Rats fed the genetically modified yeast-derived protein soy leghemoglobin – the burger’s key ingredient – developed unexplained changes in weight gain and signs of toxicity. Report by Claire Robinson and Michael Antoniou, PhD
Possible reasons put forward by the Post’s reporter include that the burger is expensive and can’t compete with cheaper options; that the company that makes it, Impossible Foods, is having manufacturing problems that mean it can’t keep up with demand; and that people don’t see any reason to buy it when plant-based veggie burgers with more everyday ingredients are commonly available.
But it’s also possible that NYC restaurant owners and their customers are becoming aware – and wary – of the GMO (genetically modified organism) status of the product and are choosing to avoid it. The results of a rat feeding study commissioned by Impossible Foods and carried out with soy leghemoglobin (SLH) suggest that they may have good reason.
SLH is the substance that gives the burger its meaty taste and makes it appear to bleed like meat when cut. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initially refused to sign off on the safety of SLH when first approached by the company. The rat feeding study results suggest that the agency’s concerns were justified. Rats fed the genetically modified (GM) yeast-derived SLH developed unexplained changes in weight gain, changes in the blood that can indicate the onset of inflammation or kidney disease, and possible signs of anemia.
2015: FDA says SLH safety not proven
The company maintains that SLH is safe to eat. It wanted the US Food and Drug Administration to agree with its self-declared conclusion that SLH is “GRAS” (Generally Recognized As Safe), providing reassurance for consumers. But in 2015, in response to Impossible Foods’ first application, the FDA refused to agree that the substance was safe. It responded with tough questions for the company, as revealed in documents obtained under a Freedom of Information request.
The FDA was concerned that SLH has never been consumed by humans and may be an allergen. The agency pointed out that the safety information submitted by Impossible Foods was not specific enough: “Although proteins are a part of the human food supply, not all proteins are safe. Information addressing the safe use of modified soy protein does not adequately address safe use of soybean leghemoglobin protein from the roots of the soybean plant in food.”
The FDA concluded, “FDA believes that the arguments presented, individually and collectively, do not establish the safety of SLH for consumption, nor do they point to a general recognition of safe
2017: Impossible Foods tries again
In 2017 Impossible Foods tried again with a new application for GRAS status. It submitted data from a study that the company had commissioned in which rats were fed SLH. Although Impossible Foods had in its 2015 submission told the FDA it intended to conduct a 90-day feeding study (the standard length for subchronic toxicity in rats), the company said that following “feedback” from the agency, it had decided on a shorter study of 28 days.
While this change would cut costs for Impossible Foods, it is not in the public health interest. That’s because the shorter the duration of a study, the less likely it is to find health effects such as organ damage, which take time to show up.
The number of animals and duration of a feeding study are two key design elements in an investigation of the safety of a new GM food substance.
It was always unlikely that SLH would have strong and obvious toxic effects in the short term; any adverse effects from a novel food substance would likely be subtle. Long-term studies with relatively large numbers of animals are required in order to reveal the significance of such effects. Given these requirements, it seems clear that Impossible Foods’ study was statistically weak. There were too few animals in each test group (10 per sex per group) and again, the study was too short in duration (28 days in a rat is equivalent to just 2-3 years in a human) to clarify any health concerns from long-term consumption of this product.
Adverse effects in SLH-fed rats
In light of these limitations, it is remarkable that the SLH-fed rats did show a large number of statistically significant potentially adverse effects, compared with the control group – for example:
Reproductive changes in SLH-fed females?
In the study, apparent disruptions in the reproductive cycle were found in some groups of females fed SLH. In normal healthy rats, the uterus fills up with fluid during the proestrus phase of the cycle, in the run-up to the fertile and sexually receptive phase (estrus). In the SLH-fed rats, significantly fewer “fluid filled” uteri were seen. This correlated with decreased uterus weight, as might be expected.
In response to this finding, Impossible Foods commissioned a second rat feeding study,4 which found no effect on the SLH on the rats’ estrus cycle. The company concluded that the findings of the first study had been a mere artifact of the experimental method used. For the sake of the women who eat the Impossible Burger on a regular basis, we hope that the company is correct.
All effects dismissed
All these effects were dismissed by Impossible Foods as “non-adverse”, as having “no toxicological relevance”, as “transient” on the grounds that they appeared to reverse themselves after some days, and as not dependent on the dose (i.e. the effect did not increase with increasing dose).
