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Lose Weight with Exercise

A new study from Israel shows us once again that dieting without exercise does not work. The participants took off only six to 10 pounds in two years. No matter what diet they were on, most regained some of the weight they lost in the early months by the end of the study (NEJM, July 17, 2008). It didn't make any difference whether the overweight person was on a low-fat or low-carbohydrate diet, or the healthful Mediterranean-type diet that stresses fruits, vegetables, whole grains beans, seeds, nuts and seafood. However, their small weight loss did result in improved cholesterol and blood pressure readings.

If you really want to lose weight for good, you have to exercise. Appetite is controlled in a part of your brain called hypothalamus. If you try to lose weight just by eating less food, your hypothalamus makes you miserable when you see tasty food and know that you shouldn't eat it. If you exercise, you will eat more, but you will not increase your intake of food to equal the extra calories that you burn when you exercise. After you have been exercising for a few months, your muscles will be stronger, you will feel and sleep better and you can actually start to enjoy your new activity. Then you are set for a life-long pattern of burning up the calories you take in.

Unfortunately, the majority of older people who start exercise programs drop out in the first six weeks. People are more likely to stay in an exercise program if they have company and find a sport that is fun for them. The best success comes when a husband and wife exercise together. You can also increase you chances of sticking to an exercise program by having a personal trainer, going to regular exercise classes, or joining an exercise group that is also a social club, such as Road Runners, a bicycle club or a square dancing society.


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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Why do you tell people not to drink fruit juice?

Researchers at Tulane University showed that eating fruit helps to prevent diabetes, while drinking fruit juices increases risk (Diabetes Care, July 2008). They analyzed diets of 71,346 women enrolled in the Nurses Study. Increasing intake of whole fruit by three servings a day lowered risk for diabetes by 18 percent, while a serving of fruit juice each day increased risk by 18 percent.

The food that you eat passes into your stomach and must remain there until it is turned into a liquid soup. No solid food is allowed to pass into your intestines. This delay prevents blood sugar levels from rising too high. However, sugar in drinks can pass directly into your intestines to cause an immediate rise in blood sugar. This can cause sugar to stick to the surface of cell membranes and damage them to cause the side effects of diabetes which include blindness, deafness, heart attacks, strokes, and so forth. It makes no difference whether the sugared drink is "junk food" such as a soft drink, or a supposedly healthful fruit juice.


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Is night shift work unhealthful?

Some scientists think that humans learned to sleep in the dark because of the saber toothed tiger. Since they couldn't possibly compete with that animal at night, they hid in their caves and slept.

Two dozen scientist from ten countries met last fall in Lyon, France to discus the theory that night lights may cause cancer. They report that six of eight studies on the subject show that shift work increases risk for breast cancer (Lancet, December 2007). Melatonin is a potent hormone produced by your brain at night. It has strong anti-oxidant properties that help to prevent cells from becoming cancerous. However, if a person sees bright lights at night, the brain stops making melatonin, and these people may be at increased risk for several cancers. The panel concluded that bright lights at night are probably carcinogenic.


Recipe of the Week Summer Veggies and Beans

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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