Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sodas

The John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health released a study this month which concluded that “liquid calorie intake had a stronger impact on weight than solid calorie intake.” I believe this study can be found in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Effectively, this study points an accusing finger at soft drinks and related beverages when it comes to our national obesity problem.

The researchers speculated, as a result of this study, that the body has more trouble regulating liquid calorie intake than solid calorie intake. Though the study didn't go as far as to speculate why, I figure this may be because adult humans have traditionally found the vast majority of our caloric needs in solid food, so we just don’t have the biological mechanisms in place to properly nourish ourselves with liquids.

In addition to that study, another paper released by John Hopkins in March in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications concluded with results that led researchers to hypothesize that while glucose tends to curb appetite (glucose is an important carbohydrate, and it makes sense that it would make us full), fructose, also an important carbohydrate, but which is often used in large quantities as a sweetener, may actually increase appetite. This study was not specific to soft drinks, but the lead author did identify soft drinks as the most notable source of high fructose sweeteners.

Coupled together, I’d say these two studies offer still more convincing evidence against daily consumption of soft drinks and sweetened beverages. I won’t say I never consume soda (I do love me some root beer), but when I do, I’m well aware it’s not just a thirst quencher. As a can of soda has140-ish calories, mostly from refined sugars, I tend to imagine an ounce and a half of table sugar in a ziplock bag and consider it a hefty dessert.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Balance

Without anything particularly interesting to write about, I sort of lost track of the blog. The thing is, I've had plenty of interesting things to write about, like the "Now Hiring" sign in the window of a local moving company called "Two Men and a Truck" and the warning on a cup of noodles that recommended holding the cup in an upright position to prevent spills. And, well, that's about it. I guess it has been a slow couple of months.

Then, tonight, while I was in my thought bubble at the gym, I figured I could write about my experiences there. A blog is but a place for vanity, after all, and even if blogging about health gets boring, it might at least build some posting momentum, so to speak.

One of my favorite things about exercise is the rapidity in improvement; I've only been at this for a couple months now. I'm still pale and stickly, but I feel a lot better about myself. Tonight, I hoisted 40lbs above my head ten times, then I hoisted those same 40lbs above my head ten full times again. Arnold would not be impressed, and that may sound like a silly thing to mention, but I'm proud of myself. That's the first time I've done two complete sets with that much weight.

On a whinier note, the Hip Adduction/Abduction Machine is not a knee-bike. It's a weight machine -- y'know, one of those things you have to focus on so as not only to prevent injury, but to actually get something out of the exercise you're performing. If you've lifted those silly weights thirty times between page-flips in your magazine, you're not lifting enough weight. Beyond the fact that you're just plain doing it wrong, that fat you're clearly trying to cut from your hips is just about as responsive to push-ups. Try out one of these instead. Honestly, they're as fun as they are cool-lookin', and your fat will melt away like ice cream. Even I'm getting slimmer around the middle, and I only consider that a side-effect.

Cheers. Here's hoping for the motivation for another update before two more months have passed.