Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kentucky cows chow down on candy

Even the tax-payers subsidizing corn isn't a good enough deal for factory farmers.  Since we are what we eat AND we are what we eat eats - what be less nutritional than corn fed cattle?  How about candy-fed cattle?

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Cattle farmers struggling with record corn prices are feeding their cows candy instead.
That's right, candy. Cows are being fed chocolate bars, gummy worms, ice cream sprinkles, marshmallows, bits of hard candy and even powdered hot chocolate mix, according to cattle farmers, bovine nutritionists and commodities dealers.

"It has been a practice going on for decades and is a very good way to for producers to reduce feed cost, and to provide less expensive food for consumers," said Ki Fanning, a livestock nutritionist with Great Plains Livestock Consulting, Inc. in Eagle, Neb.

Feeding candy to cows has become a more popular practice in tandem with the rising price of corn, which has doubled since 2009, fueled by government-subsidized demand for ethanol and this year's drought. Thrifty and resourceful farmers are tapping into the obscure market for cast-off food ingredients. Cut-rate byproducts of dubious value for human consumption seem to make fine fodder for cows. While corn goes for about $315 a ton, ice-cream sprinkles can be had for as little as $160 a ton.

"As the price of corn has climbed, farmers either sold off their pigs and cattle, or they found alternative feeds," said Mike Yoder, a dairy farmer in Middlebury, Ind. He feeds his 400 cows bits of candy, hot chocolate mix, crumbled cookies, breakfast cereal, trail mix, dried cranberries, orange peelings and ice cream sprinkles, which are blended into more traditional forms of feed, like hay.

The farmer said that he goes over the feed menu every couple of weeks with a livestock nutritionist who advised him to cap the candy at 3% of a cow's diet. He said that the sugar in ice cream sprinkles seems to increase milk production by three pounds per cow per day.

Sugar also helps to fatten up beef cattle, according to livestock nutritionist Chuck Hurst, owner of Nutritech, Inc., in Carmen, Idaho, without any ill effects to the cow, or to the person consuming its meat or milk. He said that it's the sugar in the candy that's important, and that it provides "the same kind of energy as corn."

He added that farmers feed their cows a wide assortment of byproducts beyond candy to save money.

"One guy in Montana bought a whole carload of soda crackers as feed," he said. "He had to hire a guy to open all the boxes of soda crackers."

Yoder and other farmers buy their feed from brokers like Midwest Ingredients, Inc., of Princeville, Ill., which offers a wide assortment of byproducts, including cherry juice, fish meal, peanut butter, fruit fillings, tapioca and left-over grain from distilleries.

"The buyers of corn, or feed in general, are paying a lot of money so they're definitely out there shopping around looking for cheaper stuff," said Eric Johnson of Eagan, Minn., who owns MidWest Feed Ingredient Trading. "People are price conscious and they're resourceful. Stuff comes up and they hunt it down and try to save a little bit of money."

But there is a catch -- as the demand for candy-feed goes up, so does the price. Yoder said that he has become "more aggressive in bidding for [candy-feed] because of the high price of corn." But he added that the candy "started getting expensive because other people want it too."

Yoder said he's seen the price of sprinkles rise from $160 per ton -- which was about half the price of corn -- to about $240. But he still buys the candy.

"Any time I can make a change to save two cents or three cents a cow, that makes a difference," said Yoder. "Farming is a game of inches sometimes, or half-inches. Every little penny you can find to save, you do." 
<< no mention of nutritional value for the consumers of the cows>>

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mediterranean and low-carb diets can give lasting health benefits

Mediterranean and low-carb diets can give lasting health benefits
Last Updated: Friday, October 12, 2012,15:21

Mediterranean and low-carb diets can give lasting health benefits
Washington: Mediterranean and low-carbohydrate diets have long-lasting positive effects even with partial weight regain, according to a follow-up study by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Israel’s Nuclear Research Center.

The results were published as an update to the landmark study, the workplace-based Dietary Intervention Randomized Controlled Trial (DIRECT), a tightly controlled 24-month dietary intervention.

Our follow-up subsequent data shows lasting, positive effects of Mediterranean and low-carbohydrate diets six years later,” said Dr. Dan Schwarzfuchs from the Nuclear Research Center Negev in Dimona, Israel,

The results suggest that the lipid profile (lower cholesterol, triglycerides and arteriosclerosis) improved for the long term, regardless of partial regain.
“Data from trials comparing the effectiveness of weight-loss diets are frequently limited to the intervention period,” explained BGU Prof. Iris Shai.

