Hot Topics in Health and Wellness:
8 Fascinating Studies Impacting Our Lives
Only Brad Cooper speaking
Welcome to the latest episode of the Catalyst Health and Wellness Coaching Podcast. My name is Brad Cooper, and I’ll be your host. And today we’re going to take a deeper dive into evidence we’re always talking about. One of our big focal points here is to avoid the fads. Fads, do not equal facts. Stop chasing headlines. They’re not going to get you where you want to get as a coach or an individual trying to improve their health and wellness, and yet it’s everywhere. And so every once in a while we take a step back, we grab some of the really cool studies that are out there and we talk them through and we talk about how they apply in our lives, in our clients’ lives, in an evidence based manner, not just simply saying, Oh, did you know if you do this, it clears all the toxins and you can do this. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. We look at the research. So we’re going to do that today. And in the list of topics, I actually pulled about eight different studies. We’re just gonna do a hit and run on each one of them, but enough to get you started. We’re going to talk about pressure and performance. We’re going to talk about the impact of processed versus unprocessed foods on calorie intake. A very fascinating study. We’re going to take a look back at sleep and how it affects metabolism, how it affects hunger and how it affects school performance. We’re going to look at the latest evidence on sports nutrition, the evidence, not the rumors, not what your buddies doing, but what does the evidence really say? Speaking of sports performance, we’re going to look at creatine and how it may impact not only the musculature, but the brain as well. We’ll briefly look at resistance training and how that could be a key component to combating age-related diseases. And very interesting one how gelatin. Yeah, like jello may actually augment the collagen in your tendons, ligaments and bones.
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Alright, let’s go ahead and get this thing started. I’m going to give you the reference for each one of these. So you can go back and look at it later. Also, if you’re on Twitter, I tend to tag these or retweet these on a pretty consistent basis. If you like this kind of thing, my Twitter handle is @Catalyst2Thrive, so catalyst two thrive. And again, every few days I’ll just retweet something like this, and you can go back and find most of these articles through that resource if you’d like. So the first we’re going to look at is titled effects of sleep restriction on metabolism related parameters in healthy adults, a comprehensive review and meta analysis of randomized controlled trials. The lead author last name is Zhua. It comes out of sleep medicine reviews. And it’s very, it’s fascinating because what they did is they looked at again, this is a meta analysis. So they’re looking at multiple studies and they found that sleep restriction resulted in a significant increase in subjective hunger, essentially a 13% impact and participants consumed 253 more calories under sleep restriction than normal sleep. So think about that. By the way side note, it also decreased insulin sensitivity, which is critical to this whole picture, but this was 41 randomized controlled trials that looked at sleep restriction interventions. And from that they found increased hunger, more calories and decrease insulin sensitivity. That’s a big deal. That is a big deal.
Second one I want to run through is titled ultra processed diets cause excess calorie intake and weight gain an inpatient randomized controlled trial lead author is Kevin Hall. It comes out of cell metabolism and it was published in 2019. In fact, this last month, July of 2019. Now the highlights really, really interesting. And I don’t think surprising, but it’s, it’s kind of nice to see it, not just as something you hear from others, but something you actually see in a studied setting. So what they did is they looked at ultra processed foods and how it affected energy intake or calorie intake in 20 weight, stable adults. So these folks were kind of middle of the road with their BMI, they are 27 plus or minus 1.5. So what they did is they took these folks and they had two weeks of ultra processed food or two weeks of unprocessed food. And then they flipped so randomized for this. And interestingly, the meals were designed to be matched for calories, energy density, macronutrients, sugar, sodium, and fiber. And they were told, consume what you want. So in both cases just consume what you’d like. But what they found is that during the two weeks, when they had the ultra processed food, they averaged 508 more calories per day per day. These are the same people. They flipped them. So again, you’re, if you’re in group A, maybe you had the unprocessed first, and then you went to the process. If you’re in group B, you did the reverse, but everyone’s going through both of them. And yet when you’re in the ultra processed diet group, you’re eating 508 more calories per day. Think of that in terms of the choices we make on a daily basis, the biggest impact was on carbohydrates and fats. The foods chosen in this unlimited access situation were 280 higher per day in carbohydrates, and 230 higher in fats, no change in proteins between the two groups, weight changes, no, not a surprise here, highly correlated with energy intake. So the more they ate, the more their weight went up, participants in the ultra process group gained weight during their two weeks. Those in the unprocessed group actually lost weight during that time period, really, really some interesting stuff.
