COMMON NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES IN THE US (ACE Healthy Living 8/26/18)
With a well-balanced diet, it is certainly possible for a healthy person to obtain all of the vitamins and minerals he or she needs from foods alone. There are circumstances, however, in which the foods we eat may not provide all of the important nutrients that our body needs, resulting in a nutrient deficiency. Here’s a quick rundown of five nutrient deficiencies that are more common than you might think.
Vitamin D: Calcium’s Best Buddy – When it comes to nutrient deficiencies, vitamin D is arguably the most common. A large majority (some reports estimate up to 95% of the U.S. population age 19 and older) does not meet recommended vitamin D intake levels. That is probably due to the fact that there aren’t a whole lot of naturally occurring food sources of vitamin D. Furthermore, the largest source of vitamin D—fortified dairy products like milk—tend to be foods that we eat less of as we grow older.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a role in helping bones absorb calcium. It is found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, as well as certain types of mushrooms. Your body forms vitamin D naturally when skin is exposed to sunlight, but most of us don’t spend much time outside, so fortified dairy products such as milk and yogurt are going to be your best food sources of vitamin D. Adults aged 19-70 should aim to get 15 micrograms of vitamin D per day. If foods don’t provide that amount, your healthcare provider may suggest a supplement.
Vitamin E: Get Yours from Foods Instead of Pills – Next up on the list of nutrients you may not be eating enough of is vitamin E. Like vitamin D, vitamin E is also a fat-soluble vitamin, but it is found in fatty foods such nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.
About 94% of adults over age 19 eat less than the estimated average requirement for vitamin E. Due to potential health risks associated with large doses of vitamin E pills, however, widespread supplementation is not routinely recommended. Instead, shift your food intake to make sure you are eating a variety of healthful fats that will help you bump up your vitamin E levels from food-based sources to meet your needs.
Make Magnesium Matter More in Your Diet – Magnesium is a mineral that plays a role in more than 300 enzymatic pathways in your body. It helps make proteins, controls blood sugar and blood pressure, bone health and is needed for making DNA, RNA and the antioxidant glutathione.
Despite its position of supreme importance in the body, more than 60% of adults older than 19 don’t meet the estimated average requirement for magnesium. One way you can increase your intake is to bump up your intake of dark green leafy vegetable and whole grains. Fortified foods such as breakfast cereals are also a good source of this important mineral.
Iron: This One’s for the Ladies – About 14-18% of Americans currently take a supplement containing iron; and iron supplement takers tend to be overwhelmingly female. That’s because women are at higher risk for iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia due to biological factors such as menstruation and lower intakes of high heme-iron foods, such as meat, fish and poultry.
The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) states that those at high risk for insufficient iron intake include infants, young children, teenaged girls, pregnant women and premenopausal women. Animal foods such as meat, fish and poultry are good sources of the easily absorbed form of iron called heme iron.
Although plant foods contain iron, it is in the less readily absorbed non-heme iron form. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vegetarians is 1.8 times higher than for people who eat meat. If you’re concerned about iron status, check with your primary care provider who can test for deficiency and anemia before recommending you start a supplement.
Vitamin A is Important for More Than Just Your Eyes – Although vitamin A deficiency is not widespread in the North American population, slightly more than 50% percent of people still do not meet the estimated average requirement for this fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin A is well known for the role it plays in vision, but it also impacts immune function, reproduction and your body’s cellular communication as well.
You can make sure you’re getting enough by consuming both preformed vitamin A (from animal foods, such as milk and eggs) and provitamin A, found in leafy green vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables, tomatoes and fruits. Increasing the variety of both the plant and animal foods you eat ensures you get adequate amounts of the all-important vitamin A.
WEIGHT LOSS RUNS IN THE FAMILY (IDEA Fit Tips August 2018)
It turns out that people who make an effort to shed a few pounds aren’t just in it for themselves; they may be helping their significant others trim down, too. Research published in the journal Obesity recounted a University of Connecticut study that monitored the weight loss progress of 130 people for 6 months—half of them on a structured Weight Watchers® program and the other half on a self-guided program combining education, healthy eating and exercise. The study discovered that about one-third of the volunteers’ cohabiting partners lost 3% or more of their initial body weight, even though they weren’t enrolled in the experiment.
The investigation also found that weight loss rates went hand in hand for couples: If one partner lost weight at a steady pace, the other one did, too. Likewise, if one partner struggled to lose weight, the other also had trouble scaling down.
