Thursday, August 25, 2011

DrMirkin's eZine: Protein to recover, cholesterol, more . . .

Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health E-Zine
August 28, 2011

Protein Immediately After Intense Workouts Helps You Recover Faster

Two recent papers in The American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition (September 2011) show that taking protein during and
after exercise helps you recover faster from intense workouts.
A third paper, from Denmark, shows that taking protein during
exercise does not stimulate muscle recovery until after a person
stops exercising. (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,
September 2011). Therefore, the best time to load with protein
is immediately after you finish your intense workouts.
THE HARD-EASY PRINCIPLE: To increase strength, speed
and endurance, athletes have to exercise intensely enough to
damage their muscles. Then when their muscles heal, they are
stronger than before the muscles were damaged. Training for
sports is done by taking a workout that is intense enough to
cause the muscles to feel a burn during the workout, feeling
sore on the next day (DOMS - Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness),
then exercising at a relaxed pace for as many days as it takes
for muscles to feel fresh again. This is called the Hard-Easy
Principle and is followed to some degree by virtually all
competitive athletes.
Obviously if an athlete can recover faster, he can do more
intense workouts which will make him a better athlete, and
taking protein during and after the intense workouts helps
an athlete recover faster. Taking protein before a workout
does not increase recovery rate or improve athletic
The first of the studies in The American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition, from McMaster University, showed that a
large, single dose of whey protein (25 g) taken immediately
after an intense workout helps muscles recover faster than
multiple smaller doses (2.5 g) 10 times over an extended
period. The message is to eat lots of protein-containing food
immediately after your workout. It does not need to be any
special protein supplement; proteins extracted from food are
no better than ordinary protein-containing foods.
LEUCINE: The second study, from the US Army Research
Institute of Environmental Medicine, showed that protein
containing twice as much of the protein building block (amino
acid), leucine hastened muscle healing much faster than a
lower dose of leucine. Leucine is found in the highest
amounts in egg whites, dairy products, beef, pork, chicken and
fish. Since fat contains no leucine, athletes should choose
the leanest protein sources. If you are a vegetarian, eat
soybeans as they have the highest leucine content of any plant
food. Other good sources of leucine include lentils, cowpeas,
chickpeas, nuts and seeds (peanuts, almonds, walnuts, sesame
seeds flax seeds and so forth). Most fruits and vegetables are
low in protein and thus are low in leucine, but some such as
asparagus are good sources.
CARBOHYDRATE WITH PROTEIN: Other studies show that
taking carbohydrates with the protein helps muscles recover
even faster. Carbohydrates cause the pancreas to release large
amounts of insulin which drives the protein building blocks
into muscles even faster and hastens recovery even more.
Therefore athletes can recover faster by taking immediately
after their most-intense workouts:
*protein (meat, fish, chicken, or corn and beans) plus
*carbohydrates (bakery products, pastas, and fruits).
SUMMARY: Train for sports by taking an intense
workout, feeling sore on the next day and going at low-
intensity for as many days as it takes for your muscles to
feel fresh again. Recover faster from your intense workouts
by eating foods rich in proteins and carbohydrates immediately
after you finish your intense workouts.


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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Can I lower cholesterol by diet alone,
without taking drugs?

Yes! The most effective way to lower cholesterol is to
eat a diet full of foods that block the absorption of
cholesterol and keep your liver from making cholesterol:
*viscous fibers including oats, barley and psyllium;
*nuts, beans and soy products;
*specialty margarines containing plant sterols
(Journal of the American Medical Association, August 24/31, 2011).
Eating these foods that specifically block the
absorption and manufacture of cholesterol is more effective
in lowering cholesterol than a control diet of low-
cholesterol/high fiber foods. Those who followed this diet
had their bad LDL cholesterol drop four times lower (13
percent) than those who followed the conventional low
cholesterol/high fiber diet (3 percent). Most people can lower
their cholesterol enough to prevent heart attacks with this
diet alone. High doses of statin drugs can lower cholesterol
by 20 percent, but they have many adverse side effects.
in this diet contain plant stanols that reduce the absorption
of cholesterol from animals in the intestines. They are also
high in soluble fiber that cannot be absorbed in the
intestinal tract. Soluble fiber passes to the colon where
bacteria ferment it into short chain fatty acids. These short-
chain fatty acids are absorbed from the colon and travel in
the bloodstream to the liver, where they block the manufacture
of cholesterol.
HOW TO DO IT: 1) Eat oatmeal, oat bran or psyllium
cereal in the morning in place of your regular breakfast;
2) Eat and drink soy products instead of dairy products;
3) Add nuts, beans and other seeds to every meal; and
4) Use nuts as your exclusive food for snacking.


Dear Dr. Mirkin: How does lack of exercise cause diabetes
and heart attacks?

Reducing your physical activity by just 50 percent for
just three days, without changing your diet, doubles the rise
in blood sugar levels after meals (Medicine & Science in
Sports & Exercise, June 2011). This shows that reducing
exercise *interferes with your ability to control blood sugar
levels, *plays a key role in the development of type 2
diabetes and * markedly increases risk for heart attacks and
strokes. A single bout of moderate exercise lowers blood
sugar rise after meals.
MECHANISM: A high rise in blood sugar causes sugar to
stick to the surface membranes of cells. Once there, sugar
cannot detach itself. It is converted by a series of chemical
reactions from glucose to fructose and eventually to sorbitol
that destroys the cell to damage every cell in your body.
That's why diabetics suffer from loss of function of every
organ in their bodies including nerves, brains, arteries,
hearts, lungs, bones, joints, kidneys and everything else.
Resting muscles cannot remove sugar from your
bloodstream without insulin. However when a muscle starts to
contract, it suddenly can remove sugar from the bloodstream
without needing insulin. It is absolutely incredible how
contracting a muscle suddenly lowers blood sugar levels.
This effect is maximum when the muscle is contracting, has a
greater effect in lowering blood sugar levels with intense
exercise, and maintains near-maximum efficiency for up to an
hour after a person finishes exercising. Then the benefit of
exercise gradually decreases until it disappears completely
in about 17 hours.
MY RECOMMENDATION: Everyone capable of exercising
without damaging his or her health should exercise every day
for at a least an hour.


Recipe of the Week:

Algerian Vegetable Casserole

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


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