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Why you can’t trust Science

 

 

 

 

I’ve been getting pulled into many discussions regarding health, exercise and nutrition lately and the trend is clear:

Everything needs to be SCIENCE BASED.

This is a good thing, or at the very least, the idea is good.

It’s good to want to support your thoughts and findings with some kind of testing to see if what you’ve seen or done is replicable or that it was just a combination of circumstances.

There are, however, some issues to the current use and limitations of science that I have problems with and I think they’re worth a share so that you are aware of it the next time you read the sentence “Scientific research shows”

1# Cherry Picking

Take an interesting topic on nutrition and it won’t take you long to find 100+ different scientific studies on it. It’s very common for people to pick a scientific study that fits their argument and use that as “proof”. If you don’t have the knowledge, or time, for that matter, to take a good look at what that article actually says, it’s an understandable result to accept that as truth.

You’ll also want to ask yourself the question: who is benefitting from this bit of research? It has happened more than once that scientific studies have been over/underplayed to favor the financer of the study.

 

#2 Science has been wrong more times than it’s been right

Take this example of cholesterol and the drastic dangers of it on your cardiovascular system. It’s a funny explaining video on how Science was wrong on it many times. It’s not that scientific studies are badly done necessarily, there are many other factors in play.
We could have been asking the wrong questions, doing the wrong tests, or didn’t quite have the right instruments to do proper testing -and who says we do now? –

 

#3 Human Errors

Science may sound bulletproof, but it’s still executed by humans. And we make mistakes.  When we have problems that can’t be explained easily we tend to blame stress for pretty much everything but stress is never factored in when it comes to scientific research. Not for the scientists, and not for the participants. But we do make mistakes. Constantly. We make them when remembering facts, with what we are supposed to write down, and sometimes, well, it helps to get paid $50.000 to say something that goes against everything you know is true

#4 Research is not Research

Anecdotal evidence, expert opinions, cross sectional studies, they’re often presented as evidence but the actual value of them in terms of the hierarchy of scientific studies is not very high. There’s a pretty serious change that there are another couple of studies of the same level of reliability that prove the conclusions of yours, wrong. And otherwise, there will probably be one very soon.

 

 

#5 Research can be slow to catch on

 

Sometimes we practice certain principles that are based on scientific research for years, only to find out that it was the wrong approach all along. I touched on that with my 2nd point but here’s another great example on how we’ve overplayed the importance of calories in weight loss. It’s still the most practiced approach (and it does have value) but the point is that only now we are finding that it’s most likely hormones that play a crucial part in weight loss, and not just energy balance. This video is a long one but has very valuable information that might change the way you think about weight loss.

 

As always, I’d love your thoughts about these things. Because I need any insights I can get 🙂

 

Mark

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Must Watch: Anti – Hangover Remedy and much more (What I’ve Learned)

Credit goes to What I’ve learned 

His Youtube Channel is FULL of easy to understand, well animated and impact-full information regarding health and exercise.

Subscribing is highly recommended!

 

 

If you need some help on improving your health through nutrition and training, you’re always one click away

Contact me
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5 Deadly dangers of Cambodian Cuisine

  1. Cooking oilThere’s many different oils to consider when preparing meals, but unfortunately, most restaurants value cost effectiveness over health. This isn’t only the case in Cambodia by the way , but is for sure significant over here.
    I’ve done some asking around and kept an eye out for the type of industrial-sized containers at the back of restaurants and some of the most used ones are, you guessed it, the cheapest and most problematic for your health.Canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil and some other vegetable oils can contain harmful amounts of saturated fats, trans-fats and omega 6 (yes, we do need this one but in certain amounts and ratio for it to be healthy) and can have serious effects on your health. Research has shown links to increased risk for strokes, heart disease and some types of cancer. If you eat out a lot, it’s worth checking what kind of oils are being used.

    Easy solution:  Cook at home with coconut oil/olive oil or other healthy options, or be picky about the restaurants you eat at.

