Weekly Wrap up, September 16th
First and Foremost as Shout out to Albert Szent-Györgyi
Okay, it isn’t really a shout out because Albert is dead. In fact, up until today I had never heard of him, but thanks to Google and their cute google doodle, I learned that a) today is his birthday, and b) he is credited with discovering vitamin C and the components and reactions of the citric acid cycle (also known as the Krebs cycle). For this work he received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1937. On top of being an all around bad-ass (all of this research thanks to Wikipedia):
Szent-Györgyi helped his Jewish friends escape from the country. During World War II, he joined the Hungarian resistance movement. Although Hungary was allied with the Axis Powers, the Hungarian prime minister Miklós Kállaysent Szent-Györgyi to Cairo in 1944 under the guise of a scientific lecture to begin secret negotiations with the Allies. The Germans learned of this plot, and Adolf Hitler himself issued a warrant for the arrest of Szent-Györgyi. He escaped house arrest and spent 1944 to 1945 as a fugitive from the Gestapo.
He was also brilliant and beyond his many achievements (and if you doubt how badass he was) he started his research career in Bratislava… Everything I know about Bratislava is from this educational movie.
On top of his research on the Krebs cycle, he later did pioneering work on muscles, working with electron microscopes. He founded the Institute for Muscle Research. Of course he could of stopped there, but went on to establish the National Foundation for Cancer Research when his research interests took him into trying to understand the connection between Vitamin C and Cancer. If you are thinking that might have been a dead end… after all, who takes Vitamin C to prevent cancer, you would be wrong. All of that Free Radical talk and Antioxidant stuff… well Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant and Albert understood the connection of oxidization to Cancer. That was back in the 1970s… You can read more about Antioxidants here or you can pick up this book all about Albert: “Free Radical: Albert Szent-Gyorgyi and the Battle over Vitamin C”, ISBN 0-913729-78-7, (1988), Paragon House Publishers, New York
I mention all of this because I find it is both unimaginably cool how much we know about the human body and at the same time mind bogglingly stupefying how little we know about the human body. Seriously, when it comes down to it, we don’t know if Dr. Barry Sears is right with his Zone Theories, if Dr. Gary Taubes is right to be backing Dr. Atkins or if the proponents of the no-fat diets are right. Each of these groups can hold up evidence to support their theories that their diets reduce heart disease. It is amazing that the largest killer of humans still remains unknown. Even the relationship of Cholesterol to heart disease is only dimly understood and appears to be made clearer day by day.
All of this ignorance appears to exist at the diet and fitness level as well. I say appears to exist because I fear that all to many people are trying to suggest shortcuts to fitness (there are none) and then these shortcuts need to be disproven and that takes time. The most recent one I saw was Dr. Junger suggesting that certain classes of toxins that are lypophilic (found and stored in fat) are actually not found in fat, but instead are the ‘seeds’ that fat coalesces around. This is to say, he thinks you are fat because your body makes fat to surround the toxins, not that the toxins are stored in the fat. Interesting… I can’t say to what degree I doubt the statement, but research needs to be done…
I once read a fascinating book called Code of the Lifemaker by James P Hogan. It is a fascinating science fiction book, and like any good sci-fi book it casts a lot of light on our lives:
About 1,000,000 B.C., an unidentified alien race sent out robotic factories to many worlds in their part of the galaxy to prepare for future settlement. One of those factory ships suffers severe radiation damage from a near-miss by a supernova and goes off course, eventually landing on the Saturnian moon Titan. Due to a malfunction in its database it begins producing imperfect copies that begin to evolve on their own.
The most interesting part for me was that these sentient, robotic life forms were nearly useless in creating mechanical devices to assist them (cars, guns, computers), but instead were light years ahead in biological engineering. It was as if there was a taboo on doing research on the building blocks of their own species… just as there is for us… It is quite an eye opening realization.
After reading that I didn’t feel quite so angry or annoyed at how slow the science of life progresses… after all it is a lot better than the alternative…
In the Going in the Right Direction Department:
It turns out that most hotels are catering to the travellers fitness needs (story here). This is a very cool story, but I have to be honest, I have never tried to order up any fitness gear to my room. I will definitely try now, but I fear that it may not be as easy as the article makes it sound. That said, I recently talked about the incredible gym at the hotel I stayed at in Denver. I think hotel gyms are getting better and this one was so good it would make me stay in this hotel again.
In the Wow department:
They are rebranding Corn Syrup to be Corn Sugar. This has actually been a long time coming, but what hasn’t is the Food and Drug Administration warning the food manufacturers to stop using the name Corn Sugar before they have approved it. Apparently:
the Corn Refiners Association has for months been using “corn sugar” on television commercials and at least two websites: cornsugar.com and sweetsurprise.com.
