Posts Tagged ‘Drinking’

Java Genetics

April 7, 2011

If your mom is a big coffee drinker, odds are you are too.  And it’s not just because you learned by example.  A recent study published in PLos Genetics journal found a link between genes and the amount of coffee people drink.

Apparently scientists were able to identify two genes that seem to determine how much caffine people intake.  Those people with the genes consumed around 1/3 of a cup of coffee (or one can of soda) more than those without them. 

That may not seem like a lot, but considering 90% of the U-S population are coffee drinkers it’s a small insight into our behavior.  Further research is planned.

SOURCE: Coffee drinking in your genes?

The 100 calorie rule

February 24, 2011

If you’re training for an endurance race like a half marathon, marathon or triathlon, you’ve probably read that you need to incorporate sports drinks or gels or bars at some point during your long workout sessions.  But if you’re new to endurance training and are used to drinking just water during your workouts, the transition can be confusing. 

How many extra calories do you need to take in and at what point during your run or ride should you start?  Here are the general rules:

  • During any workout up to one hour, plain water is fine. 

In fact, if you’re a just a regular gym rat (read: not training for anything) you should stick to just water.  Consider this: a woman weighing 150 pounds burns 98 calories per mile run.  The average sports drink contains 125 calories per bottle.  That means you’d have to run roughly 1.25 miles  before you actually start burning more calories than you’ve consumed. 

  • For those of us who are tackling training runs/rides in excess of an hour, it’s recommended to consume 100 calories or 30 grams of carbohydrate (drink or gel) for every hour beyond the 60 minute mark.

As for what to eat and/or drink, I prefer the fruity sports snacks like Gatorade, Powerade and Clif Shot Bloks.  Gu is also good if you’re looking for something really sweet. 

And here’s a tip if you’re planning on consuming the Bloks or Gu during a race…make sure you eat it near a water station.  You’re going to need the water to wash that stuff down because it has a tendency of sticking your jaw shut.

12 days of sporty gifts — Day 9 — Basket full of joy

December 21, 2010

So you’ve left your holiday shopping to the last minute and are running out of time, but you still want to get a personal gift (not a gift card).  So what can you do?

How about a basket full of sports drinks, supplements and accessories?  It’s like one of those gourmet foodie baskets, but with the athlete in mind.

Instead of bottles of wine, buy bottles of Gatorade, Powerade and/or Vitamin Water.  Skip the chocolate and instead go for protein bars and energy bars.  If you’re shopping for an endurance athlete, throw in some packets of Gu or Cliff Shot Bloks.  You might also want to add a pair of running socks, a hydration belt, a water bottle, some muscle cream or one of those books from Day 6 to round things out.  Arrange it in a basket, slap on a Christmas bow and voila! you have a gift any athlete would be happy to receive.

And remember…you only have 4 shopping days left!

Light drinking ok while pregnant?

October 13, 2010

A no-no or ok?

Something strange happens when you announce to friends and family you’re pregnant.  All of a sudden, you’re bombarded with advice about what you should and shouldn’t be doing during those nine months.  I don’t blame you if you find it all confusing, especially considering the establishment can’t seem to agree what’s best for the health of a pregnant woman and her baby. 

Case in point…a new study recently published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health finds mothers-to-be who drink 1-2 servings of alcohol per day, won’t be putting their babies at risk for developmental disabilities down the road.  In fact, the study found the children born to light drinkers were less likely to suffer behavioral problems and scored higher on cognitive tests. 

And yet…doctors are still advising women to avoid alcohol, especially during the first trimester. 

Confused yet? 

So who’s right? 

I guess it’s really up to the individual, but I’m in the belief that it’s better to be safe than sorry.  Giving up the drink for nine months (or at least the first three) is really a small sacrifice considering the negative alternatives.