It is true that the adverse outcomes may appear somewhat haphazard. However, the fact that there were so many statistically significant changes in multiple organs and systems suggests that closer scrutiny of the safety of SLH is urgently required. The apparent randomness of the effects may be due to the fact that the study design was statistically weak. And it is well known that toxic effects do not always follow a linear dose-response pattern.5 Dismissing the findings as irrelevant appears irresponsible.
The only way of ascertaining if potentially adverse effects seen in short studies are truly adverse or have lasting consequences is to extend the study length to the rats’ full lifetimes (2-3 years) and to do multigenerational testing. In this case, neither was done.
Impossible Foods’ second attempt to obtain GRAS status for SLH succeeded and the FDA issued a “no questions” letter, indicating that it had no further questions.
Contrary to what many people believe, such letters are not an assertion by the FDA that the food in question is safe. They state that the company asserts that the food is safe and remind the company that it, and not the FDA, is responsible for ensuring that it only puts safe foods on the market.
“No questions” letters may protect the FDA from liability in case something goes wrong. But they do not protect the consumer from unsafe novel foods.
Another GMO ingredient
Impossible Foods recently introduced a new recipe for its Impossible Burger. In addition to GMO-derived SLH, the burger now contains another GMO ingredient: protein from herbicide-tolerant soy. The company introduced soy protein to replace wheat protein in order to improve the texture and to avoid gluten, the protein in wheat that some people cannot tolerate.8 As a result, Impossible Burger Version 2.0 may contain residues of the “probable carcinogen” glyphosate,9 the main ingredient of the herbicide used on GM soy.
Knowing the concerns that the use of GMO soy protein and glyphosate residues may raise, Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown has gone to some lengths to reassure the buying public. But the history of the Impossible Burger thus far suggests that people are unlikely to get meaningful answers to safety questions from the regulators or the manufacturer.
Now a nonprofit group has stepped in to try to fill some of the information gaps. GMO Free USA states that its mission is to educate people about the potential hazards of GMOs and synthetic pesticides. The group has launched a health survey to gather the experiences of people who believe they have had an adverse reaction to the burger. GMO Free USA says it took action because “We have been contacted by a few people who have experienced gastrointestinal problems after eating the Impossible Burger (IB). There is currently no simple mechanism for people to report these problems to the FDA.”
The group plans to send its findings to the FDA and Impossible Foods. Whatever the results, based on what we already know about the potential health effects of the Impossible Burger, the company would be well advised to shelve SLH and the reformulate their product with natural – and if possible organic – ingredients.
Originally posted by The Cleveland Clinic
Struggling to shed weight and keep it off? We asked seven dietitians for the single most important weight loss tip they share with patients. May their tips offer you some inspiration:
Tip 1: Don’t let hunger deter you from sticking with your diet.
Whatever diet you choose — and many different diets can help you lose weight — don’t give up because you get too hungry.
“Hunger is one reason many people don’t stick with a weight loss plan for more than a few weeks. When you eat less, your fat cells release more hunger hormones, which increases your appetite,” says Dawn Noe, RD, LD, CDE. “Higher-protein, lower-carbohydrate meal plans are best for controlling your hunger and appetite.”
When you have diabetes, a diet with fewer carbs (like bread, pasta, rice, desserts, sugary beverages, juice) is also important because you’ll need less insulin. And that can help prevent hunger, fat storage and weight gain.
Replace processed carbs like white bread, bagels, muffins or donuts for breakfast with high-protein foods like eggs, or Greek yogurt mixed with chia seeds and berries. You’ll find that you stay fuller, longer.
Tip 2: Don’t eat a carbohydrate unless it has fiber attached to it.
“This method forces you to forgo the bad carbs (candy, white bread, soda) and stick only with high-quality carbs,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD. “The more fiber in your diet, the better!”
Fiber helps improve blood sugar control, helps lower cholesterol, and reduces your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, colorectal cancer and heart disease.
Foods rich in fiber include legumes (dried beans, lentils), veggies (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach squash, sweet potatoes) and fruit (apples, berries, oranges, pears).
Tip 3: Focus on healthy behaviors, not the number on the scale.
