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Body Fat Calculator

Diet Calculator
Diet Calculator

Did you eat too much for the holidays? If you are thinking about going on a diet, you need the right tools to measure your progress. Some people give up when they have a small setback, but to be successful you have to keep your objective in mind.

The Diet Calculator tells you how much weight you need to lose to be within the normal range. In addition, the calculator will estimate the percentage of body fat and the Body Mass Index (BMI). By weighing yourself regularly and using the calculator, you can track your progress toward your goal.

The best strategy for losing weight is to reduce the amount of food that you eat and increase your activity level by exercising regularly. In particular, cut out sweet drinks and desserts because they don't provide nutrition, but they are high in calories. Eat only two-thirds of your normal portions to keep your normal eating schedule and reduce your daily calories by one third. Within a week you will see your weight start to drop.

Learn what to eat to lose weight

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How to Age Gracefully

Antonio Zamora - Age 67

A large percentage of people who are retired or close to retirement take medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, digestive problems, and other chronic conditions that have developed over their lifetime. If you listen to the drug commercials during the national evening news, this is normal, but it should not be. Many of the diseases that we associate with old age are the result of bad diet, exposure to harmful chemicals, and lack of exercise.

Optimum Nutrition
Your diet should include enough protein and essential fatty acids to maintain a normal weight. The large number of overweight people all around us distorts our notion of what is a normal weight. Use this Body Mass Index (BMI) Calculator to determine whether your weight is in the normal range.

BMI Calculator

Learn about Optimum Nutrition

You should engage in 30 minutes of vigorous exercise at least three to four times per week. Exercise improves your coordination and your muscle strength. Exercise also keeps you lungs and circulatory system in good working condition. But be careful. Avoid getting injured from strenuous or high-impact exercises.

Keep Active Socially and Mentally
As you age, you will need to maintain a good social network. Many people who live to a ripe old age become depressed when they feel isolated as their friends and relatives start dying. You can keep engaged by volunteering to teach young people, or by participating in social organizations that make you feel useful.

Try to stay healthy
The two most common causes of death are heart disease and cancer. If you can avoid these two dangers, you have a good chance of living a long life. Many cardiovascular diseases can be avoided by maintaining a normal weight and exercising regularly. The risk of cancer can be reduced by avoiding substances that damage your cellular DNA and cause tumors, such as the chemicals in tobacco.

Learn How Others Do It!
One of the best ways to learn how to age gracefully is to constantly explore the concept with those who are indeed aging gracefully. You can always read about famous people and celebrities, but remember that with vast wealth comes the ability to hire all sorts of people to keep you looking and feeling fabulous.
Read about the oldest person alive and see what helps "normal" people age gracefully.

Learn how to reduce cancer risks through diet and lifestyle changes

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Protein Restriction or High Protein for Longevity?

Studies have consistently shown that dietary restriction (also called calorie restriction) reduces oxidative damage to mitochondrial DNA and increases maximum longevity. Only protein restriction is responsible for the decrease in oxidative damage; the restriction of carbohydrates or lipids does not reduce oxidative stress or increase maximum longevity. Some studies have looked at the amino acid components of protein and have found that reduced intake of the amino acid methionine plays a major role in the decrease in mitochondrial damage and increase in longevity.

Some researchers conclude that the intake of proteins (and thus methionine) of Western human populations is much higher than needed, and that decreasing the levels could reduce tissue oxidative stress and increase healthy life span in humans.[4] While this recommendation seems to make sense theoretically, it also is in direct conflict with the statistical findings of nutritional surveys.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein, established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the United States National Academy of Science, is 0.8 g protein/kg body weight/day for adults, regardless of age. The 1994-96 Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals[1] found that protein intake was significantly below recommended levels. The following table has the percentages of white males and females below 75% of the RDA and below 100% of the RDA. The percentages of deficient black Americans were even higher.
Protein Below 75% Below 100%
60 and over10.429.6
60 and over15.835.9

The statistics show that the deficiencies increased with age. A large proportion of senior citizens are seriously deficient in meeting their minimum essential protein requirements and suffer health problems and complications like:

Inadequate protein intake results in loss of body cell mass, decreased muscle function, and lower immune response. On the other hand, supplementing the diets of patients with hip fractures with 20 grams of protein decreased time in a rehabilitation hospital and reduced the rate of loss of bone mineral density. Higher protein intakes were associated with decreased risk for hip fracture in postmenopausal women. A study of 2066 men and women aged 70–79 years found that participants in the highest quintile of protein intake lost approximately 40% less lean mass than did those in the lowest quintile of protein intake. The study concluded that dietary protein may be a modifiable risk factor for sarcopenia in older adults.[3]

