Tag Archives: cholesterol

12 Days of Fitness 2019: Day 2 – Cholesterol Myths You Need to Stop Believing

(This is part 2 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

In a survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the vast majority of Americans (76 percent) said they had had their cholesterol level checked at least once in the previous five years. Despite the commonality of the cholesterol test, many are seriously misled about what the results of the test mean. Many people aren’t even receiving a useful cholesterol test at all. A total cholesterol test, for instance, tells you practically nothing about your health. What you really need to know is how much high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) you have and, beyond that, the size of the LDL particles.

Get Educated

If you’re confused, it’s not your fault. Cholesterol has been a highly publicized scapegoat for causing heart disease for decades, and many have diligently cut all cholesterol-rich foods, which also tend to be nutrient-rich foods, from their diets as a result. Others have opted to take cholesterol-lowering statin drugs at the recommendation of their physicians. More than 1 in 4 Americans over 45 take them, despite their lengthy list of side effects and dubious effectiveness. But the real question is this: do you really need to be worried about cholesterol? Is it the villain that’s it’s portrayed to be, silently clogging up your arteries and putting you at a dangerously high risk of heart attack, one cholesterol-laden egg yolk at a time? The answer is, for most people, no. So let’s put some of the most widely circulated cholesterol myths to bed once and for all.

Top Cholesterol Myths Busted

Myth#1: Cholesterol Is Bad Cholesterol is not inherently bad. If it were, your liver wouldn’t produce it (btw, your liver makes about three-quarters or more of your body’s cholesterol). It’s rather important. Many of the healthiest foods happen to be rich in cholesterol (and saturated fats), yet cholesterol has been demonized since the early 1950s following the popularization of Ancel Keys’ flawed research. In reality, cholesterol has many health benefits. It plays a key role in regulating protein pathways involved in cell signaling and may also regulate other cellular processes. It’s already known that cholesterol plays a critical role within your cell membranes, but research suggests cholesterol also interacts with proteins inside your cells, adding even more importance. Your body is composed of trillions of cells that need to interact with each other. Cholesterol is one of the molecules that allow for these interactions to take place. It also plays an essential role in your brain, which contains about 25 percent of the cholesterol in your body. It is critical for synapse formation, i.e. the connections between your neurons, which allow you to think, learn new things, and form memories.

Myth#2: High Cholesterol Is Caused by What You Eat. This is simply untrue. The biggest factor in cholesterol is not diet but genetics or heredity. Your liver is designed to remove excess cholesterol from your body, but genetics play a large part in your liver’s ability to regulate cholesterol to a healthy level. Eating nutritious cholesterol-rich foods is not something you should feel guilty about; they’re good for you and will not drive up your cholesterol levels as you may have been told. It’s estimated that only 20 percent of your blood cholesterol levels come from your diet. If you’re still worried about the cholesterol in your diet, take a look at the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines. As recently as 2010, U.S. dietary guidelines described cholesterol-rich foods as “foods and food components to reduce.” They advised people to eat less than 300 milligrams (mg) per day, despite mounting evidence that dietary cholesterol has very little to do with cholesterol levels in your body.The latest guidelines have finally removed this misguided suggestion, and they even added egg yolks to the list of suggested sources of protein.The long-overdue change came at the advice of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), which acknowledged what the science shows, which is that “cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”

Myth#3: Everyone’s Cholesterol Level Should Be the Same What is a healthy cholesterol level? That depends. Despite what your doctor may tell you, there’s no rule that says everyone’s total cholesterol should be less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) and your LDL less than 100 mg/dL. Further, this will tell you very little about your heart disease risk. If your doctor tells you your cholesterol is too high based on the standard lipid profile, getting a more complete picture is important—especially if you have a family history of heart disease or other risk factors. For starters, you can ask for a NMR LipoProfile, which looks at particle sizes of LDL cholesterol. Large LDL particles are not harmful. Only small dense LDL particles can potentially be a problem, as they can squeeze through the lining of your arteries. If they oxidize, they can cause damage and inflammation.

