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14 Tips to speed up your metabolism Ever wonder why your best friend can go through a pint of Ben &

Jerry's without gaining a pound while just one spoonful goes straight to your hips? The answer lies in your metabolism, that little engine in your body that burns calories all day, every day. Because of genetics, some women burn fat faster than others. But age, weight, diet, and exercise habits also play a role. "As women age, their metabolisms slow down, mainly because they are losing five or six pounds of muscle each decade starting in the mid-20s," explains fitness expert Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., fitness research director of the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts. Translation: You may be burning 100 fewer calories a day at 35 than at 25. But there are easy things you can do to stoke your fat-burning potential. "There's no reason you can't have the same metabolism in your 30s and 40s that you had in your 20s," stresses Pamela Peeke, M.D., author of Fight Fat After Forty. Redbook went to the experts for some simple tips on how to crank up your internal flame. Don't overdo calorie cutting. Putting yourself on a very-low-calorie diet is a surefire way not to lose. "Your body is programmed to defend your usual weight," says Liz Applegate, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at the University of California at Davis and author of Bounce Your Body Beautiful. "So if you suddenly drop 1,000 calories from your diet, your resting metabolic rate [the number of calories your body burns to maintain basic bodily functions, such as breathing and heartbeat] will automatically slow down, because your body now assumes that you're starving." So how many calories should you consume? Depending on your level of activity, you can safely lose anywhere from half a pound to two pounds a week if you multiply your current weight by 11, says Applegate. (For example, if you're 120 pounds, aim for around 1,320 calories a day.) Unless you're less than five feet tall, don't let your daily calories dip below 1,200. "Research shows that women who consume less than this amount see their resting metabolic rate plummet by as much as 45 percent," notes Dale Huff, R.D., a St. Louis nutritionist. Eat breakfast. Believe it or not, it may be the most important meal of the day as far as metabolism (and weight loss) is concerned. Breakfast eaters lose more weight than breakfast skippers do, according to studies. "Your metabolism slows while you sleep, and it doesn't rev back up until you eat again," explains Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at Penn State University and an author of The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan. So if you bypass breakfast, your body won't burn as many calories until lunchtime as it could. That's why it's smart to start the day

with a solid 300- to 400-calorie meal; it jump-starts your metabolism. Aim for a breakfast that has plenty of high-fiber carbs: When researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia compared the effects of high-fat and high-fiber-carbohydrate breakfasts, they discovered that people who ate the fatty meal got hungry sooner afterward. "High-fiber carbohydrates take longer for your body to digest and absorb than fats; thus they don't cause rapid changes in your blood sugar, so your hunger is kept at bay longer," says study coauthor Susanna Holt, Ph.D. Some good choices: a bran-rich breakfast cereal with low-fat milk; wholegrain toast topped with low-fat ricotta and sliced banana or berries; an egg-white veggie omelette with whole-grain toast. Pile on the protein. Research shows that getting plenty of protein can boost your metabolism, causing you to burn an extra 150 to 200 calories a day, says Jeff Hampl, Ph.D., R.D., a spokesman for the American Dietetic Association. "Protein is made up mainly of amino acids, which are harder for your body to break down [than fat and carbs], so you burn more calories getting rid of them," he explains. That doesn't mean you have to live on the high-protein Atkins diet. But you should make sure that 10 to 35 percent of your total daily calories comes from protein. So if you're on an 1,800calorie diet, 360 to 630 of those calories should come from lean sources of protein, such as fish, chicken, low-fat cheese, yogurt and legumes. "Aim to have a serving of protein, such as nuts, a small can of tuna, or a piece of low-fat string cheese, at every meal and snack," says Hampl. Nibble all day. It sounds counterintuitive; why would you eat continually if you wanted to lose weight? But eating five to six mini meals rather than three larger meals every day keeps your metabolism humming 24/7. "It will also prevent you from going without food so long that you become so hungry you overeat," says Peeke. Try not to let more than four hours elapse between meals and make sure each meal includes protein, for an extra metabolic boost. If you eat a high-fiber breakfast of cereal and fruit first thing, for example, have a midmorning snack, such as yogurt and fruit; lunch (try four ounces of chicken or fish on top of a leafy green salad); another snack, like a banana and a piece of low-fat cheese, in the late afternoon; and a light dinner (think four to six ounces of turkey, salmon, or another lean source of protein with steamed veggies).

Go for "good" carbs. Refined carbs, such as bagels, white bread, and potatoes, create a surge in insulin that in turn promotes storage of fat and may drive down your metabolic rate, says Louis Aronne, M.D., an obesity specialist at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center, who recommends high-fiber carbs instead. "It's important to keep carbohydrates in your overall diet, but focus on vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, which have less of an impact on insulin levels," he explains. Skip alcohol. Thinking about having a cocktail -- or two -- before dinner? Think again. Having a drink before a meal causes people to eat around 200 calories more, several studies show. Drinking with dinner isn't such a good idea either: Other research has found that the body burns off alcohol first, meaning that the calories in the rest of the meal are more likely to be stored as fat. If you do have a cocktail craving, stick to wine, which packs only 80 calories a glass -- or minimize the calories by drinking a white-wine spritzer (two ounces of wine mixed with two ounces of seltzer). Drink milk. Load up on low-fat dairy: Women who consumed milk, yogurt, and cheese three to four times a day lost 70 percent more body fat than women who didn't eat dairy in a study published in the January 2003 American Society for Nutritional Sciences Journal of Nutrition. The reason: Calcium, along with other substances in dairy, actually revs up your metabolism, telling your body to burn excess fat faster, according to study author Michael Zemel, Ph.D., director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. And no, fortified o.j. won't do the trick. The best results come from dairy products instead of from other calcium-rich foods (like broccoli), calcium-fortified products (such as orange juice) or supplements. Women reap the largest fat-burning benefit when they consume three servings of dairy and 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day, Zemel's research shows. Spice up your soup. Sprinkle a few hot peppers into your lunchtime soup or evening stir-fry. They temporarily boost your resting metabolic rate, according to research done at Laval University in Canada. Here's why: Capsaicin, a compound found in jalapeo and cayenne peppers, temporarily stimulates your body to release more stress hormones, such as adrenaline, speeding up your metabolism and thus increasing your ability to burn calories, says study coauthor Angelo Tremblay, director of the Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods at Laval. Bonus: The pepper-