It’s easy to get discouraged when you look only at your weight. “Focus instead on making good food choices, watching portions and exercising regularly,” says Anna Taylor, MS, RD, LD. “If you lead with these behaviors, the weight loss will follow.”
Replace a goal like “lose 2 pounds a week” with specific mini-goals, like “eat 1 cup of veggies at dinner,” “walk 20 minutes a day,” or “keep a daily food log.” If you’re disappointed with your weight progress at week’s end, reflect on how well you stuck to each goal.
“If you’ve made healthy changes, congratulations!” she says. “If you fell short, ask yourself why. Were the goals too difficult? Do you need a stronger support system? Is a major barrier in your way? Then either tweak your goals or focus on the factors you can control.”
Try tracking lifestyle changes, food, exercise and weight in a journal. At the end of each week, check off which new habits are going well and which need more work. “Your health is a lifelong journey,” she says.
Tip 4: Make plants the foundation of your diet.
Different weight loss approaches work for different people. But plant foods should be the foundation of any diet.
“Research strongly supports the benefits of plant-based nutrition approaches for weight loss, disease prevention, and overall health,” says Brigid Titgemeier, MS, RDN, LD. “Whether you’re eating vegetarian, paleo, high-fat, vegan or pegan (a combination of paleo and vegan), your diet should include a variety of foods from the earth.”
That means enjoying lots of non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cucumbers and bok choy, and fruits like berries, apples and pears.
Plant-based foods contain a variety of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that help support your cells and reduce inflammation, she says. They also provide fiber and water, both of which help you feel fuller.
Tip 5: No foods are 100 percent off-limits.
When you label foods as “good” and “bad,” you naturally fixate on foods you shouldn’t eat but typically still crave —and likely will crave more when they’re totally off limits.
“Focus instead on choosing the right portions of healthy foods 80 to 90 percent of the time,” says Jennifer Willoughby, RD, CSP, LD. “That, paired with a healthy exercise routine, can lead to long-term weight loss success. And it leaves some wiggle room to enjoy ‘fun foods’ occasionally without feeling guilt or resentment.”
When working with children, she teaches them which choices are better and will fuel their bodies more effectively, rather than giving them lists of foods to eat and foods to completely avoid.
Feelings of guilt from eating forbidden foods can snowball into unhealthy emotions in childhood, adolescence and even adulthood, she says.
Tip 6: Spend your calories wisely.
All calories are not created equal. “If your diet consists mainly of sugar, saturated/trans fats and salt — all of which can be very addictive — you can develop consistent cravings for dense, high-calorie foods with little nutritional value,” says Julia Zumpano, RD, LD.
“This leads to excess calories and weight gain or inability to lose weight.”
Eat foods that are high in lean protein, healthy fats and fiber, and you’ll feel satisfied throughout the day and will rarely get cravings. This will help you maintain a lower calorie level, which will lead to weight loss.
Tip 7: Plan tomorrow’s meals today.
Planning ahead stops that “grab what you see” panic that sets in when you wait to plan dinner until you’re starving at 6 p.m. Scaring up dinner on the fly is likely to bring less nutritious, higher-calorie choices to your table.
When you sit down for dinner tonight, plan what you’ll eat for dinner tomorrow. “It’s so much easier to do when you’re not hungry,” says Andrea Dunn, RD, LD, CDE.
“This also gives you time to take something out of the freezer, chop veggies tonight to put in the crockpot tomorrow morning, and ask which family members will be home for dinner.
by Dr. Frank Lipman MD
Autumn is one of the most glorious times of the year. The trees bursting with color, the crunch of falling leaves underfoot, the still-warm days and cooler nights. If, however, you’re saddled with seasonal allergies and all the respiratory misery that goes along with them, the arrival of fall may be anything but a cause for celebration.
While some sufferers may rush to the pharmacy to stock up on allergy meds that can make them feel lousy in other ways (drowsiness, brain fog, etc.), I always recommend first trying a drug-free, holistic approach, to ensure that the only side effects you’re likely to get are positive and healthy ones! Here are my favorite tips and techniques to help fight autumnal allergies so you can enjoy the season with a lot less wheezing and sneezing:
1) Mind your microbiome.