Seriously… they have a website called sweetsurprise.com… The article is a good read in any case, and I was surprised to find out that the FDA is unlikely to approve the name change as they already use the name Corn Sugar to refer to dextrose… Go figure. Some interesting facts include that the producers wanted to change the name of High Fructose Corn Syrup to just Corn Syrup, but dropped this application in favor of the Corn Sugar name. I love this line: “Seven U.S. senators, all from America’s corn-growing heartland, filed a letter with the FDA urging them to adopt the “corn syrup” name to help clear up consumer confusion.” Ya, to clear up consumer confusion. I hate the fact that Senators are always fighting for the corporations in their constituencies. They would screw over ALL of the American consumers just to improve the lot of their businesses…. It is sickening.
In any case, I never minded the name Corn Sugar… The fact is it is sugar. Most people view it now as a bad form of sugar so there is no need to change the name for consumers, but whether HFCS is worse for you than table sugar is debatable. They both are high in Fructose. The issue comes from the fact that HFCS can vary in the amount of Fructose to Glucose. If you are eating sugar you want glucose and you don’t want fructose. I know that sounds strange, especially because fructose occurs naturally in fruits, but it is true. Fructose is metabolized by the liver and cannot be used by the body until it is. Glucose can be taken up immediately by the blood and used. This difference is huge on the body and there is an awesome video explaining it. Table sugar (called Sucrose) is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. That is pretty bad. HFCS is supposed to be no more than 55% fructose, but that isn’t always the case. Actually, not by a long shot according to this article. According to the article:
The Keck researchers found that the sweeteners in Coca-Cola and Pepsi contained as much as 65 percent fructose (and only 35 percent glucose), and Sprite registered as much as 64 percent fructose (and 36 percent glucose).
–Tested samples of Mexican Coca-Cola — which is supposedly made with cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup — contained no sucrose, only fructose and glucose in a 52 percent-to-48 percent ratio.
–17 percent of the sweetener in Red Bull was fructose, even though sucrose and glucose are the only sweeteners listed on the label.
All of that is disturbing. This is possible because HFCS is made in the following way:
Produced in large manufacturing facilities scattered mostly across the flat, golden expanse of the American corn belt, high-fructose corn syrup is not a product that anyone could cook up at home using a few ears of corn. The process starts with corn kernels and takes place in a series of stainless steel vats and tubes in which a dozen different mechanical processes and chemical reactions occur — including several rounds of high-velocity spinning and the introduction of three different enzymes to incite molecular rearrangements.
The enzymes turn most of the glucose molecules in corn into fructose, which makes the substance sweeter. This 90 percent fructose syrup mixture is then combined with regular corn syrup, which is 100 percent glucose molecules, to get the right percentage of fructose and glucose. The final product is a clear, goopy liquid that is roughly as sweet as sugar.
So, HFCS can be a higher than 50-50 percentage of fructose to glucose. It is generally agreed that fructose is bad for your metabolism and the mixes of HFCS apparently can reach percentages up to 65%. All of this is fine and legal because an ingredient on a label is apparently allowed to differ by up to 20%!!!! Seriously… every label you have read can be off by 20%!! Think about that for a minute. The food companies know this as well… Makes the food labelling seem like another scam and probably explains why it is so hard to lose weight eating processed foods. Add 20% to the calories of anything you measure and 20% to the amount of sugar you are getting and you are probably closer to what you are getting from the food manufacturers.
Think about how bad your product has to be perceived as well to want to be called sugar! Sugar is about the worst thing you can put into your body to maintain a healthy figure and metabolism. It does you no favours and is responsible for most of the ills of our obesity crisis. According to Kris’s Health Blog:
According to the USDA, sugar consumption increased by 43 pounds per person, or 39 percent, from the years 1950-1959 until the year 2000. That year, the average person consumed 152 pounds of sugar.
Sources claim that current daily sugar consumption in America is about 87 grams per day (350cal, 17.4tsp), and according to a USDA report in 2010, the average child consumes 365 calories of added sugar per day, or 91 gram (18.2 tsp).