eaters had less of an appetite, Tremblay found, probably because the spiciness of the food made them feel full. Pump iron. Experts say weight training is the best way to crank up your resting metabolic rate. "As you get older, your resting metabolic rate drops, but weight training can rev it right back up again: A pound of muscle burns up to nine times the calories a pound of fat does," explains fitness expert Westcott. In fact, a woman who weighs 130 pounds and is muscular burns more calories than a sedentary 120-pound woman of the same height. Regular strength training can increase your resting metabolic rate anywhere from 6.8 to 7.8 percent. (That means that if you weigh 120 pounds, you could burn around 100 more calories a day, even when you're just watching TV.) Don't think you have time to hit the gym circuit? You can get great results with only two 15minute lifting sessions a week. Westcott's research, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise in January 1999, found that doing just one set of 10 reps reaps about the same muscle-building benefits as three sets, as long as they're performed to muscle fatigue. Bonus: Weight training also gives your metabolism a short-term boost. When women lift weights, their metabolisms remain in overdrive for up to two hours after the last bench press, allowing them to burn as many as 100 extra calories, according to a study published in June 2001 in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Rev up your workouts. Adding interval training -- bursts of high-intensity moves -- to your workout is a great metabolism booster. "Studies have shown that people who do interval training twice a week [in addition to cardio] lose twice as much weight as those who do just a regular cardio workout," says obesity specialist Aronne. You can easily incorporate interval training into your workout by inserting a 30-second sprint into your jog every five minutes or by adding a one-minute incline walk to your treadmill workout. "Since your body is working harder, it's a more intense workout -- and you therefore burn more calories," says Westcott. On other days, shake up your routine with 40 minutes of cross-training. Ideally, aim for two 20-to-40-minute intervaltraining sessions and two 20-to-40-minute cross-training sessions a week. Break up your exercise routine. Whenever possible, slice each of your workouts into two smaller sessions. For example, do a 15-minute weight-lifting session in the morning, then do your 30-minute walk on your lunch hour or at night. You'll burn an extra 100 to 200 calories that day, explains Kelly Tracy, M.A.,

fitness coordinator at Duke University Diet and Fitness Center. Don't have time? Just add in some stair climbing or short walks throughout the day. Even small bursts of activity are enough to get your metabolism revved, according to a study in the scientific journal Nature. "I call it the mini stoke: For five minutes out of every hour, get up and do something, even if it's just walking around your office," says professor of medicine Peeke. "You can end up burning a couple of hundred extra calories." Sweat out your PMS. It's tempting to curl up on the couch the minute PMS mood swings and bloat strike, but you'll lose more weight if you exercise during those two weeks before your period, according to a recent study at the University of Adelaide in Australia. "Women burned about 30 percent more fat for the two weeks following ovulation to about two days before menstruating," says study coauthor Leanne Redman. Here's why: The reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone are at their peak then and because they promote the body's use of fat as energy, more fat is burned off when you exercise during this time. Get some shut-eye. Skimping on sleep can derail your metabolism. In a study at the University of Chicago, people who got four hours of sleep or less a night had more difficulty processing carbohydrates. "When you're exhausted, your body lacks the energy to do its normal day-to-day functions, which include burning calories, so your metabolism is automatically lowered," explains Peeke. There are easy ways to get a good night's sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Schedule your workouts earlier in the day; exercising within two to three hours of bedtime can keep sleep at bay. And try soaking in a hot bath, since studies show that warm water makes it easier to fall asleep. Chill out. Long-term stress can make you fat, studies have found. "When you're chronically stressed, your body is flooded with stress hormones, which stimulate fat cells deep in the abdomen to increase in size and encourage fat storage," says Peeke. "I call this toxic weight, because fat deep within your belly is more likely to increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer." And stress hormones spark your appetite, making you likely to overeat. So what's a frazzled woman to do? Make a list of all the things that relax you: playing with the dog, writing in your journal, even listening to classical music. Then allow yourself 10 to 15 minutes every day to kick back and enjoy one of these activities.

You may have heard about these so-called metabolism boosters but do they really work? Should you try them? Here's the skinny: 1. Breaking a sweat first thing in the morning. Heard that the early-bird exerciser burns the most calories? Don't buy it, says nutritionist Dale Huff. What time of day you exercise makes no difference to your metabolism. Schedule your sweat sessions for when they're convenient for you, whether it's in the morning, in the afternoon, or during your lunch hour; you'll lose weight at any time of day. 2. Vitamin B12. This vitamin is flying off health-food-store shelves, with women swearing that megadoses help boost their metabolism; but experts say no research bolsters anecdotal claims. "The B vitamins are essential, but they won't speed up your metabolism," says professor of nutrition Jeff Hampl. 3. Bikram yoga. Women all over the country are saying om to this new form of yoga, in which you perform standard poses in sweltering heat (some rooms are heated to 100 degrees!). But while this may temporarily up your metabolism, doctors say you should not sweat it out this way. "Being in hot rooms when you're already generating heat is dangerous," says Pamela Peeke, M.D. "You're at risk for dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and excessive strain on your heart." 4. Not eating after 6 p.m. Research has shown no link between evening eating and weight gain. You may be more likely to overeat when you nosh nocturnally as opposed to during the day, says Hampl, but your metabolism does not slow down significantly after 7 p.m. (though it does once you fall asleep).

7 Tips to weight loss


In order to get rid of any amount of excess weight, you must speed up metabolism. Your metabolism is a biochemical process that occurs in your body. Your metabolism helps to break down nutrients in your bloodstream. This helps you to add more lean muscle, resulting in a greater expenditure of energy, meaning you'll get rid of more fat. You have billions of cells in your body that can use up an enormous amount of energy if you are active. The fast weight loss tips listed below will help you do this. However, if you aren't active they won't burn up much at all, meaning you'll have a tendency to easily add fat to your body. Thankfully, using the fast weight loss tips in conjunction with your healthy and active lifestyle you can speed up your metabolism quite noticeably. Fast weight loss tips: #1. Eat specific foods. A number of food additives, like spices, can help to speed up your metabolism by creating a thermodynamic burn that has been shown to last a few hours after you eat. Fast weight loss tips: #2. Time your meals. The majority of your calories should be earlier in the day. Your meals should contain less total calories as the day goes on. Try to eat little or preferably nothing at all after your evening meal. Don't skip any meals. You should be eating 4 - 6 meals each day. Fast weight loss tips: #3. Make sure you eat enough. One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose weight is they don't eat enough. If you don't consume the proper amount of calories you will send your body into what is known as a survival mode. This happens when your body does not have enough calories, so it conserves energy to prepare for possible starvation. On the opposite side of this, is if you eat too many calories the excess will be stored as fat. You need to exercise in order to burn more calories than you eat. Therefore, moderation is the key when it comes to calorie intake.

Fast weight loss tips: #4. Increase your daily activities. To prevent fat storage and to drop any excess that you might be carrying you must increase your daily activities. This needs to include weight training and cardiovascular training. The more calories you burn, the faster you will lose weight. It's that simple. An increase in lean muscle mass results in a dramatic increase in fat burning. One more thing try to exercise first thing in the morning. Research has shown that you can dramatically increase your fat burning ability if you exercise after a fasted state. Meaning just after you wake up. Fast weight loss tips: #5. Do weight lifting before doing any cardiovascular work. The only exception of course is to perform 5 - 10 minutes of cardio before your weight training in order to warm up your muscles. This is important because you need the energy in your muscles for weight training. By the time your weight training session is complete you will have used up all of your preferred energy sources. This means that you will actually be burning fat cells during your cardio session. Here's what happens if you do this in reverse. First, you will only be burning carbohydrate sources of energy during your cardiovascular workout. No fat cells will be used up for energy. Next, you will not have the energy in your muscles in order to get the most out of your weight training. You will not be able to increase your lean muscle, which is very important if you want to lose your excess weight. Fast weight loss tips: #6. Change up your exercise routine on a regular basis. For the most part you should change some aspect of your workout every 2 - 3 weeks. This can be anything from the number of reps or sets per exercise. The exercise order you perform and the exercises themselves.

