Sunday, March 28, 2010

Study: BMI Fails to Detect Obesity

If you follow us on Twitter, read our blog regularly, or visit our site with frequency you quickly noticed that we oppose the use of weight and calorie measurements for those wanting to achieve a leaner, more healthy (fat-free) body.

Now, a recent study determined that there is a "A Massive Underdiagnosis of Obesity When Using Body Mass Index (BMI)"

What is BMI?
The Department of Health and Human Services has a BMI calculator where you enter your height and weight (in English or metric), you click the "Compute BMI" button and it returns the appropriate value. This value is calculated in the following two ways:

(weight in pounds * 703 ) / height in inches2

weight in kilograms / height in meters2

So, What's the Problem?
This seems like a pretty easy way to calculate something, right? The problem is that "the something" you are calculating has absolutely no bearing on the fat content in your body. Consider the following extremes:

It is possible that these two people have the same BMI. They only have to have some combination where the weight divided by the height is equal in each of them.

What the BMI fails to consider is that weight is irrelevant to measuring how much fat you actually have stored in your body.

How Your Weight is Determined
Taking an equal size of each, the following is true (ordered by mass/weight - density):
Bone > Muscle > Water > Fat

In other words, the guy on the right who may have higher bone density (good thing), more muscles (good thing), and perfectly hydrated (good thing) could weight as much or more than someone who has poor bone density, less muscle mass, completely dehydrated, but had 100 pounds of fat.

Please stop weighing yourself. It does a lot more harm than good.

Contact us for information about our fat loss program.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Why isn't it Good to Drink Water or Another Liquid During Meals?

I was asked this same question by three people this week and it's possible that other people who follow me on twitter (@glycotrainer) thought the same thing but didn't work up the courage o simply forgot to ask for an explanation.

The Answer
The stomach is similar to a chemistry container. Whatever we put into our mouth enter the stomach and it is forced to dismantle everything in the quickest way possible so it can pass through to the large intestine (for more information about the digestive tract, visit our Gastrointestinal Tract page).

The stomach has two main components to destroy what get into it, acids and enzymes. As soon as something reaches the stomach, it is attacked and degraded by enzymes and acid while the stomach begins to squeeze GENTLY with the hope that it will accelerate the process (just like stirring a glass of salt and water so it dissolves more quickly).

In chemistry, water is used to dilute solutions of all types (including enzyme and acid solutions of all sorts of concentrations). The more water that is added in the lab, the least concentrated and potent each solution becomes.

It's the same thing in the stomach. Water enters and dilutes the enzymes and acids, making the stomach work harder for a longer period of time in digesting what it has to digest.

A lot of people's digestion can be improved by the addition of a fiber supplement, one with enzymes, and a probiotic supplement.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Glycobiology & Synthetic Bacteria

For years we have said that the future of medical and health-related research is in the study of sugars and sugar-containing molecules (ie. glycoproteins, glycolipids, etc.).

"Researchers have devised a way to attach sugars to proteins using unique biological and chemical methods. This means that large quantities of different glycoproteins can be generated for various medical and biological studies."

Recently, a paper was published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology in which it was reported that a bacteria (Campylobacter) could do something that was believed could only be done by animal/plant cells (eukaryotes). E. coli has always been used for research but is unable to glycosylate (add monosaccharides to other molecules).

"PhD student Flavio Schwarz from Professor Markus Aebi's group at the Institute of Microbiology of ETH-Zurich and researchers from the University of Maryland have developed a new method for producing glycoproteins." They have taken the glycosylation mechanism from Campylobacter and introduced it to E. coli. E. Coli will now be able to glycosylate.

What is so important about glycosylated molecules like glycoproteins?
"If you want to study host-pathogen interactions, for instance, you need pure samples of a particular glycoprotein, whereas natural systems can only offer researchers a highly complex blend of such substances." ALL pathogens interact and attach to human cells through carbohydrates on glycosylated structures.

"Glycoproteins play a crucial role in biology. They are found more frequently on the surface of cells than 'normal' proteins and they participate in numerous cellular processes, such as cell to cell communication. They are present throughout the human body, also in mucus, and the different glycosylation of blood proteins contribute to define the blood group antigen." Cell to cell communication is also called intercelullar communication.

What does the future hold?
"...has great potential for the development of new cancer treatments. These therapeutic glycoproteins can be produced specifically-tailored to remain in the bloodstream longer while targeting cancerous cells." The immune system uses glycoproteins to distinguish between rogue and normal cells.

"For now, we have simply managed to prove that our concept works. It remains to be seen what potential practical applications it might have," says Flavio Schwarz from the Life Science Zurich Graduate School."