Water, Water Everywhere and you’ll shrink

August 26, 2010

Losing weight is apparently as simple as drinking two to three glasses of water before every meal.  And I’m sure you know the reason why.  Downing water before eating fills you up, meaning you’ll have less room for food.  This (not really new) discovery comes out of Virginia where scientists tested the theory on 48 middle agaed adults over a 12 week span. 

What they found was that the dieters who drank two glasses of water before a low calorie meal lost an average of about 5 pounds more than those who just stuck to eating less calories. 

So simple…yet effective. 

The study was released this past Monday at the American Chemical Society conference in Boston, Mass.

Snack Wars: Tea

August 25, 2010

We’ve all heard the hype about how drinking tea is good for our health.  You’ve likely seen it too.  Scan the refrigerated drinks section at your local deli and odds are you’ll find half a dozen brands of tea touting their rich antioxidant content. 

Antioxidants, as you know, are believed to do everything from preventing cancer to slowing down the aging process.  Naturally, we’re suckers for anything that claims to help us live longer and so tea sales in the U-S are about seven billion dollars annually.

But you know what?  If you’re looking for high doses of antioxidants grab the tea bags instead of the bottled tea.

A new study by WellGen, Inc. — a biotechnology company — found bottled teas contain an average of 30 milligrams of polyphenols (the good stuff) per 16 ounce bottle.  A cup of tea you make at home has about 50-150 milligrams.  (DISCLAIMER: WellGen is working on a black tea product it says will help reduce inflammation.)

In other words…you would have to drink 20 bottles of tea to get the same benefits found in one cup of home-brewed black or green tea. 

Let’s also not forget that many popular brands of bottled tea contain a lot of sugar, i.e. empty calories.

Another advantage of home-brewed tea…it’s a lot more economical.  We’re talking pennies for a bag, versus the couple of bucks you’ll drop on a 16 ounce bottle.

So it the war of tea versus tea…opt for the home-brewed kind on a daily basis and leave the bottled beverage as a once-in-a-while treat.  And while I’m at it, the same can be said for diet and regular soda.

Drinking away the pain

August 5, 2010

Listen up arthritis sufferers!  If your painful and swollen joints allow…lift a glass and cheer this news.  Research finds drinking alcohol not only eases symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, it also appears to reduce the severity of the disease.  (For the difference between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, click here.)

A new study out of Britain finds patients who drank alcohol frequently had less damage to their joints and less pain, inflammation and swelling than their sober counterparts.

It’s not yet understood why imbibing reduces symptoms of RA, but it probably has something to do with alcohol’s anti-inflammatory properties.  Other studies have shown the most effective anti-inflammatory drink is red wine (although all alcohol, including gin and beer, have these properties).

Needless to say, more studies need to be done on the connection between RA and alcohol and it also goes without saying that RA sufferers (like myself) shouldn’t take the study as a green light for drinking more.  Although the next time I’m chided for drinking maybe one glass too many, I’ll whip out this study in my defense.

Summer break

July 20, 2010

The way I feel daily this summer

I feel like my garden during these hot, hot, hot summer days…parched and wilted.  What’s needed is a cool and refreshing pick-me-up and I’ve come across the perfect recipe.  The drink is called a June Bug.  This recipe is courtesy of “Porch Parties: Cocktail Recipes and Easy Ideas for Outdoor Entertaining”.  The drink is super simple to make and, I find, the perfect thing on a hot sultry day.

3 cups ginger ale (I substitutted the diet kind to cut down on the sugar)

2 1/2 ounces of orange juice

2 1/2 ounces of grenadine

3 scoops orange sherbet

Throw all of the ingredients in a blender and pulse until the sherbet is incorporated.  Makes about 8 servings.

Tips for staying safe this holiday weekend

July 2, 2010

The Fourth of July holiday weekend is upon us.  The beach!  Pools!  Fireworks!  Backyard BBQs!  Go out and enjoy, but do me a favor and stay safe.  Lest you need some reminding, here are my top ten tips for a safe summer.

