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Low-carb slimming diets may clog arteries and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, a study suggests. Diets based on eating lots of meat, fish and cheese, while restricting carbohydrates have grown in popularity in recent years. But the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the US found such habits caused artery damage in tests on mice.The researchers and independent experts both agreed a balanced diet was the best option. Low-carb diets have attracted a lot of attention and controversy after a surge in interest in them in the 1990s.
The researchers at the Beth Israel institute, which is part of Harvard Medical School, decided to investigate their impact on the cardiovascular system after hearing of reports of people on the diets suffering heart attacks.They fed the mice three different diets – a standard mouse type, a western diet which was high in fat, and a low-carb, high-protein version, the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported.The low-carb diet did not affect cholesterol levels, but there was a significant difference on the impact on atherosclerosis – the build-up of fatty plaque deposits in the arteries that can lead to heart attacks or strokes.After 12 weeks, the mice eating the low-carb diet had gained less weight, but developed 15% more atherosclerosis than those on the standard mice food. For the western diet group there was 9% more atherosclerosis. The team could not be certain why the effect was seen, but thought low-carb diets may affect the way bone marrow cells effectively clean arteries of fatty deposits.
“It appears that a moderate and balanced diet, coupled with regular exercise, is probably best for most people”
Our personal trainer Stephen Hitchcock is a club runner who can take you training on the scenic towpaths of the river Thames in the Richmond, Twickenham, Staines and Kingston areas. Take in the sceninc views and river wildlife while getting fitter and lighter at the same time! If you can only manage a walk/stumble at this point don’t worry, our highly qualified personal trainers in the South West London areas will start you gently and then progress you from there. If you are super quick then Stephen may have to bring his mountain bicycle, us personal trainers have to be careful with our knees, even though we endeavour to be as hands on as possible at Diets Don’t Work. The first step is a free consultation so just give us a call or email us on the contact page email feature.
One of our most successful personal training clients, we will call her DT for anonymity’s sake, has recently slowed in her weight loss. Based in Sunninghill (I am her personal trainer) she has gone from 18 stone plus to just under 12 stone at present, but the law of diminishing returns is beginning to kick in. This law means that the fitter or lighter you get, the smaller those gains become, the harder they are to get and the slower they will come. Thus a 20 stone lady with some safe exercise and sensible eating will find it relatively easy to lose a kilogramme a week (the upper safe limit) and be consistently lighter from one week to the next. Similarly, her fitness gains will be marked and relatively quick. On the other hand, a high level athlete, like me (ha ha) will find it REALLY hard to go from 14 stone to 13 stone 10 pounds, as there is really not much fat to lose at this point. Also, fitness gains are now measured in seconds as opposed to minutes. Taken to it’s extreme this law of diminishing returns becomes more harsh, so for an Olympic 100m runner he will work for 4 years to get a gain of 1/10th of a second, if that.
The key here for weight loss is to be consistent in creating an energy deficit over the course of each week, while ensuring adequate and appropriate nutrition for exercise. Even under these circumstances the weight may stagnate for a few weeks, but the key is to be consistent and patient, while eating healthy food in small quantities reasonably often.
But why won’t the weight come off every week even if you are being good? There are many possibilities. Firstly, be sure to weigh under consistent timings and conditions. Did you weigh last week on your friend’s scales? Had you been out for a social meal the night before? If female, are you approaching the monthly cycle? Were the scales on the same surface? Did you weigh at the same time of day? Are you really stressed out this week…..?
All of these and more will have an effect on weight. At Diets Don’t Work our personal trainers have seen weight hold stable stubbornly despite perfect eating, only for it to start coming off after a trip away where eating was less than perfect. The key is to be patient, always weigh under consistent conditions, and remember that size and weight are NOT the same thing. One person may look great and thin at 14 stone with fantastic lean muscle and body shape, while the other looks awful, fat and wobbly at 13.5 stone, through lack of lean muscle tone and a high body fat percentage.
The best measure of all is to take that old pair of jeans that you had for years, and see if they are still getting looser. If so, great, continue! If not think why not, are you exercising well and eating with moderation? If so keep going and sooner or later the weight will come off.
And finally, don’t obsess, life is a) short and b) made for living!!
Parents have been warned not to put ham and other smoked,salted, cured or processed meats into their children’s lunch boxes to help them reduce the risk of cancer. The world cancer research fund said that parents should act now to stop their children developing a taste for processed meat. Eating too much processed meat over a long period of time can raise the risk of bowel cancer, they said. The UK food standard agency said that processed meat was fine for lunchboxes but should not be eaten too often. It is only in recent years that the link between processed meats and bowel cancer in adults has been made, with some estimates suggesting that thousands of cases could be prevented if people limited their intake to 70g a week, the equivalent to 3 rashers of bacon.