And their product is perceived to be so bad they want to throw their lot in with just sugar. Just sugar is pissed about this too and they are doing everything they can to stop it. This includes the Beet Sugar, just sugar people… It would be funny if it weren’t so sad…
Understand How Much He Works Out:
Yahoo Sports released a video this week entitled, ‘Floyd Mayweather’s Surprising Junk Food Diet‘ as part of their elite athlete workout series. This crap annoys the hell out of me because people get confused. First and foremost, they entitle it his Junk Food Diet. Listen to the video. He talks about drinking A SODA during his workout. You don’t see any 2 litres sitting around and his pop is poured from a small can into a cup for him. Anyone who actually drinks pop is looking at this and saying… seriously… I drink like 3 cans and I don’t box. That is the first sign that this video is crap. The second sign is the fact that they interview his personal chef! He has one. She shops every day for vegetables, grass fed meat and seafood. Sometimes he asks for hot dogs… and if he wants hot dogs at 5 in the morning, he gets hot dogs… Of course he does. He is working out at that time… He works out through the night, he works out constantly. I eat hot dogs at 5 am at the 7-11 after a night of drinking, that is a problem. Not only because I have already consumed god knows how many calories in beer and Jaggerbombs, but because this has dulled my ability to discern between a fresh hotdog and a 14 hour old shrivelled up piece of hot dog jerky. She makes him 2 meals a day. At the calorie output that he probably has, he is eating 4 meals a day and barely keeping up with his multi-thousand calorie burn rate. It is entirely possible that 2 of those meals are fast food, but unlikely. The only evidence we get that eats fast food is from Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions. I have no idea what his background is, but from his report, which includes, the exclamation, ‘That is why it is unbelievable what he has been able to do” when referring to the fact that he drinks soda and he eats fast food…. Why in the world would that make his achievements unbelievable. The only problem with eating fast food and soda is that they are intensely calorie dense. They don’t have all of the nutrients that a balanced meal might have. Mind you if you are burning insane amounts of calories and eating 2 chef prepared meals a day, it is actually anything but unbelievable that this nutrition regiment is working for you. Remember the guy who ran marathons and ate McDonald’s every day… It is easy to stay fit and eat fast food as long as you burn a couple of thousand extra calories a day. If you aren’t doing that though… cut back on the fast food. There is almost no evidence that Floyd Mayweather eats a lot of fast food in this stellar bit of ESPN reporting… These are those stories that people love to talk about around the water cooler and deep down, these are the beliefs that create a sense of unfairness for those who gain weight while eating fast food. If you aren’t an elite athlete, you probably can’t afford the calories, and don’t worry, not many elite athletes do eat junk food either. Stupid reporting…
Speaking of Stupid…
I don’t know where to go with this report. Kirstie Alley is all over the place, claiming that she has lost 100 pounds. I guess it is possible, she was very large before she started her diet. Mind you she is saying that she lost 100 pounds since being on DWTS, which isn’t likely to be true as she claimed she had lost 40 pounds before going on DWTS. This was with her ‘revolutionary’ weightloss product, Organic Liason. Organic Liason is crap! I have reported on it before and it is such crap there really isn’t anything to report on. The website is good, although the cutesy animals and all are stupid. The Chubby Buddy is good and bad in a way that only Kirstie Alley can pull off. She lost the first 40 pounds hiring a personal trainer to work out in her fully equipped gym, paying for spa workout weekends with more personal trainers and diet experts and finally doing P90X. All things that are great for weight loss. She also drank her stupid drink while she did it and voila, the product was the success method.
The product and many others in her line are based upon the teachings of Scientology. Yep, those people who think that the earth is inhabited by thetans who… okay, I have no idea about their crazy beliefs other than to say they are seriously out there. In the documents they hide with confidentiality agreements and non-disclosure agreements you get some bizarre stuff. You can read about it here. Do you remember that colossal bomb Battlefield Earth? Well they essentially believe that the whole movie is true… The point being, the Scientologists who are involved in her product also have a bunch of health beliefs and these are reflected in the line of products.
So, there is no science in her program, there is no reason it would work, except that she claims that her product reduces cravings. There is no evidence for this. She uses her weight loss as evidence which is SO ABSURD as to be laughable. She was motivated by DWTS. She hadn’t even lost a lot of weight in the months leading up to DWTS and she had her product for ages before that. She has reasons to be motivated beyond anything I have ever seen. Her weightloss product, her national Television work, her hope to return to TV (which apparently is happening later this year on ABC), the scrutiny, the celebrity, you name it. She has every opportunity to lose the weight including having more money than you can imagine, the home gym, the personal trainers, the DWTS experience. She lost a lot of weight, and to tell you the truth, I am happy for her, but I would be a lot more concerned had she not lost weight under these circumstances. She is motivated and hard working and she was living under a microscope. Of course she lost weight, and not to take anything away from that achievement, but don’t think that what she did will work for you. That is to say, don’t think that her product will work for you. Getting a personal trainer, installing a gym, doing P90X and quitting your job to workout for TV 7 days a week WILL WORK FOR YOU.
So, she is shilling her product all over TV and saying she lost 100 pounds and she is a size 4. Obviously there is going to be some blowback to that because there is no way she is a size 4. In fact, when you look at her in the fashion show she looks very big because of the odd and unflattering dress she is wearing. Not that it isn’t cool and it does look almost costumelike, but given the weight she really has lost, they could have hung something on her a little more revealing!
So, according to Tim Gunn a fashion expert, she may be wearing a size 4, but only in the same way that Jerry Seinfeld is still wearing the same size pants as he did in high school. He suggests that she is more like a size 8 or 10 and I agree. I hate to be fighting against someone who I really like. Kirstie Alley is a funky, wild and crazy woman who looks incredible for 60 and acts so much younger. I can never tell when I see her if she is drugged up or just wacky. I like that. Her TV shows have been genuinely funny and nobody was more willing to poke fun at themselves than she has been. All these things are great and allow her to sit at the apex of public opinion, but all of that just makes me angrier when she is shilling her useless product. Kirstie, I am really happy for you regarding your weight loss and I hope for you it continues, but I am so sad that it is part of a publicity stunt that will not help many people lose weight. That said, the tools on your website do look quite helpful, so at least there is that…