Did You Know...
A column by Mike Furci that brings you research, trends and other info to help you with your fitness, health and nutritional needs.
...if you want to reduce your risk of cancer, you should join a study? Promoters of vegetarianism have been singing the praises of a report on two studies in the British Journal of Cancer. The report notes two studies, the Epic-Oxford cohort and the Oxford Vegetarian study, examining cancer incidence among vegetarians. The report studied 61,566 British men and women, comprising 32,403 meat eaters, 8,562 non-meat eaters who ate fish and 20,601 vegetarians. The average follow-up was 12.2 years. Vegetarians had less bladder, stomach and blood cancer than meat and fish eaters. However, vegetarians had higher rates of colon, rectal and cervical cancers. These numbers, as with many studies, are deceiving.
According to this report, the chance of a meat eater developing bladder cancer is 1 in 518; for vegetarians it was 1 in 1,677; for fish eaters it was 1 in 1,400. Even though the report shows meat eaters are over three times more likely to develop bladder cancer, it’s still only a 0.19 percent chance. Your chance of developing cervical cancer if you’re a meat eater was 1 in 1,982; for fish eaters it’s 1 in 890; for vegetarians it’s 1 in 948. Judging by this report, a vegetarian female is twice as likely to develop cervical cancer compared to her meat-eating amiga, but still only a 0.10 percent chance. The play on numbers in this report is inexcusable but all too common.
The differences in the various cancer rates between the three groups overall were insignificant; however the fish eaters were found to have the largest reduced cancer risk. Curiously – and what you don’t see reported in mainstream sources -- there was no difference found in all cause mortality between the diet groups. However, all the diet groups had a 50 percent less reduced risk of all cause mortality compared to the general population. Hmm.
In another analysis of two studies, the Oxford Vegetarian Study and the Health Food Shoppers Study, researchers compared the mortality of vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Mortality rates were 52 percent and 59 percent of the general population, respectively. However, strangely unreported by vegetarians, there was no difference in mortality rates between vegetarians and non-vegetarians in either study. Researchers concluded that the benefits found in the subjects of both studies, compared to the general population, might be attributed to non-dietary factors.
…nitric oxide (NO) products are pushed on unsuspecting customers using voodoo science? NO is a very powerful chemical that, among many functions, regulates blood flow. NO dilates blood vessels, lowers blood pressure and allows blood to flow more freely. It’s this increase in blood flow that has lead many in the supplement industry to infer a better delivery of nutrients to muscle cells, which they equate to more muscle. That is one hell of a stretch and just doesn’t hold water.
The NO supplements of today are the same as the arginine products of the ‘80s; they’re just marketing them differently. Unfortunately for NO proponents, the level of arginine in the blood has little to do with NO production, and consequently has nothing to do with increasing blood flow. If we could increase NO production through diet or supplements, because of the decrease in blood pressure that occurs with higher NO levels, we would have had anecdotal reports of lower blood pressure and syncope. These types of reports have not occurred, nor have they been found in research.
Need some evidence? Read Robinson et al
…partial ranges of motion reps are equal to full range of motion reps? Most experts have long held that partial repetitions provide no benefit to the serious weightlifter. This was not the finding of a study done at the University of Southern Mississippi using partial range of motion (ROM) repetitions and full ROM repetitions in the development of strength in untrained males. As far as the development of maximal strength was concerned, partial and mixed repetitions were found to be equally as effective as full repetitions.
This study was conducted over 10 weeks and used the bench press as criterion for measurement. Fifty-six subjects were divided into three groups: the first group used three full ROM sets; the second group used three partial ROM sets; the third group used a combination. The researchers found no differences between the three groups. However, they do point out that this study does suggest partial reps can be a benefit to a person’s maximal strength. (J strength Cond Res.2004;18(3):518-521, )
Does this mean partial reps should be the major component of a strength training routine? Absolutely not. As with all studies concerning progressive resistance training, there were too few subjects, and the length of time involved was too short in duration. However, this study does find support in using partial reps in addition to a traditional strength-training program. This is especially true for power lifters and other athletes who need to “lock a weight out” at the top portion of the lift.
… strength and power have a positive influence on muscle endurance? Fernando J. Naclerio and fellow researchers performed a study using 14 firefighters to determine the importance of strength and power on a muscular endurance test. The physical test the firefighters were to perform for a job entry requirement was a maximum repetition test on the flat barbell bench press with 40 kg in 40 seconds.
The subjects performed a progressive test of eight sets of two to three repetitions during the first part of the study. The first and second sets were performed using a low load of 25 percent to 45 percent. The first set was always performed with a lower load than the second, which was performed using 40 kg. As subsequent sets were performed, the load was increased. The third and fourth sets were performed with a moderate load of 50 percent to 65 percent of their one-rep maximum (1 RM); the firth and sixth sets were performed with 70 percent to 80 percent of 1 RM; the seventh and eighth sets were performed with 85 percent to 100 percent of 1 RM.
To prevent fatigue from being a factor, the second part of the study (which was the max rep test) was performed 72 hours after the first part. Researchers found the 1 RM to have the greatest degree of influence in the firefighter’s performance on the 40 kg max rep bench press test. Interestingly, the degree of power produced in the progressive test using 40 kg had no correlation with the subject’s ability in the max rep test.(J Strength Cond Res.2009;23(5):1482-1488)