Monday, 31 May 2010

Calorie and nutrient intake over time

These children, playing in a public space, var...Image via Wikipedia
This post has been moved to my new blog fit2thrive
I've always found it to be a lot of work to pass on things I find out. So much of it is because the ability to collaborate and communicate a lot of information easily and cheaply with a lot of people regardless of location and resources is relatively new. So we're still largely stuck with legacy ways of presenting information.

So I've been working on a way of bringing things into the digital connected age. Thankfully there is a lot out there to build on, so here is my first attempt to pass on some ideas and present some arguments using latest technology.

I've noticed for many years that physical activity is a great way to maintain or lose weight because by being active you get to add to your life. It's a positive thing. Many people instantly tell me they don't like being active but I quickly and consistently find things they like doing that are active that they didn't realise could count. Just popping our for a walk is important if you do no activity at all.

With out digging any further I want to explain why, when you want to get control over your weight that activity is, in my opinion, a better thing to focus on than the calories you eat.

Take a look at the graph below. What it shows is the average calorie intake in the UK between 1940 (yes, during wartime rationing) and 2000.

What you see is that we actually ate over 400 calories more during the war, when obesity was extremely rare, compared to year 2000 when obesity is a huge concern.

Given that the data is from defra I feel this is pretty compelling evidence that the idea of losing weight and preventing obesity by eating less just doesn't add up. Either that or there are some serious flaws in the way the government is collecting and presenting information.
We're also told that more of our calories should come from carbohydrate and less from fat. The chart below shows that we used to achieve this much better than we do now.

So if we're eating so much less how come we're so much bigger than we used to be? What's changed? We all know what's changed but we take it for granted. We're just so much less active than we ever used to be.

Years ago we used to walk or cycle to work or the shops. We'd walk up stairs. Many of our jobs involved physical labour. So we spent a lot of calories just getting through our days. We just don't any more. Thing is our bodies are designed for the active lifestyle not the sedentary one. I haven't been able to track down the stats on activity over time, mainly because no one thought to record them. Most people don't think to measure activity. They believe that we are what we eat instead of what we do. When I find the stats I'll post them here.

Importantly it's also logical that if we eat less food we're probably consuming fewer nutrients than we used to. The data from defra indicates this isn't the case for most nutrients which is encouraging.

I'm excited by this new charting tool. I just created this article on the Open University's labspace environment using simple copy and paste. It's proving quite versatile. I can author here and then copy and paste where ever I want to.

Learn more about preventing obesityinsulin resistanceheart disease and Diabetesdementia and alzheimers and even Cancer through exercise
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Genomics goes beyond dna sequence

Wow. Just got pass this wonderful reference explaining how Genomics goes beyond dna sequence. Firstly I

didn't even know that epigenetics even existed. Explains a lot.

I definitely believe that genes aren't everything. Kind of like in software, the operating system can only express what the hardware supports. I'm assuming each cell encourages some genes to be expressed while others aren't.

I've always know that envrionment plays a strong hand in what gets expressed. Didn't know that this could be passed on. I assume its a combination of the make up of the egg and maybe contents of the womb.

Just had to record this since it taught me quite a bit

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Sleeping for less than six hours may cause early death, study finds

I believe strongly in the need for balance between work rest and play. I just heard about a study that has linked too much or too little sleep to a chance of an early death. Thought I'd log it hear as a reference I want to build on in time. It's not the first piece of research to show this but it's a meta study from a reliable source.

While simply showing a definite link between chance of mortality and sleep doesn't prove anything, there could be multiple reasons for this, simply that ill people generally sleep a lot or little. Not exactly surprising. But I do wonder if there are underlying trends that go back to the balance between work rest and play.

I say this because I believe we evolved to need balance because I think these forces are what moulded us. I think our bodies depend on each as feedback mechanisms to keep us in balance. We need activity such as work and play to break down our bodies and minds and signal how strong they need to be. This fuels our sleep when we rebuild. If sleep isn't given long enough for reparation then surely we'll slowly develop more and more cracks in our infrastructure. That could be part of the explanation of why inadequate sleep leads to problems.

But what about too much sleep? Surely that would mean all cracks would be fixed. It could do or it could mean that your recovery process isn't able to function properly and needs more time. It could be that the sleep is broken up and not high quality. ?The body doesn't just fix itself instantly. It takes time to get in full swing. So broken sleep might not get enough quality sleep to fix everything.

I also feel sleep needs training much like any other body process or system. If it's given too long then the process gets lazy and doesn't do a proper job. This is a very un specific explanation but thinking of sleep as something that needs to be trained helps me think of it like any other bodily system and process and makes me think differently about it.