Thursday, July 21, 2011

DrMirkin's eZine: Weight loss, tendon length, more . . .

Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health E-Zine
July 24, 2011

What You Eat Is More Important than How Much You Eat

A study From Harvard School of Public Health shows that
telling overweight people to "eat less and exercise more" rarely
helps them lose weight (New England Journal of Medicine, June 23,
2011). That encourages them to eat any foods they want and, as
they age, they continue to gain weight which is associated with
increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, strokes, breast
cancer, colon cancer, and premature death.
120,877 healthy, non-obese women and men were followed for
20 years. The study shows which foods and lifestyle factors
should be avoided to prevent an average weight gain of almost 17
pounds in 20 years. If you eat the wrong foods, you can gain
weight even if you exercise. Small changes in eating and
exercising can prevent this weight gain. Those who were overweight
at the start of the study gained the most weight over the study
STUDY SURPRISES: Weight gain is not associated with eating
yogurt, nuts, or peanut butter. Yogurt appears to contain
bacteria that cause the body to produce hormones that make you
less hungry. Nuts contain primarily monounsaturated fats that are
not associated with increased risk for weight gain.
*French fries (2 lbs per four-year period)
*potato chips (1.69 lbs)
*potatoes (1.28 lbs)
*other forms of potatoes (0.57 lb)
*sugar-sweetened beverages (1 lb)
*red meats (0.95 lb)
*processed meats (0.93 lb)
*refined grains (0.39 lb)
*sweets and desserts (0.41 lb)
*other fried foods (0.32 lb)
*fruit juice (0.31 lb)
*butter (0.3 lb)
*vegetables (-0.22
lb per four-year period),
*whole grains (-0.37 lb)
*fruits (-0.49 lb)
*nuts (-0.57 lb)
*yogurt (-0.82 lb).
LIFESTYLE FACTORS: In addition to diet, the study shows
that you should exercise daily, sleep 6 to 8 hours a day, restrict
television watching, avoid smoking and do not take more than one
drink a day.


Reports from

Weights to strengthen bones

Raise good HDL

Flat feet


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Can you predict which children are likely to
excel in certain sports just by looking at them?

Yes! Those with the longest Achilles tendons in the back of
the lower leg will probably be better long distance runners, while
those with the shortest Achilles tendons will probably be the best
body builders (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, August
2011) .
Look at the ratio of the Achilles tendon to the large bulge
above it which is the calf muscle group. If the Achilles tendon
is more than half way up your leg, you have a long tendon and have
an advantage in running long distances. If the calf muscle bulge
goes down almost to your ankle, you have the potential to be a
body builder. Body building contests require athletes to have
very large muscles which are characterized by long muscles with
shorter tendons.
When you run, you land on your foot and spring forward in
the air to drive your body forward. When you land, the Achilles
tendon stretches and stores up to 70 percent of the energy of the
force of your foot hitting the ground. Then the tendon shortens
to release this extra stored energy, to drive you forward. Those
with the longest tendons store the most energy to drive you
forward with greater force. The authors proved this by showing
that people with longer Achilles tendons required less oxygen to
drive them forward after their foot hits the ground. Lack of
oxygen is the limiting factor to how fast you can run over long


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Why have I suffered sports injuries primarily
in the winter and spring?

You could lack vitamin D. To meet your needs for that
vitamin, you have to expose your skin to sunlight or take vitamin
D pills. You cannot get enough vitamin D from foods.
NFL players with low vitamin D levels are at increased risk
for muscle and tendon injuries (American Orthopaedic Society for
Sports Medicine's Annual Meeting in San Diego, July 11, 2011). The
lower the level of vitamin D, the more likely the players were to
be injured.
Vitamin D acts directly on specific receptors in muscles to
make them stronger and prevent injury (Scandinavian Journal of
Medicine & Science in Sports, April 2010). A review of several
studies shows that giving vitamin D pills to athletes with normal
blood levels may not strengthen muscles, but lack of vitamin D
weakens muscles. Giving athletes who have a deficiency defined by
blood levels of D3 below 25 nmol/L, strengthens their muscles
(Osteoporosis International, October, 2010).
We have known for more than 50 years that taking large doses
of male hormones can help athletes recover faster and grow
stronger with significantly larger muscles. Recent research shows
that male hormones
(the anabolic steroid nandrolone decanoate) strengthens muscles by
stimulating the vitamin D receptor in muscles (Annual Meeting of
the Endocrine Society, June, 2011). Athletes with vitamin D3
levels below 75 nmol/L may need more sunlight or vitamin D pills.


Recipe of the Week:

Mexican Shrimp Salad

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in
The Good Food Book


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