Monday, March 31, 2014

Obesity And Fat Acceptance, How Do YOU Feel?

A general assumption is that discrimination is wrong.  Humans, from early on, are taught that “we’re special, unique, and one-of-a-kind.”  In today’s society we spend a lot of time scrutinizing diets, appearance, and keeping up with the Joneses.   Obesity comes off as a shaming condition and that person is to be perceived to be a failure.  We have long work days and little time off to take care of ourselves and our media pushes thinness as desirable.  Our environment  contributes to obesity.  As practitioners and experts, we need to take a greater approach to remove our own bias and truly treat. 

Their principles are:   
  1. Weight Inclusivity: Accept and respect the inherent diversity of body shapes and sizes and reject the idealizing or pathologizing of specific weights.
  2. Health Enhancement: Support health policies that improve and equalize access to information and services, and personal practices that improve human well-being, including attention to individual physical, economic, social, spiritual, emotional, and other needs.
  3. Respectful Care: Acknowledge our biases, and work to end weight discrimination, weight stigma, and weight bias. Provide information and services from an understanding that socio-economic status, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and other identities impact weight stigma, and support environments that address these inequities.
  4. Eating for Well-being: Promote flexible, individualized eating based on hunger, satiety, nutritional needs, and pleasure, rather than any externally regulated eating plan focused on weight control.
  5. Life-Enhancing Movement: Support physical activities that allow people of all sizes, abilities, and interests to engage in enjoyable movement, to the degree that they choose.
The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance is a hot topic organization.  NAAFA works to eliminate discrimination based on body size and provide support through education, advocacy, and support.  As a nutrition blog, our goal is to promote health and wellness, regardless of a client’s size or shape.  By moving from acceptance, we can help those move into healthier changes to be proud of. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

No Bake Granola Bars

Makes 10 to 12 bars.
2 1/2 cups rolled or quick oats
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/2 cup dried cherries
2/3 cups peanut  butter
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1. Mix oats, pumpkin seeds, and cherries in a large bowl.

2. Mix peanut butter, sweetener, and sea salt. Pour into oat mixture, and mix well, until everything is sticky and combined. If it’s too dry, add a bit more agave.

3. Press mixture into a shallow baking dish that you’ve lined with parchment paper, you can also use foil or saran wrap. Cover with more parchment paper, press well into the baking dish, and refrigerate for four hours. Cut into bar shapes, wrap, and keep refrigerated till ready to use. They will last two weeks in the fridge.

These granola bars are great when you need energy on a hike, before or after a workout, or as a snack on the go. They provide carbohydrate, fat and protein to keep you going. They are easy to make and could be a fun activity to get kids involved in the kitchen. They are also versatile; use any dried fruit or nut butter you like. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Can Carbs Stimulate Further Muscle Growth?

Following a hard weight lifting workout you may choose to drink a protein shake – and for good reasons. Whey protein powders coupled with resistance training are known stimulators for increasing muscle protein synthesis and hypertrophy (muscle growth). Several studies show whey protein powders are superior to other protein powders, such as casein or soy, due to the high leucine – a branched chain amino acid – content when the goal is to maximize anabolic potential. But, can muscle protein synthesis be elevated even further?

Published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition by Stark et al., 1 it was stated that fast-digesting carbohydrates, glucose or maltodextrin, should be combined with protein following resistance training to promote muscle hypertrophy for two reasons. First, there is a synergistic effect of insulin and leucine on muscle protein synthesis; and second, the addition of carbohydrate to a protein supplement would increase lean muscle mass more effectively verses a protein supplement consumed alone.
Another study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition by Figueiredo et al., 2 set out to determine if Stark et al., was accurate in suggesting carbohydrates stimulate muscle protein synthesis further than protein supplementation alone following resistance training. Figueiredo et al. first reviewed several other studies to determine if leucine really does require insulin in order to stimulate protein synthesis. It was stated that insulin is needed in order to increase protein synthesis when amino acids delivery are increased. It was also noted that leucine ingestion (from whey protein powder) has the ability to stimulate insulin secretion.

Figueiredo et al. looked at the second statement on whether insulin acts to inhibit protein degradation. One study 3 was looked at by Børsheim et al. who demonstrated carbohydrates supplementation (100 grams) alone following resistance training is capable of improving net muscle protein balance. However, protein ingestion alone can also inhibit protein breakdown following resistance training. 

So, what is the final verdict? Figueiredo et al. came to the conclusion that concerning muscle hypertrophy, based on the available data, there is no further benefit of carbohydrates when a protein supplement that maximally stimulates muscle protein synthesis is consumed. “Further studies are required before conclusions and recommendations can be made,” stated Figueiredo et al.

Remember, this study set out to see if carbohydrates further increase muscle growth verses a protein supplement alone. Carbohydrates are still essential to help drive your workouts!

