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Protein After, Not During, Exercise

High-protein meals eaten immediately after hard exercise have been shown to help athletes recover faster, but the data that taking protein during exercise improves an athlete's performance is extremely weak.

Researchers from the University of Birmingham, UK, showed that adding protein (19g/hour) to a sugared drink does not improve one-hour cycling time trial, maximum power; or post exercise isometric strength, muscle damage (CPK) or muscle soreness (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, June 2010). Protein also does not help athletes cycle faster in a 50-mile time trial (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, August 2006). Most studies showing that adding protein to a carbohydrate drink improves performance were in people working at a fixed rate of effort over a long time, rather than using spurts of energy as athletes do in competition.

Just about everyone agrees that taking in a carbohydrate drink helps improve performances in athletic events lasting more than an hour. In events lasting more than three hours, you also need salt. Calories come from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. During highly-intense exercise, your muscles use carbohydrates far more efficiently than proteins or fats. So carbohydrates are the calorie source of choice during intense exercise.

All sugared drinks except those with added artificial sweeteners contain eight percent sugar because that is the concentration at which the drinks taste best. You can increase endurance equally with fruit juice, special energy drinks or sugared carbonated soft drinks. Adding caffeine to the drink increases endurance even more because it helps to preserve your stored muscle sugar.


Reports from

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Does diabetes increase cancer risk? The largest study ever on cancer risks of people who have diabetes and can still make insulin shows that they are at increased risk for 24 different cancers (Oncologist, May 2010). The greatest risks are for pancreatic cancer (six times) and liver cancer (4.25 times). They had double the average risk for cancers of the kidneys, thyroid, esophagus, small intestine, and the nervous system, and were also at increased risk for cancers of the mouth, colon, rectum, lung, cervix, endometrium, and ovary. Male diabetics have a much lower rate of prostate cancer, presumably because they have lower blood levels of testosterone. Diabetes damages every cell in the body, including the testicles which produce testosterone.

Diabetes is caused either by lack of insulin (Type 1) or by inability to respond to insulin (Type 2). Those whose cells cannot respond adequately to insulin usually have very high levels of insulin which promote cell growth, and uncontrolled cell growth is cancer. One of three Americans suffers from the type of diabetes caused by inability to respond to insulin and therefore are at high risk for many different cancers. They can prevent and cure diabetes and reduce their chances for cancer by
• losing weight
• exercising
• growing muscle
• getting rid of fat
• avoiding refined carbohydrates (sugar water, sugar and flour)
• avoiding red meat
• avoiding vitamin D deficiency
• eating plenty of vegetables and fruits


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Do bleeding gums increase risk for diabetes as well as for heart attacks?

After reviewing 690 papers, doctors at the University of Edinburgh, UK, report that treatment of gum disease in type 2 diabetes (not type 1) can lower blood sugar levels and HBA1C, a test for cell damage (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, May 2010). Patients with gum infections are at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes (Journal of Public Health Dentistry, December 2009).

Bleeding gums are usually caused by infections. Chewing drives bacterial endotoxins from the gums into the bloodstream (Journal of Periodontolology, January 2002). Your body responds to this invasion of bacteria with inflammation: producing huge amounts of cells and proteins to kill the germs, but they also block insulin receptors to raise blood sugar levels. Adults who brush their teeth less than once a day have increased risk for gum disease, a 70 percent increased risk for heart disease, and higher CRP and fibrinogen blood tests signifying inflammation (British Medica Journal, May 2010).

People with bleeding gums should seek treatment because they are at increased risk for heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. Sometimes treatment is just a short course of antibiotics, or you may need extensive dental repair. More information and journal references


Note: My report on sunscreens now has an updated link to the 2010 reviews of more than 1000 sunscreens by the Environmental Working Group.


Recipe of the Week:

Cajun Lentils and Zucchini

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

June 21st, 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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