Overall six-year weight loss was significantly lower from baseline for Mediterranean and low-carbohydrate diets, but not for the low-fat group.

In the four-year post-intervention, participants regained nearly six pounds. Total weight change for the entire six-year period was approximately -7 lbs. for the Mediterranean diet and -3.7 lbs. for the low-carbohydrate diet.

After four years post-intervention, more than two-thirds (67 percent) of the DIRECT participants had continued with their original assigned diet, 11 percent switched to another diet and 22 percent were not dieting at all.
The researchers also found that after six years, the HDL/LDL ratio remained significantly lower only in the low-carbohydrate diet. Triglyceride levels remained significantly lower in the Mediterranean and low-carbohydrate diets. Overall, total cholesterol levels remained persistently and significantly lower in all diet groups as compared to baseline.
In the original study, 322 moderately obese subjects were randomly assigned to one of three diets: low-fat; restricted-calorie; Mediterranean; or low-carbohydrate, non-restricted-calorie, and were provided colour-labelled food per diet daily in the workplace cafeteria.

The two-year adherence rate was 85 percent. The results suggested beneficial metabolic effects to low-carb and Mediterranean diets
. Moreover, the researchers found a significant diet-induced regression in the carotid vessel wall volume across all diet groups. This change was mainly dependent on diet-induced reduction of blood pressure.
“This breakthrough, even years later, continues to yield valuable information that can help every one of us make healthier diet choices,” said Doron Krakow, executive vice president of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

“It is another example of BGU and Israeli researchers, thanks to generous funding by the Atkins foundation, improving the quality of our lives,” Krakow added.

The results were published in a peer-reviewed letter in the current New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

Monday, October 15, 2012

Improve Your Stride Without Trying

By Matt Fitzgerald
Here are four training methods:
Giant Walking Lunge
Fast running requires good hip mobility. You need to dynamically achieve a high degree of hip flexion and extension to take the large strides that speed requires. The giant walking lunge is an effective exercise to develop hip mobility. To do it, simply walk forward slowly by taking the largest strides you can and lowering the knee of the trailing leg to within an inch of the floor on each stride. Focus on reaching out ahead of your body as far as you can with the striding leg. Complete 10 lunges with each leg, alternating the striding leg as you would with normal walking.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Kneel on your right knee and place your left foot on the floor well in front of your body.  Draw your navel towards your spine and roll your pelvis backward.  Now put your weight forward into the lunge until you feel a good stretch in your right hip flexors (located where your thigh joins your pelvis).  You can enhance the stretch by raising your right arm over your head and actively reaching towards the ceiling.  Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and then repeat on the left side.
Single-Leg Running
Studies have shown that plyometrics training (or jumping drills) improves running economy by reducing ground contact time and increasing the capacity of the legs to capture and reuse energy absorbed through impact. Few runners care to make time to add plyometrics workouts to their training regimen. But you don’t have to. Instead, incorporate some single-leg running into one or two of the runs you’re already doing every week. Start by running on just your right leg for 10 strides and then on just your left leg for 10 strides. Gradually increase the number of strides you do on each leg until you reach 30 strides per leg. You will notice that it gets easier to go longer on one leg, which is a sign that your legs are adapting to the stress and your stride is becoming more efficient.
Steep Hill Sprints
If you have never done a steep hill sprint before, you should not leap into a set of 10 of steep hill sprints the very first time you try them.  These efforts place a tremendous stress on the muscles and connective tissues.  Thus, the careless beginner is at some risk of suffering a muscle or tendon strain or another such acute injury when performing steep hill sprints.  Once your legs have adapted to the stress they impose, steep hill sprints actually protect against injury.  But you must proceed with caution until you get over the hump of those early adaptations.
Your very first session, performed after completion of an easy run, should consist of just one or two 8-second sprints on a steep incline of approximately six percent.  If you don’t know what a six-percent gradient looks or feels like, get on a treadmill and adjust the incline to six percent.  Then find a hill that matches it.
Your first session will stimulate physiological adaptations that serve to better protect your muscles and connective tissues from damage in your next session.  Known to exercise scientists as the “repeated bout effect,” these adaptations occur very quickly.  If you do your first steep hill sprints on a Monday, you will be ready to do another session by Thursday—and you will almost certainly experience less muscle soreness after this second session.
Thanks to the repeated bout effect, you can increase your steep hill sprint training fairly rapidly and thereby develop strength and stride power quickly.  First, increase the number of eight-second sprints you perform by two per session per week.  Once you’re doing eight to 10 sprints, move to 10-second sprints and a steeper, eight-percent hill.  After a few more weeks, advance to 12-second sprints on a 10-percent hill.  Always allow yourself the opportunity to recovery fully between individual sprints within a session.  In other words, rest long enough so that you are able to cover just as much distance in the next sprint as you did in the previous one.  Simply walking back down the hill you just ran up should do the trick, but if you need more time, take it.
Most runners will achieve as much strength and power improvement as they can get by doing 10 to 12 hill sprints of 12 seconds each, twice a week.  Once you have reached this level and have stopped gaining strength and power, you can cut back to one set of 10 to 12 hill sprints per week.  This level of maximum power training will suffice to maintain your gains through the remainder of the training cycle.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gut Flora and the Modern Western Diet

