MSG and weight gain, free range eggs, shopping while hungry, forced reps

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A column by Mike Furci that brings you research, trends and other info to help you with your fitness, health and nutritional needs.

Furci...if you want to gain weight, consume more monosodium glutamate (MSG)? Numerous animal studies have indicated that MSG is a factor in weight gain, independent of calories consumed. Now there is confirmation that MSG causes weight gain in humans. Researchers at the University of Carolina at Chapel Hill studied 750 Chinese men and women, ages 40 to 59, living in rural Chinese villages. Most of the subjects prepared their meals at home without commercially processed foods and about 82 percent used MSG. Those participants who used the highest amounts of MSG had nearly three times the incidence of overweight as those who did not use MSG, even when physical activity and caloric value were accounted for. (Enig, Mary, and Sally Fallon. "Caustic Commentary." Wise Traditions 2009; 10(3): 14) empty stomach equals disaster? Never, ever go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. This is by far the worst thing you can do to sabotage your shopping. When you're hungry, everything looks and smells good. And worse, your ability to make good choices greatly diminishes, if not disappears all together. If you're hungry, eat first and then shop later when you're less vulnerable to impulse buying. (Supermarket strategies eggs are much more nutritious than regular eggs? This only makes sense considering the chickens are allowed to consume their natural diet, which includes seeds, insects, green plants and worms. Compared to U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from chickens raised on a pasture may contain the following: two-thirds  more vitamin A; two times more omega-3 fatty acids; three times more vitamin E; and seven times more beta carotene. The problem with eggs labeled "free-range" is that the USDA defines free-range as chickens having access to the outside. The problem with this definition is it doesn't define their diets or what "outside access" means. Under this definition, the chickens can have access to a cement courtyard while eating an unnatural diet that includes soy, corn and cottonseed meals, and still be called free range. (Mother Earth News. Oct/Nov, 2007)

...Furciperforming forced repetitions doesn't aid in increasing strength? Performing repetitions beyond the point of failure in a set to "force" your muscles beyond what they're capable of is a common practice. Researchers at the School of Human Movement Studies at Charles Hurt University used 22 subjects in a recent study to help determine if forced reps are useful. The researchers found an absence of strength or power gains when the number of forced reps was increased, and the training volume was held constant. They also found that increasing the number of forced reps and the training volume did not enhance strength or power. The results indicate the lack of effect with the number of forced reps cannot be explained by increased training volume. (Journal Strength Conditioning Research 2007; 21(3): 841-847)

...children raised on farms have fewer allergies than children raised in cities? One in three children are currently affected by eczema, hay fever or asthma, as opposed to one in six 20 years ago. The number of people needing emergency hospital treatment for severe allergic reactions has tripled over the last 10 years. A new study suggests the boom in allergies is largely due to pasteurized and homogenized milk. The study shows that children raised on farms, who drink just two glasses of raw milk per week, reduce their chances of eczema by 40 percent and hay fever by 10 percent. Blood samples revealed the consumption of raw milk decreased the levels of immunoglobulin E by half, which causes allergy symptoms. (

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