Post #4: The Best of the Worst

So let’s be real for a moment. If you’ve ever read any article on weight loss tips or ways to improve your diet you have no doubt come across some terrible article on how easy it is to just snack healthy and watch the fat disintegrate. You and I both know carrot sticks aren’t an alternative to chocolate. That’s like saying Canadian football is a good alternative to American football. So if you need some salt/fat/sugar and honey dew melon just isn’t cutting it for you what, of the many varieties of junk food are the the least damaging to your body. I’ve broken it down into 3 categories based on the most common forms of junk food; Potato chips, chocolate and your generic candies like skittles, gummy bears, etc.

1) Potato Chips

For this entry we’ll focus on lays classic plain salted chips. All the other chips are pretty much just a small deviation of this so it’s a good place to start. So you’re walking through the grocery store when suddenly you notice the oily finger prints dotting every inch of your “i won`t meet anyone attractive here” shirt, and you reminisce of that last bag of millimeter thick, salty potato slices that stained your shirt so.

Not Pictured: Dignity,

Not Pictured: Dignity

So how bad a decision are you about to make? Well according to my sources ( a bag of chips) one serving which is 28.3g has 160 calories. 28.3g is 0.06 pounds, a McDonald’s quarter pound burger which we’ll assume is 0.25 pounds has about 400 calories.  So, if we ate a quarter pound of these lays chips we’re looking at about 640 calories. These potato snacks are significantly more calorie dense than a hunk of cow. Either the cows are getting slimmer (they’re not) or potato chips really are one way ticket to Fat City, USA which I assume is in Ohio? Let’s not even get started on the sodium contents of those things. The only decent trait of chips is that there’s no cholesterol in them. This is a small pro compared to just how many calories there are in chips though

2) Chocolate

Chocolate as an essential item, is pretty much up there with oxygen and water. Whether your shoveling a bar of the stuff into your mouth while you watch big bang theory re-runs or licking it off your mistress’s stomach…while you watch big bang theory re-runs, it makes literally everything better. If anyone tries to give you pancakes without chocolate chips, breaking their femur is probably the most appropriate reaction. So given chocolates presence in our diets, we oughtta know just how good or bad it really is. Well for starters a standard size nestle milk chocolate bar is about 27 grams of chocolate and contains 220 calories and 13g of fat, 8g of which are saturated fats (see post #3). This is actually far denser in calories than the potato chips in the last entry. Milk chocolate is essentially milk fat with very little actual cacao from the original plant. There’s also some cholesterol in there as well. While it could be argued that there’s calcium in the milk, it could also be argued that there’s iron in a double big mac, it’s just not a fair trade off.  For the record a bar of dark chocolate (about 70% cacao), while still a little high in calories and fats, does contain polyphenols which can help reduce stress induced damage, maintain artery walls, and modulate intestinal inflammation (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.qe2a-proxy.mun.ca/pubmed/23150750). Dark chocolate also contains a compound called theobromine, which acts as a vasodilator and has recently been shown to lower blood pressure in the short-term (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.qe2a-proxy.mun.ca/pubmed/22895979). So if you must eat chocolate, opt for the dark stuff if you can. Its a few less calories and 1000x better given the theobromine content and what not.

3) Candy
Ok so it should come as no surprise that things like gummy candy are a great way to get your daily recommended intake of carbohydrates….after about a 1/3 of a bag. It’s pure sugar and imitation flavors. If you plan on eating these things regularly, message me and I`ll tell you 5 ways to get diabetes that are way more fun than skittles. A single 61g bag has 240 calories and 54g of sugar. That’s on par with a can of Coca Cola but you won’t help save any polar bears. How the hell do you justify doing that to your body and NOT save polar bears in the process.

"Look what you've done with your skittles and global warming...but mostly skittles"

“Look what you’ve done with your skittles and global warming…but mostly skittles”

Not many positive can be said for skittles or other similar candies. Skittles have about 35% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C but that’s by far one of the most of abundant and easily absorbed vitamins out there. If you’ve eaten even one fruit today or had some sort of juice you probably already have above 100% of your daily need.

This article isn’t about shaming you out of enjoying some junk food once in a while or offering some lame substitute. In fact, it’s more of a way to justify it and offer a little guidance next time you enter glucose withdrawals. If calories are your concern and you just can’t get into the whole dark chocolate thing then potato chips could be the way to go plus you can always opt for an every so slightly better baked version but if you enjoy dark chocolate its obvious that it’s the clear winner here. So call it a technicality if you want but I`m naming chocolate the best of the worst!

"best of the worst? Yayyy I'm basically Egypt!"

“best of the worst? Yayyy I’m basically Egypt!”