Myth#4: Children Cannot Have High Cholesterol It’s possible for children to have high cholesterol levels, which is typically due to a liver problem that makes the liver unable to remove excess cholesterol from the body. Lifestyle changes, including exercise, limiting sugar intake and eating real (not processed) foods, will often help to restore healthy levels.

Myth#5: Margarine Is Better Than Butter for Cholesterol Butter, especially raw organic butter from grass-fed cows, is a wealth of nutrition and nourishing fats. Research points to the fact that butter may have both short-term and long-term benefits for your health. Further, replacing saturated animal fats with omega-6 polyunsaturated vegetable fats (i.e., margarine) is linked to an increased risk of death among patients with heart disease, according to a 2013 BMJ study. Swapping margarine for healthy butter is the opposite of what your body needs for heart health, and here’s why. Saturated fats have been shown to raise HDL cholesterol—a benefit—and may also increase LDL. The latter isn’t necessarily bad either, as research has confirmed that eating saturated fats raises levels of large, fluffy LDL particles—the type that do not contribute to heart disease. Further, eating saturated fat may even change the small, dense LDL in your body into the healthier large, fluffy LDL! On the other hand, margarine has historically contained synthetic trans fat, the worst type of man-made fat that increases small, dense LDL—and your risk of chronic disease.

The Anti-Drug Method

Looking for a non-drug way to boost your heart health? Here are some of my top recommendations:

  • Reduce, with the plan of eliminating, grains and sugars in your diet. It is vitally important to eliminate gluten-containing grains and sugars, especially fructose.
  • Consume a good portion of your food raw.
  • Make sure you are getting plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. Research suggests that as little as 500 mg of krill per day may improve your total cholesterol and triglycerides and will likely increase your HDL cholesterol.
  • Replace harmful vegetable oils and synthetic trans fats with healthy fats, such as olive oil, butter, avocado, pastured eggs and coconut oil (remember olive oil should be used cold only, use coconut oil for cooking and baking).
  • Include fermented foods in your daily diet. This will not only optimize your intestinal microflora, which will boost your overall immunity, it will also introduce beneficial bacteria into your mouth. Poor oral health is another powerful indicator of increased heart disease risk.
  • Optimize your vitamin D levels, ideally through appropriate sun exposure as this will allow your body to also create vitamin D sulfate—another factor that may play a crucial role in preventing the formation of arterial plaque.
  • Exercise regularly. Make sure you incorporate high-intensity interval exercises, which also optimize your human growth hormone (HGH) production.
  • Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol excessively.
  • Be sure to get plenty of high-quality, restorative sleep.
  • Practice regular stress-management techniques.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

See you tomorrow for Day 3 of the 12 Days of Fitness!

Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day#16 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

The Most Important Muscle

February is heart health month and why not. After all, February contains Valentine’s Day. In reality though, every month should be heart health month. Your heart is the most important muscle you have. Forget about the pecs and biceps. Without the heart working properly, you’re not doing anything. Heart disease doesn’t happen just to older adults either. It is happening to younger adults more and more often. This is partly because the conditions that lead to heart disease are happening at younger ages. High rates of obesity and high blood pressure among younger people (ages 35-64) are putting them at risk for heart disease earlier in life. Half of all Americans have at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking).

You Could Be at Risk

High Blood Pressure. Millions of Americans of all ages have high blood pressure, including millions of people in their 40s and 50s. About half of people with high blood pressure don’t have it under control. Having uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the biggest risks for heart disease and other harmful conditions, such as stroke.

High Blood Cholesterol. High cholesterol can increase the risk for heart disease. Having diabetes and obesity, smoking, eating unhealthy foods, and not getting enough physical activity can all contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels. While there’s some serious debate on this particular subject, it is still listed as one of the top precursors to heart disease.

Smoking. More than 37 million U.S. adults are current smokers, and thousands of young people start smoking each day. Smoking damages the blood vessels and can cause heart disease.

Other conditions and behaviors that affect your risk for heart disease include:

Obesity. Carrying extra weight puts stress on the heart. More than 1 in 3 Americans—and nearly 1 in 6 children ages 2 to 19—has obesity.

