Fat Cells: Why Re-Gaining Weight Can Be So Easy

Fat Shack

Good news, bad news. Fat cells can be shrunk, but they rarely disappear. Once fat cells form, they might shrink during weight loss, but they do not disappear, a fact that has derailed many weigh.

Young mice fed a high-fat diet fail to produce fat cells within a day of starting a high-fat diet. “In studying what happens before these animals become obese, we found that this fat-producing response occurs unbelievably quickly,” said Matthew Rodeheffer, assistant professor of comparative medicine.

Weight gained is caused by the creation and expansion of white fat cells, or adipose tissue. Eating healthy and exercising can shrink fat cells but not eliminate them, which is why people can gain weight back so quickly.

So the next time you have a snow day and consider going on a 36-hr pizza and ice cream binge, definitely think twice. The body creates fat cells very fast and losing (or shrinking?) them can be a much more prolonged process.

Choline: It's What's For Breakfast

Breakfast Choline Eat

If you need another reason to have breakfast for dinner, look no further than everyone’s favorite vital nutrient that they’ve never heard of: Choline!

• Choline is a vital nutrient found in eggs, meat, and dairy products.

• But researchers find many people aren’t getting enough of the nutrient.

• Vegans and vegetarians have more risk for lower choline levels, but experts say people can take steps to supplement their diet.

Present in eggs, dairy, and meat, choline was recognized by the Institute of Medicine as an essential nutrient in 1998.

For the last 21 years, the institute has recommended daily choline intake of 550 milligrams (mg) per day for men and 425 mg per day for women, increasing to 450 mg during pregnancy and 550 mg for women who breastfeed.

That amount of choline intake doesn’t seem like it would be too difficult, considering that one hard-boiled egg has about 113 mg of choline.

But according to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data, 90 percent of children (but not infants), pregnant women, and adults aren’t getting enough.

The takeaway: If you’re routinely skipping breakfast, make sure you’re getting enough choline in your diet.

Why Athletes Reach for White Rice Over Brown Rice

White Rice Athlete

Whole grains are generally good for you and are a recommended food to improve overall health. However, athletes often follow different nutritional guidelines when considering what’s best for sports nutrition.

One of the biggest differences in the diet of elite athletes is the preference of white rice over brown rice. White rice can be a primary carbohydrate source that’s excellent for quick energy and glycogen replenishment. The goal of the athlete and lifter is supplying adequate amounts of macronutrients to fuel extreme training and replenish severely depleted glycogen stores. White rice plays a major part in this process and is considered excellent sports nutrition for these athletes.

One of the most popular meals for lifters is a large bowl of white rice combined with grilled chicken breast and endurance runners often carbo load with white rice before events. Because white rice ranks high on the glycemic index, informed athletes and lifters recognize the high glycemic value of white rice to provide quick fuel for hard workouts and facilitate muscle recovery.

According to USA Rice Information, rice contains more carbohydrates than potatoes for the same serving size. Parboiled, converted, and instant white rice is suggested for pre and post-workout meals. Consuming white rice ensures the body is properly fueled for the competitive athlete.

And for those training less than 4-days per week or suffering from a metabolic disease, brown rice is considered a better choice as brown rice is still a healthy nutrient dense food. Brown rice is absolutely recommended for the general populous and everyday fitness person who can tolerate whole grains, but for those going the extra mile sometimes white rice is the better choice.

Itchy Muscles? What Does It Mean?

Teen Fitness

I’ve recently gotten into yoga and have noticed that the next morning, I’ll sometimes wake-up with an itching sensation that feels like it’s coming from inside my muscle tissue. I didn’t know whether that was cause for concern, so I started doing a little internet research find out.

What I discovered is that an itching sensation isn’t necessarily a bad thing and that if your itching only happens when you exercise, you likely won’t have any other symptoms.

People complain of itchy muscles especially in warm weather or if it’s been a while since they last exercised. Exercising, especially cardio workouts like running, increase your blood flow and send a lot of oxygen to your muscles. The theory is that the blood vessels in your muscles are stretching beyond what they’re used to, and this wakes up the nerves around them.

And since the nerve signals that communicate pain can sometimes be closely linked with the nerve signals for itch, itching muscles could also be a way that your body is processing stress from working out.

So next time you workout and your muscle fibers start to itch, that’s probably a good sign. Just remember to keep stretching and not to push your muscles to the point of strains or tears.