Easier isn't necessarily better.  I frequently 'dish out' the advice: "I'd avoid that because it's too easy to digest".  I use the analogy would you choose a college based on how easy it is?  Working for things yields better results.  This is true for food selections as well.  All the processing of grains, sugars, and even processed protein sources have smaller surface area and are digested sooner in the gut than nature intended.  

Below is a great technical explanation of this phenomenon Link here

Gut microbiota, immune development and function.


Division of Surgery & Interventional Science, University College London, 4th floor, 74 Huntley Street, London WC1E 6AU, United Kingdom. Electronic address:


The microbiota of Westerners is significantly reduced in comparison to rural individuals living a similar lifestyle to our Paleolithic forefathers but also to that of other free-living primates such as the chimpanzee. The great majority of ingredients in the industrially produced foods consumed in the West are absorbed in the upper part of small intestine and thus of limited benifit to the microbiota. Lack of proper nutrition for microbiota is a major factor under-pinning dysfunctional microbiota, dysbiosis, chronically elevated inflammation, and the production and leakage of endotoxins through the various tissue barriers. Furthermore, the over comsumption of insulinogenic foods and proteotoxins, such as advanced glycation and lipoxidation molecules, gluten and zein, and a reduced intake of fruit and vegetables, are key factors behind the commonly observed elevated inflammation and the endemic of obesity and chronic diseases, factors which are also likely to be detrimental to microbiota. As a consequence of this lifestyle and the associated eating habits, most barriers, including the gut, the airways, the skin, the oral cavity, the vagina, the placenta, the blood-brain barrier, etc., are increasingly permeable. Attempts to recondition these barriers through the use of so called 'probiotics', normally applied to the gut, are rarely successful, and sometimes fail, as they are usually applied as adjunctive treatments, e.g. in parallel with heavy pharmaceutical treatment, not rarely consisting in antibiotics and chemotherapy. It is increasingly observed that the majority of pharmaceutical drugs, even those believed to have minimal adverse effects, such as proton pump inhibitors and anti-hypertensives, in fact adversely affect immune development and functions and are most likely also deleterious to microbiota. Equally, it appears that probiotic treatment is not campatable with pharmacological treatments. Eco-biological treatments, with plant-derived substances, or phytochemicals, e.g. curcumin and resveratrol, and pre-, pro- and syn-biotics offers similar effects as use of biologicals, although milder but also free from adverse effects. Such treatments should be tried as alternative therapies; mainly, to begin with, for disease prevention but also in early cases of chronic diseases. Pharmaceutical treatment has, thus far, failed to inhibit the tsunami of endemic diseases spreading around the world, and no new tools are in sight. Dramatic alterations, in direction of a paleolithic-like lifestyle and food habits, seem to be the only alternatives with the potential to control the present escalating crisis. The present review focuses on human studies, especially those of clinical relevance.
Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Running Strong–With Shorter Stride

((We have spoke about cadence before:

Harvard Prof. Dan Lieberman Running Strong–With Shorter Stride

He told me a story about Harvard Business School professor Paul Gompers, who I had written about for Runner's World in early 1988 when Gompers was a physiology student in Oxford, England. That spring, Gompers finished fourth in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in New Jersey, and had a lifetime best of 2:11:38. He quit competitive running four or five years later, and apparently has had knee problems in recent years.
"Paul was a terrible over strider, so I brought him into the lab and showed him how his impact forces changed when he switched to a forefoot strike," said Lieberman. "He made the transition smoothly, and now he's running healthy again."
After three or four years in the middle of the barefoot/minimalist running debate, Lieberman says he’s disgusted with the low quality of the discussion. “I don’t think there's anything wrong or magical about a heel strike or a forefoot strike,” he says. “We’re just trying to gather information, and we’re always careful to explain the limits of the data we have. But others rush in and jump to unsupported conclusions. Everyone wants a simple answer. Sorry, but the answers aren’t simple.”