Omega-3 Fatty Acids Linked to Improved Strength and Muscle Size in Elderly

Rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, herring, trout, and mackerel

Rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, herring, trout, and mackerel

Admittedly it was a small study but it was randomized and the only intervention applied was for the experimental group to take 1.86 grams of EPA and 1.5 grams of DHA daily for six months. The control group was given corn oil. Study participants were 60–85 years old. The specific form of the fish-derived fatty acids was a proprietary product called Lovaza.

Improved strength during aging should help with maintenance of independent daily activities and prevention of falls. In other words, these fatty acids are anti-aging. I’d like to see the study replicated with more study participants.

I don’t know if the study was paid for by Lovaza’s manufacturer, nor whether that would influence results.

This study supports my recommendation of cold-water fatty fish (great sources of omega-3 fatty acids) in all my diets:

Steve Parker, M.D.

 

Is That Scientific Journal Legitimate?

"Diabetes Care" isn't on Beall's list

“Diabetes Care” isn’t on Beall’s list

Librarian Jeffrey Beall has a blog (Scholarly Open Access) where he keeps a list of what he calls predatory publishers and questionable journals. This would only matter to you if you, like me, enjoy reading scientific journal articles. The problem with some journals is that they exist only to make a profit for the publishers, and will do so by any means necessary. Researchers in academic settings feel great pressure to publish their research results, or anything that looks like research. Even if they have to pay the publisher $1,8000 USD. The result can be a research report that has very little, if any, scientific validity. In other words, if you got the money, you’ll get published even if your research is crap.

If you wonder if a particular journal is questionable, check to see if it’s on Beall’s list.

Steve Parker, M.D.

QOTD: Weight Training Versus Gravity

Average age of study subjects was 71

A good resistance training program will strengthen her bones, improve her balance, and prevent that hip fracture 60 years from now

Adult life is a battle against gravity. Weight training postpones your inevitable defeat.

—Steve Parker, M.D.

Recipe: Cabbage Soup

This version of cabbage soup isn’t a powerhouse in any one particular nutrient but provides a fair amount of zinc, protein, and vitamins A, B12, and C. A serving of this only has 9 grams of digestible carbohydrate, so you can easily fit it into diabetic diets or ketogenic diets. If you’re a constipated, a bowl or two of cabbage soup may get things moving, thanks to raffinosepaleo diet, Steve Parker MD, cabbage soup

Plan well in advance because this takes a while to cook

Ingredients:

  • water, 4 quarts (3.8 L)
  • parsley, fresh, to taste (3 or 4 sprigs)
  • stew meat (beef), raw, 8 oz (230 g)
  • pepper, to taste (1/4 tsp or 1.2 ml)
  • salt, to taste (1.5 tsp or 8.4 mL) (don’t use this much if on a low-sodium diet)
  • tomato sauce, canned, 4 fl oz (120  ml)
  • carrot, raw, large (4.5 oz or 130 g), peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch (1/2-cm) thick discs
  • cabbage, green, raw, 1/2 of a small one (whole one weighs about 2 lb or 900 g), rinsed, cored, then sliced into quarters or smaller
  • fresh lemon (optional)

Instructions:

Add raw meat to the water in a large pot and boil gently for 30 minutes. Then add tomato sauce, carrot, salt, pepper, parsley, and cabbage. Bring to boil over medium heat and them simmer for 45 minutes.

If it’s too bland for you, add a squeeze of fresh lemon.  Or as a last resort, add some beef bouillon cube or powder.

Servings:

Makes four servings of 2 cups each (475 ml).

Advanced Mediterranean Diet boxes: 1 veggie, 1/2 fat, 1/2 protein

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

  • 46% fat
  • 23% carbohydrate
  • 31% protein
  • 200 calories
  • 12 g carbohydrate
  • 3 g fiber
  • 9 g digestible carb
  • 1,200 mg sodium
  • 495 mg potassium
  • Prominent features: see first paragraph

PS: Nutritional analysis done at FitDay.com.

Save Time by Microwaving Your Spaghetti Squash

The pale yellow half-squash is cooked. The meaty red sauce is low-carb.

Both of these weighed about 4 pounds (1.8 kg). The pale yellow half-squash is cooked. The meaty red sauce is low-carb.

My wife found this new spaghetti squash cooking method—new to us at least—on a sticker attached to a squash. We tried it and the finished product is the same as if done in the traditional oven baking way. The whole process just takes 15 minutes. Here it is:

Hope you can read it

Hope you can read it

A different squash had a different stuck-on cooking method that involved both microwaving AND oven baking. Why make it so complicated?