The next study, I loved the title it’s it’s to error again is human: exploring a bi-directional relationship between pressure and performance, failure, feedback, lead author is David Harris. I actually know a couple of the other authors, Dr. Samuel Vine, Dr. Mark Wilson. It’s interesting stuff. You look at this and they examined, what was it? 212 individual offensive plays from the NFL, the national football league here in the US over a seven year period. And they compare, they basically categorized them into, was it a high pressure situation? And was there a negative outcome on the previous play? So think about this and think about it for your life. So you’re not a football player probably, but when you make a mistake, what’s the likelihood that the next thing you do, being more likely to also have a mistake or when you’re in a high pressure situation, what’s the likelihood of making a mistake in that situation. And, and it was interesting, not surprising, but a great reminder to us that when they were in a high pressure situation or when they came off of a negative outcome on their last play, they were more likely to have a negative outcome on the next one. So think about that for you, think about that for your clients. How can you handle that differently? How can you prepare differently? Maybe it’s something like self-talk, when you’re in a high pressure situation, do you reflect on what is your self-talk when you come off of a negative outcome in something you’re trying to do, what are you saying to yourself? What are your clients saying to themselves? So think of those two. So high pressure or negative outcome. And when you combine the two it’s even higher, but in either one of those or together, what are you saying to yourself? Are you pausing that? In the NFL you don’t get an extra chance to pause. We do in most cases. So just keep that in mind. It’s, it’s a fascinating study that walks us through how those impact each other.
Next up, I want to give you an overview of what the IAAF or the international association of athletes Federation came out as their comprehensive guide to sports nutrition. And again, this is just released here in April, 2019, it was headed up by Lindy Castile from Oxford university and Lewisburg the head of sports nutrition at the Australian Institute of sport team of 50 experts. And what they did is they looked at all of the sports, nutrition studies and research and everything else that had come out that covered everything from sprints to jumps, to middle distance, to long distance and ultra slash mountain running. And they divided them into a number of different themes, and you can look this up, but I just want to hit a few of the highlights because they might surprise you based on the headlines you’re seeing, first of all, the usefulness of high fat, low carb diet, it is limited to select individuals. They didn’t, it didn’t work, but they said in general, it’s not the best route. If it’s limited to select individuals or select events scenarios. So it may be the route you want to go, but just be very cognizant that there’s a lot of specificity involved with that. They talked about a food first philosophy in terms of supplements. And you’re hearing about supplements constantly, but they should be secondary, not primary. Too often the supplement is promoted as the, the answer. And they’re saying, no, no, no food first philosophy. You want to get healthy, nutritious food, nutrient dense food first, and then maybe go to the supplements. Interestingly though, they said there are only five supplements that have evidence about contributing to performance, only five. I mean, how many ads did you see today about the greatest supplement and all the things that are going to happen? If you take, there are five that have been shown to work those five caffeine, creatine, We’re going to come back to that one in a minute, nitrate or beet root juice, beta alanine, and bicarbonate. Anything else? The evidence just isn’t there folks. So why keep throwing your money away? Lastly, nutrition is very helpful in the rehab of muscular injuries. Goals should be focused around primarily the protein intake to minimize the loss of lean mass and increase muscle repair. So some really good stuff there with that.
Let’s jump into the next one that does talk about creatine. And this comes from the European journal of sports science, February of 2019 lead authors Dolan. And I actually found this through Dr. Rawson, R A W S O N. I follow him on Twitter. He’s got some great stuff. So if you’re on Twitter, that’s another one you may want to check out. And it’s titled beyond muscle, the effects of creatine supplementation on brain creatine, cognitive processing, and traumatic brain injury. So we just talked about that. The IAAF has identified, creatine as being there is evidence behind that. And what this study does is it says, well, okay, we know it works with muscle could help the brain. Now they do say in their study, there’s much more that needs to be studied on this. So I’m just, I’m scratching the surface of a study that scratches the surface, but I want to get it out there in the conversation. This study essentially says, we know that we can increase muscle creatine through supplementation. That’s something that’s well recognized, and it appears at similar benefits to brain function and cognitive processing may also be achieved through this idea of creatine supplementation. Now, they’re very clear to say the optimal dosing strategy to get this response is not known, and there is a need to study this there. In fact, they use the word urgent. There’s an urgent need to study this with that said, they’re able to show in this study that it appears the creatine supplementation may help when your cognitive processes are stressed. So for example, sleep deprivation, or when you have more complex cognitive demanding tasks that you’re taking on. And it also mentioned, and again, a lot of more, a lot of additional research needs to be done here, but there is evidence that increased brain creatine may be effective at reducing the severity of some of this mild traumatic brain injury that you’re reading about much more to be done there, but exciting stuff. And looking forward to hearing more.