Diabetes. Diabetes causes sugar to build up in the blood. This can damage blood vessels and nerves that help control the heart muscle. Nearly 1 in 10 people in the United States has diabetes.

Physical Inactivity. Staying physically active helps keep the heart and blood vessels healthy. Only 1 in 5 adults meets the physical activity guidelines of getting 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity.

Unhealthy Eating Patterns. Most Americans, including children, eat too much sodium (salt), which increases blood pressure. Replacing foods high in sodium with fresh fruits and vegetables can help lower blood pressure. But only 1 in 10 adults is getting enough fruits and vegetables each day. Diet high in trans-fat, saturated fat, and added sugar increases the risk factor for heart disease.

4 Ways to Take Control of Your Heart Health

Thing is, you’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to your heart. It’s one of the top ailments that can be treated, cured, even reversed by making small, simple changes to your lifestyle.

Don’t Smoke. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, learn how to quit.

Manage Conditions. Work with your health care team to manage conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. For some, this includes taking any medicines you have been prescribed. The really good news is that dependency on medications can be decreased or eliminated through adherence to a physical program.

Make Heart-Healthy Eating Changes. Eat food low in trans-fat, added sugar and sodium. Try to fill at least half your plate with vegetables and fruits, and aim for low sodium options.Forget all this jargon about carbs and popularized diets.

Stay Active. Get moving for at least 150 minutes per week. There’s simply no excuse for finding and making the time to be active.And that means physical activity above and beyond what you do on a normal basis.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

Blood Pressure: The Silent Killer 2013 – 12 Days of Fitness: Day 5

(This is Part 5 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

High-Blood-PressureThink for a moment about the pipes in your home right now. If you have running water, there is a pressure that keeps water moving through the pipes. Same thing if your house is heated by hot water; there is pressure in the lines to keep hot water moving throughout the house to keep it warm. If there’s not enough pressure, the running water trickles and there’s little to no heat and if there’s too much pressure there could be a pipe or valve that bursts leaving you with no water and no heat. Our bodies work almost identically to the example here with pipes and water, only the pipes are the blood vessels and the water is our life force, blood.

What is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the measure of the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls (systole) and the subsequent recoil of the vessel walls pushing the blood continually along (diastole). Without enough pressure, it is difficult to get blood to and from the heart efficiently, often resulting in lightheadedness and dizziness. Too much pressure and there is stress on the body that is almost undetectable and felt without the use of a blood pressure reading. High blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood to the body and contributes to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), rupturing of the vessels, and to the potential development of heart failure.

What is High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure can vary greatly from measurement to measurement and situation to situation. (i.e. the white coat syndrome). An individual will be diagnosed as hypertensive when blood pressure is elevated for an extended period of time. Often there are no warning signs and 65 million American adults or about 1 in 3 people have high blood pressure.

What Is “Normal” Blood Pressure?

A blood pressure reading has a top number (the systolic) and bottom number (the diastolic). The ranges are:

  • Normal: Less than 120 over 80 (120/80)
  • Prehypertension: 120-139 over 80-89
  • Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140-159 over 90-99
  • Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above over 100 and above

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

The exact causes of high blood pressure are not known, but several factors and conditions may play a role in its development, including:

  • Smoking – preventable
  • Being overweight or obese – preventable
  • Lack of physical activity – preventable
  • Too much salt in the diet – preventable
  • Too much alcohol consumption (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day) – preventable
  • Stress – preventable
  • Older age
  • Genetics
  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Adrenal and thyroid disorders

Blood pressure is of vital importance to our health, well-being and existence. Even though it’s something most of us probably take for granted, it’s one of the few health markers where we have a good opportunity of controlling what we can control. Simply just letting it go or waiting until a medication is prescribed is like taking a walk on a short plank. Sooner or later, you’re going to fall. Get it checked periodically and take charge of your plumbing.

See you tomorrow for Day 6 of the 12 Days of Fitness

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

 

What You Don’t Know About Your Nutrition Can (Will) Kill You!