A well-fed, balanced microbiome – those billions of bacteria that mostly live in your gut – is the cornerstone of your immunity. When all is in balance and defenses are high, your body is better able to blunt the effects of seasonal allergies. But if your microbiome has been knocked out of whack by classic health underminers – like antibiotics, poor diet, and lack of sleep – defenses come down, leaving you with an increased susceptibility to irritants and allergens. How to fight back? I recommend filling up on fiber, cutting sugar to the bone and taking a daily, high-quality, broad-spectrum probiotic to help re-balance your gut bacteria and keep your microbiome fortified for the season ahead. Pick a probiotic with a variety of lactobacilli and bifido-bacteria strains, and begin with a daily dose of roughly 20 to 100 billion CFU (colony forming units) to stay on an even keel.
2) Banish allergens from your plate.
Though you may be more concerned with the allergens being blown into your nostrils by autumnal breezes, you should pay closer attention to the allergens on your plate. A poor diet of irritating and allergenic foods will make any allergy situation worse, so now, before the season gets fully underway, is the perfect time to clean up your dietary act. Among the essential adjustments for dining defensively during allergy season:
Dump sugar and processed or genetically-modified foods, and cut way back on gluten, wheat and dairy, all of which undermine gut health and can exacerbate allergies.
Minimize alcohol use, particularly wine and beer which contain the histamines (and sulfites) that set off those unpleasant allergic responses.
Give chocolate a rest too, as it can also trigger histamine release.
Take a time-out from teas containing chamomile, echinacea, goldenseal, dandelion and hibiscus, which, for some people, can worsen allergy symptoms – and switch to stinging nettle, rooibos, or green tea which can help relieve allergy symptoms.
3) Pile on a rainbow of allergy-taming plants.
Just as the wrong foods can increase allergy-driven inflammation, the right ones can help it, by strengthening your immunity and slowing the release of the histamines that make eyes water and noses run. Which ones are the right ones? Not surprisingly, it’s all about plants, so hit the farmer’s market and let the right stuff – plants that are rich in vitamin A, C and quercetin – take the edge off inflammation and allergy symptoms. Among the allergy sufferers’ most potent nutritional allies:
Greens – think broccoli, collard greens, kale, celery, parsley, dill, cilantro, green peppers and Brussels sprouts
Orange – like turmeric, carrots and pumpkin
White – like garlic, onions, horseradish
Red & Purple – apples, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, purple onions, red peppers
Browns – think flaxseed or flaxseed oil, walnuts and chia seeds
Another plant-based, allergy-taming superstar? Just about any fermented veggie you can think of. A small side of fermented veggies on your plate will gift your microbiome with a supportive dose of the helpful bacteria it thrives on, so don’t skimp on the kimchi and sauerkraut!
In addition to eating your veggies, try drinking greens to help fill in any nutritional gaps. A daily, supplemental glass or two of powdered greens dissolved into a glass of spring water will help keep immunity strong and provide extra head-clearing effects with the help of the natural antihistamine quercetin.
4) Put yourself on a DIY anti-allergy plan.
In addition to paying attention to your diet and the care and proper feeding of your microbiome, consider trying any number of the following allergy-taming habits that should help make this season a more comfortable one:
Wash your nose daily: Rinse allergens out of your nasal passages with the help of a neti pot, or saline solution spray one or two times a day. In my practice I often use Xlear, natural saline spray containing xylitol, with good results.
Hit the steamroom weekly: One or two weekly sessions spent relaxing in the sauna – be it steam or infrared – helps relieve sinus congestion and support immunity.
Meditate more: High levels of stress boosts histamine (and cortisol) levels, which can exacerbate allergic response, so chill out frequently to keep levels low.
Have a good soak: The simplest stress reducer that can help tame allergic response.
Make an acupuncture appointment: Get drug-free allergy relief treatment with this ancient practice whose efficacy compares favorably to several traditional drug-based therapies.
Step into a ‘salt room’: A short session in a salt room can help relieve autumnal respiratory symptoms.
Try natural allergy relievers: Freeze-dried stinging nettle and quercetin capsules have anti-inflammatory effects and tamp down the body’s reactivity to seasonal as well as some food allergens. Look for products like Natural D-Hist, from OrthoMolecular, that contain quercetin, stinging nettles and bromelain, which tame allergy symptoms without pharmaceutical side-effects.
See Original Article here.
