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Protein drinks during competition do not increase speed

Adding protein to a sports drink does not help athletes cycle faster in a 50-mile time trial, according to a study from McMaster University in Ontario (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, August, 2006). Many studies show that taking in a carbohydrate drink helps improve performances in athletic events lasting more than an hour. Two recent studies showed that adding protein to a carbohydrate drink improves performance even more. However, in these studies, cyclists worked at a fixed rate of effort, rather than using spurts of energy as athletes do in competition.

When you compete in an athletic event lasting more than an hour, you need fluids and calories. 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 more efficiently than proteins or fats. So carbohydrates are the calorie source of choice during intense exercise. Furthermore, drinks containing protein often taste bad and are not as refreshing as water, soda or sports drinks, so you don’t drink as much.

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. In competitions lasting more than an hour, athletes should take drinks that contain carbohydrates, or water plus food. In events lasting more than two hours, they also need to replace salt, either with salted drinks or with salty foods such as salted peanuts.


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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Does low testosterone cause heart attacks?

Two widely reported studies showed a link between low testosterone and heart attacks in diabetics. This does not mean that low testosterone was the cause of the heart attacks (International Journal of Impotence Research, July 2006). It is more likely that diabetes damages arteries to cause heart attacks and it also damages the testicles to cause a low testosterone.

Men with low testosterone are far more likely to store fat primarily in their bellies, which means they also store fat in their livers. This interferes with the liver's ability to remove insulin from the bloodstream after it has done its job of driving insulin from the bloodstream into cells. These people develop high blood sugar levels which causes sugar to attach to the surface of cell membranes, in this case on the testicles, and damage them to cause low levels of testosterone.

If you are a man who stores fat primarily in your belly, check with your doctor to get blood tests for cholesterol and diabetes (HBA1C), and check for high blood pressure. If your HBA1C is high, you are diabetic and should immediately start a diet that is low in refined carbohydrates, lose weight and see if it is safe for you to start an exercise program. More


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Are cortisone injections into joints safe?

Doctors often inject cortisone-type medications into painful damaged joints and tendons. Single injections can relieve pain and swelling and appear to be safe, but many studies show that repeated injections can damage joints and delay healing. Most doctors will recommend having no more than three injections into the same joint in a lifetime.

Athletes and exercisers often experience pain from injuries to their tendons, muscles, fascia or ligaments. When an injury heals in a few days, no treatment is indicated, but sometimes they persist for months, particularly in the fascia on the bottom or back of the heel, in the large tendon in the back of the lower leg, or in the tendons on the elbows or shoulders. Cortisone-type drugs reduce swelling and lessen pain and can allow an athlete or exerciser to get back to sports, but cortisone injections can weaken the tendons for several months.

If you suffer pain in tendons, muscles, ligaments or fascia, check with your doctor to see if you have a treatable chronic disease causing it, such as hepatitis or reactive arthritis. Non-steroidals that are usually prescribed can help to block pain but do not heal damaged tissue. If you receive a cortisone injection, make sure that you protect that area from hard exercise for at least two months.


Eggplant Bonanza –
3 great recipes using one of our favorite vegetables

Michael’s Eggplant Sauce for Whole Grains
Summer Vegetable Curry
Dr. Gabe’s Famous Eggplant-Tomato-Bean Casserole

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

List of Diana's Healthful Recipes

June 26th, 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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