Dec 27, 2012

The Truth about Nutrition Bars - Misconception that power bars, muscle milk, protein drinks and things disguised as healthy are actually good for you !

Angela DeBord Henriksen, MD, is a board-certified physician specializing in Internal Medicine, she recently shared from her Blog the following eye opener...

For all those out there under the misconception that power bars, muscle milk, protein drinks and things disguised as healthy are actually good for you (I was one of those miss-guided souls and perhaps this is why I had the cardiac challenges this past year I did). 

According to Angela's blog, People share with me all the time that they are eating healthy and when I ask them to actually  write down what they are eating it scares the crap out of me! Typical patient–no breakfast, slimfast for lunch, and a healthy choice frozen dinner all accompanied with a “diet” cola.  Then they wonder why they aren’t losing weight.  Well, maybe if they were getting one ounce of nutrition out of any of those products, they would be.  It’s not their fault–it’s the physician’s fault!  We aren’t educating them on nutrition.  Most physician’s don’t know jack about nutrition because we aren’t educated on it either.  It’s time to think outside the box and stop drowning patients with pills for diseases they don’t need to have!

Thank you Kevin Deeth for doing your homework and sharing!   A+

"The Truth About Nutrition Bars" by Kevin Deeth
Here is his post from his great website

In a recent study published by 30 nutrition bars were broken down/analyzed and over 60% of the bars failed to meet labeling claims! What is really in your “health or nutrition bar”?
Thank you for the suggestion on this topic.
Meal replacement bars, snack bars, weight loss bars, energy bars, and protein bars are a convenient and easy way for people to get a quick snack or meal when they are on the go. The problem is that 99% of the products out there are loaded with carbs and sugars that spike insulin levels and promote fat storage. Despite the hidden ingredients and artificial additives, marketing gurus have duped consumers into thinking that these “nutrition bars” are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals when in reality this is far from the truth. The FDA claims that it currently does not have any formal guidelines for nutrition bars or the labeling on nutrition bars.
The Breakdown
“Protein Bar” is an extremely deceptive term.  Most bars contain more carbs than protein. The consumer labs study found that a typical bar is made up of
  • 49% of calories from carbohydrates (mostly from sugars)
  • 29% of calories from protein
  • 22% of calories from fat
What To Stay Away From 
Clif Bars
The concern here is the 45 grams of carbs and 21 grams of sugar (for comparison a snickers bar has 35 grams of carbs and 28 sugars). If you are not an endurance athlete than that amount of carbs in the form of a small snack is way to high. Ever notice how the Clif Bar rapper conveniently covers the ingredient list. Here is why. With over 30 ingredients, it is hard to decipher what exactly the bar is made up of.  Organic rice syrup, evaporated cane juice, organic evaporated can juice, organic date paste, are all fancy names for sugar that make up this so-called “nutrition bar”. While ingredients like evaporated cane juice are not as detrimental to refined sugar, it is close enough.
The Take Away- Stay away from Clif bars
Atkins Advantage Bar
With Atkins Advantage you get more bang for you buck because the lower carb and sugar levels. You also get a solid 15 grams of protein with only 210 calories. The unfortunate part is the saturated fat and ingredients. With over 50 ingredients, there are several hidden land mines such as glycerin, sucralose, cellulose, artificial flavors, which are all code names for SUGARS!
The take away- Eat only if there is no whole/unprocessed foods available like fruit or nuts.
Nature Valley Bar
I commend General Mills for their bold and forthright honesty. They are not trying to hide anything. The second ingredient is SUGAR! With high levels of carbohydrates and sugar, nature valley bars have nothing “natural” about them. High fructose corn syrup and brown sugar syrup are two ingredients that have single handily added to the obesity problems in the US.
The take away- Don’t even think about it
Power Bars
This label is also very informative as it provides the disclaimer that the FDA has no regulation over these “health bars”. With 45 carbs,  27 grams of sugar, ingredients such as evaporated cane juice, glucose syrup, and fructose, a power bar is basically a glorified candy bar. At least they have less than 30 ingredients as opposed to some of the other examples listed right?
The take away- If you are going to have something with the nutritional equivalent of a candy bar why not actually have a candy bar that tastes great? Opt for a snickers or twix instead.
Why so much sugar?
In their early development, nutrition bars were bland and primarily eaten by fitness enthusiasts. However, the bars underwent a transformation to appeal to general consumers. The bland, stiff, and protein packed bars didn’t necessarily appeal to the general population. To compensate, manufacturers made their products more flavorful by adding corn syrup, sugar, sugar alcohols, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, colors and hydrogenated oils, which are all bad for your health.
What To Eat Instead
Kind Bar
Definitely the best nutrition bar out there. The calorie, carbohydrate, protein, and sugar content is a well-balanced mixture that can provide an adequate snack  in between meals. What I love about these bars is the simplicity of the ingredients and the natural additives. Unlike the rest of the bars, you don’t see a list of 30 ingredients with names that are too long to pronounce.
The take away- A good snack that offers a variety from eating nuts or dried fruits by themselves or with trail mix.
As a general guideline, the less ingredients the better. Eating something in its most natural state is always your best bet. The best example I can think of is a product like peanut butter. When buying peanut butter look for one ingredient, PEANUTS! Avoid products with ingredients other than peanuts like what you see in most commercial products.  For example, Jif regular peanut butter’s list of ingredients includes peanuts, salt, sugar, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils, and diglycerides. I never encourage people to eat anything processed like nutrition bars but I understand there or some times when nothing else is available. If that is the case, choose something like a KIND Bar where there are only a few ingredients or prepare ahead and always carry around some nuts and fruits.
Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any comments or questions:

The Fountain of Youth may just be in a Pool or Lake

Swimming in the fountain of youth 

It has been my experience, observing my teammates, that they are generally more positive people
and have a higher success to overcome health challenges than others whom do not work out. 

The fountain of youth might just be in a lap pool near you, according to research at Indiana University Bloomington's Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming, which is examining the effects of long-term participation in vigorous activity on "optimal aging."
"Swimming in particular provides an emotional foundation to your physical health rarely found elsewhere", Don Macdonald of One Stroke At A Time.

The researchers are adding a new twist to aging research by studying a very active population. Recent studies, says Counsilman Center Director Joel Stager, often are drawn from a diseased or declining population, casting them as the 'general' population.
"Are Masters Swimmers unique, or are we what 'normal' people should look like?" Stager recently told USMS Swimmer, the official magazine of United States Masters Swimming.
The IUB researchers conducted a battery of tests on elite swimmers -- United States Masters Swimmers competing in the U.S. championships in 2004 and in the FINA world championships at Stanford in 2006. They measured age markers, whose physiological functional capacity typically decline by 0.5 percent to 1 percent per year beginning around the age of 35, and compared their findings with similar data collected on the general population. From their 2004 data, they found that regular and fairly intensive swimming substantially delayed the decline of such age markers as blood pressure, muscle mass, blood chemistry and pulmonary function.
Joel Stager
Photo by: Chris Meyer
Joel Stager is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology in the School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. He also directs the Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming.
"We're starting to find out that a lot of the decline is probably related to a decline in activity rather than aging per se," said Stager, a professor in IUB's Department of Kinesiology. "The hypothesis is that activity preserves physiological function."
The researchers found that by regularly swimming 3,500 to 5,000 yards (roughly 2 to 3 miles) three to five times a week, the USMS swimmers examined in 2004 postponed the aging process, not only for years but for decades. They found that many of the swimmers delayed this natural decline until the age of 70. Stager, who also competed at the FINA Masters World Championships this summer, is an avid swimmer himself, swimming roughly 3,000 yards per day five times a week. For recreational swimmers, any amount of swimming is beneficial, he said, particularly for the least active. A workout should depend on goals, such as preparing for competition, improving fitness or seeking health and well-being benefits.
"The health and well-being benefits start with a minimal amount of swimming," Stager said. "If you want the fitness effect, you'll need to look at getting your heart rate up and boosting the intensity."
Stager said most of the male and female swimmers examined in spring 2004 reported swimming 3,500 to 5,000 yards five days a week. He received a grant from USMS to get a better grasp of how much swimmers actually swim, using accelerometers to measure how often, how far and how intensely they swim. He received another USMS grant to focus his research on the relationship between swimming, aging and muscle mass and function. The loss of muscle mass is a big concern among the aging, he said, because of its effect on range of motion and quality of life.

Dec 2, 2012


7 Days | 7 Stages | 120 miles
I have decided to set a personal goal for myself for 2013 to be over 50 and attempt this dynamic test of one resilience for 7 days, swimming under 7 bridges, covering some 120 flow assisted miles through some of the most scenic countryside America has to offer. Dave Barra and a team of volunteers started this a few years ago to bring awareness to the water quality of the river among other important issues. David and I first met in the Boston Light House Marathon swim two years ago while both were training for the English Channel. 

In the intervening year I have faced some challenges to my health, receiving cardiac stints, 7 months ago. Lets consider for a moment the fact that this was a complete surprise, a marathon swimmer in great shape, able to swim in low 50's degree water for hours under punishing conditions. What I didn't appreciate was that genetically I was susceptible to arterial plaque build-up.  I have begun training (slowly) and lifting weights to re-build my conditioning and strength so as I transition to 5 day weeks of swimming my body will adjust. Because of the medications I am now on (Statins and cardiac rate limiting drugs for protective measures) I have new challenges. How to fuel myself during training and the event with healthy foods that are high energy (not just bulk glycogen carbo's) and re-teaching my muscles to acclimate to lower available oxygen from Beta Blockers that force the heart rate to stay below 120 and affect endurance.