By David DeWitt, MD
Text neck describes a repetitive stress injury or overuse syndrome in the neck, caused by prolonged use of mobile devices with the head bent downward and not moving. Also called tech neck, text neck is commonly associated with texting, but it can be related to many activities performed on phones and tablets while looking downward, such as surfing the web, playing games, or doing work.
Head’s Weight Magnified
The weight of the head is a key factor for text neck pain. The neck’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments are meant to support the head’s weight—10 to 12 pounds—in a neutral position balanced atop the cervical spine. When texting on a phone, it is common to bend the head forward and look down at a 45- or 60-degree angle, which places about 50 to 60 pounds of force on the neck. The neck is not able to withstand this amount of pressure over a prolonged period.
The Course of Text Neck
Text neck typically begins as a relatively mild ache in the neck or upper back. It could also present with sharp pain or stiffness in the neck. When text neck is suspected of causing pain, it is typically treated with a combination of:
In some cases, the excessive forward head posture may exacerbate or accelerate degenerative conditions in the cervical spine, such as cervical degenerative disc disease and/or cervical osteoarthritis.
Unique Risks of Smartphones and Tablets to Stress the Neck
Severe neck angle to view the screen. Compared to TVs and personal computers, smartphone and tablet screens are more commonly viewed while flat on a table or lap, which means the screen angle is more severe. As such, the neck and head are typically bent further forward to view smartphones than other screens.
Touchscreen element may bring shoulders and head further forward. Research in the journal Ergonomics found that study participants had more forward head posture while texting compared to other smartphone tasks, such as web browsing or watching a video. One possible reason may be that texting is more likely to involve the use of both hands as well as more time with the fingers touching the screen, which is more likely to require the shoulders to round forward even further.
Some other activities, such as reading a printed book or washing dishes, also prompt people to tilt their heads, but the difference may be that people use smartphones and tablets for a much longer time and are less likely to shift positions.
Impact on Growing Spines Still Being Studied
There is special concern about the potential health impact on teenagers—among the most frequent text message users—whose spines are still developing. Many doctors, chiropractors, and other medical professionals have reported seeing an increase in neck pain and poor posture among teenage patients due to frequent texting and mobile device use, but thus far the evidence is mostly anecdotal.
While holding the head forward for long periods of time is widely recognized in the medical community as a risk factor for neck pain, there is some debate as to how much of a factor smartphone and tablet use plays in neck pain and poor posture in teens and young adults. While a study of young adults in Sweden found a link between texting time and neck pain, the results appeared stronger in the short-term rather than the long-term. Also, a study of 18- to 21-year-olds in Brazil did not find a correlation between texting and neck pain. More research is needed to determine the long-term impact that texting and mobile device use might have on neck health.
by Mark Hyman MD
Do this for 10 days for a quick, powerful detox.
Make the Decision
Commit yourself to this 10-day detox. These changes will reset your brain and body.
Quit Cold Turkey
Stop all forms of sugar: white flour, artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated fats, MSG and pre-packaged foods.
Don't Drink Your Calories
No sweetened teas and coffees, and no juices other than green vegetable juice.
Add Protein to Every Meal
Include eggs, nuts, seeds, fish, chicken or grass-fed meats.
Eat the Right Carbs
Only non-starchy veggies: asparagus, green beans, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, fennel, egglant, and peepers.
Include Good Fats at Every Meal
Go for nuts and seeds, avocado and fish, which offer omega-3 fatty acids.
Manage Your Stress
When you're stressed, your cortisol shoots up. This will drive up your hunger and can fuel sugar cravings.
Quit Gluten and Dairy
It's not easy, but after two or three days, you will have more energy and fewer cravings.
If you get less than 4 hours a night, it can drive you to eat more calories.
by Dana Sparks
Research shows exercise is an effective and free way to get many of the same benefits.
20% Reduction in coronary heart disease risk with vigorous exercise (10% just by walking 3km/wk)
58% Reduction in risk of Type 2 diabetes (along with diet changes), out performing a common drug
24% Reduction in stroke risk from exercising 30 minutes 5 days a week
13 Types of cancer occur at a lower rate in people who are physically active
Regular exercise leads to weight loss and contributes to maintaining a healthier weight
Mental, Emotional and Social benefits
Significantly reduces anxiety
10 days of exercise can reduce depression almost as well as antidepressants
Helps improve self-perception and self-esteem
Can help improve social interactions
Regular exercise by elderly people may help protect against Alzheimer's disease
Exercise can be just what the doctor ordered.