Concerns about potential detrimental effects of increased protein intake on bone health, renal function, neurological function and cardiovascular function are generally unfounded. In fact, many of these factors are improved in elderly ingesting elevated quantities of protein. An intake of 1.5 g protein/kg/day, or about 15-20% of total caloric intake, is a reasonable target for elderly individuals wishing to optimize protein intake in terms of health and function.[2]

There are some practitioners of Calorie Restriction with Optimum Nutrition (CRON) who are experimenting with various approaches for reducing protein. Besides lowering the proportion of protein in their diet, they may also select vegetable sources of protein which are generally lower in methionine than animal proteins. The consequences of misjudging the minimum protein requirements with advancing age can result in shorter life rather than longevity. Thus far, the evidence for greater health in old age seems to be on the side of higher protein levels, and let us not forget that methionine is considered an "essential" amino acid.

Learn more about Amino Acids and Proteins

[1] 1994-96 Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals

[2] Wolfe RR, Miller SL, Miller KB, Optimal protein intake in the elderly,
Clin Nutr. 2008 Oct;27(5):675-84. Epub 2008 Sep 25, PMID: 18819733

[3] Houston DK, Nicklas BJ, Ding J, Harris TB, Tylavsky FA, Newman AB, et al, Dietary protein intake is associated with lean mass change in older, community-dwelling adults: the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) Study, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 87, No. 1, 150-155, January 2008

[4] López-Torres M, Barja G, Lowered methionine ingestion as responsible for the decrease in rodent mitochondrial oxidative stress in protein and dietary restriction possible implications for humans, Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Nov;1780(11):1337-47. Epub 2008 Jan 18., PMID: 18252204

Comments »

BBGG said,
2009-12-21 @ 17:02:36

The most important benefit of calorie restriction may be the induction of autophagy. If we consume excess essential amino acids we will not trigger autophagy and perhaps will not achieve lifespan extension?

Perhaps we should combine CRON with a form of protein cycling: not eating protein some days, and compensating in the following days, so autophagy is triggered but we provide our cells with the necessary protein in the short term?

Eric said,
2011-03-20 @ 22:50:20

Take a new look at autophagy and protein. For humans over 60 the evidence for increased health and lifespan seem evident from yeast, fly, and animal studies.

Wolfe RR has a slim (at best) body of work that speaks for itself. Very small studies on 10 or 12 people who are young for very short time periods with known results that protein increases water retention in muscle is JUNK science in my opinion.





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Homeopathic medicine is profitable quackery

Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine that treats patients with drug or herbal preparations that are so diluted that the final solution may not contain detectable amounts of the drugs or herbs. In fact, homeopathic remedies may be so diluted that they are just water. Clearly, any benefit obtained from such medicines would likely be due to the placebo effect, which is the belief by the patient that he or she will get better. This belief sometimes has a therapeutic effect. Homeopathic remedies may be just water, but they can cause harm by preventing a sick person from seeking competent medical advice and being cured by verified conventional treatments.

Homeopathic remedies are a big business. The market for homeopathic medicines is estimated to be 300 million euros in France, 200 million euros in Germany, over 26 billion Rupees in India, and $200 million Dollars in the United States.

Homeopathic products do not need to be tested for safety or effectiveness, but they must be labeled with a list of ingredients and the conditions for which they are used. A 1938 law allows drugs listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States to be sold without the validation that governs standard medications. In essence, homeopathic products are manufactured and distributed without FDA approval.

Some homeopathic products may actually contain harmful substances. In June 16, 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers to stop using and discard three zinc-containing Zicam intranasal products because the products may cause a permanent loss of sense of smell.[1] The manufacturer of Zicam, Matrixx Initiatives, agreed to pay $12 million dollars in 2006 to settle 340 law suits by consumers who claimed that Zicam had ruined or destroyed their sense of smell. FDA Inspectors are also investigating other homeopathic products that have caused allergic reactions from impurities introduced during manufacturing.