If you do the same thing week after week, month after month your body will start to get used to what you're doing to it and will eventually stop making changes. You will also stop adding any more lean muscle. The more muscle you have the more calories you will burn even when at rest. Fast weight loss tips: #7. Meal combinations. Always eat protein / carbohydrate meals earlier in the day. Eat protein / fat combination meals (meaning little to no carbohydrates) in the late afternoon and evening. The only exception is if you normally exercise in the evening. Then your first meal after your workout should consist of protein and carbohydrates. Never eat carbohydrates and fat together in the same meal. With these seven fast weight loss tips you will speed up metabolism and burn excess body fat at a much faster rate.

The 10 Best Exercises To Burn Fat And Lose Weight Fast

1. Exercise To Burn Fat 1 Barbell Squat

2. Exercise To Burn Fat 2 Dumbbell Swing

3. Exercise To Burn Fat 3 The Lower Abs Trifecta

4. Exercise To Burn Fat 4 Dumbbell Renegade Row

5. Exercise To Burn Fat 5 Deadlift

6. Exercise To Burn Fat 6 BOSU Ball Shoulder Press

7. Exercise To Burn Fat 7 Bulgarian Split Squat

8. Exercise To Burn Fat 8 Goblet Squat And Press

9. Exercise To Burn Fat 9 Dip Set

10. Exercise To Burn Fat 10 Dumbbell Curl And Press

CALORIES are needed to provide energy so the body functions properly. The number of calories in a food depends on the amount of energy the food provides. The number of calories a person needs depends on age, height, weight, gender, and activity level. People who consume more calories than they burn off in normal daily activity or during exercise are more likely to be overweight.
Fat: 1 gram = 9 calories Protein: 1 gram = 4 calories Carbohydrates: 1 gram = 4 calories Alcohol: 1 gram = 7 calories

FAT should account for 30% or less of the calories consumed daily, with saturated fats accounting for no more than 10% of the total fat intake. Fats are a concentrated form of energy which help maintain body temperature, and protect body tissues and organs. Fat also plays an essential role in carrying the four fatsoluble vitamins: A, D, E, and K. Excess calories from protein and carbohydrates are converted to and stored as fat. Even if you are eating mostly "fat free" foods, excess consumption will result in additional body fat. Fat calories in food are readily stored, while it takes energy to transform protein and carbohydrates to body fat. The only proven way to reduce body fat is to burn more calories than one consumes.
Saturated Fat: tends to increase blood cholesterol levels. Most saturated fats tend to be solid at room temperature, with the exception of tropical oils. found mostly in meat and dairy products, as well as some vegetable oils, such as coconut and palm oils (tropical oils). Butter is high in saturated fat, while margarine tends to have more unsaturated fat. tends to lower blood cholesterol levels found mostly in plant sources. (safflower, sunflower, soybean, corn, cottonseed) tends to lower LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) found in both plant and animal products, such as olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, and in some plant foods such as avocado

Polyunsaturated Fat: Monounsaturated Fat:

CHOLESTEROL intake should not exceed 300 milligrams a day. Individuals differ on their absorption of dietary cholesterol, what is important is ones level of blood cholesterol. High blood cholesterol has been linked to the occurrence of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a buildup of fatty deposits in the coronary arteries and other blood vessels, and is a leading cause of heart attacks. Dietary cholesterol is only found in foods from animal sources, including meat, fish, milk, eggs, cheese, and butter. You may have heard the terms HDL and LDL discussed in relation to blood cholesterol and heart disease. HDL and LDL are lipoproteins, substances found in the bloodstream, that transport cholesterol and triglycerides in the body.
HDLs help remove cholesterol from the blood, protecting you from heart disease (atherosclerosis). LDLs are thought to deposit cholesterol in artery walls, increasing your risk of heart disease (atherosclerosis). Most abundant type, LDL carries approximately 65% of the total circulating cholesterol. High levels of LDL are associated with atherosclerosis.

CARBOHYDRATES are a major source of energy and should account for 50% to 60% of calories consumed each day.
Sugars: Complex Carbohydrates: monosaccharides and disaccharides found in fruits (sucrose, glucose, fructose, pentose), milk (lactose), and soft drinks and sweets. polysaccharides found in whole grain cereals, flour, bread, rice, corn, oats, potatoes, and legumes.

DIETARY FIBER Sources of fiber from highest to lowest are highfiber grain products, nuts, legumes (kidney, navy, black and pinto beans), vegetables, fruits, and refined grain products.

Soluble Fiber:

Insoluble Fiber:

may help lower blood cholesterol by inhibiting digestion of fat and cholesterol; helps control blood sugar in people with diabetes. found in peas, beans, oats, barley, some fruits and vegetables (apples, oranges, carrots), and psyllium. helps prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulosis found in bran (wheat, oat, and rice), wheat germ, cauliflower, green beans, potatoes, celery

PROTEIN should account for 10% to 20% of the calories consumed each day. Protein is essential to the structure of red blood cells, for the proper functioning of antibodies resisting infection, for the regulation of enzymes and hormones, for growth, and for the repair of body tissue. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are found in a variety of foods. Meat, milk, cheese, and egg are complete proteins that have all the essential amino acids. Other sources of protein include whole grains, rice, corn, beans, legumes, oatmeal, peas, and peanut butter. For those who do not eat meat, eggs, or dairy products, it is important to eat a variety of these other foods in order to get enough protein. SODIUM intake is recommended to be less than 3,000 milligrams daily. One teaspoon of table salt contains about 2,000 milligrams of sodium. The difference between "sodium" and "salt" can be confusing. Sodium is a mineral found in various foods including table salt (sodium chloride). Table salt is 40% sodium. People with high blood pressure (hypertension) may be instructed by their doctor or dietitian to reduce sodium intake. High blood pressure can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, or kidney disease. The body needs a small amount of sodium to help maintain normal blood pressure and normal function of muscles and nerves. High sodium intake can contribute to water retention. Sodium is found in table salt, baking soda, monosodium glutamate (MSG), various seasonings, additives, condiments, meat, fish, poultry, dairy foods, eggs, smoked meats, olives, and pickled foods. POTASSIUM is essential for maintaining proper fluid balance, nerve impulse function, muscle function, cardiac (heart muscle) function Sources: bananas, raisins, apricots, oranges, avacadoes, dates, cantaloupe, watermelon, prunes, broccoli, spinach, carrots, potato, sweet potato, winter squash, mushrooms, peas, lentils, dried beans, peanuts, milk, yogurt, lean meats VITAMINS AND MINERALS are required for the regulation of the body's metabolic functions, and are found naturally in the foods we eat. Many foods are fortified in order to provide additional nutrients, or to replace nutrients that may have been lost during the processing of the food. Most people are able to obtain satisfactory nutrition from the wide selection of foods available in the United States. If a person is not able to eat a variety of foods from the basic food groups, then a vitamin and mineral supplement may be necessary. However, except for certain unusual health conditions, very few persons should need more than 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance for any single nutrient. Large doses of vitamin and mineral supplements can be harmful. Vitamins come in two varieties: fat soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body for long periods of time, while excess amounts of water-soluble vitamins are excreted in the urine.
Vitamin A needed for new cell growth, healthy skin, hair, and tissues, and vision in dim light sources: dark green and yellow vegetables and yellow fruits, such as broccoli spinach, turnip greens, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cantaloupe, and apricots, and in animal sources such as liver, milk, butter, cheese, and whole eggs. promotes absorption and use of calcium and phosphate for healthy bones and teeth sources: milk (fortified), cheese, whole eggs, liver, salmon, and fortified margarine. The skin can synthesize vitamin D if exposed to enough sunlight on a regular basis. protects red blood cells and helps prevent destruction of vitamin A and C sources: margarine and vegetable oil (soybean, corn, safflower, and cottonseed), wheat germ, green leafy vegetables. necessary for normal blood clotting and synthesis of proteins found in plasma, bone, and kidneys.