I look to this event, which is current assisted but still no cake walk by any means, to have a goal, re-focus my training but more importantly my mental game to overcome the naturally built in 'doubts' one gets from such a surprise cardiac event. I will have many tests between now and then under the supervision of my medical team. 

From the peaceful Catskills to the dramatic Narrows, at the throat of the New York Harbor, intrepid swimmers cover 120 miles of the Hudson River's great stream. The 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim, the longest marathon swim in the world, is an epic swimming odyssey that celebrates the mighty Hudson and New York Harbor. For one week, each day's marathon swim begins with the ebb tide at one bridge and ends at the next, covering distances ranging from 13.2 miles to 19.8 miles. Swimmers can participate in one to all of the seven stages. The swim strings together the Rip Van Winkle | Kingston-Rhinecliff | Mid-Hudson | Newburgh-Beacon | Bear Mountain | Tappan Zee | George Washington | Verrazano Narrows Bridges.

June 15 to June 22, 2013.

Stage 1. Rip Van Winkle to Kingston Rhinecliff

Date: Saturday June 15, 2013
Rain Date: Sunday June 16, 2013
Splash Time: 8:20 am
Distance: 18.3 miles
Highlights: Cementon, Saugerties Lighthouse, small islands, mostly narrow, meandering, and rural.
Stage Record: 4hr:31m
Recommended Pace over 3 hours: 30 mins per mile
Water Temp.: 68 – 74˚F
Stage Map

Stage 2. Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge to Mid-Hudson Bridge

Date: Sunday June 16, 2013
Rain Date: Monday June 17, 2012
Splash Time: 8:00 am
Distance: 19.8 miles
Highlights: Roundout lighthouse, Esopus Meadows lighthouse, mostly narrow, meandering, and rural.
Stage Record: 5hr:28m
Recommended Pace over 3 hours: 28 mins per mile
Water Temp.: 68 – 74˚F
Stage Map
Stage 3. Mid-Hudson Bridge to Newburgh Beacon Bridge

Date: Monday June 17, 2013
Rain Date: Tuesday June 18, 2013
Splash Time: 8:40 am
Distance: 13.2 miles
Highlights: Cedar Cliff, Danskammer, New Hamburg, Chelsea.
Stage Record: 3hr:42m
Recommended Pace over 3 hours: 37 mins per mile
Water Temp.: 68 – 74˚F
Stage Map
Stage 4. Newburgh Beacon Bridge to Bear Mountain Bridge

Date: Tuesday June 18, 2013
Rain Date: Wednesday June 19, 2012
Splash Time: 9:00 am
Distance: 15.0 miles
Highlights: Hudson Highlands, Bannermans Castle, Break Neck, Storm King, Sugarloaf, West Point, The Devil’s Playground, Anthony’s Nose.
Stage Record: 4hr:10m
Recommended Pace over 3 hours: 30 mins per mile
Water Temp.: 68 – 74˚F
Stage Map
Stage 5. Bear Mountain Bridge to Tappan Zee Bridge

Date: Thursday June 20, 2013
Rain Date: Friday June 21, 2013
Splash Time: 8:25 am
Distance: 19.8 miles
Highlights: Indian Point, Haverstraw Bay, Hook Mt., narrow, meandering and also very open.
Stage Record: 6hr:05m
Recommended Pace over 3 hours: 27 mins per mile
Water Temp.: 68 – 73˚F
Stage Map
Stage 6. Tappan Zee Bridge to George Washington Bridge

Date: Friday June 21, 2013
Rain Date: Saturday June 22, 2013
Splash Time: 10:30 am
Distance: 15.7 miles
Highlights: Piermont Marsh, Pallisades, Yonkers, Spuyten Duyvil
Stage Record: 3hr:28m
Recommended Pace over 3 hours: 44 mins per mile
Water Temp.: 67 – 71˚F
Stage Map
Stage 7. George Washington Bridge to Verrazano Narrows Bridge

Date: Saturday June 22, 2013
Rain Date: Sunday June 23, 2013
Splash Time: 7:40 am
Distance: 18.6 miles
Highlights: Manhattan, Governor’s Island, Statue of Liberty, NY Harbor
Stage Record: 4hr:21m
Recommended Pace over 3 hours: 33 mins per mile
Water Temp.: 67 – 71˚F
Stage Map
Photos by Mario Burger