Posts Tagged ‘Science’


June 7, 2011

To those of you pinching pennies in hopes of paying for liposuction, listen up. 

A recent study found that a year after getting the fat sucked out of their hips and thighs, women who underwent the procedure gained all the fat back.  Butt But the fat didn’t reappear where it once was.  Instead, the lost flab returned to the belly, back and triceps. 

So what gives?  Here’s what doctors tell the New York Times:

The body, they say “defends” its fat. If you lose weight, even by dieting, it comes back. And, the study showed, if you suck out the fat with liposuction, even if it’s only a few pounds — it was about 5.8 pounds for subjects in the study — it still comes back.

“It’s another chapter in the ‘You can’t fool Mother Nature’ story,’ ” said Dr. Rudolph Leibel, an obesity researcher at Columbia University.

That lipo-SUCKS!

So in the end you stay fat, but so does your wallet.  Only one of those is a good thing.

SOURCE: Liposuction Study Finds That Lost Fat Returns



Another exercise myth busted

June 2, 2011

Pop quiz time!

True or False: You’ll burn more fat if you skip breakfast before your morning workout.


No matter whether you eat breakfast before or after your AM trip to the gym, you’re going to burn the same number of calories.  (3 miles on an empty stomach is the same as 3 miles with a full tank)  The myth stems from the (misguided) belief that by skipping that first meal of the day you’ll force your body to burn fat for fuel.  While your body will turn to its energy stores when running on empty, it won’t tap those jiggly thighs or flabby abs for fuel.  Instead, the body uses a different kind of fat that’s stored in your muscles. 

Bottom line: Don’t skip the Wheaties!  In fact, you may find a light meal before a workout leads to a more intense session because your body is fueled and ready to go.

The food pyramid becomes dust

June 1, 2011
The Egyptian pyramids will always endure, the food pyramid, not so much.

The old, new food pyramid -- confusing!

The triangular-shaped guide to healthy eating with its levels for each basic food group is being ditched in favor of a plate-shaped symbol sliced into wedges.

Half of the “plate” is taken up by fruits and vegetables, the rest of the wedges filled out with grains and protein.  It also apparently features a small circle for a serving of dairy.

The idea is to have your real dinner plate mimic the 2-D guide — a move many nutritionists are praising.  One tells The New York Times the plate will be better than the pyramid because the current model “basically conveys no useful information”.

I’d have to agree.

I get that the smaller the pyramid level, the less you should eat something, but they put fats at the top!  I don’t know about you, but putting something  atop of everything else has always suggested it’s better than the rest and in this case, it’s not.

So bring on the plate.  It’ll be officially unveiled tomorrow.  I wonder how long it’ll take before actual dishes printed with the eating recommendations hit the market…

Killer Veggies

May 31, 2011

Here’s a story that kinda flew under the radar over the long holiday weekend. 

Ten people have died in Germany after contracting a deadly bacterial infection after eating cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce imported from Spain.

The infection is a strain of E coli that’s pretty resistant to antibiotics. and it’s sickened 400 people in Northern Germany.  Most recover in 8 days, but obviously, not all.

The outbreak has caused a domino effect across Europe, with other cases being reported in four other countries.  And in Austria and the Czech Republic, cukes imported from Germany have been pulled off store shelves.

Officials still don’t know where the vegetables picked up the bacteria — could be at the Spanish farms or in transit. .

The good news for us is that none of this contaminated produce is expected to reach U-S shores, but  you may want to think twice about ordering a salad if you’re heading off to Europe this summer.

And now for the answer to yesterday’s guessing game: In honor of the patriotism shown on Memorial Day, all of yesterday’s songs were performed by American Idol alumni.

Eye on Beauty

April 15, 2011

Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder, but it turns out a person’s eyes determines whether someone finds them attractive or not.

Research published in Ethology finds that people with bloodshot eyes are considered sadder, unhealthier and less attractive than people whose eye whites are untinted.

So what does this mean?  Well, for one thing, it’s apparently the first time eye redness has been viewed as an indicator of emotion.  Also…like opposable thumbs…this tendency is apparently unique to humans.

This is bad news during allergy season.  Also if you tend to overwear your contacts.  Thank goodness for eye drops!  However, I wouldn’t be surprised, if eye drop companies rebrand their products as beauty aids.

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?

