Sunday, April 19, 2015

Does Skinny Equal Healthy?

by  Mark's Daily Apple

Everyone has that friend with an interdimensional portal for a stomach. They eat whatever they want in massive quantities and never seem to gain a pound. They’re skinny, despite their best efforts to the contrary and our barely concealed envy. And everyone assumes that they’re healthy because they’re skinny.

But are they? Is skinny all it’s cracked up to be? Does it always equal healthy? Are these effortlessly skinny people more likely to be healthy than the person who struggles with their weight and has to watch what they eat?
There’s no easy answer, of course. This is the human body we’re talking about – that repository of confounding variables, shifting contexts, and paradoxical effects. Declarative, absolutist statements about it are almost guaranteed to be proven wrong. And this time is no different.
It turns out that while it’s generally healthier to be slimmer than fatter, skinniness doesn’t guarantee health. There are caveats (tons) and exceptions to the rule (that isn’t really even a rule).
As my first example, I submit the skinny-fat young-ish cool dad. 
They look slim and lean in clothes and definitely sport a normal BMI, but underneath they’re doughy. I see it a lot in new, 30-ish dads. Guys with slim cut jeans, a band t-shirt or flannel depending on the weather, interesting facial hair, and a protruding gut. 
Fifteen years ago, they’d probably have a chain wallet. They’re not particularly active (since little Bronx was born, you can count on a Simpsons character’s hand the number of times they’ve taken the restored Bianchi out for a ride), can maybe bust out one or two pullups (or two or three chinups), and look healthy and fit enough in clothing. Lack of sleep paired with too many IPAs and too little time to cook proper food or exercise are to blame.
A controversial term, skinny-fat. But here’s what I mean by it: normal or underweight BMI coupled with high body fatIt exists. Just like a common (and valid) complaint is that BMI overestimates the unhealthy overweight population by failing to account for people with a high lean body mass, BMI also overlooks the people with low body mass but high fat mass.
A sciencey way to describe this phenomenon is the metabolically unhealthy non-obese (MUHNO). They’re also known as metabolically obese normal weight (MONW). A MUHNO has at least two of the following metabolic characteristics while retaining a normal weight BMI: triglycerides over 150 mg/dl, fasting glucose over 100 mg/dl (or diabetes), elevated C-reactive protein (marker of inflammation), elevated HOMA-IR (marker of insulin resistance), HDL under 40 mg/dl, systolic blood pressure over 130 and/or diastolic blood pressure over 85. MUHNOs may look healthy and skinny and “normal,” but their metabolic health puts them at a greater risk for several conditions:
MUHNOs tend to have more unhealthy visceral fat around the organs than metabolically-healthy normal weight people, which probably explains the differences in cardiovascular risks between the two groups. And this abdominal obesity is associated with a mortality risk from heart disease even higher than other groups with different body fat patterns.
Next, take the hardcore methionine-counting CRONer, consistently restricting calories and key amino acids for a chance at eternal life.
He’s hunched over a keyboard, discussing supplement stacks, sipping Soylent, counting down the days until the Singularity hits and he’s free from the abomination that is the human body. He may very well live a long time – calorie restriction does show some promise – and he’s very thin, but is he healthy?
If he’s bone-thin and so frail he regularly loses fights with gentle breezes, no. If his idea of lean mass is sinew and ropy tendon, he’s in trouble. Skinny isn’t just skinny. It’s also scrawny. It describes a lack of fat and muscle. It means underweight. A skinny person offers a live lesson in skeletal anatomy without all that lean mass obscuring the view. Lean mass – solid muscle, strong dense bones – is important for health, as we know by now.
Lean mass doesn’t save you from everything, though. Consider the contest-ready bodybuilder.
Though he has more muscle mass than he knows what to do with, the contest-ready bodybuilder is in full metabolic shutdown. His heart rate has slowed to 27 beats a minute. His strength has diminished and never quite recovers, not even after 6 months. Testosterone has plummeted. His total mood disturbance (a marker of mood; higher is worse) has increased from 6 to 43. Going from 14.8% BF to 4.8% BF for the contest and back to 14.6% during recovery takes a toll. 4.8% BF simply isn’t sustainable or healthy.  
The pros know this to be true. They understand that walking around at competition levels of leanness is foolhardy, that competition leanness needs to be cyclical, not constant. But a lot of regular fitness enthusiasts working out and dieting down have the idea that 4-5% body fat is not just desirable, but healthy and optimal for everyday life. It’s not. It’s terribly unhealthy, as the case study linked to above shows.
In the elderly, skinniness can mean poor health.
Is skinniness indicating or causing illness in the elderly? Or both? It’s a tough relationship to parse, but it’s definitely a relationship:
Both elderly men and women who are underweight have lower bone mineral density, albeit for different reasons. Low body weight is bad for men because it often means low lean mass. Low body weight is bad for women because it indicates less overall fat mass, and fat seems to help elderly women maintain bone density. Either way, being too skinny is bad for their health and can lead to falls and bone breaks.
For elderly people, becoming skinny may be bad and likely indicates worsening health or the development of an illness. Weight stable skinniness is probably better.
Finally, consider the female. Since I already wrote an entire post about the importance of body fat in women, I won’t get too deep. To a woman, extreme skinniness may be especially unhealthy. Women actually need more body fat than men to be healthy, and it goes in different places (butt, thigh, hips) that serve as storage facilities for baby brain construction material. You may not want to have a baby, but the ability to do so is a strong indicator of good health. There’s even something specific to women called the female athlete triad. Characterized by extremely low body fat and extreme energy deficits, the triad can result in amenorrhoea, osteoporosis, and infertility.
Can we make any blanket statements at all?
The right amount of leanness is healthy. Of course, the “right amount” depends on many variables, like sex, age, baseline health, as well as interpersonal variation. One person may be perfectly healthy at 8% body fat, while another might need 15% to be healthy. One woman may lose her period and develop osteoporosis at 14% body fat, while that same body fat percentage could be perfectly adequate for the next woman.
For all the statistics and correlations I’ve referenced in today’s post, they don’t represent the outliers in every group. If they don’t apply to you, they don’t apply to you. Don’t take offense and seek redress. Take pride in your individuality. Skinny old granny with a strong grip and stronger bones? Keep doing what you’re doing.
All else being equal and eliminating any underlying health issues unrelated to body weight, a slim person is probably healthier than an overweight or obese person, yeah. But nothing is really equal, is it? Life doesn’t work that way. It’s not neat and tidy.
If you take anything away today, I hope it’s the knowledge that skinny does not necessarily equal healthy. There is such a thing as “too skinny” – for everyone.
Primal Eating