Vitamin D

Vitamin E

Vitamin K

sources: spinach, lettuce, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, wheat bran, organ meats, cereals, some fruits, meats, dairy products, eggs. Vitamin C an antioxidant vitamin needed for the formation of collagen to hold the cells together and for (Ascorbic acid) healthy teeth, gums and blood vessels; improves iron absorption and resistance to infection. sources: many fresh vegetables and fruits, such as broccoli, green and red peppers, collard greens, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, lemon, cabbage, pineapples, strawberries, citrus fruits Thiamin (B1) needed for energy metabolism and the proper function of the nervous system sources: whole grains, soybeans, peas, liver, kidney, lean cuts of pork, legumes, seeds, and nuts. Riboflavin (B2) needed for energy metabolism, building tissue, and helps maintain good vision. sources: dairy products, lean meats, poultry, fish, grains, broccoli, turnip greens, asparagus, spinach, and enriched food products. Niacin needed for energy metabolism, proper digestion, and healthy nervous system sources: lean meats, liver, poultry, milk, canned salmon, leafy green vegetables Vitamin B6 needed for cell growth (Pyridoxine) sources: chicken, fish, pork, liver, kidney, whole grains, nuts, and legumes Folate (Folic Acid) promotes normal digestion; essential for development of red blood cells sources: liver, yeast, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, and some fruits Vitamin B12 needed for building proteins in the body, red blood cells, and normal function of nervous tissue sources: liver, kidney, yogurt, dairy products, fish, clams, oysters, nonfat dry milk, salmon, sardines Calcium needed for healthy bones and teeth, normal blood clotting, and nervous system functioning sources: dairy products, broccoli, cabbage, kale, tofu, sardines and salmon Iron needed for the formation of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs to the body cells sources: meats, eggs, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, whole grains and enriched food products Phosphorus needed for healthy bones and teeth, energy metabolism, and acidbase balance in the body sources: milk, grains, lean meats, food additives Magnesium needed for healthy bones and teeth, proper nervous system functioning, and energy metabolism sources: dairy products, meat, fish, poultry, green vegetables, legumes Zinc needed for cell reproduction, tissue growth and repair sources: meat, seafood, and liver, eggs, milk, whole-grain products Pantothenic Acid needed for energy metabolism sources: egg yolk, liver, kidney, yeast, broccoli, lean beef, skim milk, sweet potatoes, molasses Copper needed for synthesis of hemoglobin, proper iron metabolism, and maintenance of blood vessels sources: seafood, nuts, legumes, green leafy vegetables Manganese needed for enzyme structure sources: whole grain products, fruits and vegetables, tea

Activity, Exercise or Sport (1 hour) Cycling, mountain bike, bmx Cycling, <10 mph, leisure bicycling Cycling, >20 mph, racing Cycling, 10-11.9 mph, light Cycling, 12-13.9 mph, moderate Cycling, 14-15.9 mph, vigorous Cycling, 16-19 mph, very fast, racing Unicycling

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Stationary cycling, very light Stationary cycling, light Stationary cycling, moderate Stationary cycling, vigorous Stationary cycling, very vigorous Calisthenics, vigorous, pushups, situps Calisthenics, light Circuit training, minimal rest Weight lifting, body building, vigorous Weight lifting, light workout Health club exercise Stair machine Rowing machine, light Rowing machine, moderate Rowing machine, vigorous Rowing machine, very vigorous Ski machine Aerobics, low impact Aerobics, high impact Aerobics, step aerobics Aerobics, general Jazzercise Stretching, hatha yoga Mild stretching Instructing aerobic class Water aerobics Ballet, twist, jazz, tap Ballroom dancing, slow Ballroom dancing, fast Running, 5 mph (12 minute mile) Running, 5.2 mph (11.5 minute mile) Running, 6 mph (10 min mile) Running, 6.7 mph (9 min mile) Running, 7 mph (8.5 min mile) Running, 7.5mph (8 min mile) Running, 8 mph (7.5 min mile) Running, 8.6 mph (7 min mile) Running, 9 mph (6.5 min mile)

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Running, 10 mph (6 min mile) Running, 10.9 mph (5.5 min mile) Running, cross country Running, general Running, on a track, team practice Running, stairs, up Track and field (shot, discus) Track and field (high jump, pole vault) Track and field (hurdles) Archery Badminton Basketball game, competitive Playing basketball, non game Basketball, officiating Basketball, shooting baskets Basketball, wheelchair Running, training, pushing wheelchair Billiards Bowling Boxing, in ring Boxing, punching bag Boxing, sparring Coaching: football, basketball, soccer Cricket (batting, bowling) Croquet Curling Darts (wall or lawn) Fencing Football, competitive Football, touch, flag, general Football or baseball, playing catch Frisbee playing, general Frisbee, ultimate frisbee Golf, general Golf, walking and carrying clubs Golf, driving range Golf, miniature golf Golf, walking and pulling clubs

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1308 1471 735 654 817 1226 327 490 817 286 368 654 490 572 368 531 654 204 245 981 490 735 327 409 204 327 204 490 735 654 204 245 654 368 368 245 245 351

1489 1675 838 745 931 1396 372 558 931 326 419 745 558 651 419 605 745 233 279 1117 558 838 372 465 233 372 233 558 838 745 233 279 745 419 419 279 279 400

Golf, using power cart Gymnastics Hacky sack Handball Handball, team Hockey, field hockey Hockey, ice hockey Riding a horse, general Horesback riding, saddling horse Horseback riding, grooming horse Horseback riding, trotting Horseback riding, walking Horse racing, galloping Horse grooming, moderate Horseshoe pitching Jai alai Martial arts, judo, karate, jujitsu Martial arts, kick boxing Martial arts, tae kwan do Krav maga training Juggling Kickball Lacrosse Orienteering Playing paddleball Paddleball, competitive Polo Racquetball, competitive Playing racquetball Rock climbing, ascending rock Rock climbing, rappelling Jumping rope, fast Jumping rope, moderate Jumping rope, slow Rugby Shuffleboard, lawn bowling Skateboarding Roller skating