  2. Chemicals on fruits and vegetablesAgriculture plays an important role in South East Asian economy, covering around 37% of the GDP and about two-thirds of the total labor. In Cambodia, population and income have been rising and with it, both the need to produce and the pressure to compete.
    Many of the pesticides used fail to meet international standards, and illegal pesticides are often sold under fake labels or smuggled into the country. Some farmers know about the hazardous effects of these products but tend to underplay them or simply claim they can’t farm properly without them. Aside from that, controls and consequences for use are lax.
    Since there are many different chemical compounds being used, the exact effects are unknown. But some of the commonly used chemicals such as sodium hydrosulfite and Borax are known to cause problems with the nervous system, undermine the immune system and promote the growth of certain cancers.Easy Solution: Buy organic and/or wash your vegetables well with specialized soap
  3. Meat qualityA while back a video went viral concerning a pig farm which appeared to be breeding their animals “Hulk-size”. The breeders were accused of animal cruelty and use of growth hormones, and although it’s never proven it does raise questions regarding the practices surrounding the circumstances that animals in the country are being raised.
  4. MSGMSG (monosodium glutamate) is a very popular flavor enhancer that provides an “umami” taste, which is translated as a “pleasant, savory taste”. In Cambodia, it’s almost automatically scooped into any dish and often you’ll even find a little pot of MSG on the table – yeah that’s not sugar -.
    Nothing wrong so far right? I mean, what can be wrong about making food more delicious?

    The cocaine of flavor enhancers

    Well, there’s a bunch of symptoms that are contributed to consuming MSG bundles as the “Chinese restaurant syndrome”. Most common are problems with digestion, cramps, dizziness and headaches. There are also more severe problems linked to ingesting MSG on a regular basis: ADHD, autism, obesity, growth disruptions, learning and behavioral problems, hormonal imbalance, epilepsy, insomnia, damage to the retina, heart problems, cancer. Therefore, MSG has been banned in some countries.

    The FDA labelled the consumption of MSG as “safe”, since a causal relationship between consuming MSG and the symptoms could not been shown. Even though most evidence of the negative side of MSG is anecdotal, It’s not ruled out that certain conditions or long term ingestion can lead to health problems. Being aware of it’s existence can lead to a better understanding would you ever struggle with the above symptoms.

    Solution:  Awareness and avoidance when symptoms arise.

  5. SugarAlong with the growth of the country, we see an unmistakable difference in the availability and choice of food. Western brands such as Burger King, Krispy Creme and Starbucks are taking their place and are often seen as high status foods. Rice and vegetables changes to burgers and black coffee becomes a liquid piece of pie.

    an astounding 50 grams of sugar in one drink


    Sugar is also a common addition to well, pretty much anything. Take a look at how meals are prepared and you’ll often raise an eyebrow to how often and how much sugar is added to foods and drinks.  Diabetes type II is a growing problem and has an estimated growth of 82% from 2008 (145.000) to 2028 (264.000), effectively costing the country 5-11 Million $. But that’s not all.
    Most people are not aware of what our sweet-tooth back in Europe is causing. Human’s rights are being trampled to meet the demand of sugar in the west. Farmers are seeing their land taken, their houses burnt, and their children forced to work on the land that was once theirs.

    Solution: Understand that sugar is hidden in almost everything and max consumption per day should be 10% of your energy intake

  6.  BPA 

    The more you think about it, the more products you use in daily life that are plastic. That’s the case pretty much all over the world but in countries where water from tap isn’t drinkable, like in Cambodia (Edit: I’ve heard this is debatable), many of the water being drank comes from plastic bottles.
    Over the last years the main concern of plastic production was environmental, not health. But we now realize that BPA is an endocrine disruptor, and can interfere with the production, transport and function of different kinds of hormones.  Now that more and more research points in the direction of possible effects on the development of certain cancers and problems with fertility, the recommendation is to be more cautious about the amount of BPA (Bisphenol-a) you ingest.

    Solution: Limit use of plastic, switch to glass bottles to drink from.

