Top food myths

  • By richard watson
  • 01 Mar, 2017

Getting to the truth about weight gain

eating late at night
late night eating

Good bacteria can help you lose weight

True
For every probiotic evangelist there are several that sneered at the idea that these ‘good bacteria’ products did anything other than leave a big whole in your pocket. But according to a recent study, probiotics are very much more than a health food gimmick.

Probiotics, which are available as yoghurts, drinks and pills, contain so called ‘good’ bacteria that manufacturers claim aid digestive health and boost the immune system.

But the jury remained out – until now when a study has found that they do have many health benefits, including proving effective medicines and helping to control weight.

But you need to need to use the probiotics every day to see any benefits and you should be mindful of the sugar content (it’s best to opt for a pill over yoghurt) which will negate any of the benefits.

Eggs raise your cholesterol levels

False
Eggs have been lumbered with a heart harming reputation for a long time despite the claim that they contribute to heart disease being proven wrong in numerous studies.

Yes, eggs contain cholesterol but it’s now believed that the real threat to our heart health doesn’t lie with cholesterol in foods such as eggs, but the sort made by our body.

Dangerous levels of LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol have been linked to a diet high in saturated fat – the kind you find in processed eat, cakes, biscuits.

Far from being a food to be feared, eggs are a part of a healthy diet as they’re loaded with nutritional goodness – the yolk alone contains carotenoids, vitamin A, Vitamin E and choline – so get boiling/frying/poaching.

Fat is bad for you

False
Contrary to what large sections of the diet industry would have you believe, fat is an essential part of our diets. The confusion comes because there are so many different types of fat – and they’re not all created equally.

Unsaturated fat, the kind found in nuts, oily fish and vegetable oils are essential for the smooth running of our internal organs – especially our brain.

Fat is needed to transport fat soluble vitamins including X, D, E and K and essential fatty acids whose name is an indication of just how vital they are to your body.

Without fat in our diet, our bodies wouldn’t be able to produce the engine fuel that supports our brain and other major organs. Fats biggest PR problem is that it’s so energy dense – you don’t get much calorie bang for your portion buck.

A gram of fat contains nine calories – twice as much as the protein equivalent which is why the Department of Health recommends that no more than a third of your daily calories

fat around the middle
The apple and pear body

Being apple-shaped is more dangerous than being pear-shaped

True
Being prone to putting on weight around your middle doesn’t just make doing your skinny jeans up a pain; it could increase your risk of heart disease.

Experts believe that the best way to predict the likelihood of suffering a heart attack is the proportion of your waist to your hips.

To do this, measure your waist at the smallest point, and then measure your hips at the widest point. Divide the first number by the second number: an ideal ratio is 0.8 or lower. Any higher and you should think about blasting that belly with some fat-busting cardio.

Calcium could reduce fat

True
A recent study by the University of Tennessee (funded by the American National Dairy Council so, um, it might be a little biased) discovered that obese mice who were put on high-calcium, low-calorie diets lost a about a fifth of their body weight, while those who ate low-calorie and low-calcium diets lost just 11%.

Of course, we’re not obese mice, but researchers believe that calcium may have a similar affect on humans as it encourages the body to burn energy rather than store it as fat.

Sadly that doesn’t mean that a block of calcium rich, but very fatty, cheese suddenly becomes calorie neutral. Instead opt for fat-free, calcium-loaded, green, leafy vegetables like kale, spinach and broccoli.

diet drinks
Diet drinks

Diet drinks can make you fat

True
Words of wisdom and Paris Hilton aren’t usually found in the same sentence together but the socialite’s memorable “Only fat people drink Diet Coke” statement may have a ring of truth about it.

According to researchers in the US, artificial sweetener found in diet tricks the body into making you eat more. The sugary substance makes your body believe that it’s about to get a huge calorie surge and when you disappoint it, it strikes back with hunger pangs that lead you to the cookie jar. So swap that Coke Zero for a glass of water – make a sparkling if you miss the fizz.