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286 327 327 981 654 654 654 327 286 286 531 204 654 490 245 981 817 817 817 817 327 572 654 735 490 817 654 817 572 899 654 981 817 654 817 245 409 572

326 372 372 1117 745 745 745 372 326 326 605 233 745 558 279 1117 931 931 931 931 372 651 745 838 558 931 745 931 651 1024 745 1117 931 745 931 279 465 651

Roller blading, in-line skating Sky diving Soccer, competitive Playing soccer Softball or baseball Softball, officiating Softball, pitching Squash Table tennis, ping pong Tai chi Playing tennis Tennis, doubles Tennis, singles Trampoline Volleyball, competitive Playing volleyball Volleyball, beach Wrestling Wallyball Backpacking, Hiking with pack Carrying infant, level ground Carrying infant, upstairs Carrying 16 to 24 lbs, upstairs Carrying 25 to 49 lbs, upstairs Standing, playing with children, light Walk/run, playing with children, moderate Walk/run, playing with children, vigorous Carrying small children Loading, unloading car Climbing hills, carrying up to 9 lbs Climbing hills, carrying 10 to 20 lb Climbing hills, carrying 21 to 42 lb Climbing hills, carrying over 42 lb Walking downstairs Hiking, cross country Bird watching Marching, rapidly, military Children's games, hopscotch, dodgeball

708 177 590 413 295 236 354 708 236 236 413 354 472 207 472 177 472 354 413 413 207 295 354 472 165 236 295 177 177 413 443 472 531 177 354 148 384 295

844 211 704 493 352 281 422 844 281 281 493 422 563 246 563 211 563 422 493 493 246 352 422 563 197 281 352 211 211 493 528 563 633 211 422 176 457 352

981 245 817 572 409 327 490 981 327 327 572 490 654 286 654 245 654 490 572 572 286 409 490 654 229 327 409 245 245 572 613 654 735 245 490 204 531 409

1117 279 931 651 465 372 558 1117 372 372 651 558 745 326 745 279 745 558 651 651 326 465 558 745 261 372 465 279 279 651 698 745 838 279 558 233 605 465

Pushing stroller or walking with children Pushing a wheelchair Race walking Rock climbing, mountain climbing Walking using crutches Walking the dog Walking, under 2.0 mph, very slow Walking 2.0 mph, slow Walking 2.5 mph Walking 3.0 mph, moderate Walking 3.5 mph, brisk pace Walking 3.5 mph, uphill Walking 4.0 mph, very brisk Walking 4.5 mph Walking 5.0 mph Boating, power, speed boat Canoeing, camping trip Canoeing, rowing, light Canoeing, rowing, moderate Canoeing, rowing, vigorous Crew, sculling, rowing, competition Kayaking Paddle boat Windsurfing, sailing Sailing, competition Sailing, yachting, ocean sailing Skiing, water skiing Ski mobiling Skin diving, fast Skin diving, moderate Skin diving, scuba diving Snorkeling Surfing, body surfing or board surfing Whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing Swimming laps, freestyle, fast Swimming laps, freestyle, slow Swimming backstroke Swimming breaststroke

148 236 384 472 295 177 118 148 177 195 224 354 295 372 472 148 236 177 413 708 708 295 236 177 295 177 354 413 944 738 413 295 177 295 590 413 413 590

176 281 457 563 352 211 141 176 211 232 267 422 352 443 563 176 281 211 493 844 844 352 281 211 352 211 422 493 1126 880 493 352 211 352 704 493 493 704

204 327 531 654 409 245 163 204 245 270 311 490 409 515 654 204 327 245 572 981 981 409 327 245 409 245 490 572 1308 1022 572 409 245 409 817 572 572 817

233 372 605 745 465 279 186 233 279 307 354 558 465 586 745 233 372 279 651 1117 1117 465 372 279 465 279 558 651 1489 1163 651 465 279 465 931 651 651 931

Swimming butterfly Swimming leisurely, not laps Swimming sidestroke Swimming synchronized Swimming, treading water, fast, vigorous Swimming, treading water, moderate Water aerobics, water calisthenics Water polo Water volleyball Water jogging Diving, springboard or platform Ice skating, < 9 mph Ice skating, average speed Ice skating, rapidly Speed skating, ice, competitive Cross country snow skiing, slow Cross country skiing, moderate Cross country skiing, vigorous Cross country skiing, racing Cross country skiing, uphill Snow skiing, downhill skiing, light Downhill snow skiing, moderate Downhill snow skiing, racing Sledding, tobagganing, luge Snow shoeing Snowmobiling General housework Cleaning gutters Painting Sit, playing with animals Walk / run, playing with animals Bathing dog Mowing lawn, walk, power mower Mowing lawn, riding mower Walking, snow blower Riding, snow blower Shoveling snow by hand Raking lawn

649 354 472 472 590 236 236 590 177 472 177 325 413 531 885 413 472 531 826 974 295 354 472 413 472 207 207 295 266 148 236 207 325 148 207 177 354 254

774 422 563 563 704 281 281 704 211 563 211 387 493 633 1056 493 563 633 985 1161 352 422 563 493 563 246 246 352 317 176 281 246 387 176 246 211 422 303

899 490 654 654 817 327 327 817 245 654 245 449 572 735 1226 572 654 735 1144 1348 409 490 654 572 654 286 286 409 368 204 327 286 449 204 286 245 490 351

1024 558 745 745 931 372 372 931 279 745 279 512 651 838 1396 651 745 838 1303 1536 465 558 745 651 745 326 326 465 419 233 372 326 512 233 326 279 558 400

Gardening, general Bagging grass, leaves Watering lawn or garden Weeding, cultivating garden Carpentry, general Carrying heavy loads Carrying moderate loads upstairs General cleaning Cleaning, dusting Taking out trash Walking, pushing a wheelchair Teach physical education,exercise class Teach exercise classes (& participate)

236 236 89 266 207 472 472 207 148 177 236 236 384

281 281 106 317 246 563 563 246 176 211 281 281 457

327 327 123 368 286 654 654 286 204 245 327 327 531

372 372 140 419 326 745 745 326 233 279 372 372 605

Absorption and Transport of Nutrients Digested molecules of food, water and minerals from the diet, are absorbed from the cavity of the upper small intestine. The absorbed materials cross the mucosa into the blood, and are carried off in the bloodstream to other parts of the body for storage or further chemical change. This process varies with different types of nutrients. Carbohydrates: An average American adult eats about half a pound of carbohydrate each day. Some of our most common foods contain mostly carbohydrates. Examples are bread, potatoes, pastries, candy, rice, spaghetti, fruits, and vegetables. Many of these foods contain both starch, which can be digested, and fiber, which the body cannot digest. The digestible carbohydrates are broken into simpler molecules by enzymes in the saliva, in juice produced by the pancreas, and in the lining of the small intestine. Starch is digested in two steps: First, an enzyme in the saliva and pancreatic juice breaks the starch into molecules called maltose; then an enzyme in the lining of the small intestine (maltase) splits the maltose into glucose molecules that can be absorbed into the blood. Glucose is carried through the bloodstream to the liver, where it is stored or used to provide energy for the work of the body. Table sugar is another carbohydrate that must be digested to be useful. An enzyme in the lining of the small intestine digests table sugar into glucose and fructose, each of which can be absorbed from the intestinal cavity into the blood. Milk contains yet another type of sugar, lactose, which is changed into absorbable molecules by an enzyme called lactase, also found in the intestinal lining. Protein: Foods such as meat, eggs, and beans consist of large molecules of protein that must be digested by enzymes before they can be used to build and repair body tissues. An enzyme in the juice of the stomach starts the digestion of swallowed protein. Further digestion of the protein is completed in the small intestine. Here, several enzymes from the pancreatic juice and the lining of the intestine carry out the breakdown of huge protein molecules into small molecules called amino acids. These small molecules can be absorbed from the hollow of the small intestine into the blood and then be carried to all parts of the body to build the walls and other parts of cells.