    Sources:

    http://www.dw.com/en/toxic-chemicals-in-food-raise-health-concerns-in-cambodia/a-19485459

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/cambodian-farmer-breeds-mutant-pigs-11256982
    http://www.cambodia-entertainment.com/website-camboentertain-v3/cem-pages/cem-cambodia-food-msg.html
    https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/petitions/1012/cambodia-sugar-for-the-eu-is-destroying-our-land
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4502066/
    https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/221205.php

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Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Occurs as ergocalciferol (D2) in vegetable nutrition and as cholecalciferol in animal based foods. The latter form is more absorb-able. Upon exposure to sunlight, the body creates previtamine D, and then converts that into it’s active form.
Vitamin D helps in the recovery of the muscles and aids the immune system. It also strengthens and maintains the bones and interacts with a lot of hormones and other nutrients like calcium, vitamin K and magnesium.

Works together with: Calcium (without D, only 10-15% of the amount of calcium we ingest will be absorbed)

RDI for vitamin D is 10mcg

Found in:

– Fatty fish
– (Grass-fed)butter
– Meat
– Full dairy and cheese

Deficiency can lead to:

– reduction of bone strength
– Reduction of power
– decrease function of immune system
– Fatigue

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Shocking facts about Sleep (deprivation)

We all know sleep is important for our health. Still, sleep is often the first thing we cut if we need to make more space in our lives. Ironically, cutting back on sleep takes a toll on productivity, creativity, concentration, communication skills and basically whatever  makes us function as  human.
So for whatever reason you’re cutting sleep, you’re doing it worse.
Here’s a couple of notes I took of the video “Why Sleep is critical for the Body and Brain”. It’s a great video and a great channel to subscribe to. Check the quick facts here but be sure to watch the full video when you have time.
– Less sleep decreases the ability to consider alternative solutions to problems.  Our prefrontal cortex is responsible for planning, decision making, reasoning and problem solving and is significantly impaired with less sleep.
– Slow wave sleep and REM sleep is needed to take information from short term memory to long term memory.
– When you dream the brain is seeing how unrelated pieces of information fit together and simulating scenarios you need to be prepared for. Sometimes this can lead to insights you would otherwise never have (Paul Mcartney came up with the melody for “yesterday” in a dream)
– The Amygdala processes emotional information and is more active when you’re sleep deprived. The less sleep, the more likely you overreact to things.
– Only 5% of the population functions well on less than 6 hours of sleep. And even if you think you’re functioning well on your amount of sleep, would you know? Activity in prefrontal cortex goes down when sleep deprived, and that is the only part of the brain that has the power of self assessment. To “think” about how it’s functioning. so would you know if you didn’t get enough sleep?
– Sleep is also essential for tissue repair, balancing of hormones and maintenance of metabolic pathways.
– It’s also important for weight-loss: participants on a calorie restricted diet that could only sleep for 5 hours lost 55% less body fat compared to 8 hour sleepers on the same diet.
They also lost  60% more fat-free mass (muscle)
– Hormone levels are impaired with sleep decrease:
Higher Grehlin levels (causes fat retention and hunger) 15% higher
Leptin (making you feel saturated) was significantly less
Melatonin was less (anti -aging, anti cancerous)
Increased of cortisol (increases the worst fat, visceral fat)
HGH was less (cognitive function, muscle mass, tissue repair)
– 10pm to 2am seems like the most bang-for-your-buck sleep (the most growth hormone)
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Supplement Review: Venum BCAA

Supplement Review: Venum BCAA
 
Taste: 9/10 (Mango) it’s GOOD. Nice tropical mango taste which is addictive enough to make me want to add it to every bottle of water. It’s sweetened with stevia with which I think they went slightly overboard but I just slightly adjust the dose or refill my bottle once it’s halfway and it still tastes nice.
Price: 35$ a bit over $1 per serving (unless you use my tactic)
 
Would buy again: 100%
 
Notes:
– Sweetness makes them perfect to turn into BCAA ice cubes for in your water. Refreshing!
– Added electrolytes which is a plus with the severe heat here
– 0% sugar
 
Overall: BCAA’S are “essential amino acids”, building blocks of proteins that the body cannot produce herself. Therefore we need to get them from food or supplementation.
The strength of BCAA’S lies in their ability to protect the breakdown of muscle mass and kicks-tarting the muscle repair.
 