If exercise could be bottled, its effectiveness treating a range of conditions would likely make it the most prescribed medicine in the world. You don't need a prescription, but a doctor or fitness professional can help you get the most out of an exercise plan.
Make sure you're ready
Talk to a doctor or trainer to avoid injury
Account for any pre-existing conditions
Consider High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Short periods of high-intensity exercise followed by recovery
A time efficient way to get significant health benefits
by Betty Gold
America has been deeply entrenched in a love affair with sushi for quite some time, and for good reason. When properly prepared, the traditional Japanese dish is a delicious form of art. But is sushi good for you? Fish is bomb for your body, yes, but what about mercury? And white rice? And those fancy rolls that come with all the elaborate ingredients and sweet, salty sauces?
To boil down the nutrition facts on sushi—and whether or not it should be our go-to healthy date night dinner dish—we spoke with Rebekah Blakely, RDN, a registered dietitian and nutrition expert for the Vitamin Shoppe. Unsurprisingly, the answer isn’t quite black and white.
Is sushi healthy or not?
“A lot of people think of sushi as one of the healthiest options when eating out—and it can be,” says Blakely. “However, not all sushi is food for you. It depends a lot on the ingredients used and how it’s prepared.”
While fresh fish is a great protein source and can supply healthy fats the body needs, many of the things we put with or around it can really add up, calorie- and sodium-wise, for little nutritional value.
For example, the most common sushi item is a sushi roll. Sushi rolls are usually seafood and vegetables wrapped in white rice. The rice is mixed with vinegar and sugar and packed tight. “Just one sushi roll can contain a half cup to one cup of rice and usually 300 to 500 calories (for most specialty rolls), and a lot of people order two or three rolls. “Studies have shown a connection between high intake of refined carbs—like white rice—and increases in blood sugar and insulin, which can in turn increase risk of diabetes and heart disease.”
When you add mayonnaise-based sauces, fried sides, and/or sake, you’ve likely come close to your calorie needs for the day. If you dip your rolls in soy sauce you might save on calories, but just one tablespoon has almost 900 milligrams of sodium (almost 40 percent daily recommendation), not to mention the extra sodium in the sushi itself. Oof.
Health benefits of sushi
There’s always an upside. Studies have shown that those who adhere to the Japanese food guidelines have a 15 percent lower mortality rate. “This would include eating foods like sushi, fish, pickled vegetables, miso, and seaweed,” explains Blakely. All of the above offer many health benefits, from iodine in seaweed (it improves thyroid health) to plenty of vitamin A (for glowing skin and a stronger immune system). “Just keep in mind that eating high calorie sushi rolls a couple times per week with no other changes will not produce the same results.”
Many studies also point to the benefits of regularly consuming fish and getting adequate omega-3 fatty acids (including decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, autoimmune issues, and depression).
What about mercury?
Another concern for those eating sushi regularly is mercury content. Some fish—including king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish, ahi tuna, and bigeye tuna—are a lot higher in mercury than others. “High exposure to mercury can lead to health issues including fatigue, depression, weight loss, memory loss, and more serious neurodegenerative issues,” Blakely says. There are multiple studies exploring the detrimental effects of mercury toxicity. Tuna is the most common source of mercury exposure in the country, so keep that in mind as you place your sushi order.
How can we make our sushi order healthier?
Choose low mercury fish, like salmon, shrimp, eel, crab, and trout—and avoid the high-mercury fish types we mentioned above.
Order one roll. If you like rolls, choose just one, then pair it with other options lower in carbs and calories like edamame, miso soup, or a side salad.
Skip the rice. Instead of a sushi roll wrapped in rice, request it be wrapped in cucumber. Or skip the rice all together and order sashimi. If you keep the rice, request brown rice for more fiber and nutritional value.
Load it with veggies. The more veggies you can load in your roll, or on the side, the better!
by Ruth D’Alessandro
The link between sitting and illness was made in the 1950s by Professor Jeremy Morris who found that the physically active London bus conductors had a lower incidence of coronary heart disease than the sedentary bus drivers.
With our lives spent sitting at desks, in front of screens, on sofas and pretty much anything we want being delivered to our doors, we’ve become sedentary. Excessive sitting is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and premature death.