Next up is a surprising study, Alex Hutchinson, who was a guest on our show a few months ago, wrote about this in outside online, that’s a great place to, to pull up some additional details on this. Uh, the study was done by Greg Reshaw, the lead author, and I found it through professor Keith Barr. It comes from the American journal of clinical nutrition, 2017 originally, and it’s titled vitamin C enriched gelatin supplementation before intermittent activity, augments collagen synthesis. So what the heck does that even mean? Well, what they’re showing is that jello and you probably don’t want to use jello, but a food quality gelatin utilized an hour prior to a training session that can be anything from rope jumping to runs or anything that stresses the collagen may increase the synthesis of that collagen. What they did is they took eight healthy male subject. This is a randomized double-blind crossover design study, and they either consumed five or 15 grams of vitamin C enriched gelatin, or of course a placebo. I won’t dive into the details here, but essentially an hour after they took the supplement or the placebo, then they do six minutes of rope skipping. So that was to create that, that stimulation of the, of the collagen synthesis. They looked back at it then, and they, they really took a deep dive here. I mean, they looked at quite a few things. And in a nutshell, they found that the subjects who took a 15 grams of gelatin one hour before exercise showed double the amino terminal pro peptide of collagen in their blood, it showed increased collagen synthesis. It worked, their conclusion is very clear. The data suggests that adding gelatin to an intermittent exercise program improves collagen synthesis and could play a beneficial role in injury prevention and tissue repair. This is something that I have implemented because I’ve had a lot of issues with my feet running ligament, bone issues. So again, it’s not just one of those fads out there. We’re looking at what does the research say? And that’s critical.
Two more. Resistance, exercise, weightlifting, strength, training, body weight exercises. This, this is titled resistance, exercise training as a primary countermeasure to age related chronic disease lead author is Jonathan McCloy. I found it through Dr. Phillips Dr. Stuart Phillips again through Twitter. And it was published in frontiers in physiology in June of 2019. Basic overview is that we promote aerobic exercise as the main thing that people can do to limit the aging process, to limit the disease function as, as we age. And yet what they’re finding is that very, very small percentage. I think it was 2.4%. If I can find the exact number here for you, 2.4% of older adults actually meet the recommendation. I mean, think about that. And their point is, well, if only 2.4%, yeah, here we go. 2.4% of older adults achieve the robotic exercise recommendation. And that may be doing part, they say to the guidelines that focus on intensity and volume that older adults feel like is unreachable. And so they give up and they’re saying, well, maybe this could be an alternative or another tool in the toolbox that can allow people to enhance their lives, to enhance their mobility, to enhance their ability to hold off these age-related chronic diseases for that 97.6% who aren’t doing the recommended patients to start with. So it’s not saying get rid of the aerobic piece. It’s saying here’s another tool in your toolbox that may also be beneficial. Now they’ve got a really cool looking chart in here, and that’s why I’m going to, I want to point you to the article itself, but it looks at all the things that resistance training can do. It starts off with improved body composition, improved blood lipid profile and vascular function, improved immune system function. Think about that in older adults, improved immune system function. So, so important, increased muscle mass and strength just for daily activities, greater oxidative capacity, improved physical function and mobility. Isn’t that one of the keys? I mean, we, we were very concerned about our, our mental piece as we get older, but the ability to stay mobile, to keep your physical function so so important, as we get older, improved blood glucose and insulin sensitivity, improved blood pressure, these are all things that resistance training will impact. And so keep that in mind, as you’re working with your clients, as you’re talking to them, maybe they’re, we’ve done a lot of episodes recently on exercise and fitness and racing after the age of 40 or 50 or 60 or 70. This is another reminder that, okay. Yes. For the athletes, we know if you heard the Joe Friel interview, we know how critical strength training is. Once you get past the age of 40 or 50, and this is saying, well, not just for performance, but for improving your life. Very, very valuable, good stuff, good stuff.
The last topic we’re going to talk about is sleep. And I’ve pulled from a couple different resources here. Uh, sleep tends to be, it appears, your favorite topic. Uh, we’ve had a couple of outstanding researchers, Dr. Meeta Singh and Dr. Amy Bender on previous episodes. If you haven’t listened to those yet, you’re I was going to say, you’re not alone, but you kind of are because those are two of our most popular episodes. Um, I pulled some information from a study that was done by Andrew Phillips in 2016, titled irregular sleep wake patterns are associated with poor academic performance and delayed circadian and sleep, wake timing. It was in the scientific reports in nature journal. And what they did is they looked at 61, undergraduate students for 30 days, they looked at sleep diaries. They quantified a number of different things. And the bottom line, they were looking at irregular versus regular sleep patterns. Those with irregular sleep and light exposure patterns, they had delayed circadian rhythms, which obviously not as surprised because that’s driven by the light, but they also had worse academic performance. Now maybe you’re in school or you have kids in school and you’re thinking, Oh man, this is good. I, I, this is important. I like this. I gotta, I gotta tell my kids this stuff, or I’m going to get more regular sleep cause I’m gonna improve my grades. But if you’re not in school, I hope you take in the same approach. I hope you’re thinking through this in the same way and saying, well, wait, if it influences academic performance, that’s, that’s really measurable. So it’s a great place to do a study, but what are the things that you and I are involved with every day? How effective are we at work? How effective are we in our relationships, in our daily decisions, in the things that we’re trying to make happen, regular sleep patterns matter.