Old dogs and new tricks

March 30, 2011

The dumbbell rack

You know that saying about old dogs and new tricks?  Well it applies to people too.  In this case, the trick is weight training.

According to a recent study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, women in their 20s and women in their 60s gained strength from lifting weights at the same rate.  Ergo…it’s never too late to start! 

The study suggests this tip for getting stronger,  faster: add an extra 5 percent to the amount you usually lift and you’ll get up to 38 percent stronger in 13 weeks.  So for example, if you usually leg press 100 pounds, go up to 105 the next time around.  The math isn’t so easy if you’re using 8 pound weights to work your biceps.  An extra 5% would mean you’d have to lift 8.4 pounds.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen an 8.4 pound dumbbell! 

Here’s what I suggest: work with the 8 pound weight until you notice it’s too easy to pump out 2 sets of 12.  The last couple reps on both sets should be hard to do, but not torture.  When it’s too easy, it’s time to move down the dumbbell rack.

Ab-solute shocker

March 15, 2011

Conventional health wisdom has long held that fat stored around your middle puts you at a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke.  But new research totally upends that thinking.

According to researchers at the University of Cambridge in London, it doesn’t matter where you store your fat, just how much of it you have.  They claim if you’re obese than it doesn’t matter if it’s around your middle or in your thighs…being overweight automatically puts you at a higher risk for the aforementioned health problems.

What’s more, these British researchers also found that your BMI number isn’t an accurate way to determine if you’re more prone to developing heart disease.  Instead, they say tracking a person’s blood pressure and cholesterol is the best way to assess that risk.  They are quick to point out, however, that BMIs are a good way to identify who may be more at risk to develop high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  That’s because people classified as obeseusually tend to have both of these ailments.

What strikes me about this research is this: maybe now people will become less concerned about whether they’re an apple or a pear shape and focus more on getting their whole body fit and healthy rather than those perceived “trouble spots”.

SOURCE: Fat Alone, Not Where It Sits, May Be Key to Heart Problems

Why losing weight is so hard

February 3, 2011

Fat Cells

Stumbled across something interesting today regarding how the body stores (and loses) fat.

Apparently the body doesn’t store fat in layers.  That’s to say if you were to take a cross-section of your stomach the fat stored there wouldn’t look like the rings of a tree trunk.  Instead, our body has fat cells which expand to hold more of the stuff when we need them to.  (which for a lot of people is always)

As for losing fat, it’s doable, but our bodies make it hard to.  (Not that I had to tell you that).  But get this, the fat hormone produced when fat cells shrink is produced more rapidly than the actual shrinkage rate.  This means our brains are getting the message that we’ve lost more weight than we actually have.  Talk about sabotaging yourself!

And here’s one more sobering morsel to chew on…like all cells, fat cells shrivel up and die, BUT the number of them in our bodies at any given time always remains constant.

Obviously, evolution is the reason our bodies are hardwired to hold onto fat.  Food wasn’t so plentiful back in our hunter/gatherer days and our bodies had to develop a way to store energy for those times when a meal wasn’t forthcoming.

Who knows…maybe millennia from now getting rid of that excess fat won’t be as hard as it is now!

Another reason why this winter sucks

January 27, 2011

Feeling like this at work could keep you thin

The weather this winter has been brutal.

If it’s not snowing, it’s freezing.  If it’s not freezing out, it’s snowing.  (You get the picture.)

Don’t get me wrong, I do love the snow and cold, but on occasion.  If I wanted to deal with this kind of weather everyday I’d move to Antarctica or Canada.

And here’s yet another reason winter’s got me blue.

Scientists in the U-S and Britain have discovered a link between avoiding the cold and obesity.  Apparently those of us who decide to just stay inside when it’s crappy outside causes our bodies to slow down and burn calories slower.   And that’s not the only problem. 

We’re actually making things worse by raising the heat in our homes to a temperature that doesn’t allow us to shiver or sweat.  They say allowing your body to fight to stay warm in the winter or sweat it out during the summer is actually good for it because it forces us to expand energy, thereby burning more calories.  If our body doesn’t have to work, no calories get burned and we risk getting fat.

Keep this in mind the next time you’re sitting in your office and freezing your you-know-what off.  Turns out you actually are!

SOURCE: Rising indoor winter temperatures linked to obesity?