Stuart Biddle, Professor of Physical Activity and Health at USQ says: ‘The very common working environment these days is to be sitting down and to be not at all physically active, and that compares very dramatically with what we did many decades ago when we moved in our jobs, and the health consequences of that are pretty dramatic.’
So how can we sit less and move more, particularly at work? Here are our 10 tips:
1. Do a 'getting to work' workout
Treat your daily journey to work as an opportunity to move more. Ideally, walk or cycle, but most of us use public transport or drive. Stand on the bus or train rather than taking a seat and get off a few stops early to walk the rest of the way. If you drive, park a distance from your workplace and walk. And make use of the free treadmills available at most stations – the stairs and escalator!
2. Stand up every 30 minutes
The Department of Health’s paper Sedentary Behaviour and Obesity advises us to ‘take an active break from sitting every 30 minutes’. Set a phone reminder to get up and move every half an hour: take a coffee break, nip to the loo, go and talk to a colleague rather than emailing them, or just walk up and down the stairs.
3. Schedule regular physical activity breaks
You schedule everything else into your busy day, why not ten minutes for exercise mid-morning and mid-afternoon? Use the time to walk to another department, run an errand or make a phone call during which you can stand and do some stretching exercises. Professor Biddle stresses it’s important to ‘take little breaks so you’re more alert when you come back to work.’
4. Ramble on your lunch break
Clear your head and get some exercise by going for a brisk walk at lunchtime; there’s probably an office dog somewhere who’d love to join you for walkies. You could organise an office walking group to encourage each other to leave your desks and get moving.
5. Change meeting styles
Hours spent sitting around a boardroom table are doing nobody’s health any good. Research shows that walking has a positive effect on creative thinking and wellbeing, so have some of your meetings on the hoof. Stand-up meetings (being mindful of wheelchair-using or disabled colleagues) tend to be 34% shorter than sit-down meetings - and produce no worse decisions. And if you ever have the opportunity to use a conference bike for a meeting, embrace its potential for exercise and creativity.
6. Forget the traditional desk and chair
What do Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, Philip Roth, and Ernest Hemingway all have in common? They wrote standing up apparently! Follow the example of these creative titans and elevate your laptop on an adjustable desk or simply a box to work standing up. Professor Biddle agrees: ‘a good example is to use one of these elevated desks so you can stand. You may be moving a bit more but you’re continuing to work.’ If you must sit, ditch the creaky chair and sit on an exercise ball – the small movements you use to stay on it give you a mini abdominal workout.
7. Build some stretching exercises into your day
Learn some yoga or Pilates stretches for shoulders, legs and abs that you can do in moments of downtime: waiting for the kettle to boil, at your desk during a conference call or standing after you’ve finished a piece of work. Professor Biddle is unequivocal: ‘The bottom line is we do need to move more and sit less at work for health’.
8. Make TV time the solution, not the problem
A Japanese study found that ‘prolonged television viewing was associated with an increased risk of pulmonary embolism death’. Instead, make your television time work for you. Resist the temptation to fast forward through the ads or go straight onto the next episode of Orange Is The New Black and instead, whizz round and do a chore: cleaning the bathroom, folding clothes, emptying the dishwasher or putting out the recycling can all be achieved in five minutes. You could even watch your favourite TV programme while on an exercise bike, ironing, or preparing dinner.
9. Do a housework workout
Who says housework must be done on one day? Instead of one concentrated weekly sweep, do one room or chore each day and treat it as a daily 15-min workout: put on some energetic music to up your pulse rate and really go for it. There are plenty of videos online to give you inspiration.
10. Switch to manual
Tempting as it is to opt for grocery deliveries, online shopping and sitting in an automatic car wash, you can build extra movement into the day by walking to the shops and cleaning the car yourself - and you may save money at the same time.Professor Biddle’s sage advice is simple: ‘even though 30 or more minutes a day of exercise are extremely important for health and well-being, don’t forget to sit less and move more throughout the day. Look for opportunities to be active: climb stairs, walk and talk, ditch the car where possible’.
For the plank exercises, start by holding them for 15 seconds to 30 seconds. For bird dog and scissors, try three sets of eight or 10 repetitions. For upward dog, do one set of 10 repetitions.
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