Fats: Fat molecules are a rich source of energy for the body. The first step in digestion of a fat is to dissolve it into the watery content of the intestinal cavity. The bile acids produced by the liver act as natural detergents to dissolve fat in water and allow the enzymes to break the large fat molecules into smaller molecules, some of which are fatty acids and cholesterol. The bile acids combine with the fatty acids and cholesterol and help these molecules to move into the cells of the mucosa. In these cells the small molecules are formed back into large molecules, most of which pass into vessels (called lymphatics) near the intestine. These small vessels carry the reformed fat to the veins of the chest, and the blood carries the fat to storage depots in different parts of the body. Vitamins: Another important part of our food that is absorbed from the small intestine is the class of chemicals we call vitamins. There are two different types of vitamins, classified by the fluid in which they can be dissolved: water -soluble vitamins (all the B vitamins and vitamin C) and fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, and K). Water and Salt: Most of the material absorbed from the cavity of the small intestine is water in which salt is dissolved. The salt and water come from the food and liquid we swallow and the juices secreted by the many digestive glands. In a healthy adult, more than a gallon of water containing over an ounce of salt is absorbed from the intestine every 24 hours.

Why Is Digestion Important? When we eat such things as bread, meat, and vegetables, they are not in a form that the body can use as nourishment. Our food and drink must be changed into smaller molecules of nutrients before they can be absorbed into the blood and carried to cells throughout the body. Digestion is the process by which food and drink are broken down into their smallest parts so that the body can use them to build and nourish cells and to provide energy. The digestive system is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus. Inside this tube is a lining called the mucosa. In the mouth, stomach, and small intestine, the mucosa contains tiny glands that produce juices to help digest food. Digestion involves the mixing of food, its movement through the digestive tract, and chemical breakdown of the large molecules of food into smaller molecules. Digestion begins in the mouth, when we chew and swallow, and is completed in the small intestine. The chemical process varies somewhat for different kinds of food. Movement of Food Through the System Mouth: Seconds Esophagus: Seconds Stomach: Up to 3 hours Small Intestine: Minutes Large Intestine: Hours

The large, hollow organs of the digestive system contain muscle that enables their walls to move. The movement of organ walls can propel food and liquid and also can mix the contents within each organ. Typical movement of the esophagus, stomach, and intestine is called peristalsis. The action of peristalsis looks like an ocean wave moving through the muscle. The muscle of the organ produces a narrowing and then propels the narrowed portion slowly down the length of the organ. These waves of narrowing push the food and fluid in front of them through each hollow organ. The first major muscle movement occurs when food or liquid is swallowed. Although we are able to start swallowing by choice, once the swallow begins, it becomes involuntary and proceeds under the control of the nerves. The esophagus is the organ into which the swallowed food is pushed. It connects the throat above with the stomach below. At the junction of the esophagus and stomach, there is a ringlike valve closing the passage

between the two organs. However, as the food approaches the closed ring, the surrounding muscles relax and allow the food to pass. The food then enters the stomach, which has three mechanical tasks to do. First, the stomach must store the swallowed food and liquid. This requires the muscle of the upper part of the stomach to relax and accept large volumes of swallowed material. The second job is to mix up the food, liquid, and digestive juice produced by the stomach. The lower part of the stomach mixes these materials by its muscle action. The third task of the stomach is to empty its contents slowly into the small intestine. Several factors affect emptying of the stomach, including the nature of the food (mainly its fat and protein content) and the degree of muscle action of the emptying stomach and the next organ to receive the stomach contents (the small intestine). As the food is digested in the small intestine and dissolved into the juices from the pancreas, liver, and intestine, the contents of the intestine are mixed and pushed forward to allow further digestion. Glands of the digestive system are crucial to the process of digestion. They produce both the juices that break down the food and the hormones that help to control the process. The glands that act first are in the mouth--the salivary glands. Saliva produced by these glands contains an enzyme that begins to digest the starch from food into smaller molecules. The next set of digestive glands is in the stomach lining. They produce stomach acid and an enzyme that digests protein. One of the unsolved puzzles of the digestive system is why the acid juice of the stomach does not dissolve the tissue of the stomach itself. In most people, the stomach mucosa is able to resist the juice, although food and other tissues of the body cannot. After the stomach empties the food and its juice into the small intestine, the juices of two other digestive organs mix with the food to continue the process of digestion. One of these organs is the pancreas. It produces a juice that contains a wide array of enzymes to break down the carbohydrates, fat, and protein in our food. Other enzymes that are active in the process come from glands in the wall of the intestine or even a part of that wall. The liver produces yet another digestive juice--bile. The bile is stored between meals in the gallbladder. At mealtime, it is squeezed out of the gallbladder into the bile ducts to reach the intestine and mix with the fat in our food. The bile acids dissolve the fat into the watery contents of the intestine, much like detergents that dissolve grease from a frying pan. After the fat is dissolved, it is digested by enzymes from the pancreas and the lining of the intestine.

How Is the Digestive Process Controlled? Hormone Regulators A fascinating feature of the digestive system is that it contains its own regulators. The major hormones that control the functions of the digestive system are produced and released by cells in the mucosa of the stomach and small intestine. These hormones are released into the blood of the digestive tract, travel back to the heart and through the arteries, and return to the digestive system, where they stimulate digestive juices and cause organ movement. The hormones that control digestion are gastrin, secretin, and cholecystokinin (CCK): Gastrin causes the stomach to produce an acid for dissolving and digesting some foods. It is also necessary for the normal growth of the lining of the stomach, small intestine, and colon. Secretin causes the pancreas to send out a digestive juice that is rich in bicarbonate. It stimulates the stomach to produce pepsin, an enzyme that digests protein, and it also stimulates the liver to produce bile. CCK causes the pancreas to grow and to produce the enzymes of pancreatic juice, and it causes the gallbladder to empty.

