Too busy to catch all of the week's fitness, diet, and workout news as it happened? Here's a quick wrap-up of what was getting buzz.
All Sugars Aren't Created Equal
A small study published this week suggests that fructose and glucose, though calorically the same, differ in their effects on overweight and obese people: Fructose appears to have a harmful impact on fat distribution and insulin sensitivity, while glucose doesn't. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, found that over eight weeks, people who consumed 25 percent of their daily calories as a fructose-sweetened beverage showed increased abdominal and visceral fat, higher levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol, and a decreased sensitivity to insulin—all of which suggest a risk of heart disease. Those whose drink contained glucose didn't show the same effects.
It's not known whether these effects would persist over the long term or whether they'd occur in normal-weight folks. The fructose-versus-glucose debate has been percolating for a while; I wrote last year about the role of fructose in fruit juice and, more recently, about sorting out sweeteners, including agave, high-fructose corn syrup, and table sugar.
The Real-Life Adventures of a Gastric Bypass Patient
The Atlantic's online food section includes an ongoing blog by a recent gastric bypass patient. This week, he wrote about how he's struggling to deal with how people look at him differently now that he's lost weight. Previous entries dealt with how he came to the decision to get surgery and the immediate post-surgical effects on his psyche. While gastric bypass and other forms of bariatric surgery are by no means for everyone and are still considered the last resort, surgery is increasingly being considered as a way to treat diabetes in those for whom diet and exercise have failed.
Gatorade Was Always on My Mind...
I could swear I can feel my tissues perk up like a recently watered houseplant when I consume energy drinks during a long run or bike ride, but it may be all in my head. Runner ' s World writes about a new study suggesting that the effects of carbohydrates in a sports drink are perceived even when the athlete spits it out. In other words, there may be receptors in your mouth that speak directly to your brain, telling it that the carb cavalry has arrived and that it should keep working out hard, even if the body is never actually getting the calories. If you're watching your weight, the news may suggest a new swish-and-spit strategy for enjoying your favorite energy drinks, particularly since such drinks were criticized this week for their high sugar content.
Reaching Your Potential, With Expert Help
Perhaps you should take the money you were spending on energy drinks and invest it in a personal coach. The New York Times reports that serious amateur athletes bent on improving shouldn't underestimate the effects of structured training by experts. Gains are particularly apparent for those who were previously untrained; it's a lot harder to make incremental improvements when you're already getting expert help. Athletes I've spoken with talk about another benefit of a coach: having someone to order you to rest when your Type A personality is telling you to work out more than you should. The grind of training can sometimes lead to overtraining. Here's how to tell how much exercise is too much.