Don’t eat after 8pm

False
The diet myth that won’t die, due in large part to celebrities continually wheeling it out in any ‘I’ve dropped a stone’ stories.

Calories can’t tell the time; you don’t stop burning energy as soon as the Eastenders theme tune strikes up. In an ideal world we would reverse our usual eating pattern – starting with a big breakfast and eating a decent lunch makes sense, after all we need the energy during the day not while we’re asleep.

But most of us barely have time to grab a piece of toast first thing and it’s difficult to eat a slap up meal over a keyboard.

But eating late at night isn’t responsible for weight gain; eating your biggest meal of the day after the clock has struck 8 might leave you with a little indigestion but you won’t wake up with bigger thighs.

In The Zone

By richard watson 10 Apr, 2017

There has been a huge increase in interest in cycling over recent years as more people become aware of the health and fitness benefits’ cycling achieves, as well as its advantages as a fast and economical means of transport. Studio cycling has also grown and has been identified as one of the most popular group exercise formats in clubs worldwide.

By richard watson 01 Mar, 2017

Good bacteria can help you lose weight

True
For every probiotic evangelist there are several that sneered at the idea that these ‘good bacteria’ products did anything other than leave a big whole in your pocket. But according to a recent study, probiotics are very much more than a health food gimmick.

Probiotics, which are available as yoghurts, drinks and pills, contain so called ‘good’ bacteria that manufacturers claim aid digestive health and boost the immune system.

But the jury remained out – until now when a study has found that they do have many health benefits, including proving effective medicines and helping to control weight.

But you need to need to use the probiotics every day to see any benefits and you should be mindful of the sugar content (it’s best to opt for a pill over yoghurt) which will negate any of the benefits.

By richard watson 06 Feb, 2017

The definition of motivation is that which gives the impetus to behaviour by arousing, sustaining and directing it towards the successful attainment of goals. Abraham Maslow (1954) proposed that we all have a hierarchy of needs, the most basic being physiological needs such as food, and the highest needs being those related to self-fulfillment. Motivation directs behaviour – it organizes behaviour towards a particular goal state. It maintains behaviour until that goal is achieved.

 

The marathon is a long-distance running event with an official distance of 26 miles and 385 yards that is usually run as a road race. The marathon was one of the original modern Olympic events in 1896, though the distance did not become standardized until 1921. More than 500 marathons are contested throughout the world each year, with the vast majority of competitors being recreational athletes. Larger marathons can have tens of thousands of participants.

By richard watson 05 Jan, 2017

Disclaimer
Although, all of the information that is presented in this article is geared toward the benefits and/or effectiveness of anaerobic high intensity interval training (HIIT) vs. low intensity aerobic training with regards to fat utilization, there is an understanding that some reasons for aerobic training supersede the outcomes. For the sake of pure enjoyment, personal goal setting (training for a triathlon, marathon, road race, etc), and the challenge of competition are all viable and respectable reasons for interacting with long slow distance (LSD) activities. For many people these types of activities are suitable for their lifestyle and enjoyable means of living an active life. The goal of this article is not to discount or diminish the value of physical activity in all its modalities, but to merely present data with regards to optimum fat loss, hormonal indicators, and other factors of cardiovascular and cardio respiratory markers as they pertain to exercise intensity prescription.

By richard watson 01 Nov, 2016
Cancers are classified as a family of related diseases that result from uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells5 that usually become a tumor. The most common causes of cancer related deaths in the United Kingdom are seen in Figure 1 below.The evidence linking low levels of physical activity and an increased potential for development of cancer is growing. More studies are focused on determining if physical activity can be used as a preventative measure in the incidence of cancer.

