OutcomeReference.com : Linking Nutrition, Exercise and life choices to Health Outcomes

 

What is the ideal diet? What types of exercise should you do? What should you undertake to prevent mental disease? Those are common questions asked by millions of blogs and even more people every day, worldwide.

Unlike mathematics, there is no single answer. Delving into scientific studies such as those aggregated on pubmed help to separate the good from the bad. You type a keyword such as “diabetes” and it will show papers studying diabetes. However, this is not easy:

  • Health studies are published for scientists. Readability is low and challenging for those without relevant education
  • The vast majority of health studies are behind a “pay-wall”
  • There are different types of trial designs, from meta-analysis, double-blind randomized trials, cohort studies etc. Furthermore, the number of subjects vary wildly between studies, as well as age, weight range, athleticism of subjects, or study length. It takes a good eye to know which study has a better design and which ones are relevant to your case.
  • Studies on the same subject can use different metrics or biomarkers, making direct comparisons difficult
  • Studies on the same subject and with the same methodology can have conflicting results
  • Health studies, especially in nutrition, can be funded by corporations and have bias.

All these contribute to confusion. Media and bloggers then interpret findings to their likings, further increasing confusion.

Because of these issues, I have developed a reference portal OutcomeReference

OutcomeReference is a FREE, easy-to-use reference website aiming to show clearly the outcome of your health choices. 

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Managing Your Physical Condition with Heart Rate Variability

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In a previous post, resting heart rate was shown to reflect physical and mental condition. A low resting heart rate correlates with good health compared to a high resting heart rate.

It becomes complex when you consider age. Older people have lower resting heart rate. And individuals with the same age, nutrition and overall fitness level can have vastly different heart rates. For instance, my maximum heart rate when running is around 172bpm while a friend has 200bpm, with the same heart rate sensor. It does not mean however that I am more or less fit than others.

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Accepting Imperfection

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One of my training goal is to be able to run 5 km in less than 20 minutes before the end of 2016.

I like a lot the idea of this goal. During the day, I would already imagine my legs powering me forward, the wind flowing, and the constant battle against the watch. I was already eager on sharing my success everywhere.

Recently, it started snowing. Sidewalks become a sliding game, shoes become soggy and fingers are frozen. And what was once beautiful green trails become cold, dark and snow paths like above. Result: I loose half of my speed!

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Healthy nutrition doesn’t have to be expensive

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A surprising read: The Royal College of General Practitioners want to stop recommending 5 portions of vegetables per day.

The main reason was cost: eating healthy was said to be three times more expensive than a junk food diet.

Does that mean that well-off people can have good healthy food and others have to be content with junk food, with all the health consequences it entails?

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“The Blue Zones, Second Edition” book review

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Is there a recipe to live past 100, and at the same time have a good quality of life?

That’s what Dan Bruettner tries to investigate in his book entitled “The Blue Zones, Second Edition: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest”.

With his team, Dan went to Barbagia in Sardinia (Italy), Ikaria (Greece), Okinawa (Japan), Loma Linda (California, United States), Nicoya (Costa Rica). These have relatively a high percentage of centenarians, and low occurrences of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes or COPD. Dan interviewed them on their diet, daily lifestyle, social networks and various habits. His findings are then discussed with doctors and health experts.

So how do you live a good life past 100?

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The Free Radical Theory of Aging

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The picture above shows iron rust. Oxygen reacts with steel, in a process called oxidation. It gives a grey and red color, and soon, steel disintegrate. The process can be accelerated with air or water moisture.

Oxidation can also been seen in food, turning rancid cooking oils or transforming nice apples into sad brown food. This process of oxidation creates free radicals.

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Meal planning with Mealime

How a meal app reconciled me with healthy cooking

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This was my typical work day a year ago:

  • Grab a bowl of cereal or whatever there is in the fridge for breakfast.
  • Run to the subway and grab a coffee on my way to work.
  • A bagel with cream cheese, a shawarma, a muffin or whatever I could find at lunch. This would coincide with my third cup of coffee of the day. Other times, I went to a restaurant for a business meeting and this would be my main meal of the day.
  • Go to a networking evening event and eat whatever they have. Pretzels, beers, coffee, chips, you name it. If there is no event, I would otherwise pick up a hefty meal from a neighboring restaurant on my way home.

Repeat this five days a week and you have a recipe for disaster. It is a diet composed of processed foods, refined carbs and inflammatory foods that lead to obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, or worse.

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Cancer : Working Against the “Bad Luck”

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In my personal opinion, cancer is the worst type of disease.

I remember a friend who was diagnosed cancer. She was your typical urban geek : front-end programmer at a popular tech startup, lover of yoga, non-smoker, vegan and commuting by bike to work.

She is the kind of hip person you see around the latest bio-vegan-gluten-free coffee shop. You think they’d keep forever their slim waists and healthy composure.

Yet the worst came.

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Tracking food intake to achieve health goals

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When talking to most people, I realize most do not know what is the appropriate food intake for them.

Most people eat and drink by “feel”. I am hungry so I need to eat a snack or lunch. I have finished my plate so I do not eat anymore. This coffee shop sells snacks in this portion size so I will be happy with what they offer.

And then, we are surprised by the extra weight building up. Or we cannot figure why we cannot go through a weight plateau, or why we cannot perform as well in sports. Even worse, a few will see the onset of debilitating chronic diseases, even if they thought they had a clean diet.

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