IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  April 1, 2004

When and where you eat

Surveys by the University of Massachusetts Medical School have backed up old and new ideas with statistical facts. The researchers conclude:

  • If you skip breakfast regularly, you are 4.5 times more likely to be overweight. You quadruple your chances of overeating later in the day.
  • People who usually eat breakfast or dinner in a restaurant are twice as likely to gain weight. Big servings and high-calorie foods are the cause.
  • Those who buy lunch are 30 to 60 percent LESS likely to gain weight. Healthier foods are available for lunch.
  • Eating four or more meals a day reduces the risk of obesity by 45 percent even if total calories are the same. Big meals make insulin levels rise, and the body stores more food as fat.
  • A survey of 2,000 people shows that 69 percent eat everything they are served in a restaurant no matter how large the portion may be. Better ideas include eating half and taking half home in a "doggie" bag" or ordering take-out.


    Benefits of drinking coffee

    Who would have thought? Drinking coffee is being hailed as a way to prevent heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and colon cancer. Some recent research:

  • The Honolulu Heart Program followed 8,000 men for 40 years. Those who had up to six cups of coffee a day were five times less likely to develop Parkinson's. Caffeine appears to protect brain cells from the disease.
  • Harvard researchers found that people who drank four to five cups daily reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 30 percent.
  • Researchers at Germany's University of Munster say a compound in coffee appears to protect against colon cancer.
  • Johns Hopkins University tracked medical students for 30 years and found that coffee drinkers had slightly higher blood pressure but didn't have hypertension.
  • Many studies show that the caffeine in coffee can increase alertness and improve mental function. Drinking three cups a day is safe. If drinking more doesn't bother you, you could get more benefits.


    Where to get calcium

    There's no doubt that you need calcium, say doctors at Harvard Medical School. One of its most important functions is giving bone its strength. Without enough of it, both men and women can get osteoporosis.

    Current recommendations for calcium are 1,000 mg a day for people ages 19 to 50, 1,200 mg a day for people 51 and older, and 1,300 mg a day for pregnant or breast-feeding women. The most common source is milk, 300 mg in every eight-ounce glass. It also contains calories and fat. Further, many people are lactose intolerant and can't drink milk.

    Other sources include spinach and collard greens, but adults in the U.S. and around the globe all have a hard time getting enough calcium.

    Supplements can help. Women over age 50 should take a pill containing 500 mg to 1,000 mg and at least 400 IU of vitamin D. Men who don't eat dairy products should take a 500 mg supplement.

    To further protect bones, be physically active and get a serving of dark green leafy vegetables each day. They contain vitamin K, which also strengthens bones.


  • Beta-blockers and anxiety

    Doctors quoted in Psychology Today say that beta-blockers such as propranolol can derail the high anxiety some people suffer before giving a presentation or a speech.

    That means no more quivering legs, cold clammy hands, foggy thinking, sleepiness, or inability to find a voice at the proper time. The person just has a calm sense of being in control.

    Beta-blockers have been used for decades to treat problems like angina and high blood pressure. Prescribing them for anxiety remains an "off-label" use, however, so many doctors don't think about recommending them.


    Asparagus history and benefits

    It was the favorite vegetable of Julius Caesar, King Louis the XIV, and Thomas Jefferson. But the history of asparagus begins long before that.

    The name comes from a Greek word meaning stalk or shoot. The Romans borrowed asparagus from the Greeks and cultivated it in every land they visited.

    Asparagus is a member of the lily family and is related to onions, leeks, and garlic. It contains more cancer-fighting glutathione than any other food. It's packed with folic acid, which helps to prevent birth defects and heart disease, and it's a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamins A, D, B6, and thiamin. And it is rich in rutin, which helps strengthen blood vessels.

    Health-conscious dieters will be pleased to know that asparagus contains no fat and no cholesterol. It's low in sodium, and contains only 20 calories per serving.

