Now, turn to the next problem.  If you have three Pepsis and drink one, how much more refreshed are you?

Troy: Now, turn to the next problem. If you have three Pepsis and drink one, how much more refreshed are you?

Just a quick post about some interesting items in the news of health and fitness.  I’ll do a quick summary of the articles but click the link if you’d like to read the whole thing.

I get very sad when I got in to my local supermarkets and don’t see quality fresh fruits and vegetables. I did not have this problem when I lived in an area of town with a whole lot more…well, I’ll be honest, rich white people.  The area I now live in is a low income and majority minority (yeah, I get the bad joke there) but I love it so much more.  Things are getting better but I can completely see why many financially struggling families in my community don’t automatically reach for apples and oranges as their snack food when they are old and at times have gnats flying around.  Also it is a whole lot cheaper to grab a bag of chips or poptarts then it is to pick up some fresh broccoli and spinach.    Even if there is a good selection, a lot of the people are just ignorant about picking healthy foods because they grew up with the unhealthy options.  It is a cycle I see all the time at the market.

South Texas has a high rate of obesity and organizations in the Brownsville area have decided to educate and give more options.  The University of Texas School of Public Health, Brownsville Regional Campus, along with the Texas Department of State Health Services and Su Clinica Familiar, provides $10 vouchers for low-income families to purchase fruits and vegetables from the local Brownsville Farmer’s Market.

I think this is such a wonderful program.  I believe her in Austin, some of the farmer’s markets do accept WIC.  It is a great way to introduce healthy food at affordable prices to people, have interaction and discussion in the community, and also support local farmers.

I find this very interesting because the book I am currently reading, Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World, is currently discussing how schools became infiltrated with high calorie-low nutrient foods.  The study looks at the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program.  When I was in school I had a number of friends who’s food came directly from these programs.  There were times when what they’d eat at school was their main source of calories because their dinners would be little to nothing.

This study looked at the school food, student’s dietary behavior both inside and outside of school, as well as overweight/obesity factor during the second half of the 2004-2005  school year.

The results?  Surprising and hopeful- the NSLP and SBP have both improved the nutritional quality of the foods in the programs.  There is still a whole lot of work but there have been steps made.  One commentator recognized the issue of competitive food purchases being, “generally low-nutrient, energy-dense foods, including candy, desserts, salty snacks, french fries, muffins, donuts, sweet rolls, toaster pastries and caloric beverages other than milk or 100% fruit juice”.  Only 6-7% of the schools met all nutritional standards because the food contained too much fat, saturated fat, or too few calories.

Another big issue here is also in what the students choose to eat.  If you have a plate of fries next to an apple, most of the students will probably choose the fries.  The article does not really go in to this however it does mention the supplemental assessment to the study for which I plan to do a search and report back.

This one caught my eye mainly because I’m in to all things insulin at the moment since I’m working on a big scientificy post.  All this work right now is in the very, very beginning stages but the researchers were able to over express a specific protein in a mouse leg muscle so that the cells would be more open to letting fat molecules in for processing (think of one gate being open to a field verses many gate all around the field).  The result is that more fat molecules were burned and the muscle became more sensitive to insulin, the key factor of Type 2 diabetes.

The body is an awesome homeostatic system and the article does note that the next step in the research will involve looking at the fact that there may be other imbalances associated with these muscles using fat as their main energy source instead of glucose.  I’m not exactly sure what issues will come from this and what other imbalances could arise being that it seems like the burning of more fat would get them in to a ketotic type stage.  If that happens, then there would be excess glucose in the blood, which would then be stored as fat….that’s my thinking but I’m not sure if I’m on the right route.  If that is true, then diet again is what would be important here as in a low-carbohydrate diet to manage the glucotic intake so the big benefit would be the increase insulin sensitivity- which has been shown anyhow in many studies on low carbohydrate diets ( Noakes, Nutrition & Metabolism 2005).  The researcher Kraegen explains the next step saying, “what we’re trying to do is mimic exercise with pharmacological agents.  We’re examining agents that make the muscle burn more fuel to get the same amount of energy. In other words, we’re trying to make energy conversion less efficient.”

I’m not big on the idea of mimicking exercise with drugs just yet.Not sure about all that- not sure where they’ll get on this but it is another look at diabetes management.  I’ll try and find the full paper and report back on it also.

I will add another science type page that also has loads of fun for you….if you are a proclaimed science nerd like myself-

Guide to Mathematics and Mathematicians on The Simpsons