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We are inundated with methods to lose weight and get into shape. One example is the claim that avoiding eating after 8 PM will help you lose weight or maintain a lower weight. However, this may not necessarily be true.
Overall, the two main dietary aspects to focus on with regard to weight loss are caloric intake and macronutrient distribution. Caloric intake relates to the amount of total calories eaten during the day, and one’s recommended intake depends on factors like activity level and body type. Macronutrient distribution relates to the makeup of calories being eaten during the day. This organizes meals into categories of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Intuitively, it seems like these aspects along with physical activity are the most important factors to effectively lose weight. Why would the timing of the meals matter as long as you eat the correct caloric intake and macronutrient distribution?
Some research suggests there is a circadian clock (24-hour cycle) in adipose tissue, or body fat. The way the body burns fat may change throughout the day. It is postulated that the timing of meals can influence whether the adipose tissue stores fat or mobilizes fat to be burned. Supporters of this concept cite studies finding that late eaters lost significantly less weight than early eaters controlling for calorie intake and activity. There are other possible explanations for the findings. There may be genetic variations in fat metabolism that are associated with late eating or a higher susceptibility to obesity. And there is some evidence that late eaters tend to eat foods with more calories and a lower nutritional value.
When aiming for a healthy weight, the most important principle is limited calorie intake. The importance of other factors, such as timing of an evening meal, are more difficult to sort out.
Garaulet M, Gómez-Abellán P, Alburquerque-Béjar JJ, et al. Timing of food intake predicts weight loss effectiveness. International Journal of Obesity (2005). 2013 Apr;37(4):604-611. DOI: 10.1038/ijo.2012.229. PMID: 23357955; PMCID: PMC3756673.
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Adolescents and pre-adolescents may start thinking about taking up weight training. You may have heard rumors that weight training can stunt growth.
The concern is that weight training can injure the areas of the bone that grow (the growth plates) and limit stature. There is no evidence that high-impact sports like gymnastics, soccer, football, and basketball harm growth plates. The same is true for weight training.
There is a risk of injury from lifting more weight than one can control. In other words, the weights and machines can cause direct blunt trauma. But in general, the health benefits of lifting weights outweigh the risks. Weight training can improve strength, confidence, coordination, psychological well-being, and healthy weight. Weight training strengthens bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons, thereby decreasing the risk of injury to these structures.
The key is understanding how to safely lift heavy weights and the potential dangers of a weight room.
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Many of us, especially in cold and dry weather, may see white flakes falling from our hair and assume they are dandruff. Flakes from dry scalp are far more common than true dandruff.
Dandruff is caused by overgrowth of a yeast (malassezia) present on most normal skin. Less washed hair can result in a more oily scalp. Malassezia grow by “feeding” on the oil produced by the sebaceous glands attached to hair follicles. Dandruff is treated with more frequent hair washing to reduce oil. In some cases, specific antifungal shampoos are recommended by a dermatologist.
It’s important to recognize the difference between dry scalp and dandruff, because treatments for dry scalp moisturize the skin, whereas treatments for dandruff try to reduce oiliness and moisture, so using the wrong method can further dry out a dry scalp or overly moisturize an oily one. If you can’t tell the difference, try applying a small amount of moisturizer to your head before sleeping; after rinsing it out in the morning, if the flakes still remain, you’re probably looking at dandruff.
This time of year is famous for dry scalp and flare-ups in dandruff, so make sure to take care of your body and prioritize a healthy scalp!