Post #3: How Food Can Improve Mood on a Scale of 1-5 Carlton’s

Food and mood are only one letter apart, although so is rapist and artist if you do some rearranging so take that with a grain of salt. Semantics aside, there some nutrients that have been linked to improved mood and cognitive ability, also, deficiency in some nutrients has been found to decrease overall mood.

sad-fat-man

this isn’t a diet thing, he`s just upset he can’t find his shirt

So here`s the thing, I figured the best way to rate each foods mood enhancing abilities was not through graphs and diagrams but rather the late, great Alfonso Rebeiro (Carlton Banks of Fresh Prince of Bel Air). Carlton is the epitome of straight up cheer and glee. Be honest, the second you saw that name you immediately wanted to do that wonderful limp armed, finger snappin Carlton Dance. A Rating of 5 Carlton`s means the food is essentially Zoloft dissolved in raspberry vodka and 1 Carlton means that it leaves you feeling emptier than a hipsters wallet at a 2 for 1 fedora sale.

hipster

“one to wear before its cool and another to wear ironically, after its uncool”

While further studies are required for the exact mechanism of these foods, the evidence is promising. It goes without saying it should never be used to replace medicine but making note to include it in your diet is certainly worth doing.

1) Saturated Fats:

So here`s the thing, if Carlton consumed too much of these saturated fats normally found in all your favorite fast food meals and bacon wrapped bacon, the best dance we`d get out of him is a few head nods followed by an exhausted “woo”. You know what else, he`d be the most depressed rich kid living in Bel-Air (although, that`s like the poor kids version of utter happiness). You see, despite finally having an awesome stage name for his rap career ,”2 CHINZ”, he would have to blow all his rap money on therapy for his sad ass. It`s pretty well established a diet high in saturated fats will increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes and therefore a hell of a lot to worry about but its also been directly correlated to depression as well. A study done by Dr. Sharma and Dr. Fulton, which was published in the International Journal of Obesity (http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ijo201248a.html) has shown that a high fat diet, specifically a tasty high fat diet is linked to depression in an animal model.  Rats fed a high fat diet for only 3 months had increased anxiety, and decreased mobility in the forced swim test which is a sign of hopelessness. They put these guys in a situation where they had to swim for their life and they said to hell with it like they were molested by their rat step fathers. Furthermore, it was found that a high fat diet basically rewired the reward part of their brain, increasing their depressive behaviors. It is clear that these fats are worthy of only a single Carlton. Lame.

carlton

2) Magnesium:
    Here`s a comforting thought, you no longer have to worry about what natural catastrophes may befall us in the future because statistics suggest that many of you will be too depressed to care anyway. Think about how common heart disease is, well the World Health Organization says that major depression will be on par with that by the year 2020. Why is that? Do they know something we don`t?  Are all of Seth Macfarlanes cartoons getting cancelled in 2020!? Hell if I know but both of those problems have a pretty strong correlation to magnesium deficiency (not the cancellation of Seth`s cartoons, the heart one). It appears we`re pretty hurting for some magnesium in our diet. The RDA is between 320 mg and 420 mg daily and most are lucky to get 250 mg. So what gives? Well it gets filtered from our tap water for the most part, the soils our food is being grown in is getting depleted of it, and if you don`t bother to substitute your refined flours for some whole grain every now and then your`e only getting 16% of what you should get. Some, like George Eby who published a number of case studies on magnesium supplements, (http://george-eby-research.com/html/magnesium-for-depression.pdf) even go as far as to suggest magnesium as a preferential treatment for depression, due to its wide role in brain biochemistry and its safety. Eby documented One 59 year old man who had struggled with severe depression and messed up sleep patterns for years. He had his sleeping pattern semi restored after one day of supplementation with magnesium and with the help of a pro-biotic to increase magnesium absorption he was able to control his depression. A 23 year old woman who suffered brain trauma resulting in a lowered IQ and depression had both her IQ and normal mood restored with short term magnesium supplementation. It would appear magnesium is the Jesus of minerals (magjesium?). O and magnesium levels happen to be lowered by chronic stress which is linked to lowered IQ. Here’s the IQ levels of kids raised in a home vs. raised in an orphanage (aka Stressful as hell) and how it affects their magnesium levels and IQ.

magnesium chart

Not surprisingly, all the kids where the line intersects belong to Tom Cruise.

So with all that being said magnesium gets a fresh five Carltons!

carltoncarltoncarltoncarltoncarlton

3) Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
Omega 3, it even sounds like one of the X-Men. You better believe this ones going to get quite the Carlton count. Omega 3 has already been linked to decreased depression in both the elderly and teens (Astorg, P. et al. (2008) Association of fish and long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intakes with the occurrence of depressive episodes in middle-aged French men and women. Prostaglandins Leukot. Essent. Fatty Acids 78, 171–182.) So how exactly does this work and to what extent? tune in next week to find out…something completely different, for now…lets focus on omega 3.  You see, a Mr. Dr. Moranis decided to see exactly what the hell was going on here, so he published a paper in Brain, Behaviour and Immunity which looked at long term omega 3 adequate and inadequate diet (Moranis, A. et al. (2011) Long term adequate n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid diet protects fromdepressive-like behavior but not from working memory disruption and brain cytokine expression in aged mice. Brain, Behaviour, and Immunity.26. 721-731). He found that animals on an inadequate diet just sucked at the forced swim test like our saturated fat rats up there in entry 1 and also showed significantly more anxious behavior and a big decrease in spatial memory (that`s how they measure intelligence in mice). Even more disturbingly, these little guys had a decline in enzymes responsible for lowering inflammation. The animals who were lucky enough to be on the adequate omega 3 diet had more less inflammation, found a reason to actually live when forced to swim, were less anxious, and had better memory. Still not reason enough to get more omega-3`s in that diet?