If you have read any of our blogs on nutrition, then you would know the personal trainer approach here at Diets Don’t Work; the less processed anything is the better it will be for us, whether meat, wheat, sugars of fat. If something is in it’s natural state then go for it, if it has been touched by the hand of man then proceed with caution and moderate.
For more information have a look at the nutrition fact sheet on our the knowledge page, stay fit, eat well, you will live to a ripe old age!
There needs to be a sea-change in the approach of Britons to physical activity, the health secretary says. Andy Burnham said the public needed to face up to the challenge of taking more exercise as research shows Britain is one of the least active in Europe. To help achieve the goal, a host of partnerships have been set up with the private and public sector as well as TV stars to promote physical activity. The programmes include everything from dancing to swimming. Britain is 21st out of 32 European countries – behind the likes of Bulgaria and Latvia – in terms of the amount of physical activity which people regularly do, government research shows. The recommended amount of exercise is one hour every day for children and 30 minutes at least five times a week for adults. But a recent survey by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy found two thirds were failing to hit the target with a fifth saying they only exercised once a month or less. Regular exercise means people are up to 50% less likely to be at risk of major chronic disease such as coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
So get out there and do something. What the minister for health did not tell you is that exercise, especially vigorous, releases endorphins, our natural feel-good drugs, and so it will make you feel much more positive, clear headed and happy with your life! If you just can’t gee yourself up to get going then we can sort you out with a Diets Don’t Work personal trainer-it will give you the best possible chance of success!!
Alcohol is largely to blame for an “alarming” rise in the rate of oral cancers among men and women in their forties, say experts.
Numbers of cancers of the lip, mouth, tongue and throat in this age group have risen by 26% in the past decade. Alcohol consumption has doubled since the 1950s and is the most likely culprit alongside smoking, says Cancer Research UK. Each year in the UK around 1,800 people die from the disease. There are 5,000 newly diagnosed cases per year. Other risk factors that may be involved include a diet low in fruit and vegetables, and the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV), which also causes cervical cancer.
Figures produced by Cancer Research UK show that since the mid-1990s, rates of oral cancers have gone up by 28% for men in their forties and 24% for women. The charity’s health information manager Hazel Nunn said: “These latest figures are really alarming. “Around three-quarters of oral cancers are thought to be caused by smoking and drinking alcohol. “Tobacco is, by far, the main risk factor for oral cancer, so it’s important that we keep encouraging people to give up and think about new ways to stop people taking it up in the first place.
“But for people in their 40s, it seems that other factors are also contributing to this jump in oral cancer rates. “Alcohol consumption has doubled since the 1950s and the trend we are now seeing is likely to be linked to Britain’s continually rising drinking levels.” Oral cancer can be treated successfully if diagnosed early enough. The most common signs of the disease are ulcers, sores, or red or white patches in the mouth that last longer than three weeks, together with unexplained pain in the mouth or ear.
The other thing about all of this excess alcohol is that it’s also the number 1 reason why many people are overweight. Here at Diets Don’t Work personal training our personal trainers both in London and the Thames valley are constantly dealing with clients who have done really well to take our nutritional advice and apply it, but have then fallen down through drinking. Each large glass of wine or pint of beer is like a kit-kat in terms of the sugars contained within. Yet because the wine is liquid and also a reward, we can often be lulled into thinking that it’s OK. Yet you would not get home from work and have 3 kit-kats after diner, would you? (hope the answer to this is no!!!). As with all things we try to advise following the 80/20 rule with lots of exercise. So be good and avoid the tipple 80% of the time, so that for the other 20% you can still have fun. But not too much…
Whether you are a personal trainer, have one or are simply looking to get fitter then monitoring exercise intensity is necessary both to keep the session safe and also to make it effective. Methods are
Heart rate is the most common and traditionally thought of as the most accurate method of measuring heart rate, however there are some misconceptions with the heart rate method. The main methods for determining heart rate manually is to measure the pulse at the wrist or the neck or to use a heart rate monitor. The latter is preferred as many inaccuracies can arise taking your own or someone else’s heart rate, especially if the heart rate being taken is really high!
Many people know the traditional method for working out the maximum heart rate, which is 220 minus age. So for a 38 year old the theoretical maximum heart rate would be would be 220 beats per minute minus 38 giving us 182. Maximum heart rate is important to know as we can then work out percentages of this maximum for particular types of training. However what most people don’t know is that this calculation has an error variable of +/- 11 BPM (beats per minute). Personal trainers (or individuals) should be aware of this, and only use this calculation as a guide. The only way to truly gauge maximum heart rate is to train to exhaustion and measure the heart rate, although this can only be done with some people, and it’s obviously not a barrel of laughs! As a guide 60-90% of MHR will be the right level to make someone get fitter, although if you are really unfit then 50% might do it.