Think of it as a ripple effect—when one half of a couple becomes dedicated to a healthier lifestyle, there is a good chance the other half will emulate the new eating and exercise habits. So, counseling a client on the importance of eating vegetables may very well put more kale on the partner’s plate, as well
WALKING CLINIC JUNE 18 – September 30
All are Welcome
This will be the fourth year that PFTL will offer a free walking clinic to our clients and the public. We will meet Mondays and Thursdays, from 5:30-6:30pm, at the Wallace Bowl in Gillson Park, Wilmette. Includes warm-up, stretching, intervals, stair climbing, core strengthening and a great way to get some extra exercise. Contact Julie at 847-251-6834 or Julie@pftl.net for more information. Let us know if you want to be put on our email list for the walking clinic, as walkers are notified when the class is cancelled.
BONE BASICS (from IDEAfit.com)
- Calcium, vitamin D, dairy and physical activity are critical to preserving and building bone mass.
- Bone mass peaks in the early 20s.
- BMD = bone mineral density (measured in T-score, a negative number because it quantifies bone loss).
- Osteopenia is the onset of bone loss (T-score -1 to -2.5).
- Osteoporosis is the most serious bone loss (T-score below -2.5).
- Walking has limited effect on bone health. However, if combined with impact and resistance training, walking can help maintain BMD in the hip region and in the lumbar and sacral spine (Karaguzel & Holick 2010). In people over 65, increasing daily steps by 25% has been associated with an increase in hip BMD (McMillan et al. 2017).
- Progressive resistance training helps to maintain and improve BMD.
- High-impact activities (jumping, hopping, skipping) help the most with bone growth.
- Posture and balance training are essential to fall prevention.
- Heavy resistance training is safe and improves bone, function and stature.
- Women over 50 have the highest risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
NOT ALL VITAMIN D IS CREATED EQUAL (excerpted from IDEAfit.com)
We live in a part of the world where getting enough Vitamin D from the sun is almost impossible, yet we need to keep our Vitamin D levels up throughout the year. After all, the sunshine vitamin is not only important for bone health but has also been tied to a lower risk for certain cancers, heart conditions and depression.
That said, where you get your vitamin D matters. Researchers from Australia and the United Kingdom reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (July 2017) that when study volunteers received 600 IU of vitamin D daily via fortified juice or biscuits for 3 months, vitamin D3—the form found in animal foods like fish and eggs, as well as some supplements—was nearly twice as effective at raising blood levels of the nutrient than was vitamin D2, a plant-based form typically used to fortify vegan foods like dairy-free milk and vegetarian-friendly supplements.
A separate study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2015, discovered that after supplementation stopped, vitamin D levels declined less rapidly when participants had been taking D3 than when D2 was the supplement of choice.
DOES SLEEP HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT (from ACE Health eTips)
Sleep has the potential to help people lose weight, but not just any sleep will do. It’s important to get an adequate amount of deep sleep every night, as it is the most restorative, providing both mental and physical recovery benefits, which supports the weight-loss journey.
Most research indicates that less than 7 hours of sleep correlates with being heavier, gaining weight, risk of disease, cancer and struggling to lose weight. Other research suggests than 6.5 hours is a sweet spot and anything more increases inflammation, depression and mortality rates (Walker, 2017). Many experts believe that a range of six to eight hours or seven to nine hours is ideal for most people.
The right amount of sleep depends on each individual’s unique physiology. Devote time and attention toward finding what works for you, because it could make or break your weight-loss efforts. “Take away the bedrock of sleep, or weaken it just a little, and careful eating or physical exercise become less than effective,” writes Matthew Walker, Ph.D., author of Why We Sleep.
How Sleep Influences Weight Loss
Sleep is the foundation needed to support exercise and healthy eating habits. When people don’t get enough sleep, it can become more challenging to control behavior and inhibitions. They might be more likely to seek pleasure in foods and replace exercise-related activities with those that offer a “quick fix” reward, such as surfing the Internet or watching television.
Lack of sleep strengthens the desire for rewards, which usually leads to unhealthy eating. More specifically, leptin (which decreases hunger), ghrelin (which increases hunger) and endocannabinoids (which are linked to snack cravings) are hormones that regulate appetite. When sleep volume is low, these hormones stimulate a craving for carbohydrate-rich foods.
Without enough sleep, the body is essentially in a state of duress, which can lead to eating more calories to deal with the “threat” it perceives. Also, the more time spent awake, the more time there is to consume snacks.