1352112140poisonWe have become more naïve. Not in the general sense (I am not qualified to make that assessment) but in terms of our health. More specifically, as it pertains to our nutrition. Some of us think we eat healthy, others think we need to do a better job, and of course there are those who really just don’t seem to care. But what does it really mean to eat “healthy”? If you were ask 3 different people, you would likely get 3 different answers. The underlying themes might be the same, but everyone has a preconceived notion as to what they think is healthy based on little more than what they’ve always been taught or most likely and worse, what marketing and misinformation has taught them.

It’s Not As Simple As Black and White

We are a knowledge hungry civilization. More than at any point in history, we have access to more information that seems to expand almost every second and we want more, and we want it faster. In that quest, we don’t appreciate that there are some things that are not as clear cut as black and white. No other subject takes the cake here more than the subject of nutrition. With all of the knowledge and understanding that science has worked to figure out, the subject of nutrition still remains a very gray area. Or is it? The limitation with science is that it is always evolving. The more we know, the more we have yet to uncover. Theories are made but until they can be proven conclusively, they are just that – a theory. Enter again the subject of nutrition. Most preconceived notions of what is considered a “healthy” diet is mostly based on theories. Like mama always said, “If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you jump too? The irony of that statement is that is exactly what happens everyday when it comes to nutrition. People eat blindly daily and for no other reason because that’s what everyone else is doing or what they think we should be doing. In case you haven’t heard or noticed, there’s an obesity epidemic in this country. Are we just eating too much, not moving enough, or is it we are simply following the wrong recommendations?

Some Haunting Nutritional Tidbits

  • Fat has gotten a bad rap for decades from studies done back in the 1950s. The net result? We’re more unhealthy and overweight than ever before.
  • There is scientific evidence that shows that low-fat diets recommended by the ADA and AHA are shown in numerous studies to cause diabetes and heart disease.
  • There is no scientific evidence that low fat diets are healthy.
  • New research is showing that a diet high in saturated fat actually decreases disease.
  • Carbohydrates are not the enemy. Not all carbohydrates are bad. Man made, manufactured, processed carbohydrates are.
  • Sugar in any form is still sugar. You can put as much spin on it as you want on where it comes from. Agave, honey, maple, sugar alcohols, etc. all sugar, sugar, sugar.
  • Cholesterol is not bad. In fact, it’s very vital and important component of your cells. 80% of the cholesterol floating in your blood stream is produced by the body. Your cholesterol numbers aren’t up because you eat too much cholesterol. They’re up because you consume too much crap which stresses the body that cholesterol is commandeered to repair.
  • Organic does not equal healthy. Is it better for you? Arguably, but eating natures carbohydrates – fruits and vegetables – anyway you can get them is better than eating none at all. Organic cookies are still junk.
  • Most of the food we eat is not grown in the American portrait of the Midwest farmer. It’s mass produced with the help of artificial means; it’s genetically altered to create more sustainable shelf life; it’s highly processed and is less a food item than tree bark; everything is “naturally” flavored which is as ambiguous a statement if there ever was one; imported from foreign countries with less strict regulations that here in our country.
  • In the United States, 99% of the corn and soy grown is genetically modified. Over 90% of the market share in the seed industry is owned by six companies: Monsanto, BASF, Dow, DuPont, Bayer, and Syngenta.
  • Low calorie foods are the worst.  Low calorie means low energy and low taste. That is, without the help of artificial chemicals and processing. Research on these chemicals have been shown to damage a region of the brain called the hypothalamus that’s responsible for regulating a host of functions including mood, emotions, heart rate, blood pressure, weight, and appetite.

So if you weren’t already confused about nutrition before, I hope at least I didn’t confuse (or scare) you more, but rather given you some food for thought. The take home point is this:

  • Eat wholesome, real food as much as possible. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store where all of the perishable, but real food is located.
  • Stay away or avoid packaged/processed foods as much as possible and if still so inclined, ignore the package labeling and learn how to read the nutritional label. If it has more than 5 ingredients in its ingredients list, it’s no longer a food, but a vessel of chemicals and crap.
  • The rules of nutrition are universal, meaning that we as humans have the same biological make up and nutritional needs. Low carb, low fat – phooey! There are cultures who survive on the completely opposite. Sickness and disease are only seen where our influence on eating has been spread.
  • Stop relying on the media and supermarket tabloids for your nutritional information. What they have been telling you for years only clouds your instinctual judgment.
  • And also like mama used to say, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” There is no trick, no gimmick, and no shortcut; just intelligent choices made from sound knowledge.

