Sunday, June 24, 2007

Weight Loss Supplement SPAM!

Alright, enough is enough!

While trying to answer the reader emails we get over at, I realized my inbox was flooded with no less than 11 emails in the past two days for a certain weight loss supplement.

11 different advertisements (from 11 different email addresses) for another supplement containing Hoodia!

Hoodia is a herb that has gained amazing popularity despite not having any research behind it. What's even more disappointing is that real Hoodia comes from Africa and I know from my previous dealings with this ingredient that there is a very limited supply coming out of Africa.

Most of the stuff on the market right now is coming from India or China. The actual use of Hoodia is patented, and the patent is exclusively licensed to Unilever (a gigantic corporation). So the chances of you getting real Hoodia in your product are slim, and lets not forget that the effectiveness of even the real Hoodia has never ever been proven in published research.

Supplement companies would be wise to remember the lawsuits that resulted from the scam ingredient coral calcium, and avoid adding Hoodia to their products until more research becomes available proving its effectiveness and please, please....stop with the email spam.


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Friday, June 15, 2007

The Truth About Fruit Juice

These days it seems like hardly anyone drinks fruit juice anymore. Whenever I ask people why they don't drink juice, I get answers like "Sugar from fruit makes you fat" or "It's just too much sugar."

Truthfully, one of these reasons is actually correct. While the argument that the sugar in fruit (fructose) makes you fat is weak at best, the sugar content in today's juices is way too high for me.

A single glass of grape juice can have over 40 grams of sugar in it! That's a lot even by my liberal standards!

So here's my simple solution for enjoying juice in the summer: Tea-Sangria!

  • First, mix one cup of the juice of your liking with one cup water
  • Next, boil water and make two cups of either green tea orwhite tea (let it steep for a minute or two).
  • Then, mix the 2 cups of tea with the juice/water mix, addlemon slices, lime slices, some blueberries and lots of ice.
  • Wait for it to chill and enjoy,

You get all the health benefits of tea and juice at only 7-10grams of sugar per glass!

Helping you beat the heat,


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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Teaspoon of Sugar

As I had my usual cup of tea this morning, I found myself staring at my teaspoon of sugar.

It dawned on me that this little spoon held almost the exact same amount of sugar that was floating around in my blood at that exact moment.

(The average human being has about 5 liters of blood, and since fasting blood sugar is around 80-100 mg/dl, this adds up to around 5 grams of sugar - roughly the amount of sugar in one teaspoon.)

It is amazing how well our bodies can regulate our blood sugar levels. Even after a meal our blood sugar only raises to about 7 grams - roughly a teaspoon and a half.

We know that it is our liver that is primarily responsible for the regulation of our blood sugar. When we eat a large amount of sugar, our liver signals for an increased secretion of insulin which clears sugar out of our blood to be used as a fuel, or to be stored as glycogen (the bodies storage form of sugar) or fat. When we don't eat any sugar, our liver releases sugar from the 100-120 grams (roughly 20 teaspoons) it keeps in storage as a 'reserve' as glycogen.

It is this process that keeps our blood sugar tightly regulated between a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half.

However, this is about as far as I get in my physiology textbooks before I get confused. You see, the textbooks state that its this balance between storage and release of glucose that keeps our blood sugar in check.

I question this idea of 'balance'.

Since most of us are sedentary for most of the day, and the current trend is to eat constantly (small meals every 2-3 hours), I think it's safe to say that our glycogen reserves are at "Full" almost all day. So if our glycogen levels are full, and the total amount of sugar in our blood ranges from a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half...what happens to all the sugar we eat when we have something like a dinner roll?

A dinner roll has about 5 teaspoons (25 grams) of sugar in it. This is the five times the amount of sugar in your blood, and almost 1/4 of the sugar being stored in your liver when your reserves are at full!

Since our blood is regulated to stay withing a small range of a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half of sugar, and we are assuming our muscles and liver glycogen levels are full because we've been sitting at a desk all day, where does this sugar go?

Well a small amount can be used as fuel, and the rest...well it has to go somewhere, so it must be stored as fat.

This doesn't seem like 'balance' to me. It seems like a constant state of elevated insulin and storage of fat.