Another hormone, cortisol, ideally spikes in the morning, providing energy for the day, and reduces at night, encouraging sleep. When sleep habits are poor and stress is high, cortisol levels remain elevated, which may inhibit weight loss and disrupt sleep. A cycle of stress and sleep disruption results. Stress affects sleep and sleep affects stress, which once again makes it challenging to implement even the most well-designed program for weight loss.
Getting enough sleep and rising at a consistent time every day supports hormones to regulate appetite and food choices. Take small steps toward better sleep and be gentle with yourself. In other words, don’t let stressing about not getting enough sleep add more stress. You don’t need to (and probably cannot) fix your sleep habits overnight. Progress slowly.
ENJOY YOURSELF THIS SUMMER – NOW THAT IT IS FINALLY HERE!
IS ALL SUGAR THE SAME?
We’ve probably all heard that sugar is “bad for us”. Sugar has been shown to increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. cutting back on sugar may lead to tons of benefits for your body, including lower blood pressure, reduced risk of cancer, a sharper brain, clearer skin, and fewer cravings. So, we try to avoid added sugar in candy and other products, but does this mean you should avoid fruits which are naturally high in sugar?
There’s not a big difference in the way your body treats sugar found naturally in fruit and sugar added to candy and cookies, at least from a chemical standpoint, says Rania Batayneh, M.P.H, nutritionist and author of The One One One Diet. “Both of these sugars are ultimately broken down into fructose and glucose, which are metabolized the same once they reach your gut,” she says.
What does differ: how fast they’re broken down. “Because the sugar in fruits is paired with fiber and water, it’s released much more slowly into your body, providing you with a consistent stream of energy,” Batayneh says. “Added sugar, without fiber and water, is broken down immediately, leading to a surge in insulin and blood sugar levels. As a result, you don’t feel full at all—you just crave more sugar.”
One way to monitor naturally-occurring sugars is the idea of using glycemic index (GI). This is a ranking of foods based on how much it raises our blood sugar levels. GI can help to determine appropriate amounts of natural sugars. Bananas and watermelon provide a good example of a way to bring GI into your decision-making. The medium banana contains 14 grams of naturally occurring sugar. But partly because of its good fiber content (3 grams), it qualifies as a low GI fruit. By contrast, one cup of watermelon contains less naturally occurring sugar (9-10 grams); yet, partly because of its much lower fiber content (about 1/2 gram), it has a medium GI value and for that reason can be challenging to our blood sugar level. So, even though the banana is higher in sugar, it is less likely to raise our blood sugar because of the fiber content; thus the banana is the better choice.
Bottomline: Eating fruit in moderation is fine for most people; however, the more fiber and the lower the GI, the better will be the fruit choice.
FITNESS HUMOR: “I do 5 sit-ups every monring. It doesn’t sound like much, but there are only so many times you can hit the snooze button.”
DON’T STOP RESISTANCE TRAINNG IF YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT (PART TWO)
Last month the first part of this article explained the benefits of resistance training for weight loss and health. Part Two further explains the reasons why resistance training is important.
Why aerobic exercise is not enough – “But,” the question goes, “Can’t I just go for a run and build muscle? I’m using muscles when I run!”
The answer is NO! Running or other aerobic exercise is not a replacement for resistance training. They are different exercises and provide different benefits. Aerobic exercise does not deliver the needed stress to your bones, muscles and tendons.
In order to build strength, you have to pull hard on tendons, do microscopic damage to your muscles and literally bend your bones. Going out for a run or putting in an hour on the treadmill will not do this sufficiently.
This is not to say that aerobic exercise is not important: it is! But it is not resistance training. You need both. And if you omit one, you do your body a great disservice.
Avoid the “skinny fat” syndrome – Another danger of focusing on cardio or aerobic exercise to the exclusion of resistance training is becoming what is known as “skinny fat.” Skinny fat is a condition in which a person appears thin on the outside, but inside they are unhealthy and at risk for illness.
If you are losing weight through diet and exercise but not simultaneously doing resistance training, you are not only losing fat: you are losing muscle as well. Your body will burn through your muscles tissue as surely as it will burn through your fat. As you lose muscle, you lose a major source of energy, and you lose tone and definition.
Further, as you lose muscle, your bones become weak, because they do not have to do as much work. Weak bones are a precursor to osteoporosis.
