Research

Here's the latest on what science has to say about fitness, nutrition and overall health.

Is Breakfast REALLY The Most Important Meal Of The Day?

largeWhen we hear something over and over again, we tend to accept it as true. Case in point, most people think coffee is made from beans. In actuality, it’s made from seeds. While that’s a silly example, it’s always worth questioning conventional wisdom.

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But is it really?

A few recent studies are starting to cast doubts, including new research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. For the study, researchers from the University of Bath recruited 33 men and women and broke them into two groups. One group at a substantial breakfast before 11AM and the other group skipped breakfast entirely. Researchers recorded data including resting metabolic rate, cholesterol and blood glucose over a six week period.

What were the results?

As it turns out, researchers didn’t really find any measurable differences between the two groups. Breakfast skippers consumed fewer total calories over the course of the day. However, they also burned fewer total calories when compared to the breakfast eaters. Blood glucose was also very similar, though slightly more stable for the breakfast eaters.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that skipping breakfast is smart. Other studies have found that skipping breakfast increases the risk of coronary heart disease by 27% due to the likely connections between extended fasting, blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin resistance.

So, what’s the takeaway?

This newest study shows that there’s still a lot that we don’t understand. And while fueling our bodies with nourishing foods is important, some of the assumptions that we’ve made about breakfast might not necessarily be true.

What Is The Best Shoulder Exercise?

shoulder-workout---get-big--shoulder-workout-for-size---mens-fitnessHaving strong, bulging shoulders isn’t just sexy; it’s functional. With shoulder injuries impacting up to 69 percent of the population, taking advantage of a balanced and well-rounded shoulder workout can help reduce the risk of injury.

So which shoulder exercises are the best? The American Council on Exercise teamed up with researchers from the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse to find out. The findings were published in a recent study.

For the study, researchers compiled a list of ten common shoulder exercises. Next, a set of healthy, male volunteers were recruited. Each volunteer participated in one practice workout and then two test workouts. To determine muscle activation, special electrodes were placed on the three different muscle heads of the shoulder (front, middle and back).

After crunching the data, researchers found that different exercises were best for each of the different muscle heads.

To work your anterior deltoids (the front shoulder muscle that you see in the mirror), the dumbbell shoulder press is the absolute best. No other exercise came close. A distant second was the dumbbell front raise followed by battling ropes (which you commonly see in crossfit classes).

When it comes to the medial deltoids (the middle shoulder muscle), the 45-degree incline row and bent-arm lateral raise were the best performing exercises.

Last but not least, the seated rear lateral raise and the 45-degree incline row were best for the posterior deltoids (back shoulder muscles).

Keep in mind, while most people focus on the anterior deltoids (because those are most visible when they look in the mirror), it’s important to have equally balanced shoulder muscles for proper function, to minimize imbalances and to reduce the risk of injury.

If you’re unfamiliar with any of the above exercises, scroll down below for some demonstrations!

Incorporate these exercises into your shoulder workout for optimal results.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press (Best for front shoulders)

ShoulderPress

45-Degree Incline Row (Best for middle shoulders/back shoulders)

InclineRow

Seated Rear Lateral Raise (Best for back shoulders)

DeltoidRaise

Run More, Live Longer.

John JeffersonWith more than 600 muscles in the human body, one thing is clear: We are meant to move! And thanks to a new study published in the American College of Cardiology, we’re learning how important movement – and running, in particular – is to a longer life.

Over the course of 15 years, researchers examined more than 55,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 100 to determine whether or not there’s a relationship between running and longevity. During the study, 3,413 participants died including 1,217 deaths attributed to cardiovascular disease.

By crunching the data, researchers discovered that runners have an overall 30% lower risk of death from all causes. When it comes to cardiovascular disease, runners were 45% less likely to die compared to non-runners. On average, runners lived an astounding three years longer than non runners. Individuals benefited from running regardless of age, sex, body mass index, health conditions, smoking or alcohol use.

Moreover, researchers found that even slow or less frequent runners still enjoyed benefits. Runners who ran less than one hour per week experienced the same mortality benefits as runners who ran more than three hours. In other words, more running isn’t necessarily better from the perspective of longevity.

If you want to live longer, it’s time to get off your computer or away from your smartphone. Give yourself the free and wonderful gift of a good run.

Are Sports Drinks Unhealthy?

Dear Davey,

I was wondering if sports drinks are actually unhealthy? They seem to have lots of sugar and I’m trying to lose weight.

From,
Ben

sports-drinks-shutterstock_29236237The answer is both yes and no.

Much like soda, sports drinks are loaded in added sugar. As such, they are high in calories. If you’re not engaged in rigorous exercise, then they’re not the healthiest choice. Water, perhaps with a splash of lemon for flavor, makes a lot more sense – especially if you’re counting calories.

But if you are actually engaged in rigorous exercise, like a game of soccer or a class of crossfit, sports drinks could be a smart choice. The answer is two-fold.

First things first, studies have found that consuming carbohydrates (which is what these sports drinks contain) during a workout means eating fewer calories after the workout and throughout the day. According to a study by Colorado State University, people who consumed 45 grams of carbohydrates during exercise consumed total fewer calories during the day compared to individuals who consumed no carbohydrates during a workout.

Second, carbohydrates are fuel for our body. And when you’re exercising, your body needs lots of fuel to power through a given workout. By consuming sports drinks or other beverages with simple carbohydrates, you may boost the intensity of your workout – and thus, burn even more calories and get a better overall workout.

Of course, you can also get those carbohydrates from other, more natural sources. Personally, I prefer eating a banana or some other high-sugar fruit. But sports drinks can certainly work!

The bottom line is that there can be a time and a place for sports drinks. And that time and place is when you’re exercising intensely… and not sitting on the couch watching Orange is the New Black.

Love,
Davey

Study: Organic Produce Has More Antioxidants, Less Pesticides.

??One of the more hotly contested nutrition issues is whether or not organic foods are better for your health.

When it comes to nutrient content, the research is mixed. A Stanford study concluded that there’s probably not a nutritional advantage to organic foods. Meanwhile, other studies have found otherwise. Organic milk, for example, was found to have higher levels of beneficial fatty acids.

This week, a large new study is making waves in the debate over conventional versus organic foods. The study, which was conducted by researchers at Newcastle University, examined more than 340 peer-reviewed studies that examined conventional versus organic crops. Based on the data, researchers found that organic produce contains 19% – 69% higher concentrations of certain antioxidant compounds. Researchers also found that organic produce contains lower levels of toxic metals and pesticides.

Of course, researchers don’t know if those higher concentrations of antioxidants translate to health benefits – or if they’re even absorbed by the body. And when it comes to pesticides, it’s important to remember that the amount of pesticide residue left on produce is limited to levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency. These levels are considered safe by the government, but many consumers aren’t willing to take the chance.

Are organic foods better for your health? It seems that the debate will continue. However, one thing is certain: Most of us need to eat more fruits and vegetables, organic or otherwise.