Omega 3 VD

How`s that for a reason?

And with that Omega 3`s earn themselves 4 points of the big C(arlton…not ock)

carltoncarltoncarltoncarlton

4) Tryptophan:

Tryptophan is an amino acid which is needed to make the chemical responsible for balancing out your mood (serotonin). On top of that its needed for the synthesis of the B vitamin, Niacin. Tryptophan depletion has been associated with an increase in aggressive or depressive like symptoms while supplementation of tryptophan has been found to increase how agreeable and overall pleasant a person is, in a social situation (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23440461). A diet with good levels of tryptophan has been found to normalize serotonin levels better than certain drugs because the drugs are incapable of regulating just how much serotonin is in the nervous system and may interact with other drugs for depression, resulting in some nasty side effects (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0197018612004123). This further promotes a the concept of a tryptophan rich diet. Turkey and chicken tend to be the best sources of tryptophan. So remember, dont trip! Get tryptophan ;)! Tryptophan is certainly a key player here but there are other forces at work that can influence depression, so we`ll clock it in at 3 Carlton`s , not bad.

carltoncarltoncarlton

 

5) Rock

rock

This is a rock, it gets no Carlton`s…

Well that does it for now folks, this post was brought to you by the 90`s, Alfonso Rebeiro and food.
Hope you learned a thing or two but preferably 5.

Post #2: The Journal of Casual Drinking: Justified Edition

So the second post I figured I`d keep up the whole “writing down words until coherent sentences are formed” thing. Look at that, I`m doing great! So today I thought I`d help you justify what other people might call a “problem”, “disease”, or “reason for fist fighting a cop while simultaneously trying to grab a second cops baton and hurl it at a street vendor”. Of course I`m referring to alcohol (disclaimer: I`m speaking of ethanol alcohol in beer, wine, etc. not rubbing alcohol or other forms that sad people drink). Turns out the same substance responsible for teen pregnancies and cirrhosis is also good for preventing heart disease, limiting oxidation damage (often due to stress), and making everyone think you’re the funniest most attractive person ever!

Drunk-guy

“Who me?”
Yes you unreformed old guy, society wants you to wear that hat as the manufacturer intended but you just won`t will you? You old charmer!

However, the key here is Moderation. That`s a word that actually applies to everything fairly well, be it drinking, masturbating, or updating your facebook status. People who take in about 3 drinks a day, be it wine, beer, or a mixed liquor drink actually tend to live longer than people who abstain. They also live a lot longer than people who define a few drinks at dinner as 24 Budweiser and a bag of Lays salt and vinegar.  Red wines ( and yes even white wines) contain a little compound called resveratrol which acts as a fine anti-oxidant and has been shown to kill certain cancer cells, lower blood pressure and even reduce irregular heart rates (http://link.springer.com.qe2a-proxy.mun.ca/article/10.1007/s10741-010-9163-9/fulltext.html). This was found in a study by Dipak Das from the UCONN School of Medicine. While wines appear to be the best, regardless of the form of alcoholic drink, lifespan is found to increase with moderate intake (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1615277/). Does this take into account all the alcohol associated risks such as driving accidents, liver problems in high dose, and suicide cases because someones saw a video of themselves genuinely into pitbull from the night before…yes! I`m sure it goes without saying that a rum and coke isn’t going to be as good for you as a straight wine but the science says its still better than nothing! 3 seems to be the magic number for the most part and has been for a while (it was suggested back in 1861 by Dr. Anstie). There`s even a German proverb which says “there’s more old wine drinkers than old doctors” and Germans are never wrong about anything (shut up, don`t say it). So be sure not to over do it…

drunk-fat-guy-600x521

“Like this?”
No…not at ALL like that

But don`t under do it either…

WineIsForClassyClassyMen_174

“like this”
Jesus, no! Relax before you have an aneurism doc

This isn’t as difficult as these people make it out to be. In my opinion, if you`re a lightweight or haven’t really been much of a casual drinker before maybe start off with just one drink with supper and if your`e tolerance allows it, maybe a drink with lunch, and 2 in the evening with or after supper to help you unwind a little. It goes without saying if you feel genuinely buzzed maybe slow your roll a little. So relax, have a drink ( note: never ingest a “drank” under any circumstance), and let science take you to longevity land.

Girls-beer-drinking01

“Wike Dis”
Fuck it, close enough