    It's almost time for asparagus to come shooting up in gardens, flower beds, and in places where it grows wild. Under ideal conditions, it can grow up to 10 inches in a day and reach up to 12 feet in height. The best asparagus has firm, fresh stalks with tightly closed tips. Because its folate is destroyed by exposure to air, heat, or light, it's best to store it in the back of the refrigerator or in a produce drawer.

    Microwaving destroys fewer of its nutrients than boiling or steaming. Cook it upright in a tall container with a few inches of water in the pot. Simmer 5 to 7 minutes with the tips out of the water.


    Walk for a bigger burn

    Want to get stronger and burn more calories? A half-hour walk each day is a good start, but adding special drills will make you stronger and help you to burn more calories.

    The Running Center in New York City suggests these drills be used two days a week. First warm up by walking briskly for 10 minutes. Then stretch your calves and hamstrings. Continue with 30 minutes of brisk walking broken into 10-minute segments. Between each segment try one of the two-minute drills they describe in Prevention, then cool down by walking for five minutes.

    Drill 1: March for 30 seconds. Walk lifting your knees high, thighs parallel to the ground. Use a bent-arm swing. Then walk normally for one minute and march again for 30 seconds.

    Drill 2: Do butt kicks for 30 seconds: Step forward and kick the opposite foot toward your butt. Use a bent-arm swing. Walk normally for one minute, then butt kick for another 30 seconds.

    Drill 3: Skip for 30 seconds. Skip high and let your arms swing. Walk normally for one minute, then skip again for 30 seconds.



    The only normal people are the one's you don't know very well.
    - Alfred Adler

    An optimist may see a light where there is none, but why must the pessimist always run to blow it out?
    - Rene Descartes

    There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about.
    - John von Neumann

    We build too many walls and not enough bridges.
    - Sir Isaac Newton

    Medical History

    The Hippocratic treatise on Haemorrhoids

    Written 400 B.C.E

    Translated by Francis Adams

    First, undertake to find out where the haemorrhoids are ... prepare seven or eight irons. Clean the site ... have the person lie on his back, and place a pillow beneath the loins. Heat the irons red-hot, and burn until you so dry the haemorrhoids out. Let assistants hold the patient down by his head and arms while he is being cauterized so that he does not move but let him shout during the cautery, for that makes the anus stick out more. After you have applied the cautery, boil lentils and chickpeas in water, pound them smooth, and apply this as a plaster for five or six days. On the seventh day, cut a soft sponge as thin as possible. Place a piece of thin fine linen cloth equal in size to the sponge on top of it, and smear with honey. Editor's Note: Ask you doctor about ProctoFoam.

    Q & A

    Q: I travel a lot. What exercises can I do without access to a gym or equipment?


       Push ups - Upper body muscles
       Squats - Quads and hamstrings
       Crunches - Stomach muscles
       Jogging - Cardiovascular

    Q: I am a diabetic and in a recent doctor visit was told to count carbs not sugar. I cannot find anywhere on the internet how many grams of carbs one should consume on a daily basis - diabetic or non- diabetic. I can ask my doctor, but would prefer your answer. Thank you, Donna

    A: The USDA recommends that your diet be 30% protein, 60% carbs and 10% fat. For example, if you should be consuming 2000 calories per day, then 60% of that 2000 calories should be carbs. In your case, you can adjust that to what your doctor recommends.

    In addition, each gram of carbohydrates is 4 calories.

    For example, if your daily consumption is 400 calories of carbohydrates, then 400/4 = 100 grams of carbohydrates is what was consumed.

    Incidentally, 400 calories of carbs is 400/2000 x 100 = 20% of a total 2000 calories per day.

    Q: You mentioned that this course 'IS INTENDED AS A FITNESS GUIDE AND NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE A PERSONAL TRAINER' - Does this means that you do not qualify me as a fitness instructor and that is only a fitness guide. Yours sincerely Andre

    A: The manual is not intended for use by the general public in lieu of hiring Personal Trainer. It is used as a training manual and for reference. The IFA Fitness Manual will not make you a Personal Trainer. It requires experience. All certification organization simply certify your academic credentials only and do not provide you with the ability to begin training people right away without experience.