Now, Dr. Bender, who we had on the podcast a few months ago, she actually was the one that posted that article. And then she posted a few other tips that I thought were really helpful. So I wanted to go through those but full credit to her. And again, I encourage you to go back and listen to her podcast. She first came back to the study and reminded us get outdoor light in the morning. What this does, is it helps set your biological rhythms to know when to be awake and when to be asleep. The study, I was just talking about, she emphasizes those who got more morning, light exposure fell asleep quicker, and thus had better sleep quality. Now she also provided a very nice list and she talks about some of these in the previous podcast interview, but a number of things that can help you get that higher quality sleep each night. So let me just go through this list again, Amy Bender, follow her on Twitter if you are on there, and you’ll get to pick up some of these things, but it talks about having a bedtime alarm. So you don’t just say, well, yeah, I think I’ll go to bed at some point, oh one more Netflix episode. No, no, no, no. You have a bedtime alarm. It starts the whole process. When that goes off, you do A, and then B and C and you dim the lights. You get rid of the devices you prepare for tomorrow. If you can take a hot bath or hot shower, very interesting studies on that, that I’ve looked into. A lot of people think that hot showers, hot baths relax you, and that’s why you sleep better. But the reality is the reason hot showers and hot baths work is that you step up, you, you, you bring the blood flow to the surface and then when you step, that’s why your skin can turn red. And then when you step out of the shower or bath, the room is a little bit cooler than the water. And so, because the blood’s been drawn to the surface, you cool. And when you go from, uh, your body being cooler to a warm bed, it creates that ability to fall asleep faster. She mentions light stretching. So a kind of a mini yoga routine, if you will. Having a to-do list. So when you’re worried about stuff, you just boom, you just put it on the list and then you can forget it. A gratitude practice. I actually, I’m not doing this right now, but I did this for about six months. Fascinating, three things that you’re grateful for every night, right before bed. The last thing you do before turning out the light, write down three things. And it’s pretty interesting. The things that come to the forefront when you do that, exercise. Breathing techniques, and then a technique she calls the cognitive shuffle and the way this works, I actually used this this morning. I woke up super early and wasn’t time to get out of bed yet. So I’m like, Oh, cognitive shuffle. The way cognitive shuffle works is you come up with a word. So my wife’s name is Suzanna. I just use that word. And so you take each letter and take the S and you think of all the words you can think of for start with an S so it might be sailing or singing or whatever. And then when you run out of words, that start with S then in my case, you go to U and then Z, and then A, until you get to the end. And it’s rare. I mean, I only got to, I think I only got to the U today, and then I fell back asleep. So that’s called the cognitive shuffle. That’s something Amy talks about. And, uh, let me tell you, there’s no cure all. There’s no magic, but it’s a really valuable technique. And as we talked about anything that can improve your sleep, both regularity and quality, and frankly, total time in bed, the better off you’re going to be.
That brings us to the close of another episode of the Catalyst Health and Wellness Coaching podcast. Thanks for joining us. And thank you so much to those of you who’ve gone that extra step. Who’ve subscribed to the podcast, send it to a friend, given it a review. That stuff all makes a difference. And we really, really do appreciate it. Again, if we can be of any help to you, if you have questions about coaching, how does this fit? What is this whole thing about? What is this national board certification thing, anything, whatever you got, you can reach out to us [email protected], all kinds of resources from special reports that walk you through the business side of coaching, to a library of resources to continue education options. If there’s anything that you feel like would be helpful, let us know. We continually add to that site. And most of the best ideas come from you actually. So with that, let’s wrap this up. Again, reach out to us anytime [email protected]. If you like some of the research that you’ve heard about today, you can follow me on Twitter at Catalyst2Thrive, catalyst two thrive. I’ll do my best to keep those coming. And if you come across a cool research study that you think has an impact on what we do in the health and wellness world, please let me know. Now let’s keep pursuing better. Our best self, that may feel out of reach, but our better self, Oh, that’s just one step away. Let’s go get it, make it a great rest of your day. And I’ll speak with you soon. On the next episode of the Catalyst Health and Wellness Coaching Podcast.