The Digest - March 9

Here's a digest of some of the most interesting studies and articles I came across over the past few days:  

  • I think I may have circulated this one before, but I like it a lot and I think it's worth resending: this info-graphic illustrates the habits of the world wealthiest people. This is based on a large study which tracked 233 of the wealthiest people on earth and compared them with a sample of poor people. Highlights for the wealthiest include: 88% read 30+min per day, 81% maintain a to-do list, 79% network 5+hrs per month, 65% watch less than 1hr of TV per day, and 86% believe in life-long education, 80% focus on accomplishing a specific goal.


  • Statin drugs (often prescribed to treat high cholesterol) have been found tocause major health issues and potentially death in numerous studies over the past decade, yet they remain prescribed by doctors in the millions to lower cholesterol (in most cases without even identifying/treating the underlying cause of elevated cholesterol). A new study from Finland showed that statin drugs may significantly increase risk of Type II diabetes (which ironically is itself a major risk for heart disease & stroke). 


  • I'm a big fan of using herbs to combat inflammation. In fact, they're my go-to source of anti-inflammatory compounds when putting my body through inflammatory-causing events (extreme training), environments (planes, hotels, germ-filled office), etc. Here's a nice summary of the most potent anti-inflammatory herbs, including my favorites: turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger. 


  • These are exactly the kinds of studies that get reported by mass media and guide the public on a disastrous path… and they drive me CRAZY! The study was reported in the BBC with the headline "Low-Fat Diet Burns More Fat". Dig a little deeper and you'll discover that the length of the study was 6 DAYS!! Not 6 months, not even 6 weeks, but SIX DAYS! And yes, it did show that a low-fat diet was better for fat loss than a low-carb diet. Of course it would be for such a short period of time!! That's why "crash diets" work for a week than backfire with disastrous consequences over the longer term! I have an even better diet for you if you're focused on how much weight you can lose in 6 days: juicing! or better yet, starvation! ok, rant over...


  • Tight hip flexors? It's something we're all suffering from and is often due to the compression in our iliopsoas and rectus femoris caused by sitting for hours on end, or even from such sports as cycling, where our hips flexors are continuously partially contracted for hours on end. Most of us know how to stretch our hip flexors, but here's a nice little article which describes some minor modifications to the standard hip flexor stretch which takes it to a whole new level. I tried it and it works. Of course tightness in other areas can also cause hip flexor tightness, including glutes and lower back, and this particular stretch wouldn't help in such a scenario. Also, in many instances, the tightness in the hip flexor muscles isn't caused by the muscles being "short" but rather because of mis-firing of motoneural nerves: again, there are different exercises to remedy that.


  • For those revamping their resumes for a new job (or fresh graduates), here's a handy list of tips of "20 things recruiters do not want to see on your resume". As someone who's interviewed and hired dozens of people over the years, I actually agree with most of what's on this list. I don't agree with nb 5 though: in many cases, including personal hobbies tell more about a person's character than the rest of the resume, and that's even more critical thank skills.


  • I've been harping about the impact of our gut microbiome (composition of bacteria living in your digestive system) on our health and also our ability to lose weight for months. This new study provides further evidence, finding that higher levels of certain types of bacteria in the digestive system impair the ability to lose weight even after weight loss surgery (bariatric surgery). 


  • On a related note, another study suggests that missing even just 30min of sleep during weeknights could promote weight gain and disrupt metabolismIn the study, those who didn't get enough sleep during the week were 72% more likely to be obese, and over the course of a year, every 30min of missed sleep during the week increased risk of obesity and insulin resistance by 17%.