Just a few minutes of daily exercise alters DNA to help prevent chronic disease

Many people think the genes they inherited at birth are static and predetermine their fate for the remainder of their life. Extensive research into the science of epigenetics is providing startling evidence that this thought process is grossly outdated, and our individual DNA is dynamic and continually influenced by multiple lifestyle factors including diet, environment, stress and physical activity. (more…)

What To Eat Before Cardio

One dilemma facing athletes is whether to eat anything before cardio, and if so, what. A recent study sheds some light on this and suggests the best option. (1).

The rationale for cardio on an empty stomach is obviously to increase fat burning. When carbs are taken in before exercise the carbs are preferentially used for fuel, sparing fat. On the other hand exercising on an empty stomach elevates cortisol levels which break down not only fats but muscle for fuel.

The other option is ingesting protein before exercise. This may spare muscle, but does it inhibit fat burning? Surprisingly, according to the study, it depends on the type of protein.

Rats were exercised under 4 different conditions. (1) Fasting. (2) Glucose meal before exercise. (3) whole milk protein before exercise (4) lactalbumin enriched whey before exercise.

At the end of the study, the glucose and milk protein fed rats gained fat mass, showing that these diets blunted the fat burning from exercise. The fasted rats lost both muscle and fat, whereas the whey fed rats lost just as much fat as the fasted rats, but gained muscle.

The moral is to burn fat and actually build muscle while doing cardio, ingest whey protein beforehand.

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2002 Sep;283(3):E565-72

A preexercise alpha-lactalbumin-enriched whey protein meal preserves lipid oxidation and decreases adiposity in rats.

Bouthegourd JC, Roseau SM, Makarios-Lahham L, Leruyet PM, Tome DG, Even PC.

Unite Mixte de recherche de Physiologie de la Nutrition et du comportement alimentaire, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon, F75231 Paris, France.

Dissecting the Energy Needs of the Body – Research Review

The majority of the resting energy expenditure can be explained by the energy needs of a few highly metabolic organs, making up a small percentage of the body by weight. The relationship of the specific size, individual metabolism, and proportional contribution to the actual body weight and total energy expenditure for each of these organs is a dynamic process throughout growth and development, the onset of disease, and changes in nutritional status. Defining the energy needs of the individual tissues and organ systems immeasurably enhances our understanding of the body’s response to these clinical processes, which otherwise could not easily be evaluated by focusing solely on total energy expenditure, fat-free mass, nitrogen imbalance, or actual body weight. Recently reported studies have served mainly to reinforce concepts described previously, and clarify some areas of controversy. (more…)

Sitting Too Much Linked to Breast and Colon Cancer

Last week researchers presented data at the American Institute for Cancer Research annual conference showing, once again, that sitting too much is deadly. The data shows that 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 cases of colon cancer could be prevented each year if people did not spend so much time sitting. “This gives us some idea of the cancers we could prevent by getting people to be more active,” says epidemiologist Christine Friedenreich of Alberta Health Services in Calgary, Canada. Calculations are based on U.S. physical activity data and cancer incidence statistics. “This is a conservative estimate,” she says. “The more physical activity you do, the lower your risk of these cancers…In breast and colon cancers, for example, we’re seeing overall risk reductions of about 25 to 30 percent associated with higher levels of physical activity.” (more…)