Just because a product is popular or heavily marketed, it does not mean that it is safe and effective. Claims for herbal medicines are a big gray area. There are many herbal medicines whose ingredients have been proven effective. The antibacterial properties of garlic and the pain relief from chewing leaves of willow, which contain aspirin, have been known for thousands of years. However, the claims made for many herbal medicines are not likely to be confirmed through research by pharmaceutical companies because there are no profits to be made from natural products that cannot be patented. A successful economic model for new drugs requires identifying the active compounds in a natural product and then creating synthetic analogues that can be patented.

[1] FDA Warnings on Three Zicam Intranasal Zinc Products [link]

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Vacation in the Blue Ridge Mountains

The Blue Ridge Mountains
in Little Switzerland, North Carolina

Hiking in the mountains is a good way to get exercise and enjoy nature. I recently went on a weekend vacation to Little Switzerland, North Carolina, and from there I traveled south toward Mount Mitchell National Park, and then north toward the city of Blowing Rock.

Little Switzerland is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway which is very colorful in the autumn when the leaves change colors. The mountainous terrain provides majestic landscapes and great opportunities for photography, hiking and other outdoor activities. The picture above was taken at dusk from the backyard of the Little Switzerland Inn where I stayed. The blue color of the mountains turned to orange in the morning of the next day. It was fortunate that the drizzle of the previous day cleared up and the sky was perfectly blue for the next two days.

When I got to Mount Mitchell, which is only 25 miles away from Little Switzerland, the trees and the ground were covered with snow from a storm that had blown through the day before. The difference in altitude is responsible for a large temperature difference between the valleys and the tops of the mountains. Mount Mitchell is the highest peak in the east coast, and the view from the top is wonderful in all directions.

The next day, I drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway toward Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Blowing Rock is a community whose population booms in the summertime as Floridians overwhelmed by hot weather flock to seek relief in the cool mountain air. Blowing Rock has many lodges, restaurants, cultural functions, and outdoor activities. It is a favorite vacation destination that makes it possible to be close to nature and also many city amenities.

See Pictures of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

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Nominative and Objective Cases in English

I winced when I read the headline "Drinks on Who?" written in one-inch bold letters in the October 7, 2009 sports section of the Washington Post. This is the equivalent of saying "Drinks on she?" or "Drinks on I?" instead of the correct "Drinks on her?" or "Drinks on me?". It reminded me of the primitive savage expressions like "Me Tarzan, you Jane" of black-and-white TV days, or Tonto saying to the Lone Ranger: "Him say man ride over ridge on horse."

The nominative and objective case of pronouns is one of the last vestiges of the Germanic origins of English, and it is slowly but surely disappearing. Soon, the pronouns "who" and "whom" will combine into a caseless "who" in sympathy with "you". There is also great confusion about "you and I" vs. "you and me". The words of popular songs like "You and me against the world" by Helen Reddy become imprinted in our mind until they finally don't sound wrong.

In order to use the pronoun cases correctly, it is necessary to understand the structure of the sentences. As a general rule, pronouns in the subject are in the nominative case, pronouns in the predicate are in the objective case. Thus, we say "I saw him" or "He saw me". We would never think of saying "Me saw he" or "him saw I", which is the wrong use of both pronouns. The nominative personal pronouns are: I, you, he, she, we, they. The corresponding objective forms are: me, you, him, her, us, them. Notice that "you" is the same in both cases, so we say "I saw you" and "you saw me". The pronouns "thou" (nominative) and "thee" (objective) which were a familiar or personal form of the formal "you" have disappeared from modern English, but they are still found in biblical passages and in Shakespearean plays.

Learn English Grammar

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How to lower blood cholesterol naturally

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 106.7 million Americans age 20 and older have total blood cholesterol levels of 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) and higher. That is 35% of the population of the United States! The epidemic of high cholesterol is mainly due to the fats used in packaged and commercial foods. Cholesterol can be lowered by avoiding hydrogenated fats and eating polyunsaturated fats found in fish, walnuts, and sunflower seeds. Unfortunately, essential fatty acids turn rancid rapidly, and manufacturers avoid them to prevent packaged foods from spoiling while they sit in supermarket shelves.

The worst fats for your health are hydrogenated fats because they increase Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad" cholesterol, and they decrease the High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), the "good" cholesterol. Saturated fats like those found in coconut oil and palm kernel oil increase cholesterol levels powerfully, but these are the fats that are used by manufacturers because they do not get stale.

