Daily Smart Fact

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Archive for the ‘Health and Exercise’ Category

Daily Smart Fact #32: Why You’re Fattest at Night and Skinniest in the Morning

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waterTakeaway: You lose more than a pound every night from breathing.  That’s because you breathe in oxygen (O2) and breathe out carbon dioxide (CO2 – two oxygen atoms plus a carbon atom), “so there’s an extra carbon atom leaving in every round trip.”

I like weighing myself.  Call it my own personal body experiment, but I enjoy seeing the fluctuations of my weight throughout the day – in the morning, after I eat, before/after I go to the restroom, right at night.  It might sound obsessive, but I’m not trying to lose weight – it’s just fascinating to observe the fundamentals of input/output on your own body. Eat a POUND of cheese?  Yeah, you’ve just gained an immediate pound.  Drink 24 oz of water?  Yeah, you just gained 24 oz. on that scale.

Anyway, I stumbled upon a neat article that my friend (hi Li!) posted on Facebook and found it intriguing: Every Night You Lose More Than a Pound While You’re Asleep (For the Oddest Reason).  Basically, this guy records himself over a couple of days weighing himself at night and then again in the morning, wearing the same clothes.  He interviews people and eats hamburgers and goes to the bathroom, fun stuff.  Not the most rigorous scientific experiment.  But his finding at the end is that, just breathing at night, thousands of breaths over a typical 8-hour sleep, results in us losing about a pound or more just from the extra carbon that gets expelled.

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Written by Bea

June 26, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Daily Smart Fact #27: Cranky, Overweight, or Tired? There’s an easy remedy for that.

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Note to self: Don't look up "shower" ever again on flickr.

Takeaway: A cold shower can increase fat loss, enhance pain and stress tolerance, strengthen immunity, ward off depression, and the list goes on and on and on.

A friend of mine recently shared an article about the great benefits of taking cold showers on Google+ (you know that facebook-like technology that only your friends who work at Google use?) and I found it quite intriguing, especially because I had heard something similar from Timothy Ferris’ 4-hour Body book about the benefits of cold showers, especially in the area of boosting metabolism and burning fat.  Essentially, Ferris recommends taking a 5 to 30 minute cold shower (working your way up in time, and working your way down in temperature) because “cold temperature activates brown fat, the fat-burning fat tissue in your body that burns energy to keep you warm.”

Besides boosting metabolism and increasing your ability to burn fat, cold showers have other great health benefits like:

  • Increasing and improving blood circulation
  • Increasing alertness (better than caffeine!)
  • Helping with insomnia
  • Improving skin texture and minimizing pores
  • Reducing stress
  • Stopping hair loss
  • Decreasing chronic pain

And the list goes on.  One of our good friends only takes cold showers and he happens to also be tall, skinny, and athletic – coincidence?? Probably, but still, I thought I would give it a try.  So I did. And holy crap I was miserable…for the first 30 seconds or so.  But then my body became acclimated and I felt good, dare I say, rejuvenated.  Nay, I felt freaking awesome.  I liked it, a lot.  I probably won’t be taking only cold showers but I’ve resolved to end my showers with an icy cold rinse, which is good for now.  And maybe I’ll become tall, skinny, and athletic too…

Photo credit: uzi978

Written by Bea

March 15, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Daily Smart Fact #26: Fear Factor ain’t got nothin’ on you. I guarantee you are eating insects.

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Takeaway: For every chocolate bar you eat, the FDA allows you to consume 60 insect parts.  That’s 60 little insect legs…yum, protein!

So I thought this was common knowledge (being this brilliant keeps me in a bubble sometimes…JOKE) but after talking to some folks, I realized that some people may still be surprised that the FDA provides allowances for insect parts in foods, including chocolate.  Not only insect parts but rodent hair – yay!  I’m not one to get disturbed by this, I figure every bite of insect just toughens up my body in preparation for other horrific things (like giving birth to the world’s largest baby).

For your amusement (if you dare), here’s a list of other FDA allowances (from The FDA Handbook)

  • 60 insect parts per 100 grams of chocolate: What does that even mean?  It means nothing until I took a bite into a chocolate bar yesterday and realized that 100 grams is the size of a regular Godiva chocolate bar.  I’m not usually that shi shi but it was free, and my Korean butt can’t say no to free.
  • Fly eggs in fruit juices: 5 Drosophila and other fly eggs per 250 ml or 1 or more maggots per 250 ml.  Drink Odwalla juice?  The usual bottle size is 450ml – that means there could be close to 10 fly eggs in that bottle. (This fear mongering is making me feel like Dr. Oz)
  • Parasites in Red Fish and Ocean Perch: 3% of the fillets examined contain 1 or more parasites accompanied by pus pockets…I don’t know what that means but the word “pus pockets” made me want to share. You’re welcome.
So what does this all mean?  Probably nothing except that we eat a lot of crap.  So the lesson today, kids, is don’t eat more crap than you really have to.  Say no to junk food, processed foods, and soda!

Written by Bea

June 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Daily Smart Fact #10: Get off the couch! Sitting can actually kill you.

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Key Takeaway: Sitting for more than 6 hours a day raises the death rate for men by 20% and for women a whopping 40%.

I started wearing a pedometer about 2 months ago at the beginning of Lent, because I was tired of being such a lazy bum.  At the tender age of 29, I’ve been having a lot of lower back pain and I made a correlation that on the days I did nothing but sit and stare at a computer, my lower back would kill me by the end of the day.  When I started wearing my pedometer, I was walking less than 2000 steps a day (I can’t even tell you how many steps because I’m embarrassed).  Now I’m walking over 7,000 steps a day and I actually feel better!  Wearing a pedometer, besides making me look incredibly dorky, makes me conscious of my inactivity.

Anyway, so I started doing some digging around about inactivity and found this New York Times article Is Sitting a Lethal Activity? Here’s some cool points below:

  • Why do some people who consume the same amount of food as others gain more weight?  The answer is that people who didn’t gain weight were unconsciously moving around more (not exercise, just simply moving more).
  • Men who spent 6 hours or more per day sitting had an overall death rate that was 20 percent higher than men who sat for 3 hours or less
  • For women, the death rate was about 40 percent higher

When you are sitting:

  • electrical activity in the muscle drops – “the muscles go as silent as those of a dead horse”
  • your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute
  • insulin effectiveness drops within a single day
  • the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes rises
  • the risk of being obese rises
So…if that doesn’t motivate you to sit less than I don’t know what will! Walk, fidget, jump, take multiple stretching breaks…JUST MOVE!

Written by Bea

May 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Health and Exercise

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