VarCity Trends: Fitness Fashion

Emily Ratajkowski

Tired of wearing your well-worn T-shirt and old yoga pants to the gym? Make like Emily Ratajkowski and sweat in style—think bold-colored shorts ($45), crop tops ($45) and throwback sneaks ($75). Take your cue from A-list stars that now that what you wear to workout can be just as important as your on-duty uniform. The rule here? Always be ready to make a good impression at the gym.

Click the links below to get the look:



VarCity Wellness Trends: Plant-Based Milks

Almond vs Oat Milk

With the rise in popularity of plant-based proteins, we aren’t surprised that food manufacturers are looking for new ways to get plants into our morning coffee routines. Since 2014, nondairy milk alternatives have grown an impressive 61%, and the market is expected to reach more than $35 billion by 2024.

And while the almond and coconut milks of the world are just going to continue getting more ubiquitous, there’s a whole host of other plant-based options, from beans to oats to bananas, that are ready to join the mix.

VarCity’s pro-tip: when choosing a dairy-free milk, look for an option that has a short ingredient list, is unsweetened, offers a source of protein, and is fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

VarCity Fitness Trends: Boxing

Boxing

Boxing used to be a grungy sport reserved for people who didn’t mind working out in a dark, damp cave. Then along came boutique boxing studios, and suddenly boxing’s sexy again. It’s now the sport of models and fitfluencers everywhere—and when it comes to a workout that incorporates cardio and toning, boxing is going to make a strong push to supplant spinning as the number #1 workout in 2019.

For starters, slamming away at a heavy bag is a full-body workout that can burn around 700 calories an hour (depending on your weight). But if that’s not enough to get your gloves on, people are also using the workout as an outlet for stress and to build self-confidence. Go ahead—let it all out!

VarCity Wellness Trends: Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll Latte

Step aside matcha, there’s a new drink in the neighborhood. Chlorophyll lattes are here and the health claims are getting out of control. From bad breath to depression to exercise recovery, if you google it, chances are chlorophyll can apparently fix it. While a few smaller studies did find that taking chlorophyll supplements did slightly increase weight loss and lower cholesterol, experts have suggested that we need a lot more research to confirm the “superfood” claims.

Today it’s not unusual to find coffeeshops blending chlorophyll-packed supplements like spirulina and chlorella into your frothy morning brew,. And hey, even if the whipped cream and syrup pumps somewhat nullify any potential health benefits from the superfood greens, at least you’re getting a good ‘gram.

VarCity Tips: Eat This, Not That -- Shaved Ice

Healthy Summer Treats

Fro-Yo still may be king of the summer, but think twice the next time you get a bowl loaded with artificial sweeteners, empty calories and chemical-based flavors. For summer of 2019, try a bowl of shaved ice. Inspired by Japanese kakigōri, Filipino halo-halo, Korean patbingsu, and Taiwanese bao-bing, the icy treats are a low-calorie refreshing alternative. The trend is expected to go mainstream with the help of do-it-yourself topping bars.

VarCity’s tip: Keep your shaved ice refreshing and manageable by adding fresh fruit instead of super-sweet syrups, juices and candies.

The Benefits of Unprocessed Foods

Processes Foods

A recent study from the National Institutes of Health found that people eating ultra-processed foods ate more calories and gained more weight than when they ate a minimally processed diet. The difference in weight gain even occurred when the meals provided to the volunteers in both the ultra-processed and minimally processed diets had the same number of calories and macronutrients.

This study considered foods “ultra-processed” if they had ingredients predominantly found in food manufacturing, such as hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, flavoring agents and emulsifiers.

Previous studies had shown diets high in processed foods correlated to health problems. But, because none of the past studies randomly assigned people to eat specific foods and then measured the results, scientists could not say for sure whether the processed foods were a problem on their own, or whether people eating them had health problems for other reasons, such as a lack of access to fresh foods.

This is the first study to demonstrate causality — that ultra-processed foods cause people to eat too many calories and gain weight.

An ultra-processed breakfast might consist of a bagel with cream cheese and turkey bacon, while the unprocessed breakfast was oatmeal with bananas, walnuts, and skim milk. The ultra-processed and unprocessed meals had the same amounts of calories, sugars, fiber, fat, and carbohydrates, and participants could eat as much or as little as they wanted.

On the ultra-processed diet, people ate about 500 calories more per day than they did on the unprocessed diet. They also ate faster on the ultra-processed diet and gained weight, whereas they lost weight on the unprocessed diet. Participants, on average, gained 0.9 kilograms, or 2 pounds, while they were on the ultra-processed diet and lost an equivalent amount on the unprocessed diet.