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Just Getting Old Does Not Cause Diabetes

A study from the University of Pittsburgh shows that the marked increase in diabetes in older people is caused by obesity and lack of exercise, not by aging alone (Diabetes Care, August 2009). Most cases of diabetes are caused by cells not being able to respond to insulin, rather than by lack of insulin. Inability to respond adequately to insulin is caused by being overweight, not exercising, lacking vitamin D and/or eating too many refined carbohydrates.

In this study, the same insulin responses were found in young and old endurance-trained athletes, young and old normal-weight subjects, and young and old obese subjects. Regardless of age, athletes had better insulin responses than normal-weight sedentary subjects, who had better insulin responses than overweight people.

If you are overweight, try to lose the extra weight. Check with your doctor and start or continue an exercise program. Get a blood test called vitamin D3. If it is below 75 nmol/L, you need more sunlight or vitamin D pills. When you are not exercising, avoid sugar water and flour.
More on diabetes prevention and treatment


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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Do I need to wear socks with running or cycling shoes?

You wear socks primarily to keep your shoes from smelling and to make the shoes fit snugly. When you exercise, sweat, bacteria and old skin collect in your socks. Then you wash the socks to rid them of rotting skin and bacteria so they don't smell.

Your skin constantly replaces itself. New skin cells form at the bottom layer of skin and move upward until they reach the top layer in 28 days and are sloughed off as dander or dandruff. When you don't wear socks, old skin deposits in the shoes where bacteria ferment it to emit an offensive odor. The bacteria that rot your old skin grow luxuriously when the skin is wet. If you have a problem with foot odor, try pouring a small amount of powder into the toes of your socks before you put them on. This helps to absorb sweat, keep your feet dry, and prevent bacteria from growing. Avoid wearing the same pair of shoes more often than every other day so they can dry out between use. You can also kill the bacteria by applying a common deodorant containing aluminum chlorohydrate to your feet at bedtime and sleeping with socks on.

To make their feet fit more snugly in their skates, many hockey players and figure skaters do not wear socks. Skate boots should limit foot movement to improve control of the blades. Most runners wear socks to help prevent friction-causing blisters from rough spots in their shoes.


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Will eating protein enlarge my muscles?

Weight lifters know that you cannot build muscle by eating protein unless you also exercise against increasing resistance. A recent study from Purdue University shows this is true for elderly people as well. They found that just increasing protein intake did not affect body composition or skeletal muscle fiber size among older people in a weight training program (Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, February 2009).

However, taking protein and carbohydrates within an hour after they finish their hard workouts could help them recover faster, lift more weights and become stronger. Athletes train by taking a hard workout which damages their muscles, and they feel sore the next morning. Then they take easy workouts for as long as it takes for the soreness to go away. Exercise sensitizes muscle cells to insulin for up to an hour after finishing a hard workout. Carbohydrates raise insulin levels. Insulin then drives protein into muscle cells so they can heal faster.


Recipe of the Week:

Clementines are coming back into the stores . . . try them in

Clementine-Quinoa Salad
About Clementines

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

June 22nd, 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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