always hotter than butt that belong to full time desk jockeys. OK, hiking, skiing and tennis also gives great butts, so please don’t get jealous honey. I for one like legs that have some musculature on it, not just skin and bones.

4. Build stronger bones

bone

Tired of listening to your mom or grandma complained about her osteophorisis? Well, tell them to hit the gym as research has shown how weight training increases bone density even in post menopausal women. Plus the men in the family would definitely appreciate the natural butt lifts their women are getting.

5. They also build stronger joints

knee

Your grandma also complained about her knees? Well, as they say, use it or loose it. Research also shown how weight training helps improve joint health even on people with osteoporosis. Of course the key being doing full range motion, proper movement pattern, and not too much repetitive loading. So I do not recommend de-conditioned people regardless of their age to jump into a crossfit or bodypump class.

So there you have it ladies, happy lifting. And if your man is afraid that you would snatch more weight than he does, then maybe its time for you to get an upgrade and get a better man!

Diet Myths that has Nothing to do with Reality

We get it, you are trying to loose weight and get your swagger back but there’s just so many conflicting advice out there on the wild internet. So we decided to list 4 Myths that you should completely ignore coz they were never based on science.

1. Eating Fat makes you Fat (or gives you high cholesterol)

bacon

This is probably one of the biggest misconception out there. You are what you eat they say so eating fat will put layers of fat on you. Although fat is a very nutrient dense type of food, it suppress later food intake when present in the small intestine of both humans and animals on multiple study, i.e. fat helps makes you feel fuller longer. Not only that, but lots of vital nutrients can only be absorbed in conjunction with fat. Hence long term low fat diet leads to vitamin deficiency! Last but not least, Dariush Mozaffarian, renowed Harvard researcher, already published a landmark study  published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that  showed increased consumption of saturated fats slowed down the progression of atherosclerosis in the studied group of postmenopausal women. Excess consumption of sugar leads to cholesterol, not fat.

Having said that, fat is still very energy dense and you can only loose weight by having total energy deficit. So we are not exactly recommending you to gorge on those wagyu beef.

2. Eating past 6 PM (or 8 PM) will make you fat!

dinner

This is yet another popular myth on the circle and another variation is not to eat any carbs past a certain hour. Yes, its true that post-workout sugar consumption helps muscle recovery and when you are almost off to bed, you don’t do much activity. However, maintaining a stable blood glucose level is the key. Hence why eating complex carbs (brown rice, sweet potatoes) is much better than simple carbs (white bread, soda). Fact is, if your last meal is at 6 and you are off to bed at 11 or 12, your body will probably learn how to store some energy for that long bout of starvation, i.e. low metabolism or increased fat storage.

So why do some people swear off getting result with no-carbs diet after 6 PM? Probably because it led to decrease in total carb consumption compared to their pre-diet days.

3. Vegans Can’t Build Muscle

Patrick Baboumian called, and u won’t believe how strong he is. Having said that, most of vegetarian source of protein are incomplete, i.e. it doesn’t contain all the essential proteins your body needs. An exception is soy in which some people claim that their high level of estrogen can affect your body. So one of the alternative would be to either ferment the soy first, say like Japanese edamame and Indonesian Tempeh, or eat a combination of different sources of protein, such as grains (rice, wheat, barley) with peas (beans, chickpeas).

What’s most important is doing enough workout, eating enough nutrition, and rest.

4. Supplements will help get me ripped

supplements

Oh God, no. Regardless what GNC says, if you are a desk jockey with no workout, chugging those whey protein might even lead to kidney disease. Same thing with growth hormone, CLA, BCAA, and any other alphabet combination you can think of. Heck, even if you take steroid shots, if you don’t work out, you will never ended up like Arnold. So lay down the supplements and go to the iron temple!

Just Diet to Get 6pack?

It’s becoming more of a trend these days to emphasize diet over exercise these days. New York Times made their arguments (To Lose Weight, Eating Less Is Far More Important Than Exercising More) while CBS took a stab at it (Which is more important for weight loss: Dieting or exercising?) as being the best return for your effort.

So with the majority of the US population actually decreasing their collective consumption of refined carbs and junk food from 2004 to 2012 as shown by University of North Carolina study (Americans are finally eating less: Calorie consumption down dramatically since 2003 as people now drink 25 per cent less soda), you would expect the US obese population to go down right? Well, apparently according to the latest study published by JAMA Internal Medicine you can read (Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity in the United States, 2007-2012), the number of Obese people in US has actually increased.

So what’s going on here? Shouldn’t we all be loosing weight due to our better diet? How come its the exact opposite that is actually happening?

Well, apparently, based on the latest study funded by the Mayo clinic (Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity in the United States, 2007-2012), US population has also continue to become even less sedentary over the past decade. And as any meathead worthy of his pecs can attest, your muscles burns calories even at rest. i.e. sleeping gym rats burns more calories by the hour than a scrawny nerd mashing his keyboard. Heck, when Adelle was asked about her weight loss, she credits it both on her personal trainer and her diet.

So there you go guys, good diet is important. But big biceps are importaner.[:zh]It’s becoming more of a trend these days to emphasize diet over exercise these days. New York Times made their arguments (To Lose Weight, Eating Less Is Far More Important Than Exercising More) while CBS took a stab at it (Which is more important for weight loss: Dieting or exercising?) as being the best return for your effort.

So with the majority of the US population actually decreasing their collective consumption of refined carbs and junk food from 2004 to 2012 as shown by University of North Carolina study (Americans are finally eating less: Calorie consumption down dramatically since 2003 as people now drink 25 per cent less soda), you would expect the US obese population to go down right? Well, apparently according to the latest study published by JAMA Internal Medicine you can read (Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity in the United States, 2007-2012), the number of Obese people in US has actually increased.

So what’s going on here? Shouldn’t we all be loosing weight due to our better diet? How come its the exact opposite that is actually happening?

Well, apparently, based on the latest study funded by the Mayo clinic (Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity in the United States, 2007-2012), US population has also continue to become even less sedentary over the past decade. And as any meathead worthy of his pecs can attest, your muscles burns calories even at rest. i.e. sleeping gym rats burns more calories by the hour than a scrawny nerd mashing his keyboard. Heck, when Adelle was asked about her weight loss, she credits it both on her personal trainer and her diet.

So there you go guys, good diet is important. But big biceps are importaner.