Effectiveness: I’m definitely less sore and recover quicker than I have on previous workout programs. It’s very hard to say how much of that is attributed to this supplement.
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Supplements: BCAA’s (Review)

 

 

Branched Chain amino acids (BCAA’s ) are not necessarily a very popular supplement. It doesn’t promote enormous strength or muscle gains, muscle-bursting pumps or endless endurance.
It has, however, been around for a very long time and has consistently been a part of any high performance athlete’s supplement stack.

What’s the deal?

BCAA’s are known as “muscle protectors”. So if you work out hard , supplement them and you feel less destructively sore – or less long -then when you didn’t take them, they’ve pretty much done their job.

BCAA’s consist of three essential amino acids;  Leucine, Valine and Isoleucine. They’re essential because the body does not produce them on itself, so we need to get them from food or through supplementation.

The main benefits of supplementing BCAA’s can be summed up like this:

  • Enhanced muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein accretion in response to strength training and BCAA supplementation.
  • Improved body weight control and fat loss during energy restricted diets with adequate protein and BCAA.
  • Improved endurance performance via the prevention of central fatigue and/or other factors with BCAA supplementation.

 

Supplement Review: ON BCAA’S

Overall: BCAA’S are “essential amino acids”, building blocks of proteins that the body cannot produce herself. Therefore we need to get them from food or supplementation.
The strength of BCAA’S lies in their ability to protect the breakdown of muscle mass and kicks-tarting the muscle repair.

Effectiveness: I’m definitely less sore and recover quicker than I have on previous workout programs. It’s very hard to say how much of that is attributed to this supplement.

Taste: 6/10 (Raspberry Lemonade) it’s a bit too synthetic for me and a bit too weak at the same time. There’s a “chalky” aftertaste to it as well. Not bad, not good. I’ve had other BCAA’S that were far tastier than this.

Price: 28$ which comes down to about 1$ per scoop.

Would buy again: No

There’s still lots of scientific research being done on the effectiveness for these different mechanisms.

But if you’re ready to learn more take a look at the following links…

https://www.t-nation.com/supplements/bcaa-and-athletic-performance

https://examine.com/supplements/branched-chain-amino-acids/

https://labdoor.com/rankings/bcaa

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Shopping list : Quick and Easy

A good diet starts with shopping. Don’t buy crap, don’t eat crap. It’s really that easy. Here’s a list with all the good stuff that needs to be in your basket.

Good Protein Sources:

 

Eggs
Liquid Egg Whites: More convenient but more expensive
Skinless Chicken Breast: high quality lean protein
Lean Ground Turkey: Lean high quality protein
(Wild) Salmon Healthy fatty fish: costly but quality protein + tons of healthy fatty acids
Canned Tuna: Lean, easy and inexpensive. Get the water based one, not oil.
Lean Ground Beef
Cottage Cheese: Source of Casein protein. Slow digesting so will provide the body with protein for a long time.
Pork Tenderloin: fairly inexpensive medium lean protein.
Protein powder: Convenient, usually tasty and pure (if you get a good brand) also helps sweet cravings
Protein snacks: protein bars / nuts / seeds

Good Sources Of Carbohydrates

 

Oatmeal— cooked or overnight. Slow digesting, tons of fiber and nutrients. Learn to love it!
Fruit— Favorites for me are Blueberries (lots of nutrients / antioxidants ), bananas and apples. Best eaten around the workout because they’re mostly quick digesting carbs.
Vegetables— The more the better really. Tons of fiber and nutrients.
Sweet Potatoes
Brown Rice
White Rice: Fast-carb. Best eaten around the workout
Whole Wheat Bread

Good Sources Of Fats

 

Olive Oil
Flax seed oil
Fish Oil—Staple source of omega 3/6/9
Almond Butter
Cashew Butter
Peanut Butter (watch the sugar content)
Almonds
Pecans
Walnuts
Cashews
Macadamia
Avocados