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Pigeon Toes Make Fast Runners

Most football coaches can pick their halfbacks just by watching them walk. The fastest runners are often flat footed, pigeon toed, and bow legged. When you run, you land on the outside bottom part of your foot and roll toward the inside. Most flat feet appear flat because the ankles roll in excessively causing the arches to touch the ground. Excessive rolling in causes feet to hit the ground with greater force to drive you forward faster.

Pigeon toes require very strong medial shin muscles to point your feet inward and shin muscles raise you up on your toes as you step off to the other foot. People with bowed legs have knees that whip inward as they step off from one foot to the other, which drives them forward with greater force and helps them to run faster. A football coach can often pick his halfbacks by looking for students with flat feet, pigeon toes, and bow legs.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: I'm trying to eat a healthful diet, but I get huge amounts of gas. What can I do?

You're not alone if you suffer gas when you eat dairy products, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, grains or cereals. The gas is caused by bacteria in your gut fermenting sugars. Carbohydrates are made of sugars either alone or in combinations. They can be the single sugars, glucose and fructose, found in fruit; the double sugar, lactose, found in dairy products; thousands of sugars bound together called starch; or millions of sugars bound together called fiber. Before any carbohydrate can be absorbed from your intestines into your bloodstream, it must be broken down into single sugars. If it cannot be broken down into single sugars, it cannot be absorbed and it passes into the lower intestinal tract where bacteria ferment it to cause gas.

Half of the world's population develops cramping after drinking milk because they lack the intestinal enzyme that is necessary to break down the double sugar in milk called lactose. These people can purchase the missing enzyme, called lactase (in products such as Lactaid or milk that has lactase added), and drink milk without discomfort. Or they can avoid dairy products.

All humans will have intestinal gas after they eat significant quantities of many whole grains, beans or other seeds. These foods contain triple, quadruple and quintuple sugars and no human has the enzymes necessary to break them down. You can de-gas beans by soaking before you cook them, or you can use alpha-galactosidase products such as Bean-O, which contain an enzyme that splits these complex sugars.

When you change your diet, you build up colonies of the friendly bacteria gradually and the problem becomes less severe. If you are not constipated, a moderate amount of gas is not uncomfortable and is perfectly normal. However, some people still get unreasonable amounts of gas, even after several weeks of adjustment to the new diet. These people may be helped by taking Cipro 500 mg twice a day and metronidazole 250 mg four times a day for one week. Check with your doctor.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: I read an article that said bicycling weakens bones. Can this be true?

One widely reported study showed that bicycle riders have bones that are less dense than people who don’t exercise at all. A science writer for a major newspaper made the ridiculous recommendation that bicycle riders should therefore lift weights to strengthen their bones, or change sports. Bone density tests do not necessarily measure bone strength. Birds have unbelievably thin bones that are extremely strong, and are far more resistant to fractures than many mammals that have much denser bones.

There is no evidence that bicycle riders or racers are at increased risk for bone fractures. Racers crash all the time. Lance Armstrong spends as much time on a bike as anyone, and he has had several high impact crashes. If he had weak bones, he would be in a wheelchair, and not be the greatest bicycle racer in the world.

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Sushi Salad

List of Diana's Healthful Recipes

June 27th, 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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