Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Diet Pop - Do You REALLY Know Enough?

You may or may not know that back in 1990, Diet Orange Crush was recalled in certain areas of the US because it had an elevated Benzene content.

Earlier that same year, there was a recall on Perrier spring water for the same reason.

Now, it's safe to say that benzene was not being added to these drinks on purpose. It turns out that two common ingredients in many drinks - sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) can react to create benzene.

I'll be the first to admit that when I found this out, I was a little scared. From what I knew about benzene, this sounded like some pretty scary stuff.

You see, Benzene is an organic chemical compound that is used mainly as an industrial solvent and precursor in the production of drugs, plastics, synthetic rubber, and dyes. It's not exactly something I want in my drink.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) classifies benzene as a human carcinogen - a compound that promotes cancer.

Eating or drinking foods that contain high levels of benzene can cause vomiting, irritation of the stomach, dizziness, sleepiness, convulsions, rapid heart rate, and death.

So should we throw away our sodas and never touch them again? Well for many health reasons the answer may be yes, but NOT because of the risk of benzene content alone.

Everyone is exposed to a small amount of benzene every day. In fact, auto exhaust and industrial emissions account for about 20% of our total national exposure to benzene. We are also exposed to benzene from both active and passive second hand smoke.

So while we do want to limit the amount of benzene we are exposed to, the contribution from sodas is actually very small.

It is still a good idea to read the label of any soda you wish to purchase. Avoid or limit the consumption of products that contain both ascorbic acid and sodium benzoate.

Other factors that affect the formation of benzene are heat and light. Storing soft drinks in warm conditions speeds up the formation of benzene. Interestingly, sugar has been shown to inhibit the formation of benzene.

So while the small amount of benzene that may or may not be present in your soda is not a reason to panic, it is another reason to drink mostly water or green tea and save the soda pop for special occasions.


Fasting Diet, Circuit Training

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Preserving Muscle Mass While Dieting

Back in early August, I wrote about the "secret" to preventing muscle loss while dieting (check it out here).

My point was this- based on the hundreds of measurements I made back when I had access to a body composition lab, I am convinced that if you are lifting weights while you are dieting, you will not lose any muscle.

After writing that post, I started thinking - I wonder if this is still true for VERY low calorie diets.

Turns out it is.

In a study conducted by J.W. Bryner and published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, subjects were put on an 800 Calorie per day diet and weight trained 3 times per week. At the end of the study, subjects lost body fat but did not lose ANY muscle mass.

This is really impressive information as the subjects were on an 800 Calorie per day diet for 12 WEEKS!

What's even more significant about this study is that the subjects were only eating 80 grams of protein a day for 12 weeks.

This study helps prove that it was the weight training and not the high protein diets that caused the preservation of muscle mass I talked about in my last post.

Based on this research, and my own research, I am certain that the best way to preserve your muscle mass, even when on an extremely low calorie diet is to weight train.


Fasting Diet, Circuit Training

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Monday, November 13, 2006

3 Great Tips from CB

Last week I wrote about the importance of these next several weeks -The time between Halloween and New Year's. These weeks can make or break any physique.

I also asked you to throw out your Halloween candy. If you haven't done it yet, go do it now! (They're two weeks old now, it's time for them to GO)

Now its time to cover the next key to making these ultra-important weeks your best ever, so you can hit the ground running come new years eve.

It drives me crazy to hear about people working really hard in the gym but getting no results.

But I see people in the gym everyday that are doing the same workout and getting no where. You can see the look of frustration and the dread of even doing the workout in their eyes. I hope this doesn't describe you and your fat loss situation. If it does, let's take a look at some of the best fat loss tips and workout solutions to get you back on the fat loss track.

I checked in with my friend over at, Craig Ballantyne and had him list his Top 3 Training Tips for Fat Loss...

CB's Top 3 Training Tips for Fat Loss

i) Train with intensity. Yes it takes a lot of effort to do 45 minutes of cardio, but that is low-intensity exercise (since you can do it for 45 minutes straight). Instead, you have to increase the intensity of your efforts. That means the following...

ii) Don't rely on slow, steady, long workouts of cardio. Use intervals instead.

iii) Don't use high reps for fat loss. Use low reps instead. You want to increase the intensity of your training to put "metabolic turbulence" on your muscles. So you need to use moderately heavy weights or advanced bodyweight exercises and interval training to apply this metabolic disturbance and elicit a significant increase in post-exercise energy expenditure.

Bottom line: While long cardio work is focused on breaking down the body, strength training, intervals and bodyweight exercises like yoga and Pilates all focus on building the body. Stick with body-builders.



To Get your very own copy of Turbulence Training, Craig's fat loss program that incorporates intense weight training and intervals & to get his Nutrition Guide click here: Turbulence Training

Fasting Diet, Circuit Training

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Halloween Fat-Bombs

They've been sitting around your house for almost an entire week.

You've used every excuse possible to avoid having to deal with the issue (the latest excuse I heard was that they cost money so you CAN'T throw them out). But now it's time.

Go find your hidden stash of left over Halloween candy and throw it in the garbage! - ALL of it.
You don't need it and what's worse, it is sabotaging you for what could be the most important 8 weeks of the year.

Yes, it's true. There are only 8 weeks left until New Years Eve. It is this gap, between Halloween and New Years, where I see most people put on weight and let go of their fitness goals.

However, if you can do some damage control right now, keep your weight where it is, maybe even lose some fat and gain a little muscle, then you will be miles ahead of everyone else come January first.

Imagine hitting January first in full stride!

It is possible, but first you have to get your nutrition back in order - which means throwing out the candy.

Second, you better get yourself a good new workout program. I suggest you give the grrlathlete Body-Weight Manual a try. It's quick, easy, extremely effective and you can do it at the gym or in your home.

Don't do what everyone else does and hibernate until the New Years...Get started now and avoid the need for a new years resolution!

Helping you make 2007 the best year ever,


Fasting Diet, Circuit Training

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