Male Health News January 2016
Exercise alone is not enough for weight loss
Increasing physical activity beyond a ‘sweet spot’ makes little or no difference to total calories burned, says a new study from City University of New York.
Published in the journal Current Biology, the Guardian reported that the study measured the daily activity levels and energy expenditure of over 300 adults from five countries. While physical activity has a weak influence on daily energy expenditure, the study’s lead Dr Pontzer said “the most physically active people expended the same amount of calories each day as people who were only moderately active.” The research suggests that people’s bodies reach a ‘plateau’ when doing exercise, after which their bodies adapt to constrain total energy expenditure.
As a result, the study suggests you cannot simply ‘exercise yourself thin’. However, as reported in the Telegraph, exercise has a wide range of health benefits. Dr Pontzer said: “There is tons of evidence that exercise is important for keeping our bodies and minds healthy, and this work does nothing to change that message…what our work adds is that we also need to focus on diet, particularly when it comes to managing our weight and preventing or reversing unhealthy weight gain.”
It is clear that exercise is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, but only a part. You could liken your body to a machine assembly line – exercise helps keep this machine in better working order, but without a good diet (i.e. the components), the product at the end will suffer! As a result, it’s vital to ensure you are both maintaining a healthy diet as well as keeping active. You can find useful tips and links on our blog as well as our Facebook and Twitter accounts.
(29th January 2016)
Health charity calls for food labels which show activity needed to burn calories
The Royal Society for Public Health (RSBH) has called for new labels to be added to food and drink products that would show how much running, cycling or other activities would be needed to burn off the calories consumed.
As reported by BBC News, the RSBH said that the “most common cause of obesity is consuming more calories than you burn off”. Following public opinion research, the RSBH has argued that adding “activity equivalent calorie labelling” to food and drink would positively change people’s behaviour, and help reduce obesity. For instance, as outlined in the Guardian, the activity needed to burn off a 171-calorie packet of crisps would be “19 minutes of jogging, 23 minutes of cycling or 13 minutes of swimming”.
However, while this idea was welcomed by some commentators, others offered caution. While welcoming more physical activity, Dr Asseem Malhotra, National Obesity Forum’s cardiologist advisor said that “you don’t want…to give people the impression that you can out-exercise a bad diet”, given that different food ingredients have “a different metabolic effect on the body”.
As we often say at the Blue Ribbon Foundation, the best route to health for men is a holistic one. If you eat a balanced diet, including lots of fresh vegetables and minimal processed food, as well as keep up an active lifestyle, this is a great approach to help you stay healthy. If you eat junk food or drink too much alcohol, you will be filing your body with unhealthy ingredients that may do long-term harm – even if you exercise the calories away. More ideas on how to eat well are available from multiple sources; why not try the BBC Good Food or NHS Choices Live Well?
(21st January 2016)
Diabetes can raise chances of developing dementia
The research team at Curtin University in Perth, Australia reviewed 14 previous studies encompassing over 2 million individuals and over 100,000 dementia patients. The review found that people with type-2 diabetes were 60% more likely to develop dementia, though women were at higher risk of developing vascular dementia than men. As outlined in the Daily Mail, “more research is needed to look into how sugar in the blood interacts with the blood vessels” in the brain.
While the relationship between diabetes and dementia is not fully understood, it is clear that to minimise the risks of developing diabetes and then other related conditions, it’s vital to lead a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a balanced diet. You can find more information and support on diabetes or dementia from organisations such as Diabetes UK or The Alzheimer’s Society.
(14th January 2016)
An orgasm a day may keep prostate cancer at bay
A US study has found that regular ejaculation could reduce the risk of prostate cancer by over a fifth.
The Harvard Medical School study followed almost 32,000 healthy men for 18 years men, almost 4,000 of whom were later diagnosed with prostate cancer The researchers found that “men in the age bracket who ejaculate 21 or more times a month reduced their risk of prostate cancer by 22 per cent” (Daily Mail). In short, the men had a lower risk of prostate cancer at different ages the more frequently they ejaculated through their lifetime.
Dr Jennifer Rider of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital said that while the results were “particularly encouraging”, the study data is based on observation and should be regarded with caution (Daily Telegraph). It is also unclear why ejaculation would lower a man’s risk of prostate cancer, though there are theories that this may help to clear out old cells or cancer-causing chemicals in the prostate.