Originally published at the Medical Fitness Network
There are many treatments for Type II Diabetes (which will be referred to simply as diabetes in this article) but none come with the level of benefits seen by the implementation of a proper exercise program. This is a tall order but exercise is effective for the treatment of insulin resistance and diabetes in three areas. These areas are inflammation, the cell mitochondria (where the cell generates power), and hyperinsulinemia (high blood insulin).2 Treating these areas with exercise goes beyond the benefits of treating just diabetes. In turn, you will be helping prevent other health issues associated with diabetes such as heart disease, stroke, and circulation issues. The questions is how does exercise do this and what kind of exercise is necessary?1
To understand how exercise treats diabetes, it is important to understand that diabetes is the end result of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can be illustrated in that: when we eat something with carbohydrates or sugar, our body breaks it down into blood sugar known as glucose. This glucose triggers a response from our pancreas to produce the hormone insulin. Insulin in turn shuttles the blood sugar into the cells to be used as energy. However, when someone becomes insulin resistant the cells do not respond to the insulin’s attempt to shuttle the blood sugar into the cell, so the pancreas produces more insulin to get the same job done. In essence, the cells are developing a tolerance to the insulin and in order to get the blood sugar absorbed the cells begin to require more and more insulin to do the same job. This leads to the blood retaining the blood sugar for prolonged periods of time as well as an elevated presence of insulin. When someone has prolonged high blood sugar, we call this hyperglycemia and the person is said to be diabetic. Having high blood sugar is dangerous due to the stress it places on cells. It can cause many problems up to and including death.
In the area of inflammation, it is known that not all inflammation is the same. Inflammation can be acute — meaning it is brought on for a short period of time — which happens with activities such as exercise or when tissue undergoes some sort of trauma. Inflammation can also be chronic, meaning it is persistent and recurrent.
Acute inflammation is necessary, and healthy, because it begins the healing and repair process by bringing in white blood cells, and ridding the tissue of damaged cells. Inflammation is required otherwise the body would be unable to heal.
Chronic inflammation can be found in many conditions, such as autoimmune diseases, prolonged injury/infection, obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases. When inflammation remains present, even at a low level, it begins to damage the body’s cells. Science now knows that:2
What is known is:
So you've decided to lose weight, but you find it's more difficult than just dieting? Here are five common causes of stalling weight loss:
1. Are you tracking your food?
-Simply put, those who track their food lose weight, those who don't, don't. Most times when a client I have trained is not tracking their food, it is because they believe they know what they're eating and/or believe they are eating well. So if you fall into this category, track your food and prepare to be surprised.
2. Are you drinking enough water?
-A rough estimate of the proper amount of water can be found by taking your body weight and dividing it by 2. This is the number of ounces you should consume per day.
3. Are you consuming enough protein?
-You need absolutely no less than .8-1.0 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. However, your protein requirements may be higher. Depending on your physical activity you may require as much as 1.8-2.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
4. Are you getting enough iron and other vitamin and minerals?
-The body can not properly metabolize (burn) fat without them. Here's an analogy... if fats, and carbohydrates are the wood of a fire, vitamins and minerals are the oxygen. If you remove oxygen from a fire, the fire goes out. In an example, we know iron feeds the hemoglobin of the blood. Hemoglobin is what carries oxygen in the blood. Oxygen is required to burn fat.
However our body's metabolic needs go beyond that of just iron, many other minerals and vitamins also play a similar role. So moral of the story is vitamins and minerals are crucial to your weight loss. If you're taking a multi-vitamin, take it with a food that has at least a small amount of fat so your body can properly absorb them.
5. Are you getting enough resistance and cardio?
-You should be getting no less than 2 sessions of resistance/weight training, and no less than 150 minutes of cardio/week.
Resistance/weight training is important because this type of exercise prevents the loss of muscle during weight loss. It is important to maintain your muscle because your muscle in large part determines the speed of your metabolism.