Nerve Regulators Two types of nerves help to control the action of the digestive system. Extrinsic (outside) nerves come to the digestive organs from the unconscious part of the brain or from the spinal cord. They release a chemical called acetylcholine and another called adrenaline. Acetylcholine causes the muscle of the digestive organs to squeeze with more force and increase the "push" of food and juice through the digestive tract. Acetylcholine also causes the stomach and pancreas to produce more digestive juice. Adrenaline relaxes the muscle of the stomach and intestine and decreases the flow of blood to these organs. Even more important, though, are the intrinsic (inside) nerves, which make up a very dense network embedded in the walls of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon. The intrinsic nerves are triggered to act when the walls of the hollow organs are stretched by food. They release many different substances that speed up or delay the movement of food and the production of juices by the digestive organs.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------CompoundExercises Compoundexercisesarethemostenergydemandingweightliftingexercises.Theseexercisesaremulti jointmovementsthatrequirenumerousdifferentmusclegroupstoperform,suchasbenchpress,pull ups,squats,deadlifts,snatchandpowercleanandpress.Thesearehighenergyexercisesbecausethey worknearlyeverymajormusclegroupinthebody.Themoremusclegroupsinvolvedinthemovement, themoreenergyisrequired. Intensity Intensityisalsoaffectedbytheresistance,durationorrepetitionsandrestperiodsperformedorused duringtheexercise.Vigorousintensityweightliftingwillburnmorecaloriesthanmoderateorlower intensityweightliftingsessionswhenperformingthesameexerciseorexercises.Avigorousintensity weightliftingexercisemightbeperformingthedeadliftusingaheavyweightat85to95percentofyour onerepetitionmaximum,1RM,fortwoorthreerepetitions,ortomusclefailure,andthenrestingtwo minutesbeforerepeatingforfourorfivesets.Itcouldalsomeandeadliftingatmoderateintensity75to 85percentofyour1RMforsixtoeightrepsresting60secondsbetweensets.Additionally,including supersetsinyourroutineswillalsoincreasetheintensityandhelptoburnmorecalories.Supersetsare whenyouperformanexercisethenimmediatelywithoutresting,performadifferentexercise.The eliminationofrestperiodssignificantlyincreasestheintensity,becauseitkeepsyourenergydemands upandyourheartrateelevated,thusburningmorecalories. WeightliftingForFatLoss Asamplehighintensityweightliftingworkoutwillinvolvemostlycompoundexercisesperformedusinga moderatelyhighresistanceandrepetitionrangewithminimalrestperiods.Asampleworkoutmight startoutbycompletingfivepullupsevery30secondsforthreeminutes,followedbyfivesetsof10 repetitionsofdeadliftsat70percentofyour1RMresting60secondsbetweensets,oncludingwith threeroundsof10repetitionsofpushups,jumpsquats,benchpressandshoulderpress.Donotrest betweenexercisesandrestonlyoneminuteaftereachround.

BurningFatandCalories Thehighertheintensityoftheexercise,alargerpercentageofcaloriesareburnedfromcarbohydrate stores.Highintensityweighttrainingtypicallywillburnmostitcaloriesfromcarbohydratestoresduring theweightliftingsetoreventheentiresession.However,keepingyourheartrateelevatedthroughout yoursessioncanhelpincreasethepercentageofcaloriesburnedfromfatstores.Althoughlower intensityexercisesdoburnalargerpercentageofcaloriesfromfat,higherintensityexerciseburnsmore totalcalories.Additionally,highintensityweightliftingsessionsaremoreeffectiveatkeepingyour metabolismelevatedpostworkoutthanlowerintensityweightliftingsessions,essentiallyburningmore totalcaloriesandmorecaloriesfromfatstores.

CortisolProblems
Cortisol, a glucocorticoid (steroid hormone), is produced from cholesterol in the two adrenal glands located on top of each kidney. It is normally released in response to events and circumstances such as waking up in the morning, exercising, and acute stress. Cortisols far-reaching, systemic effects play many roles in the bodys effort to carry out its processes and maintain homeostasis. Of interest to the dietetics community, cortisol also plays an important role in human nutrition. It regulates energy by selecting the right type and amount of substrate (carbohydrate, fat, or protein) the body needs to meet the physiological demands placed on it. When chronically elevated, cortisol can have deleterious effects on weight, immune function, and chronic disease risk. Cortisol (along with its partner epinephrine) is best known for its involvement in the fight-or-flight response and temporary increase in energy production, at the expense of processes that are not required for immediate survival. The resulting biochemical and hormonal imbalances (ideally) resolve due to a hormonally driven negative feedback loop. The following is a typical example of how the stress response operates as its intended survival mechanism: 1. An individual is faced with a stressor. 2. A complex hormonal cascade ensues, and the adrenals secrete cortisol. 3. Cortisol prepares the body for a fight-or-flight response by flooding it with glucose, supplying an immediate energy source to large muscles. 4. Cortisol inhibits insulin production in an attempt to prevent glucose from being stored, favoring its immediate use. 5. Cortisol narrows the arteries while the epinephrine increases heart rate, both of which force blood to pump harder and faster. 6. The individual addresses and resolves the situation. 7. Hormone levels return to normal. So whats the problem? In short, the theory is that with our ever-stressed, fast-paced lifestyle, our bodies are pumping out cortisol almost constantly, which can wreak havoc on our health. This whole-body process, mediated by hormones and the immune system, identifies cortisol as one of the many players. But isolating its role helps put into context the many complex mechanisms that lead to specific physiological damage.

Whole-Body Effects of Elevated Cortisol Blood Sugar Imbalance and Diabetes Under stressful conditions, cortisol provides the body with glucose by tapping into protein stores via gluconeogenesis in the liver. This energy can help an individual fight or flee a stressor. However, elevated cortisol over the long term consistently produces glucose, leading to increased blood sugar levels. Theoretically, this mechanism can increase the risk for type 2 diabetes, although a causative factor is unknown.1 Since a principal function of cortisol is to thwart the effect of insulinessentially rendering the cells insulin resistant the body remains in a general insulin-resistant state when cortisol levels are chronically elevated. Over time, the pancreas struggles to keep up with the high demand for insulin, glucose levels in the blood remain high, the cells cannot get the sugar they need, and the cycle continues. Weight Gain and Obesity Repeated elevation of cortisol can lead to weight gain.2 One way is via visceral fat storage. Cortisol can mobilize triglycerides from storage and relocate them to visceral fat cells (those under the muscle, deep in the abdomen). Cortisol also aids adipocytes development into mature fat cells. The biochemical process at the cellular level has to do with enzyme control (11-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase), which converts cortisone to cortisol in adipose tissue. More of these enzymes in the visceral fat cells may mean greater amounts of cortisol produced at the tissue level, adding insult to injury (since the adrenals are already pumping out cortisol). Also, visceral fat cells have more cortisol receptors than subcutaneous fat. A second way in which cortisol may be involved in weight gain goes back to the blood sugar-insulin problem. Consistently high blood glucose levels along with insulin suppression lead to cells that are starved of glucose. But those cells are crying out for energy, and one way to regulate is to send hunger signals to the brain. This can lead to overeating. And, of course, unused glucose is eventually stored as body fat. Another connection is cortisols effect on appetite and cravings for high-calorie foods. Studies have demonstrated a direct association between cortisol levels and calorie intake in populations of women.3 Cortisol may directly influence appetite and cravings by binding to hypothalamus receptors in the brain. Cortisol also indirectly influences appetite by modulating other hormones and stress responsive factors known to stimulate appetite. Immune System Suppression Cortisol functions to reduce inflammation in the body, which is good, but over time, these efforts to reduce inflammation also suppress the immune system. Chronic inflammation, caused by lifestyle factors such as poor diet and stress, helps to keep cortisol levels soaring, wreaking havoc on the immune system. An unchecked immune system responding to unabated inflammation can lead to myriad problems: an increased susceptibility to colds and other illnesses, an increased risk of cancer, the tendency to develop food allergies, an increased risk of an assortment of gastrointestinal issues (because a healthy intestine is dependent on a healthy immune system), and possibly an increased risk of autoimmune disease.4,5 Gastrointestinal Problems Cortisol activates the sympathetic nervous system, causing all of the physiologic responses previously described. As a rule, the parasympathetic nervous system must then be suppressed, since the two systems cannot operate simultaneously. The parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated during quiet activities such as eating, which is important because for the body to best use food energy, enzymes and hormones controlling digestion and absorption must be working at their peak performance. Imagine what goes on in a cortisol-flooded, stressed-out body when food is consumed: Digestion and absorption are compromised, indigestion develops, and the mucosal lining becomes irritated and inflamed. This may sound familiar. Ulcers are more common during stressful times, and many people with irritable bowel syndrome and colitis report improvement in their symptoms when they master stress management.5 And, of course, the resulting mucosal inflammation leads to the increased production of cortisol, and the cycle continues as the body becomes increasingly taxed.4 Cardiovascular Disease As weve seen, cortisol constricts blood vessels and increases blood pressure to enhance the delivery of oxygenated blood. This is advantageous for fight-or-flight situations but not perpetually. Over time, such arterial constriction and high blood pressure can lead to vessel damage and plaque buildupthe perfect scenario for a heart attack. This may