It takes no skill at all to make it look like spaghetti pasta

It takes no skill at all to make it look like spaghetti pasta

 

IMG_2208

In the northern hemisphere, the spaghetti squash season is autumn and winter. Purchasing in spring and summer may be iffy. We tried one out of season and it was inedible.

Spaghetti Squash Recipes

Low-Carb Spaghetti Sauce

photo-77

IMG_1437

 

 

Frozen Fruit Smoothie #2: Raspberries, Blueberries, Strawberries, Banana, Chia Seeds, and Kale

 

Similar to an Icee, but healthier for you

Similar to an Icee, but more healthful

Try this for dessert instead of calorie-laden items like pie, cake, cookies, and ice cream. Unlike this smoothie, those aren’t very nutrient-dense, either. This smoothie is equivalent in calories to four Oreo cookies which are predominantly sugar and flour.

Since I provide the nutritional analysis below, you can easily incorporate this into the Advanced Mediterranean Diet.

At the Parker Compound, we mix this in a Vitamix. Other devices may work, but I’m not familiar with them.

It's all here

It’s all here

Ingredients

1 cup (240 ml) frozen raspberries

1/2 cup (120 ml) frozen blueberries

1 cup (240 ml) frozen strawberries

1 frozen banana (7 inches or 18 cm), cut into 3–4 pieces

1 tbsp (13 g) chia seeds

1 handful (1/2 ounce?) raw kale

2.5 cups (590 ml) water

1 cup (240 ml) ice cubes

Instructions

First item into the Vitamix is the water, then banana, all berries, chia seeds, then top off with the ice. Start mixing on variable speed 1 then slowly increase spin rate to 10, for a total mix of 45–60 seconds. Soon after you get started you’ll probably have to use the “plunger” a few times to un-clump the top items.

Loaded and ready to spin

Loaded and ready to spin

Depending on your batch of fruits, this drink may not be as sweet as you like. You could easily sweeten it up with your favorite artificial non-caloric sweetener. I used 1.5 tsp (7.5 ml) of Truvia to good effect, just thrown in with every thing else before or after the primary mix. Or you could use table sugar, about 4 tsp (20 ml), instead of the Truvia. Most of us eat too much sugar. If you go the sugar route, you’ll increase the calories per serving by 15, and increase carbohydrate grams by 4 per serving.

My able assistant wields the plunger

My able assistant wields the plunger

Number of Servings: 3.5 servings of 12 fl oz (350 ml) each

Advanced Mediterranean Diet boxes: 2 and 1/2 fruits

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:

7% fat

90% carbohydrate

3% protein

190 calories

46 g carbohydrate

7 g fiber

39 g digestible carbohydrate

5 mg sodium

290 mg potassium

Prominent features: Rich in vitamin C, fair amount of fiber, homeopathic amounts of sodium

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: I credit my wife with this recipe.

IMG_2197

 

What Really Was William Banting’s Diet?

Banting thought salmon was too fatty

Banting eschewed salmon (too fatty?)

I’ve been reading about Banting’s diet for at least five years. Thanks to Tim Noakes in South Africa, it’s seeing a mini-surge in popularity. William Banting published his Letter on Corpulence in 1863. Eating like him to lose weight is sometimes referred to as “Banting.” It’s one form of a low-carb diet and considered a precursor to the Atkins diet.

Form your own opinion of what William Banting may have eaten by reading these:

In terms of macronutrient calories, here’s my rough back-of-the-envelope synthesis of Banting’s diet:

  • 20–25% carbohydrate
  • 25% protein
  • 20–25% fat
  • 25% alcohol
  • 1800–2000 total calories

For the 200 lb (91 kg) man that Banting was, 2000 calories would almost certainly have been a calorie-restricted diet. Leigh estimated he was eating at least 2800 cals/day at baseline before losing weight. I don’t doubt that.

In summary, Banting drank a lot of alcohol (even more than on the Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet), and ate fairly low-fat, moderately carb-restricted, and relatively high protein. In other words: low cal, low carb, low fat, high protein, high alcohol.

His weight loss, assuming it wasn’t a hoax, came from calorie restriction. Something about that combination of macronutrients apparently allowed him to stick with the program and maintain a 50-lb weight loss. Protein is particularly satiating. Your mileage may vary.

I’m concerned that 25% of calories from alcohol would displace more healthful micronutrients.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: William Banting was a distant relative of Frederick Banting, the co-discoverer of insulin in 1921.