 

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

The Amazing Power Of Adopting a Healthy Lifestyle

how-to-live-a-healthy-lifestyle1-568x213Hard to believe but just in a few more months we’ll be turning the calendars again on another year.  And as is quite the norm with a new year, thousands will create new health and fitness goals with the belief that this year will be different than all the rest. I’m always very proud of those who make it a priority to exercise more, eat better, and live happier lives as a result of it and actually commit to do it.  The problem with most that embark on that mission however is that they treat getting more exercise and eating better or “dieting” as a means to an end rather than make the decision to create a new lifestyle –  which is the only way it works. And just to prove to you what power you have, I’m going to share with you a client success story of a man who made a decision to stop wishing and started doing.

Today Is The First Day For The Rest of Your Life

Michael started working with me a little more than three years ago with the goal of being healthier and fit; specifically, losing some weight and decreasing his dependency on drugs his doctor was recommending. He was a great client, always showing up on time and ready to work for each session…sometimes even before me. We were making progress, building muscle, getting stronger, less winded climbing stairs, etc.; just overall improving his quality of life.  But Michael continued to struggle when it came to eating healthy.  His knowledge of good nutrition was severely tainted by popular and marketing influence and for a while he thought he was doing the right thing. Over time Michael began to understand and appreciate that even with all of the great strides with exercise that his way of eating was not going to cut it.  Something had to change.

The Switch Went On

Our family history medically can have a pronounced affect on our health and Michael was no different. With a family history of high cholesterol and high blood pressure among other things, Michael was seeing his doctor every six months to keep him in check and had an agreement with his doctor that he would vow to do the right thing without prescription medication.  His doctor obliged and we pressed forward. The daily road to attaining success isn’t always easy.  Family gatherings, holidays, business lunches, our lives and events are simply surrounded by food.  But as in most things in life, we have choices and Michael began to make better choices with regards to eating. The regular visits to the doctor may have provided some extra accountability, but his consistency with our workouts and his willingness to do more on his own switched the light on for Michael.

You Simply Can’t Ignore Stats

Michael’s worked hard and I never doubted his willingness to change.  But I don’t need to say anything more.  I’ll let the results do the talking.

July 2011 Dec 2011 May 2012

Total Cholesterol211              179                114

High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) 50                 59

Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL)95                  43

Triglycerides171                61

 

Total Weight Lost: 40 lbs.

 

Was the goal achieved? Yes.  Did Michael need to buy new clothes? Yes. Is the process over? No. Does exercise and eating well work? Absolutely. It’s your choice.

 

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

My 2012 Fitness Challenge personal update – 28,400 push ups done as of publishing time

 

 

5 Health Myths and Their Close Examination – Part 1

scientist-microscope2The amazing thing about science is that we are always learning.  Like a reset button for our way of thinking, ideas or theories that were once accepted as true are amended or sometimes even completely thrown out as our knowledge gets better.  With exercise and nutrition, that phenomenon occurs all the time which is one of the reasons why I love to read and study about it as much as I do. In this post, I want to examine 5 of the common myths regarding nutrition and in a future post I will discuss some of the myths regarding exercise.

The Problem With Myths

Ever since the dawn of man, myths have proliferated every walk of life to the point where most don’t even know what the truth is anymore. Myths are generally never founded on pure factual data.  They are an interpretation or skewed vision of the reader seeing what they want to see from the data.  For example, the old axiom, “Is the glass half full or half empty?”, could go either way depending on who’s drawing the conclusion. Problem is myths tend to persevere because they become the popular thought, not one based on published or anecdotal research.  Case in point, here are 5 nutritional myths that have spawned not only our way of thinking, but created niche markets in both food advertising and pharmacology.

