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Being Fit Prolongs Lives

Men who were physically fit in their 40s and continued to exercise regularly ten years later are 30 percent less likely to die and 44 percent less likely to die from heart attacks than men who do not exercise (Circulation, December 2, 2011;124:2483-2490). Fit men who lost their fitness increased their risk for premature death. Other factors that increased risk for dying were higher blood pressure, fasting blood sugar or cholesterol.

The number of calories the average person burns when he or she sits is called a MET. When you exercise, you burn more calories than you do at rest. Doctors can measure fitness levels by asking a person to run as fast as he can on a treadmill. The faster a person runs, the more calories he burns. If you exercise intensely enough to burn twice as many calories as you do at rest, you are exercising at 2 METS. You use 0.9 METS when you sleep and 18 METS running a mile in five minutes and 30 seconds.

For each additional MET you can exercise at your maximal intensity, you lower your risk by 15 percent for death and by 19 percent for death from a heart attack.

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Benefits of Giving Testosterone to Diabetic Men with Low Levels

Testosterone deficiency occurs in 50 percent of men with type 2 diabetes. 147 diabetic and pre-diabetic men with low testosterone, from 38 to 83 years of age, were given injections of testosterone every three months for at least 48 months. The health benefits were incredible (International Diabetes Federation World Diabetes Congress 2011. Abstract O-0535, presented December 7, 2011).

Their average waist circumference was reduced by 8.0 cm; body weight was reduced by 12.9 kg, from an average of 106.6 to 93.7 kg; systolic blood pressure dropped 15.2 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure dropped 13.3 mm Hg; cholesterol dropped from 297mg/dL to 194; triglycerides dropped from 290.4 to 194.2 mg/dL; and the bad LDL cholesterol dropped from 160.4 to 118.3 mg/dL. Liver enzymes dropped significantly, showing that liver damage from diabetes improved; C-reactive protein (overactive immunity) levels dropped from 7.1 to 1.6 mg/L; and fasting blood sugar levels dropped from 105.8 to 97 mg/dL. The men's PSA blood screening tests for prostate cancer did not change, showing that there was no evidence that the testosterone increased their risk for prostate cancer.

Testosterone increases muscles and decreases fat. Men with low testosterone usually have less muscle and more fat. Before insulin can do its job if driving sugar into cells, it must first attach to insulin receptors: special hooks on the outside surface of cell membranes. Fat blocks these receptors to raise blood sugar levels. Exercising muscles can draw sugar from the bloodstream without even needing insulin. So you both prevent and treat diabetes by growing more muscles and losing body fat.

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Fructose Causes High Triglycerides

It's usually safe to take sport and energy drinks when you are exercising, but taking them when you are not exercising can raise your triglycerides, increasing your risk for high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, heart attacks and even death. Virtually all sport and energy drinks contain sugars. The sugars are usually a combination of glucose and fructose. All sugars raise the fat called triglycerides in your blood and your body, but fructose, in particular, raises it the most (Journal of Nutrition, June 2011).

In this study, volunteers ate a breakfast of energy drinks sweetened with:

• 100 percent glucose,
• a 50-50 mix of glucose and fructose, and
• a 25-75 mix of glucose and fructose.

Four hours later, the ones who took the 50/50 and 25/75 mixes of glucose and fructose developed the same very high blood levels of triglycerides, more than twice as much as the ones who took only glucose. They also developed the most fat in their livers.

On the days that they took the 50-50 and 25-75 glucose and fructose drinks, they ate lunch and their blood levels of triglycerides increased up to 200 percent. So four hours after taking fructose, their blood and bodies were loaded with far more fat than those who took only glucose. The calories in their lunch formed more fat than when they didn't take fructose for breakfast.

This shows that both glucose and fructose raise blood and body fats, and that fructose raises these fats far more than glucose does. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) added to most soft drinks is no more damaging than drinks with regular table sugar. Table sugar contains fructose to glucose in almost equal concentrations, while HFCS contains a ratio of 55 to 45, which is not a significant difference. Also, nobody has shown that fruit, which contains fructose, is a fattening food.

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Sweetened Drinks Are Associated with High Blood Pressure

Three studies from Harvard School of Public Health show that both sugared and artificially-sweetened drinks are associated with up to a 20 percent increased risk for high blood pressure (American Society of Nephrology meeting, November 10, 2011. Abstract TH-PO765). Other studies show that sugared drinks are associated with diabetes and obesity.

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Recipe of the Week:

Easy Veggie Burger Chili

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

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January 8th, 2012
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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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