The chart above shows the effects of individual dietary fatty acids on Total Serum Cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol when 1% of the energy from carbohydrates in the diet is replaced by 1% of energy of the specific fatty acids. The chart shows cholesterol increases from lauric acid (C12:0), myristic acid (C14:0), and palmitic acid (C16:0) which are found in coconut oil, palm oil, and butter. Elaidic acid (trans-C18:1), which is present in hydrogenated fats, is the worst because it increases LDL and decreases HDL. The saturated fatty acid stearic acid (C18:0), the monounsaturated oleic acid (C18:1), and the polyunsaturated linoleic acid (C18:2) decrease LDL and increase HDL to various degrees.[1] Here are some steps to lower cholesterol:

Unfortunately, many of the oils available commercially are highly processed. The best thing is not to eat them. Meet your essential fatty acid requirements by eating foods that have the oils, e.g., fish, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc. Olive oil does not lower cholesterol; it is basically neutral. The reason why olive oil receives a lot of positive promotion is because it is used in the Mediterranean diet, and the Mediterranean diet is associated with lower incidence of cardiovascular diseases, although this is not necessarily because of the oil.

The hardest part in normalizing your cholesterol will be avoiding the vast number of commercial foods that have hydrogenated fats and saturated fats. They include shortening, margarine, butter flavor popcorn, hash browns, french fries, biscuits, baked apple pies, chocolate chip cookies, taco shells, and the list goes on and on. Pay close attention to the food labels.

Learn how to lower your cholesterol

[1] Martijti B Katan, Peter L Zock, and Ronald P Mensink, Effects of fats and fatty acids on blood lipids in humans: an overview, Am J Cli. Nutr., 1994;60(suppl):1017S-1022S.

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Influence of United States technology on the Spanish Language

New York City Metro card in Spanish
New York City Metro card in Spanish

The British complain that Americans haven't spoken English for years, and of course, Americans even spell the language differently. Americans spell theatre as theater and colour as color. How horrible! Americans got rid of senseless transpositions and unpronounced extra letters; they also changed the "ise" verb endings to "ize". Not content with improving the English language, Americans are now trying to change Spanish by using nouns as verbs in TV commercials.

Hispanics now comprise approximately 15% of the population of the United States. The demographics of the United States have changed since its founding through acquisition of territories and immigration. In the past, the U.S. has been a great melting pot where eventually everyone has ended up speaking English and blended with the rest of the population. It has been different with Spanish speakers.

The major part of the southern United States was Spanish territory at one time. With the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819, the U.S. took control of Florida which had been a province of the Captaincy General of Cuba under Spanish rule. The oldest city in the U.S. is St. Augustine, Florida which was established by the Spaniards in 1565. The U.S. acquired approximately 80,000 Spanish speakers from Mexico when it took over the territory that included California, Nevada, Utah, Texas, and parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. In 1917, the United States gave U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans. About 31,000 Puerto Ricans moved to New York from 1946 to 1950. The 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story portrayed some of the friction between the Spanish and Anglo cultures of the time. From 1947 until 1964, the U.S. had the Bracero Program which allowed the importation of temporary contract laborers from Mexico to the United States. In 1959, a large Cuban exodus started when Fidel Castro won control of Cuba. From 1960 to 1979, hundreds of thousands of Cubans left Cuba to start a new life in the United States, mainly in Florida. Many Americans traveled to Mexico during the 1968 Summer Olympics and discovered Mexican food. Soon afterward, Mexican restaurants started appearing throughout the U.S. and many of the waiters and cooks were of Hispanic origin. Another wave of 125,000 Spanish speakers came in the early 1980s from Central America to the U.S. to escape natural disasters or to seek political asylum. The U.S. also has over 11 million illegal residents who, for the most part, are Spanish speakers from Mexico.

For two centuries, there has been a steady stream of Hispanic people who brought their culture, traditions, and the Spanish language to the U.S. The U.S. is home to more than 45 million Hispanics, making it the world's second-largest Spanish-speaking community after Mexico. Large enclaves of Spanish speakers and radio and national television channels that broadcast in Spanish such as Univision and Telemundo have made it possible for immigrants and their U.S.-born children to retain their language skills and have prevented the melting pot effect.