Cardio training is important to weight loss for calorie burning purposes, and to strengthen the heart, and oxygen delivery system. While 150 minutes is the minimum it is generally held by organizations such as the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) that more is better.
The last point here is that exercise increases the body's ability to utilize blood glucose and regulate insulin. When insulin stays high our body stays in a fat storing/shuttling mode. Exercise helps reduce periods of prolonged elevated insulin, and arguably increases the time the body is burning instead of storing fat.
As a trainer you come across many different people, and many different goals. The one thing I have heard numerous times was “Can you write me something I can do to keep me fit?”. To which my answer is, “certainly I can write something up and go over it with you, but there are a couple challenges”. The first challenge I explain to them is that there’s a good chance you’re not going to remember what I show you, so going over it once may not be your best option. The second challenge is that this workout will not be effective for more than a month or two. At this point I normally get a blank look, followed by the question “what do you mean?”. While there are inherent challenges with changing your workout routine every time you exercise, your program should be changed at minimum every 4-8 weeks (depending on the source your read).
So the three reasons to change your workout routine are:
Prevention of Overuse Injuries or RSI’s
The likelihood of developing RSI’s are repetitive stress injuries or overuse injury can be reduced by changing your program routinely. While many overuse injuries are caused from not enough rest between bouts of exercise, or form errors, some are caused by an imbalance of strength and flexibility surrounding a joint. Such imbalances are more likely or even inevitable when the same program is used indefinitely. Common overuse injuries associated with this imbalance are tendonitis, and bursitis. So new routines with variation in tempo, movement, and muscle group focus, as well as incorporating specific stretches to the routine can help ensure that the muscles and joints and connective tissue receives various forms of stress which helps maintain a balance of strength and flexibility throughout the body.
Prevention of Muscle Accommodation
Muscle accommodation refers to the nature of how muscles adapt. Muscles adapt to the stress placed on them, but they adapt only as far as is required. So when you begin a new routine your body will adapt best for the first 4-8 weeks. After that marginal increases may continue but they will begin to slow down. So a better approach than performing the same program until progress stops, is to start a new program when progress slows. This is why most exercise sources an studies indicate that ideally workout programs should be changed every 4-8 weeks.
This probably goes without saying. However, if you’re bored with a program you become less likely to perform it, or put your best effort into it, simple as that. The mind, body, and soul are hopelessly entwined. Study after study show the connection between the mind, emotional status, and performance. So having your “head in the game” is as much a reason for changing your program as is fostering physical progress. I’m not suggesting being bored is an appropriate excuse for not working out. I am suggesting however, that if you’re getting bored, changing it may help keep you engaged and prevent you from skipping workouts.
What is MSG?
(if it becomes too sciency just scroll to the bottom and view the “take aways”)
MSG is an acronym for monosodium glutamate, which is a salt amino acid compound composed of glutamic acid (aka glutamate) and sodium similar to how table salt is a compound of sodium and chloride. This means you’re not just getting salt, which we know in large quantities can have adverse health effects. It is however, also important to understand that MSG can be either used as an additive (processed MSG) or it can be found naturally occurring in such foods as tomatoes, mushrooms, peas, potatoes, grapes, various fruit juices, and various cheeses. When it is found as an additive it is generally created through the fermentation of such carbohydrates as sugar beets, sugar cane, molasses, and starch, and added to foods such as soups, and many Asian dishes.
So the logical question is why is it important that the MSG is a sodium amino acid compound? Well it’s important because of what the amino acid itself does, and what its role is in the body. The amino acid portion which we can refer to as either glutamic acid or simply glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter, which means it is a brain chemical that serves to stimulate the brain (whereas an inhibitory neurotransmitter, is a brain chemical that serves to calm the brain). As such it is thought to serve in cognitive function, learning, and memory making it is an important amino acid. However, it is a non-essential amino acid. A non-essential amino acid simply means that our body is able to produce the amino acid, whereas essential amino acids only come from food sources. In addition, to this fact, we also get glutamate naturally from many common foods such as tomatoes, potatoes, and cheese for example, so our bodies are not likely deficient in this amino acid. So why use MSG if we are likely getting more than enough already?