About the Author: Gavin Van De Walle is an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer, a NANBF Natural Competitive bodybuilder, and a dietetic student at South Dakota State University. Following graduation, Gavin will pursue his Ph.D. in nutritional sciences while aiming to make a positive impact on the over well-being and nutritional status of the American people along the way.

1.       Stark M, Lukaszuk J, Prawitz A, Salacinski A: Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training.
                J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2012, 9(1):54.
2.     Vandre Casagrande Figueiredo, David Cameron-Smith: Is carbohydrate needed to further stimulate muscle protein synthesis/hypertrophy following resistance exercise?
J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2013, 10:42.
3.       Børsheim E, Cree MG, Tipton KD, Elliott TA, Aarsland A, Wolfe RR: Effect of carbohydrate intake on net muscle protein synthesis during recovery from resistance exercise.

J Appl Physiol 2004, 96(2):674-678.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What You Need To Know About Addiction

Imagine for a moment that you have a treatable but incurable disease; all of the people around you were judging you for the having the symptoms of that disease and you became a social leper.  Imagine that you sought treatment and though you have learned how to manage your disease to the best of your ability people continue to keep you at arm’s length because they are not sure if the treatment was effective.  Imagine that after treatment for this incurable disease the health care system failed to provide you with ongoing support and follow up care to ensure your successful recovery.  Imagine if you were an addict.

The first thing you need to know about addiction is that it is a disease and not morale a weakness.  The negative stigma and shame associated with addiction is the primary reason that addicts do not seek treatment and the lack of ongoing support is the reason treatment is often ineffective the first time.  For long-term success in recovery, the recovering addict needs ongoing support and to experience the hope of a better life.  The easiest nonclinical way to assist a recovering addict is to plant a seed of hope for recovery and not focus on their past shameful addictive behaviors.  Try asking two simple questions:  1) what do you want out of life?  2) How can I help you?    

-Shirley R. Johnson

Addiction Counselor

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Food Addiction: A Primer Part One

This is a two part series.  The first part discusses the basics of food addiction while the second part is written by a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor and will discuss what practitioners should know about addiction. 

Food has come off as a socially acceptable release for modern day society.  Where some people go to the bar for a pint some might head to the freezer for a different pint.  Recently, research has started to focus on food addiction.  According to WebMD, “experiments in animals and humans show that, for some people, the same reward and pleasure centers of the brain that are triggered by addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin are also activated by food.” 

Foods that trigger a ‘feel good’ response and are highly palatable are also high in sugar, salt, and fat.  New York Times  reporter, Michael Moss (Pulitzer Prize winner) recently wrote Sugar, Salt, Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us. “Every year, the average American eats thirty-three pounds of cheese (triple what we ate in 1970) and seventy pounds of sugar (about twenty-two teaspoons a day). We ingest 8,500 milligrams of salt a day, double the recommended amount, and almost none of that comes from the shakers on our table. It comes from processed food. It’s no wonder, then, that one in three adults, and one in five kids, is clinically obese. It’s no wonder that twenty-six million Americans have diabetes, the processed food industry in the U.S. accounts for $1 trillion a year in sales, and the total economic cost of this health crisis is approaching $300 billion a year.”

Stress, a pre-disposition towards addiction, and a food industry manufacturing food add fuel to the fire. 

Food addiction is different from addictions to drugs or alcohol.  It’s socially acceptable to eat.  Actually, food is essential to life.  These highly palatable foods trigger dopamine and other feel good chemicals in the brain producing a high.  Eventually, the receptors need more and more once a tolerance is established.  Eventually, food satisfies the person less and less. 

Additional resources on the signs of food addiction include:

Researchers at Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Science & Policy have developed a questionnaire to identify people with food addictions.
Here's a sample of questions that can help determine if you have a food addiction. Do these actions apply to you? Do you:
  • End up eating more than planned when you start eating certain foods
  • Keep eating certain foods even if you're no longer hungry
  • Eat to the point of feeling ill
  • Worry about not eating certain types of foods or worry about cutting down on certain types of foods
  • When certain foods aren't available, go out of your way to obtain them
The questionnaire also asks about the impact of your relationship with food on your personal life. Do these situations apply to you:
  • You eat certain foods so often or in such large amounts that you start eating food instead of working, spending time with the family, or doing recreational activities.
  • You avoid professional or social situations where certain foods are available because of fear of overeating.
  • You have problems functioning effectively at your job or school because of food and eating.
The questionnaire asks about withdrawal symptoms. For example, when you cut down on certain foods (excluding caffeinated beverages), do you have symptoms such as:
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Other physical symptoms
The questionnaire also tries to gauge the impact of food decisions on your emotions. Do these situations apply to you?
  • Eating food causes problems such as depression, anxiety, self-loathing, or guilt.
  • You need to eat more and more food to reduce negative emotions or increase pleasure.
  • Eating the same amount of food doesn't reduce negative emotions or increase pleasure the way it used to.