In a recent visit to New York, I noticed that the Metro cards for the New York Subway were written completely in Spanish. This is an adaptation to the reality that Hispanics comprise a large segment of our society and contribute substantially to the U.S. economy. Advertisements for cellular telephones that can send text messages have introduced new verbs on Spanish television such as "textear" or "mensajear" instead of using the traditional Spanish grammatical constructions "enviar mensajes de texto" or "enviar mensajes". Children who grow up listening to these neologisms will eventually adopt a new American version of Spanish. So how will these new verbs be conjugated?

yo texteo, tú texteas, él textea, nosotros texteamos, vosotros texteáis, ellos textean. Estoy texteando.

yo mensajeo, tú mensajeas, él mensajea, nosotros mensajeamos, vosotros mensajeáis, ellos mensajean. Estoy mensajeando.

Learn English Grammar

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Gout, Cancer and urinary alkalinization

Mechanism of apoptosis and a toe with gout

When body fluids, such as urine, become very acid, solids dissolved in the fluids crystallize within the body and can cause gout and create tophi in the cooler parts of the body. The pain of uric acid deposits from gout can be excruciating. The conventional treatment for gout consists of avoiding alcohol, foods high in purines, and some medications like niacin. Many of the prescription medicines used to treat gout have undesirable side effects.

As if the suffering from gout were not bad enough, a study published in 2009 linked the occurrence of gout to increased incidence of cancer and concluded that "hyperuricemia may be an early manifestation of the carcinogenic process".[1] The study found that gout patients had increased incidence of all types of cancer, including cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, colon, liver and biliary tract, pancreas, lung, skin (melanoma and nonmelanoma), endometrium and kidney, as well as of malignant melanoma.

Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is frequently used as a home remedy for gout. Sodium bicarbonate works by alkalizing body fluids to increase the solubility of uric acid and permit its elimination through the urine. It is possible that this alternative medicine treatment for gout could also reduce the risk of cancer.

In 2007, researchers identified cellular signaling pathways that become active under alkaline conditions by removing amide functional groups from key cellular proteins (Bcl-xL) thus promoting the death of cancerous cells through apoptosis.[2] German biochemist Otto Warburg initially proposed in 1966 that abnormal energy metabolism caused cancer. He showed that tumors have an acidic extracellular environment, and suggested that a switch from oxidative respiration to glycolysis, which produces lactic acid, starts the cell transformation toward cancer. Warburg's work stimulated interest in the possibility that there was some kind of link between pH and cancer. The latest findings raise hope that inducing alkalinization may prove an effective strategy to treat a range of cancers.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if cancer could be prevented simply by regularly drinking some baking soda dissolved in water to keep body fluids from becoming too acidic?

[1] Boffetta P, Nordenvall C, Nyrén O, Ye W., A prospective study of gout and cancer.
Eur J Cancer Prev. 2009 Apr;18(2):127-32, PMID: 19337060

[2] Gross L (2007) Manipulating Cellular pH Suggests Novel Anticancer Therapy. PLoS Biol 5(1): e10

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Americans eat too much sugar

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey database from 2001 to 2004 showed that the average intake of added sugars for all Americans was 22.2 teaspoons or about 355 calories per day. "Added sugars" are sugars and syrups that are added during processing or preparation of foods as well as sugars and syrups that are added at the table, they do not include the sugars that are naturally present in fruits and whole grains.

In August 2009, The American Heart Association (AHA) issued a recommendation to cut the intake of added sugars.[1] The publication gives consumers detailed guidance of the upper limit of added sugars in the diet. The AHA recommendations emphasize a healthy lifestyle and a diet that is rich in fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, high-fiber whole grains, lean meat, poultry and fish. In addition to consuming an overall healthy diet, the guidelines emphasize the importance of a healthy body weight to avoid metabolic abnormalities and adverse health conditions such diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The problem with added sugars is that they are refined carbohydrates without any vitamin or mineral content. Sugars are just "empty calories" without any nutritive value. If you don't exercise enough to burn them off, the body converts them to fat.

Most American women should consume no more than 100 calories of added sugars per day; most men, no more than 150 calories. That corresponds to about 6 teaspoons of added sugars a day for women and 9 for men. Soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are the greatest source of added sugars in the American diet. A 12-ounce can of regular soda contains about 130 calories from 8 teaspoons of sugar or high fructose corn syrup. This means that even one can of soda per day is too much for the average woman, and this does not count all the other sources of added sugars such as salad dressing, spaghetti sauce, candy, and baked goods.

Learn about weight control and healthy diet

[1] Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health. A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association, Circulation, 2009 Aug 24, PMID: 19704096 [link]

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