1. A diet high in saturated fat causes cardiovascular disease.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition combined the results of 21 previous studies and found that a diet higher in saturated fat was not linked to a higher risk of heart disease or stroke. That’s not to say saturated fat can’t be dangerous, but it also goes to show that the overall sentiment of the last 30 years to limit red meat and dairy was both overblown and inaccurate. Studies aren’t everything. And one study in isolation isn’t necessarily reliable. But 21 studies is a pretty good analysis to assess the impact. And when you consider the numerous benefits of other research on people who follow high protein/fat diets, it becomes easier to rest assured that fat (and saturated fat, specifically) is not the enemy.

2. Eating late at night makes you more likely to store fat.

When you find a study that shows that late night eating—in a calorie controlled environment—makes you fat, please let me know. Here’s what you really need to know about your body: It does not work on a 24-hour cycle. If you eat 2,000 calories in the morning and eat the same 2,000 calories at night, your body will process it the same way. In fact, when Israeli researchers compared people who at their biggest meal at breakfast to those who at their biggest meal after 8 pm, they discovered that the late-night eaters lost more weight and more body fat. What’s more, a study conducted by the USDA found similar findings: That people who ate most of their calories after 7 pm had more muscle and less fat. That’s not to say that you have to eat late at night. It just proves that the timing of your meals isn’t as important as you might have thought.

3. Eating multiple meals (4-6) speeds your metabolism more than eating fewer meals (2-3).

The myth about multiple meals started in the early 90s.  That’s when everyone began to move away from three square meals a day, and begin grazing on smaller snacks and meals. In theory, the concept was great, except for the part where an entire nation has become fatter over the last 20 years. When you eat, your body burns calories. This is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF). Every type of food (protein, carbs, fats) has a different TEF, with protein being the most “metabolic” food you can eat. However, the frequency of meals does NOT influence your metabolism, as shown in a study done at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Again, the point is NOT to say that eating 5 or 6 meals a day is bad. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with it. The best diet is the one that fits into your schedule and helps you stay consistent, whether it’s 3 meals, 6 meals, or grazing spread throughout the day. And the only “flaw” with the grazing method is that the size of our snacks has increased more than 200 calories during the last 30 years. So if that’s your preference, just make sure to watch your serving size.

4. Egg yolks are bad for your cholesterol.

This is one of my favorites but rest assured, eggs are not bad for you, and the yolk will not skyrocket your cholesterol. There’s so much research that disproves the theory that I could fill this entire article with links. In fact, not only has research shown no link between egg yolks causing cholesterol or heart problems, but researchers in Thailand found that eggs actually improve your HDL (the good cholesterol).  When it comes to eggs, the only thing you really need to keep an eye on is the fat content and how it fits into your daily goals. And yes, fat is fine. But too much of any nutrient is not good for you

5. A high-sodium diet is one of the biggest problems causing high blood pressure.

First thing to understand is that sodium is an electrolyte, an important mineral that aside being one of the primary charges of all muscle contractions, helps you hydrate when you’re sick or exhausted. We need salt in our diet to help maintain our natural blood pressure levels from dropping to low. Which is just another way of saying the war against salt has been overblown—and that’s probably an understatement. There’s a lot of salt in most people’s diets, but it’s not causing as much damage as you might believe. The people who are most at risk are those with very high blood pressure, and even then, you can still improve your health without a sodium adjustment. (eating more potassium can help counter the effect).  That’s not to say a very high sodium diet can’t have other health drawbacks, but the typical criticisms aren’t necessarily accurate. In people with healthy blood pressure—even those who eat much more salt than recommended—there’s not a need to make a dramatic change. In fact, some research even indicates that cutting out all sodium can lead you susceptible to other health problems.

As I stated previously that is the beauty of science – the landscape is ever-changing, and we’re always discovering new foods to eat, better ways to exercise, and more effective techniques to take care of our bodies. It’s why I’m committed to share the tips you need to live the life you want. Your health is what you make it. No amount of research could ever dictate all of the personal choices you make. And sometimes, research is just that: Information that occurs in a vacuum to help us question certain truths. But making informed decisions, and knowing why you take certain actions, is the foundation of any successful plan. You don’t have to be an expert to live a better life. You just need to give your body the time and information it deserves.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

My 2012 Fitness Challenge personal update – 26,300 push ups done as of publishing time