Hidden fat is also a risk for the “skinny fat” person. When 800 slim people underwent an MRI scan to check for visceral or hidden fat, 45% were found to have excessive amounts of internal fat, undetectable from the outside1. Visceral fat is the most dangerous fat to have, because it accumulates around organs such as the pancreas, heart and liver and then begins releasing hormones and other secretions that lead to disease.
Resistance training can reduce visceral fat and help prevent the additional formation around the organs.
Don’t give up your resistance training just because spring is here and you are eager to get outside. There is no substitute for lifting heavy weights 2 to 3 times each week. Your health is on the line.
THE EXERCISE-BRAIN CONNECTION (from IDEA Fitness Journal, February 2012)
Did you know that your brain is incredibly dynamic? It can change its structure and function by adding new neurons, making new connections between neurons and even creating brand-new blood vessels, all in response to exercise.
Jeffrey A. Kleim, PhD, associate professor in the Arizona State University School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, shares the following insights on how exercise impacts the brain.
Exercise Improves Cognitive Function – A sedentary lifestyle affects the brain—and in turn lessens mental capacity. One study found a clear connection between how much schoolchildren exercised and their cognitive performance: the more aerobic exercise the children engaged in, the better they performed on verbal, perceptual and mathematical tests.
The same pattern of results was found in older adults: aerobic training improved cognitive performance, and active lifestyles decreased age-related risks for cognitive impairment and dementia. Not surprisingly, these cognitive effects were accompanied by clear changes in brain structure and function.
Exercise Changes Brain Function – Research shows that exercise changes brain function in a lasting manner. For example, the reduced cognitive capacity in sedentary individuals is associated with different patterns of brain activity—both at rest and while performing mentally challenging tasks—than those observed in active subjects.
Plus, compared with sedentary people, active individuals show greater baseline levels of cortical activity. (The cerebral cortex helps with complex cognitive tasks.)
Exercise Changes Brain Structure – The structure of the brain can be broken down into two general components. Gray matter contains the neurons and supporting cells, while white matter consists of the axons of these neurons (nerve cell fibers) that carry signals from one area to another.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows for the measurement of gray and white matter. MRI scans have shown that exercise boosts overall brain volume, increasing both gray matter and white matter. These changes can occur over relatively short periods of time. After learning to juggle for only a few weeks, for example, study subjects showed increases in gray matter within regions of the brain concerned with integrating visual and motor information.
Exercise Is Key To Lifelong Learning – The adult brain, especially the hippocampus, can continue to make new neurons throughout the lifespan. The hippocampus is concerned with forming memories and processing emotion, which may help explain some of the cognitive and emotional benefits of exercise. Interestingly, aerobic exercise can increase neurogenesis (generation of new neurons) within the hippocampus at many stages of development, including adult brains. The fact that the hippocampus is a critical brain structure used in memory may explain why aerobic exercise can enhance learning.
BONES AND SALT (from National Council on Strength & Fitness, June 2013)
A study presented at The Endocrine Society’s 95th Annual Meeting showed that a high-salt diet raises a woman’s risk of breaking a bone following menopause, no matter what her current bone mineral density (BMD) value is. This is particularly concerning as salt intake in the U.S. represents a 4-5 fold over-consumption value on a daily basis.
The study found that older women who consumed the highest quantity of sodium had more than four times the risk of suffering a non-vertebral fracture, even after adjustments for numerous additional variables that affect fracture risk. The lead author of the study states, “Excessive sodium intake appears to be a risk factor for bone fragility. It is therefore important to consider excessive sodium intake in dietary therapy for osteoporosis.” Non-vertebral fractures can cause substantial disability and even death (especially of the hip). Past research has shown a clear connection between excess sodium intake and decreased BMD.
The research team examined 213 post-menopausal women (average 63 years of age) who had previously undergone osteoporosis screening. The average daily sodium intake among the study participants was reported to be 5,211 mg, which is consistent with intakes in America. The group with the highest sodium intake consumed an average of 7,561 mg/day. This high-intake group was 400% more likely to have an existing non-vertebral fracture, compared with the lower-intake groups who did not experience an increased risk for fractures.
The average American consumes far more sodium than the RDA of 2,300 mg. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans further recommend that individuals over the age of 51 should not consume more than 1,500 mg of sodium/day. Older adults who are at risk for bone disease and hypertension must monitor salt intake. Consuming less processed foods, where sodium is widely used as a preservative and flavor-enhancer, helps to decrease the risk for debilitating fractures.