Article [ScienceDaily: Synthetic Biology: Engineered Bacteria

Related Information
Essential Monosaccharides
Intercellular Communication

Monday, March 15, 2010

Oatmeal isn't Enough

I came across a blog the other day that stated that oatmeal consumption prevented heart disease, in addition to its well-known effect of reducing cholesterol levels in the blood.

First of all, it's not oatmeal that does the above, it's fiber. I do believe we all need to eat healthier and I love whole-grain, natural (not instant and certainly not microwaveable) oatmeal. When I make it I usually slice a banana, add strawberries, add a touch of honey, or a little blue agave. And I certainly believe that oatmeal is an integral part of a healthy diet. HOWEVER, it is not enough.

You cannot believe that you will see significant improvement in your health if you have oatmeal for breakfast once a week (this is a much higher frequency than what most people I know eat).

Why Isn't Oatmeal Enough?
Certainly oatmeal has benefits beyond fiber. And I believe in eating a variety of foods. But as pertains to the health claims above, it is important to isolate those to fiber (as most phytochemicals are destroyed when the oatmeal is cooked). According to this fiber calculator a 32 year old adult male needs 32 grams of fiber per day.

Oatmeal has, based on the sources I found online, betweet 2 and 3.5 grams of fiber. Can you eat 10 bowls per day (if we consider 3.5 grams per serving). Oatmeal has one of the highest fiber concentrations in foods, meaning that you would HAVE to eat much, much more of other foods.

There is no question about it, the fiber found in oatmeal is not enough. You need a fiber supplement.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Subliminal Messages in Food Labels

Okay... So it's more of a marketing twist than actual subliminal messages that marketers use to deliver us the information we need.

Yes, food labels provide you with just about everything you need to know about the food you are eating. But it's the way they tell about what you're eating that may be the problem. It could be a sales pitch or rewording something so it doesn't sound harmful.

The New York Times published an article about "Six Meaningless Claims on Food Labels". There is A LOT more that you need to know about food labels but this provides a great starting point. Maybe we can follow this a post with a more complete one in the future.

Here are the six claims the article points out:

  1. Lightly-sweetened - Anyone can claim this and not be subjected to any federal regulation. The FDA has only placed regulations on "sugar free" and "no sugar added". A few weeks ago I saw a Frosted Flakes carton that claimed to have "reduced sugar". I though "that's awesome! I love Frosted Flakes and now w/ reduced sugar! I wonder if it tastes the same." Just now, I looked up nutritional info for regular and this reduced sugar product. Note the red marks I made. The first is in caloric intake. It's higher in the reduced sugar one! There are no nutritional changes, except for sodium and potassium (salts that are higher in the reduced sugar version). Next, the carbohydrate content. Fiber stayed the same. Would Kellog's please explain "Other carbohydrates"?

  2. Good source of fiber - Companies want to save money. It's a fact of doing business. They add fiber in the cheapest way possible. Fiber added to most products don't come from sources that are known to have beneficial fiber... soluble fiber. Instead, these product have isolated fibers that haven't been proven to lower cholesterol, blood sugar levels, or fat/carbohydrate absorption rates.

  3. Strengthens your Immune System - Be careful. This claim refers to ingredients and not the product. In nature, 1 + 1 usually doesn't equal 2. If the food isn't a whole food, like an apple or a tomato, it is virtually impossible to determine the actual effect on the immune system (unless scientific studies have been done on that specific product).

  4. Made with Real Fruit - Fruit may be present in extremely small quantities and may often be different from that marketed on the box. As ridiculous as it may sound, technically, with a single raisin, this claim is true.

  5. Made with whole grains - If whole wheat grain isn't the first ingredient on the list of ingredients, then it is not made from whole wheat grain. The ingredients appear in order of amount present in the product.

  6. All Natural - There is no regulation as to what "all natural" means. This is something that we face in the nutritional supplement industry where mined minerals are considered natural because they occur naturally in nature. Guess what, mercury and lead may also be considered natural. It's the same for foods. Fructose and fructose syrup occur naturally. Although, as pointed by the NYT article, the chemical and manufacturing process should not be considered natural.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New Study: New weight loss aid?

On February 18th, it was reported that isoleucine, an amino acid, could have a lot to do with weight loss.

In our "Your Body May Not Let You Lose Weight" blog post, we listed four mechanisms by which an advanced protein peptide technology can help you eliminate unwanted fat from your body.

The very first mechanism is:
Protein synthesis - provides three branched amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) essential for your body to make protein

This study has EVERYTHING to do with isoleucine and fat metabolism. Scientists took mice and fed them a diet that consisted of 45% fat for six weeks. Mice were separated and placed into groups after the second week. One group was administered isoleucine in their drinking water while the other was administered a placebo in the water.

Results: reduced fat deposits and increased fat metabolism (among other results).

"Researchers suggest that isoleucine could effective in treating obesity."

Article [Medline Plus]: ¿Una nueva ayuda para perder peso?