Now, the discrepancy between what the textbooks say and what actually happens is mostly a result of the fact that we typically eat every couple of hours, and with the exception of an hour or two of exercise every day or two, we are very sedentary.

Now, 4-7 hours after eating (Depending on the size of the meal) is when our blood sugar starts to fall and the glycogen in our livers starts to be released, thus lowering the glycogen 'fuel tank' in our liver.

So after 8 hours on an empty stomach if we were to eat a dinner roll, the sugars from the roll would go into re-filing our glycogen tanks in our liver first, then the rest would be used as energy or be stored as fat for use later when we are between meals.

But since we continually eat and snack every 2-3 hours the only time our body has to lower its glycogen levels and maybe burn off a little bit of fat is when we sleep. But, since we only sleep 6-8 hours in any given night, even this 'time off' from absorbing and storing sugar as glycogen and fat may be very limited.

This means that this current trend of eating several small meals throughout the day may actually be counterproductive to fat loss, depending on how small these meals really are and how much sugar they contain.

The bottom line is, if you are going to eat continuous small meals throughout the day, make sure they are sensible portions sizes (and by sensibleI mean small), they contain meats, fruits and vegetables, and as little starches as possible (including whole grains).


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Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Most Irresponsible Headline Ever!

This Headline just appeared in my in-box

"Regularly drinking antioxidant-rich green tea may halve the risk of colon and rectal cancer, suggests a new study based in China."

I read it once, twice, three times before I realized that it was halve and not have. Surely they could have thought of a better word!

In the next couple days, someone will misquote this article to you (proof that they only read the headline, and not the article). Don't worry. Keep drinking your green tea.


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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Books, Book and More Books.

I just received my latest order of nutrition and diet books.

My "to read" list has now expanded to include:

The ABS Diet by David Zinczenko
Underground Body Opus by Dan Duchaine
Marketing Nutrition by Brian Wansink
Food Politics by Marion Nestle

Looks like I have some reading to do!

Reviews to follow,


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Monday, June 04, 2007

Craig Ballantyne Workouts

There are a lot of things that my friend Craig Ballantyne and I don't agree on (We share some very different philosophies when it comes to some aspects of nutrition), but one thing is for sure, when it comes to advice on working out, Craig is one of the only people I will ever trust.

So the other day, when I received an email from Craig that was about "fat burners" I felt I had to share it here.

When ever I am questioned about 'metabolism' and 'metabolism boosters' I'm quick to point out that nutrition plays a very, very small role in increasing your metabolism. Typically, I then go on to explain that the only real way you can increase your metabolism is through exercise.

However, Craig does an amazing job in the following email explaining exactly what type of exercise you need to be doing to increase you metabolism.

I hate to give you the bad news, because I wish there was an effective fat loss supplement as much as the next person. A real "fat burner" just doesn't exist. BUT, there are ways to boost your metabolism without supplements...

1) Strength training - aiming for 8 reps per set.

2) Interval training - rather than long, slow boring cardio.

3) Extra bodyweight circuits - done either in the AM or PM.

4) A whole, natural foods diet, rich in high-fiber fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and high-protein foods.

Craig's rules are simple and easy to follow. All you have to do is commit to them, and follow them consistently, and you will boost your metabolism.

Straight up, if you want the very best workout information on the net today then visit Craig's site


Fasting Diet, Circuit Training

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Friday, June 01, 2007

The Things You Can Find On Google

After taking the plunge and "googling" myself, I've realized any hopes I may have had of convincing people I was a normal high school student have been completely destroyed by an excerpt from a 1996 issue of MacLean's Magazine that has somehow become available online...

"Even many public schools are urging kids to thumb a ride on the information highway. This past spring, Brad Pilon, a senior student at Nelson High School in Burlington, Ont., received help with a major research paper on a rare form of diabetes from experts at Hamilton's McMaster University. Using a so-called chat line, Pilon regularly posted questions for pathologist Del Harnish and his graduate students. Every few days, they fired back answers. 'The subject is new, and hard to find in any books,' says Pilon. 'Besides, you can't ask a book questions.'

15 years later and I still can't stop asking questions.


Fasting Diet, Circuit Training

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