Your Waist Size: The New Vital Sign?
(BlackDoctor.org) — Of course, you know that pulse rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate are vital signs that are taken and used to monitor your health when you visit your physician.
At the recent NMA conference, doctors discussed the increased importance of yet another vital sign — waistline management. Why? Because how large your waistline is can help doctors determine your heart health risks. Fat around the waist is detrimental to your health…in fact, studies show that it’s better to have fat on your butt than on your stomach.
My Waist & My Health: What’s The Connection
People who gain weight around the waist increase their likelihood of developing heart disease, which is the number cause of death of African American men and women. This is why doctors are advocating to make patients more aware of their weight. This means measuring their waists in addition to just weighing them.
What’s a Healthy Waistline For Me?
The standard waist measurement for women should be no greater than 35 inches. For men, it should not be greater than 40 inches.
More Than Just About Heart Health
Many patients don’t like it, of course, but measuring one’s waist is very important because of the risk for developing not only heart disease, but diabetes, elevated cholesterol, hypertension, osteoarthritis, and/or other medical conditions.
Will all doctors be embracing this new vital sign? Yes, but like most medical topics, it will take time. Because of the ever-increasing cases of child obesity, more and more pediatricians are already measuring waistlines as an indicator for future health problems.
By Dr. Thaddeus J. Bell, BDO General Health Expert
Dr. Thaddeus J. Bell is a practicing Family Practice Physician in Charleston, South Carolina. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Medicine and the Founder of Closing the Gap in Health Care, Inc. (CGHC), a non-profit organization created to decrease health disparities by providing health education for African Americans and other under-served populations.
New Workout Secret: Chocolate Milk!
(BlackDoctor.org) — Drinking low-fat chocolate milk after a workout helps endurance, builds muscle, reduces fat, and seems to improve performance, according to new research.
To get the best results from your training, ensure that your post-workout drink or meal is up to par. After your workout, your body is most receptive to using amino acids to repair muscle tissue, while using carbohydrates to restore muscle glycogen.
One of the best post-workout options is chocolate milk. Most prepared chocolate milk beverages are made with 1% or 2% milk, but you could also create your own fat-free chocolate milk by adding some chocolate syrup to regular skim milk. This will provide you with the benefits of carbohydrates, while giving you the optimal protein source found in milk.
Do make note, though, that different brands will vary in total calorie content, so even across the 1% varieties, the fat content may be the same, but total calorie content (typically ranging from 90 to 200 per 250 ml) will differ.
Here’s why post-workout chocolate milk tops the list when it comes to fueling yourself after a hard session at the gym.
Post-workout chocolate milk is beneficial because of its protein content. Every cup contains between 8 and 11 grams of protein, with the Clover and Bravo Foods brands containing the most. Ideally, you’ll want to consume between 15 and 25 grams of protein after a workout, which equates to 500 to 750 ml of chocolate milk.
Also, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that, when taken immediately after exercise, milk-based proteins promote greater muscle protein synthesis than soy-based proteins.
Finally, another reason why post-workout chocolate milk is beneficial is because cow’s milk contains about 80% casein protein content and 20% whey protein content. This is ideal because the whey protein is fast-acting, allowing amino acids to get right into the muscle tissue, while the casein protein is digested slower, providing a steady stream of amino acids over a lengthier period of time.
Turning to post-workout chocolate milk immediately following your lifting sessions is a smart move because of the types of carbohydrates it provides. The total carbohydrate count will vary depending upon the brand you choose, with most coming in around 20 to 25 grams of carbohydrates. The highest carb count is found in Hershey’s 2% Chocolate Milk, which rings in at 31 grams, while Hood’s Calorie Countdown 2% Chocolate Milk has the lowest carb count (5 grams).
This sugar will cause a spike in insulin levels, driving the glucose molecules into the muscle tissue and replenishing the energy stores for your next workout. Without this insulin spike, you’re going to be looking at a slower recovery period, which could mean more time out of the gym.
A study by the International Journal of Sports Nutrition had subjects perform three interval-style, exhaustion workout sessions on separate days, and then monitored the recovery that was demonstrated. The subjects consumed either chocolate milk or a carbohydrate replacement fluid post-workout.
Finally, drinking post-workout chocolate milk is a smart move because of its calcium content. Calcium is one of the minerals that plays a critical role in the “power stroke” — when the individual muscle fibers generate tension through a cross-bridge cycling pattern, causing contraction to take place. The calcium ions are what bind to the plasma membrane and send one of the first signals to stimulate the power stroke. So, without enough calcium ions in the body, this process will not take place optimally.
By drinking post-workout chocolate milk you will increase your daily calcium intake, and increase the likelihood of an optimal power stroke. Most brands average between 300 and 400 mg of calcium, but if you opt for Hershey’s Chocolate Milk, you’ll get 500 mg per cup.
Chocolate milk has a bad rep for being full of sugar, but perception is quickly changing and people are turning to it after their workout sessions. So, there’s no need to spend tons of money on mixing up some fancy post-workout beverage — consider using simple chocolate milk instead.