Fit and Fabulous: 30 Surprising Facts About Nutrition, Fitness, and Health

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Spending an average of 27 minutes each day practicing mindfulness meditation increases gray-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection over an 8-week period.

2. The first-ever recorded weight-loss surgery was performed on D. Sancho, king of Leon, Spain during the 10th century. His morbid obesity made him lose the throne so his grandmother escorted him to Cordoba where a doctor sewed his lips shut. His food then only came from a straw. He lost half his weight and reclaimed the throne.

3. Boxer Evander Holyfield was so badly dehydrated during his first title fight that he lost 15 pounds and was immediately hospitalized after winning. He required over two gallons of intravenous saline to restore the 15 pounds he’d lost in the ring, plus another 10 for good measure.

4. Fidgeting (such as tapping your feet or drumming your fingers) can burn up to 350 calories a day and is a common trait in lean/skinny individuals.

5. An average American consumes more than 3,600 calories daily. That’s a 24% increase from 1961 when the average was just 2,880 calories. Vegetable oil consumption too has skyrocketed from 276 calories daily in 1961 to 689 today. Americans are consuming far more calories each day than is recommended (daily intake should be around 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 for men).

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6Hara hachi bun me

Hara hachi bun me

Okinawans in Japan are believed to be the only people in the world to have a tradition of a self-imposed habit of calorie restriction. They believe in eating until they are 80% full. Okinawa has the world's highest proportion of centenarians at approximately 50 per 100,000 people.

7. Having sex is a moderate exercise. While having sex, men burn 4 calories per minute and women burn 3 calories per minute. While jogging, men burn 9 calories per minute and women burn 7 calories per minute. 98% of test volunteers say that sex is more fun than jogging.

8. It is thought that Henry VIII suffered from malnutrition. Even though he ate about 5,000 calories a day, the menu was dominated by meat and bread, and since vegetables were considered “peasant food” they weren’t used very much. These patterns were noticed even in ancient Greece. It was observed that wealthier families were less healthy than poorer families. Since meat was an expensive ingredient, rich people would often eat it. Poorer families would rely on vegetables, whole grains, and some fish and were significantly healthier.

9. Richard Sandrak AKA “Little Hercules” is a boy who was able to bench press 180lbs (82 kg) by the age of six. He was given a strict diet and workout regime for the first decade of his life. He’s said to have never eaten any candy before his controlling and abusive father was sent to jail.

10. Exercise alone does not actually contribute much to weight loss. It helps you get fit, but simply eating better has a significantly bigger impact on weight loss, even without much exercise. As is rightly said by fitness geeks, “Abs are made in the kitchen. So get fit in the gym, lose weight in the kitchen.” It takes a 3500 calorie deficit to lose a pound. So to lose a pound per week, you need a 500 calorie a day deficit. That’s about 30-35 miles (about 50km) of running per week to lose a pound per week with no change in diet.

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11Cognitive Decline

Cognitive Decline

Cognitive decline is slower for people exercising regularly, and increased physical activity levels can slow down brain aging by 10 years. In fact, exercising makes you both more productive and happier for the day that you exercise. It affects your brain function and memory, and the positive effect lasts for the entire day.

12. Post-workout muscles aren't sore because of lactic acid buildup. That’s a myth propagated by a doctor who experimented on a severed frog. It’s actually a fuel made from glucose and burned by the muscles to maintain energy. The soreness actually comes from micro-tears that cause inflammation in the muscles.

13. Microwaving food does not diminish the nutrients. Actually, it's one of the most nutritionally sound methods in food preparation because the cooking times are shorter.

14. Nike founded and oversees an ultra-elite running group, with state of the art equipment such as underwater treadmills, and whose athletes live in a specially designed house where filters remove oxygen so that the athletes develop more red blood cells in a simulated high-altitude environment.

15. Khalid bin Mohsen Shaari was once the fattest man on Earth at 610 kg (1,340 lb). In 2013, Saudi King Abdullah ordered Khalid to come to the country's capital, Riyadh, to undergo a series of dietary and physical programs in order to help him lose weight. By 2017 after only 4 years he had successfully lost 542 kg (1,195 lb) and reached a healthy weight of 68 kg (150 lb). It was the biggest weight loss ever recorded

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16Detox Diet Scams

Detox Diet Scams

The Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics has said that there is no evidence to support the use of detox diets for weight management or toxin elimination and that considering the financial costs and potential health risks, they should be discouraged by health professionals. In 2007, the science advocacy group Sense About Science contacted the manufacturers of 15 “detox” products. When pressed, not a single detox peddler contacted could come up with a definition of what they meant by detox. If you have properly functioning kidneys and liver then your body is automatically detoxing.

17. The food pyramid is a scam. The original food pyramid given to the US government by nutritionists was altered for the benefit of the food industry and grain growers. There wasn't a single clinical trial of the science behind it.

18. Kegel exercises can be beneficial for men as well. Men who do Kegels tend to have stronger erections and orgasm, they typically last longer in bed, have an increase in angle of the erection and develop increased bladder control.

19. The 1945 Food and Nutrition Board Paper’s often quoted statement “humans require roughly 2.5 liters (8 glasses) per day” is only half of the full statement. The other half was “we get most of the fluid we need from food and other beverages.”

20. At his prime, champion cyclist Miguel Indurain had a resting heart rate of just 28 beats per minute. The heart rate of an average human is 60-90 beats per minute. His blood took seven liters of oxygen around his body per minute, compared to 3–4 liters for an ordinary person and 5–6 liters for fellow riders. His cardiac output was 50 liters a minute; a fit amateur cyclist's is about 25 liters. Indurain's lung capacity was 7.8 liters, compared to an average of 6 liters. His resting pulse was as low as 28 BPM, compared to an average 60–72 bpm, which meant his heart would be less strained in the tough mountain stages.

21Breakfast Myth

Breakfast Myth

“Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day” was actually a line created by General Mills in 1944 to help sell their new cereal with an aggressive marketing campaign. They would hand out leaflets to grocery store shoppers urging them to eat breakfast, while similar ads would play on the radio. Studies have shown that skipping breakfast does not lead to weight gain, health issues or underperformance.

22. Chiropractic is actually a form of “alternative medicine”, where studies have not found evidence that chiropractic manipulation is effective and collectively found that spinal manipulation was ineffective at treating any condition. Chiropractors are not a type of medical doctor and they cannot practice medicine.

23. The term “nutritionist” is not legally protected nor regulated, so anyone can advertise themselves as a nutritionist regardless of education or credentials. A “dietitian” or specifically “registered dietitian” however legally requires education via credited curriculum and passing a registration exam.

24. Breast milk contains tons of complex sugars that we can't digest. However, when babies drink it, those sugars can be broken down by beneficial bacteria within their gut. So breast milk promotes a healthy microbiome, which is a crucial health factor. Breast milk contains different amounts of fat and nutrients depending on if the baby is a boy or a girl. It also contains cannabinoids in order to calm down the baby and make them feel hungrier.

25. Parents who constantly argue can stunt their children’s growth. There’s a link between a reduced growth rate and a stressful upbringing. A study showed that traumatic childhood experiences have a serious effect on later health, causing disease and, in some cases, permanent stunting.

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