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Men Underestimate Their Waist Sizes

Men report that their waist circumferences are an average of 3.1 inches slimmer than they actually are, according to a study from University of Leicester in England (BBC News, February 29, 2008). They can die from this vanity. Storing fat in your belly is a major risk factor for diabetes that causes blindness, deafness, heart attacks, strokes, amputations and kidney disease.

Almost all men who have more than three inches of fat underneath the skin over their bellies are either diabetic or pre- diabetic. More than 80 percent of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight at the time of their diagnosis. Since insulin causes fat to be deposited primarily in the belly, storing more than three inches of fat underneath your skin is a sign of high insulin levels. Almost all type 2 diabetics who still make insulin go through periods of extremely high insulin levels long before their insulin levels drop. The disease is usually caused by inability to respond to insulin, so blood levels of insulin just keep on rising as a person gains weight. If these men would accept the existence of their fat bellies, they might recognize that they are at risk for diabetes and change their lifestyles before they develop complications from a potentially fatal disease.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: My cholesterol is too high; should I avoid eggs?

For more than 50 years eggs have been called unhealthful because they are among the foods that contain the highest levels of cholesterol. However, in recent years eggs have been rehabilitated. This month, a team of researchers at Mahidol University in Bangkok showed that adding an egg a day to the diets of healthy people in Thailand raised the good HDL cholesterol that prevents heart attacks. It did not affect the bad LDL cholesterol or triglycerides (Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, March 2008).

Adding as many as three eggs per day to your diet will not raise cholesterol. More than 80 percent of the cholesterol in your body is manufactured by your liver, and less than 20 percent comes from the food you eat. When you eat more cholesterol, your liver makes less. When you eat less cholesterol, your liver makes more. However, if you add eggs you must subtract another equal source of calories, because increasing caloric intake will raise cholesterol. So this is not an invitation to eat an unlimited amount of eggs. The study supports other research showing that eggs in moderation are not harmful, and that up to one egg a day may have specific health benefits.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Do branched chain amino acids help muscles to recover after exercise?

One study from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut showed that taking branched chain amino acids decreased the amount of muscle damage from exercise in untrained volunteers (International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, December 2007). Branched chain amino acids are protein building blocks that can be converted easily to sugar by your body. A likely explanation for the advantage shown in this study is that muscles become damaged when they run out of their stored sugar and start to burn protein in the muscles themselves for energy.

However, it makes no sense to spend a lot of money on these expensive protein supplements. You will get the same benefit from any food that contains protein. Eat some cheese, seafood, peanut butter, chicken, nuts or any other convenient source of protein when you exercise for more than an hour.

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Recipe of the Week

If you think eggs are just for breakfast, try this main dish:
Syrian Egg-Tomato Stew

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book - it's FREE

June 25th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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