1 — Wear Sunscreen!  At least an SPF 30 if it’s your first time out in the sun.  A lower SPF means you’ll burn quicker, not tan faster.  And don’t forget to reapply, especially after swimming or excessive sweating.  If you’re not sure when it’s time to lather up again, invest in some UVSunSense bracelets.

2– Wear Sunglasses!  Protecting your baby blues from the sun is just as important as protecting your skin.  Some studies suggest prolonged unprotected exposure to harmful UV rays increases your risk of developing macular degeneration.

3–Stay Hydrated!  And no, parking yourself next the keg in the backyard doesn’t count.  Be sure to drink plenty of water.  The hotter it is, the faster you lose liquids.  If you are imbibing, try to alternate every other alcoholic drink with a glass of water.

4–Swim Supervised!  This goes especially if you’re at the beach.  Be sure to only swim in the waters patrolled by lifeguards.  With Hurricane Alex churning out there in the Atlantic, rip currents along the coast are stronger than usual.

5– Leave the Fireworks to Macy’s! Emergency room visits skyrocket during the fourth of July holiday, mostly because of all those backyard fireworks shows.  If you want to keep all your fingers and toes, let the pros handle the fire show.

6–Don’t Drink and Drive! Believe it or not, the Fourth of July is the deadliest holiday weekend for drunk driving.  Yes, even more than the New Year holiday.  So if you’re drinking, please make sure you have a designated driver.  If you’re not drinking, but will be on the road, be alert to the dangerous drivers around you.

7–Don’t Get Sick!  Summer grilling seasoning is high time for food poisoning.  Whether it’s salmonella or E coli or just food that’s been left out in the heat too long, take care to not get sick (or make your guests sick).  Make sure everything’s cook/served/stored at the proper temperature.  That’s unless you don’t want to host the BBQ next year!

8–Shoo Fly!  Bugs.  They’re the bane of outdoor summer fun.  If you want to keep them at bay, skip the scented soaps, perfumes and hairspray.  If your backyard is especially buggy, invest in a sunscreen with bug repellent. 

9–Don’t Forget Fido! Pets, like people, aren’t immune to the hot weather.  They can become dehydrated more quickly than humans, so make sure your pooch has plenty of fresh water available if you’re taking her along to the picnic/BBQ.  Also, make sure she has a shady place to rest.

10–Practice Moderation!  Here it is again, the BuffBroad golden rule!  Whether it’s the sun, or the water or food and especially the alcohol, don’t overdo it.  Too much of something isn’t always a good thing.  But don’t forget to have fun!  Being happy is one thing this buff broad doesn’t think you should moderate!

Happy Fourth!

Photo courtesy of Flikr

Keeping cool this summer

June 25, 2010

Summer is already kicking into high gear here in New York.  Heat!  Humidity!

If the sunny weather has you itching to take your workout outside…you’re nuts!  Just kidding.   But do me a favor and follow these simple steps to avoid dehydration and heat stroke.  (I know you’ve probably heard them before, but they’re worth repeating.)

  • Drink, drink and then drink some more.  A good rule of thumb is to drink at least 20 ounces of water before a workout and then 8 ounces every 15-20 minutes while exercising.  How can you tell if you’re drinking enough?  Weigh yourself before and after working out.  If you’re 1-2 pounds lighter post-run, you’ve got to drink more.
  • Hey, slow down!  Look, I know you want to go out there and give it your all, all the time, but when the heat index (that’s temperature and humidity) is hovering near 90, take it easy.  Your body is already warmer than usual and you’re going to hit your max heart rate faster on a hot and humid summer day, then a crisp fall day. 
  • Exercise early or late.  Just avoid the middle of the day when the sun is at its peak and temperatures are at their hottest.  If you can’t, then accept the fact that you’ll just have to stick to the air-conditioned gym for your workouts.
  • Wear Sunscreen!  You know why.  Enough said.