Figure 1: The 9 Most Common Causes of Cancer Death in 2014

Number of Deaths per Year, All Ages, UK

Cancer Site                Male           Female       Persons
Lung (C33-C34)       19,563       16,332         35,895
Bowel (C18-C20)       8,566          7,337         15,903
Breast (C50)                       73        11,360        11,433
Prostate (C61)          11,287                               11,287
Pancreas (C25)           4,426          4,391           8,817
Oesophagus (C15)   5,213          2,577          7,790
Bladder (C67)              3,614          1,755          5,369
Brain                                2,881          2,342          5,223
Liver (C22)                    3,055          2,036          5,091
By richard watson 05 Oct, 2016

In the world of endurance, it seems that you cannot discuss fitness without discussing VO2 max. Ask any endurance athlete about it, and you will hear epic stories with names like Indurain, and LeMond. Many of you, however, may find yourselves wondering what exactly VO2 max is and why is it so important. To better understand this concept; let’s take a little trip back to school, specifically back to physiology class. According to the Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning textbook, VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen in millilitres one can use in one minute per kilogram of body weight (ml/kg/min). In other words, maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max) is the greatest amount of oxygen that can be used at the cellular level for the entire body. VO2 max has been found to correlate well with an individual’s degree of physical conditioning and has been accepted as an index of total body fitness. Numerous studies show that one can increase his/her VO2 max by working out at an intensity that raises the heart rate to between 65 and 85 percent of its maximum, for at least 20 minutes, three to five times per week. The estimated mean value of VO2 max for male athletes is about 3.5 liters/minute and for female athletes is about 2.7 liters/minute.

By richard watson 14 Sep, 2016

It is ironic that in this age of information, people continue to be confused about supplements. While in The UK alone, billions of pounds sterling are spent annually on vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids and other nutritional products, studies still show that people in all walks of life (including fitness professionals) need a good foundation in basic supplement information to help them make informed decisions about which products might best suit their individual needs. Because of this, the following is a list of what I feel are the top 10 supplements facts that can help save you time and money - and get the most out of the products you use.

By richard watson 27 Jul, 2016

Caffeine is one of the most heavily researched and beneficial ergogenic aids available. It is mostly consumed in coffee, with 1 cup containing around 75mg of caffeine. The understanding of the performance effect of caffeine has increased and this has widened its use. Most people know that “caffeine may improve performance” but what does it actually do and how can we make the most of caffeine?

Caffeine is classified as a stimulant and is the most common drug used in the world. Caffeine crosses the membranes of all the body's tissues. It can wield effects on the central nervous system and the peripheral tissues that result in physiological effects. Studies have shown that caffeine can help an athlete perform better. It has been shown to be a powerful ergogenic aid that is beneficial in athletic performance and training. Caffeine has been shown to increase speed and power output, improve the length an athlete can train, and assist the athlete in resisting fatigue. Caffeine has also been proven to stimulate the brain which contributes to an athlete's clearer thinking and ability to concentrate harder on the task at hand.

By richard watson 08 Jul, 2016

You’ve seen it before, and you’ll see it again. You have been intensely training for months, but you start to mention that you haven’t slept well for weeks, and the stress is starting to get in the way of your performance. You may suspect you’ve overtrained, which is quite common among competitive athletes. While overtraining can occur in a variety of different ways, it typically results from a combination of hormonal, neuroendocrine, and nutritional imbalances, secondary to heavy training (Kreher, 2012).

Learing Objectives:

  1. Identify the signs and symptoms of overtraining.
  2. Determine ways to help your clients recover from overtraining.
  3. Understand the importance of training breaks in the prevention of overtraining.

By richard watson 10 Jun, 2016

Hamstring injuries are prevalent in many sporting and training environments. They are the curse of many top athletes and urban warriors alike and have a horrible tendency to recur with monotonous regularity.

In the past, rehab specialists and trainers may have fallen prey to the hypothesis that "if it keeps tearing, it must be tight and therefore needs a stretch."

In this article I would like to pose a different hypothesis. One that looks at the length-tension relationships between the hamstrings at the back of the pelvis and quads and hip flexors at the front of the pelvis. We’ll look at how this relationship can contribute to these types of injuries.

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