Why use MSG?
MSG is added for flavor. Specifically it is added to give your body the sense that the food it is consuming is heartier than it actually is. This specific taste is called umami. It is the the flavor of “meaty” and is one of the five basic flavors. The others are salty, sour, sweet, and bitterness.
So what’s the hype about?
The hype to some extent likely comes from the movement of “all natural” foods, and herbs. I am an advocate of whole foods, however, it is not uncommon for people to associate natural with safe, which is not always the case. Nearly any substance in too high a quantity becomes toxic. For example the top 10 most important nutrients, which are: water, calcium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, potassium, selenium, iron, zinc, and chromium are all toxic if over consumed. In fact the trace minerals which are selenium, iron, zinc, and chromium are only good for us in very small quantities (and thus the term trace). That being said, when we process a food, we very frequently make it more potent, or we make it more widespread (i.e. adding it to more foods) than when it is in its whole food form which is true in the case of MSG.
Shortly after the debut of man-made MSG the FDA identified MSG as “GRAS” (Generally Recognized as Safe). Since this time the FDA has received numerous reports claiming MSG reactions, however, there has not been enough evidence to substantiate the claims. Some of the harmful symptoms thought to be attributed to the over consumption of MSG are:
-triggering of ADHD-
-numbness, burning in the face-
And the list goes on…..
Are these claims legitimate?
In short, the answer is, we don’t know. The FDA believes them to be unfounded. For every study that suggests MSG is linked to these symptoms, there’s another study that shows the opposite. When it comes to studies conducted on rats however, there’s pretty conclusive evidence that MSG contributes to ailments, however, we are not rats, but should still exercise caution. You can proceed with caution by:
1. Noting, or identifying if you have an allergy or sensitivity to MSG (and there are people that do)
2. Or self identify if you’re getting MSG in large quantities, or are eating an abundance of processed foods, especially Asian processed foods, soups, and restaurant cuisine.
3. Make necessary changes to limit consumption of these processed foods, or see a physician that may be able to help you manage the allergy
4. Remember MSG is not inherently dangerous, in fact our bodies need glutamate, but like any substance, if consumed in too large a quantity it becomes toxic
What do studies say about MSG?
In your ventures online you may have seen these claims about how bad MSG is for you. You may have even read sites, that say things such as “studies prove”, “it has been proven”, “the science is in” among many other statements claiming that we have “proof” on MSG causing all these ill effects.
So before we discuss what the scientific studies say, remember a singular study does not prove anything. A study suggests there MAY be a relationship, and either SUPPORTS or COUNTERS previous findings. Additionally, the studies are performed with doses of MSG well above normal consumption levels found in naturally occurring foods.
So here’s a brief run down and the caveats of the studies listed below:
-In a 2011, and 2008 study an association was found between high MSG intake and obesity. However, there was also an association of increased caloric intake, and reduced vegetable consumption, making it as likely that weight gain came from many poor food choices instead of simply consumption of MSG. (Ka et al., 2011 ) (He et al., 2008)
-In a 2015 study,an association was determined between increased MSG intake and kidney problems. The caveat, the study was done on rats.(Sharma, 2015)
-Another study indicated there appears to be a relationship between high intake of MSG and headaches. The caveat, is that 88% of the time the participant was able to identify if they were taking the MSG or a placebo, which puts the study at risk for bias. (Shimada et al., 2013)
-In 2012 there were two studies that strove to identify the impact of MSG on asthma. No correlation was found. (Zhou, Y., Yang, M., & Dong, B., 2012) (Shi et al., 2012)
-While not specific to MSG or adverse impacts a 2006 study analyzed drugs used to mediate the glutamate in the brain for people suffering from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), which appears to show promising results. This supports the concept that glutamate when unbalanced in the brain can cause certain neurological problems. (Pittenger, C., Krystal, J. H., & Coric, V., 2006)
Like any other substance you should be aware of your intake, and it seems likely that a chronic high intake of MSG may contribute to the typical issues found with any other high salt diet. Most substances when consumed in high quantities are toxic, and as is the case with MSG some people do have a sensitivity or an allergy to it. Additionally, the role it plays as a brain chemical leaves room for reasonable speculation as the neurological impacts it could have if unbalanced, and should warrant caution. This caution should be doubly so in the case of children.