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Top Meat Grilling Safety Tips This Weekend

The problem with grilled meats and HCA formation - how to counteract carcinogens and make meat healthier

by Mike Geary - Certified Nutrition Specialist

Co-Author of the best seller:  Fat Burning Kitchen

Most people aren't aware that when you cook meat (whether it's grilled, broiled, or seared) there are carcinogenic compounds that can form called HCA's (heterocyclic amines).  Now don't ingest various carcinogens all the time, even with some vegetables. You can always protect yourself with more antioxidants.

Please Note:  When you cook meat in a water base as opposed to grilling, broiling, or searing, you eliminate the HCAs. So for example, meats cooked in a soup, or meats cooked in a crock pot will not have the problem of the carcinogenic HCAs and is a healthier way to cook meat.

But let's face it... grilled meat tastes awesome and there's no way I'm giving up my grass-fed steak from the grill, or my grass-fed burgers!

That's why it's important to know that there's a way you can use spices to both counteract, and also drastically reduce the carcinogens formed when you grill meat...

If you're going to grill meats, marinating meats for hours beforehand in liquid mixtures that contain rosemary and other herbs/spices can dramatically help to reduce HCA's (heterocyclic amines), which are carcinogenic compounds that can form when meats are grilled.  So using rosemary, thyme, garlic, oregano and other spices in a meat marinade before grilling meats can drastically reduce any carcinogens that normally would form on grilled meat.

The antioxidants in rosemary and thyme from a marinade were specifically cited in studies at being powerful inhibitors of HCA formation when grilling meats.  But it was also noted that other spices such as garlic, oregano, and others can help to prevent HCA formation as well, so I suggest using a variety, which tastes great anyway!

One more important point about grilling meat:

Remember that the more well-done a meat is cooked, the higher concentration of carcinogenic HCA's can form, so rare, medium-rare, or medium are healthier choices than well-done.  I've never understood why anybody would want to ruin a good steak by burning it to oblivion anyway.

But hey, if you're one of those folks that likes your steaks well-done, just remember that you're eating a lot more carcinogens than a steak that's cooked less, so make sure to load up on your antioxidants (spices, teas, berries, etc) to help combat those extra carcinogens.

Washing down your barbequed meal with a glass of unsweetened iced tea (rich in antioxidants) and also a good salad with lots of raw veggies can provide the antioxidants needed to counteract the effect of HCAs in your body from grilled meat.

By the way, even charring vegetables on the grill creates different carcinogens such as acrylamides, so don't think that the negative effect of charring only applies to meats.
Hey, we all love a great barbeque, so no need to give that up just because of HCAs or acrylamides, but at least now you know how to counteract the effects of these in your body to protect yourself, and also how to use spices to drastically reduce the formation of HCAs on grilled meat!

Lastly, remember that you can use superfoods such as spices, herbs, fruits, veggies, and even some animal-based superfoods to fight against cancer development, reduce high blood pressure, prevent diabetes, prevent heart disease, and even BOOST your metabolism for a flatter stomach... learn them on the next page...

Go to the next page to see powerful natural remedies for:
  • Lowering high blood pressure
  • Controlling or reversing Type 2 Diabetes
  • Boosting your sluggish metabolism
  • Cutting off excess body fat
  • Improving your brain health and memory
  • Slowing down the aging of your skin, joints, and organs
  • Healing your digestion problems

Mark Rocks Athletic Greens Superfood

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