A major myth associated with heart rate and aerobic training zones is that a training heart rate within the O2 energy system (so up to 60% of MHR) will burn the most fat. No such relationship between an individual’s heart rate and their metabolism of fat while exercising exists. Some people have been recorded in scientific tests as metabolising fat up to 97% of maximum heart rate, while others stopped metabolising it at just 54%. The point here is that individuals respond differently to exercise, and any attempt to provide standard calculations or zones is problematic. So ignore those pretty graphs on the machines in the gym!
Rating of Percieved Exertion (RPE)
This scale was invented by a Scandinavian scientist called Gunnar Borg (it is also sometimes known as the Borg scale) and is a scale of how hard someone feels they are working during exercise. The response of the person exercising should also be taken into account-the symptoms of exertion should be noted, such as breathing, muscular fatigue and the subjective feeling of effort. The classic Borg scale below rates effort between 6 and 20:
Subjective Methods:These are the least accurate of the heart rate and workload assessment methods, but in the field they can be very useful. The talk test is a good indicator that a personal training client is working at 60% of MHR or above; if they can speak in whole sentences then the pace is too slow. If they can only speak in short broken sentences then the pace is most likely around 60% of MHR. If they can only give one word answeres than we are looking at 75-90% MHR, if they cannot speak at all then the level is pretty darn high.
Training or exercise Pace: Formulating workouts based on specific exercise speeds can be a very accurate and useful method. A timed run over a set distance measured over a period of training weeks or months is a good basis of testing fitness improvements, some others could be the bleep test, rowing intervals at a certain pace, and so on. Many of these formulaic workouts are easier on gym equiptment, as they give accurate readings, although doing many of our personal training sessions outdoors at Diets Don’t Work there are also lots of other options.
Aerobic training can be defined as training that improves the efficiency of the aerobic energy pathways, and which can improve cardiorespiratory endurance (Wilmore and Costill, 1999). Aerobic fitness is defined as the ability to take in, transport and utilise O2 to produce energy. It can be refered to as maximal O2 uptake (VO2 MAX) aerobic power, maximal O2 consumption or cardio-respiratory endurance.
Aerobic training, as we can see by looking at the energy systems blog, is thought of as sub-maximal work, so it is performed at an intensity which, relatively speaking, is not the highest or hardest workload that can be achieved. Although you may feel very tired after a long aerobic session, it is not the same as the tiredness felt after a maximal workout in terms of power output. In long duration sub maximal exercise the body uses a combination of fat and carbohydrate to make ATP, as we saw again in the energy systems blog. Personal Training 101 and biology show that the body will adapt and change to stresses placed upon it, so when you do aerobic training the following things (improvements!!) happen…
Adaptation in the heart:
Good things happen to the blood and the blood vessels that it travels in:
The lungs also benefit:
The metabolic rate (remember, the most important weapon in weight loss) also benefits:
Your muscles ALSO improve:
And finally even your brain benefits:
So get out there and do some aerobic exercise, the benefits are huge, as we have seen. If you can’t get motivated on your own then call us, we can get you a fab personal trainer in Windsor, Maidenhead, Egham and London.
So, now that we are experts in energy systems, we can have a look at how the clever personal trainer manipulates them to make someone thinner and stronger all at once. The different energy systems have different fuel sources, and if we look at the diagram in the last blog we can see that the only one that burns fat is the Oxygen system, and it does this in a “carbohydrate flame. The oxygen energy system is also the dominant one from 0-60% of maximum exertion, so it follows that while we are going about our everyday lives we are mainly using this O2 system. It also follows that a person’s metabolic rate (the rate that your body converts energy stores into working energy) will influence how many calories are used every day by this fat consuming O2 system. Metabolic rate outside of exercise, i.e. for most of the time is influenced by how much lean muscle you have.
Let’s look at this example: an overweight person and a muscly fit person sit for 4 hours watching TV. The muscles are a bit like an engine in a car, they are always ticking over, being repaired, refuelled, using calories. So the muscly person will use more energy while watching TV than the overweight person with less lean muscle. You could say that the muscly person has a bigger engine that the fat one. He will use more calories, and these calories are burned by the O2 system, and so part of the fuel used is fat.
Thus, when a diets Don’t Work Personal trainer takes on a new client desperate for some pre wedding weight loss, it’s super important to make them do some resistance training. This will start to build and tone lean muscle, targeting the O2 system, and making them burn more fat all day every day. Not only that but the resistance training will also make them functionally stronger, give them denser bones, improve joint stability, lessen the risk of injury, and regulate appetite. A winner all round really. So remember that resistance is never futile, and a VITAL part of any fitness programme, no mater what your goals are!