In closing, it seems fair to saying MSG consumed OCCASIONALLY whether dining out for Chinese food or the occasional canned soup should not pose any major concern. However, every day consumption of largely processed foods is not advised and should still warrant a watchful eye.
Ka, H., Du, S., Xun, P., Sharma, S., Wang, H., Zhai, F. & Popkin, B. (2011). Consumption of monosodium glutamate in relation to incidence of overweight in Chinese adults: Chinese Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS). The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 93 (6): 1328-1336. doi:10.3945/ajcn.110.008870
He, K., Zhao, L., Daviglus, M. L., Dyer, A. R., Van Horn, L., Garside, D., … for the INTERMAP Cooperative Research Group. (2008). Association of monosodium glutamate intake with overweight in Chinese adults: the INTERMAP Study. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 16(8), 1875–1880. http://doi.org/10.1038/oby.2008.274
Sharma, A. (2015). Monosodium glutamate-induced oxidative kidney damage and possible mechanisms: a mini-review. Journal of Biomedical Science, 22 (93). doi:10.1186/s12929-015-0192-5
Sharma, A., Prasongwattana, V., Cha’on, U., Selmi, C., Hipkaeo, W., Boonate, P.,...Reungiui, S. (2013). Monosodium glutamate (MSG) consumption is associated with urolithiasis and urinary tract obstruction in rats. PLos ONE 8 (9): e75546:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0075546
Bawaskar, H. S., Bawaskar, P. H., & Bawaskar, P. H. (2017). Chinese restaurant syndrome. Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine : Peer-Reviewed, Official Publication of Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine, 21(1), 49–50. http://doi.org/10.4103/0972-5229.198327
Shimada, A., Cairns, B. E., Vad, N., Ulriksen, K., Pedersen, A. M. L., Svensson, P., & Baad-Hansen, L. (2013). Headache and mechanical sensitization of human pericranial muscles after repeated intake of monosodium glutamate (MSG). The Journal of Headache and Pain, 14(1), 2. http://doi.org/10.1186/1129-2377-14-2
Shi, Z., Yuan, B., Wittert, G. A., Pan, X., Dai, Y., Adams, R., & Taylor, A. W. (2012). Monosodium Glutamate Intake, Dietary Patterns and Asthma in Chinese Adults. PLoS ONE, 7(12), e51567. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0051567
Zhou, Y., Yang, M., & Dong, B. (2012). Monosodium glutamate avoidance for chronic asthma in adults and children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 13 (6), CD004357 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004357
Pittenger, C., Krystal, J. H., & Coric, V. (2006). Glutamate-modulating drugs as novel pharmacotherapeutic agents in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. NeuroRx, 3(1), 69–81. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.nurx.2005.12.006
This is a question and a statement I hear from female clients quite frequently. To date none of my female clients have gotten "muscly" or man looking from lifting weights. However it is quite a common concern for women.
Here is why they do not have to worry about getting too much muscle. They do not possess the hormonal profile to grow muscles like men do. Muscle growth has many components to it, with arguably the most important one being testosterone production. While women do produce testosterone, its at roughly the same level of prepubescent boys (which is roughly a tenth of what grown men produce). In the absence of testosterone one does not have to worry about becoming "muscly".
Those women who compete, and do in fact build muscle are not doing it by accident. They are following a program designed to build muscle that focuses on overloading the muscle with heavy weight, taking supplements for building muscle, and some take either testosterone or they take a hormone like supplement to assist in eliciting this muscle growth. These programs and workouts are far different than one's used for overall fitness.