explain why stressed-out type A (and the newly recognized type D) personalities are at significantly greater risk for heart disease than the more relaxed type B personalities.6 Fertility Problems Elevated cortisol relating to prolonged stress can lend itself to erectile dysfunction or the disruption of normal ovulation and menstrual cycles. Furthermore, the androgenic sex hormones are produced in the same glands as cortisol and epinephrine, so excess cortisol production may hamper optimal production of these sex hormones.5 Other Issues Long-term stress and elevated cortisol may also be linked to insomnia, chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroid disorders, dementia, depression, and other conditions.4,5 Assessing Cortisol Levels The adrenal stress index (ASI), a salivary test, is the preferred test for adrenal function and a well-accepted, noninvasive, reliable indication of cortisol levels.7-10 However, a trained professional should interpret the results because factors such as age, gender, timing with the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, lactation, smoking, medications, medical conditions, caffeine and alcohol consumption, caloric intake, and other test results (particularly related hormone tests such as sex hormone levels) will contextualize the significance and meaning of the measurement.9,10 The ASI is available as a home kit. Four saliva samples are taken at specific times and then shipped to a laboratory for analysis. Conveniently, in addition to measuring the adrenal hormones cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone, the same test also measures antibodies to gliadin, often used as a marker for intestinal inflammation, Candida infections, and sensitivity to gluten-containing grains. (Note that this test cannot diagnose gluten sensitivity definitively.)7 A blood cortisol test is available, but it is considered inferior to the salivary test for three reasons: It tests cortisol levels only at one given point in time, which provides less information than levels at four times (which reveals important imbalances); the blood test itself (or simply going to the doctor) can stress a person enough to cause a cortisol surge; and it is considered less sensitive because it measures the total hormone level as opposed to specific components.5 The Good News So far, it may seem as though stressed-out folks are destined for failed health despite their best intentions. Fortunately, there is much we can do for our clients (and ourselves) to reverse the path of destruction. The best approach to keeping cortisol levels at bay is mastering stress management and optimizing diet. Stress Management First, regardless of our scope of practice, we can always recommend strategies for effective stress management. Books such as Woodson Merrells The Source have some powerful yet commonsense, evidence-based advice for de-stressing and regaining optimal health. Some strategies include getting more and better quality sleep, breath work, acupuncture, cardio/resistance/relaxation exercises, and addressing psychological/emotional issues. Minimizing stress may require a team approach; we can acknowledge its importance and leave the details to the experts. The Anti-Inflammatory Diet Systemic inflammation, as noted previously, causes elevated cortisol levels. If we can naturally decrease inflammation in the body and minimize stress, decreased cortisol levels should follow, resulting in decreased chronic disease risk and improved wellness. The biochemical processes leading to and abating inflammation are complex and multi-faceted, but as experts in diet and lifestyle, we can make a significant difference. Like any diet designed to manage a condition, there is no one perfect anti-inflammatory diet. However, based on known properties of foods and clinical research, we can devise a generally low-inflammatory diet and tweak it over time. Obviously, maximizing the anti-inflammatory foods and minimizing the proinflammatory ones is a big step toward controlling inflammation. Incidentally, dietary strategies for controlling inflammation may also help with adrenal support in general, since diet can directly affect adrenal burden (eg, cortisol is released in response to metabolic demands). Since lifestyle factors are generally the most significant modulators of inflammation, nutrition professionals can make a huge difference in our clients and patients overall health.4 The following is a general list of diet and lifestyle factors believed to be the most significant contributors to inflammation:

high glycemic load; saturated and trans fatty acids; caffeine; alcohol in excess; insufficient intake of micronutrients and antioxidants; a low-fiber diet; a sedentary lifestyle; and overweight.4 To minimize inflammation, the following are recommended: a low glycemic load diet; elimination of trans fats and minimal intake of saturated fats; elimination or reduction of caffeine; alcohol in moderation or not at all; boosting consumption of whole plant foods to maximize intake of fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients: with vegetables, fruits, whole intact grains, nuts, seeds, and beans; meeting recommended intake of omega-3 fatty acids (may be best measured as a ratio to omega-6 fatty acids); regular exercise; and probiotics, if warranted. Clearly, these are merely guidelines. Therapeutic nutritional recommendations need to be customized for each individuals condition, preferences, and goals. Note that while medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs temporarily alleviate inflammation, hundreds of studies have demonstrated that long-term use can cause damage over time and even exacerbate systemic inflammation. Summary Cortisol is a fascinating hormone that is important to nutrition science on many levels. Understanding the science behind it, including its behaviors and relationships to other biochemical components, the immune system, and health outcomes, is crucial to our success in treating people who seek dietary intervention for stress, illness, fatigue, and other common complaints. Implementation of targeted dietary and lifestyle approaches is an extremely powerful way to reduce stress, minimize inflammation, and reduce the risk for illness and chronic disease. True, the many biochemical processes involving cortisol and other hormones, stress, and inflammation and their impact on health and disease risk are complex and elaborate. The therapeutic diet and lifestyle strategies, however, are not. The more we learn about the way the body responds to the demands placed on it, as well as its extraordinary healing power, the more we are valued as professionals who can effectively change peoples lives by improving health, inspiring change, and increasing longevity.

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