#114 Nutrition

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- Fat Is Where It's At
- Tip of the Week
- New Success Story: Christine L.
- You Could Be Invited to Hawaii!
- Recipe of the Week
- Do You Have a Good Post of the Month?

"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail..."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fat Is Where It's At
ALA, CLA, flaxseed, fish, or borage oil—how to make sense out of fat supplements.
By Steve Edwards

Fat is the new buzzword in the nutrition world. It seems like you can't grab a magazine these days without it recommending that you take some type of fat supplement, or eat enough of something called "essential fatty acids." Gosh, it seems like just yesterday we were trying to avoid fats. What gives?

It's hard enough to convince someone to eat fat if they feel like they're overweight. After all, isn't it eating too much fat that made them this way in the first place? We addressed this subject a while back in Denis Faye's article, "Fat: It Does Your Body Good." In it, Faye covers the basics—what fat is and why your body needs it just the same as it needs proteins and carbohydrates.

But now it's at a whole new level. Not only are we supposed to eat more fat, we're also supposed to take fat supplements. How can this possibly make sense?

Well it doesn't, necessarily. Attempting to organize all the pieces of this puzzle, we should first start with the term "essential fatty acids." This term is a little misleading. What it means is simply that your body cannot make these fatty acids so you must consume them, which is true with certain amino acids as well. But this type of logic can be used a number of ways. It's only an issue if the foods you tend to eat don't contain them. Therefore, before purchasing a stack of supplements from the store, you should consider doing enough homework to find out what foods contain these "essential" nutrients.

Used wisely, supplementing to ensure you get enough essential fatty acids makes sense. They aid in oxygen transport though the blood to all cells, tissues, and organs. The help maintain resilience and lubrication of all cells and combine with protein and cholesterol to form living membranes that hold your cells together. Basically, your entire endocrine system will not function properly if you don't get your essential fatty acids.

Let's examine a few popular fat supplements.

ALA: Alpha-linolenic acid should not be confused with another ALA on the market, which is alpha-lipoic acid, an antioxidant. ALA is an omega-3 fatty acid and is commonly found in meat, vegetable oils, and in the new mega-popular fat source, flaxseed. Along with the above benefits, it helps prevent hair loss and keeps your skin shiny. Recent studies, however, show that the risk of prostate cancer among men is nearly 70% higher for those who consume large quantities of ALA. So while men should supplement with omega-3s, they also need to watch their ALA consumption.

GLA: Gamma-linolenic acid is found in borage, evening primrose, and black current seed oil. This is another essential fatty acid but one you need far less of. Studies suggest a ratio of about 1:4 vs. omega-3s. So while you might want to stock one of these, you don't need too much.

CLA: Conjugated linoleic acid is touted as a fat-loss supplement because a study1 shows CLA may help you regain lean body mass after going off a diet. If this sounds fishy, it is. It's only shown to have a profound effect in mice for weight loss. And the study was done in a way that isn't clear that CLA was necessary for the results. This doesn't mean that CLA is a worthless supplement, but it may not be the wisest way to spend your money either.

Flaxseed: One of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed (in both raw and oil form) is becoming almost an essential staple of the hipster diet sect. We should consume omega-3s at a 4:1 ratio to omega-6s. Since the other good omega-3 sources contain either high quantities of saturated fat (meat) or omega-6s (vegetable oil), flaxseed is a good way to go. Fortunately, hipster dieters tend to be women because it's now recommended that men control their intake in flaxseed due to its ALA content. That being said, men don't need to avoid flaxseed entirely. A pilot study2 of men who were to have a repeat biopsy saw their PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) levels drop (8.5 to 5.7 on average) by adding an ounce of flaxseed daily to a low-fat diet.

Fish oil: This contains both eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), two highly beneficial omega-3 sources that most Americans get very little of. Across the board, health advocates seem to be championing fish oil for its high concentrations of EPA and DHA, and studies have shown little downsides to consuming even massive quantities. Barry Sears, author of the popular Zone diet, is at the forefront of this trend. At a recent seminar, he claimed that fish oil supplementation could do far more than regulate bodily functions. He even presented evidence where high dosages improved chronic depressive and bipolar disorders, as well as kept arteries clean as a whistle, even with an imperfect diet. The only downside is possible heavy metal contamination. Otherwise, fish oil seems to be the fat supplement of choice.

We need fat, especially the right fats, and the common eating patterns (convenience and junk foods) and dietary practices (reducing calories) of many make the need to supplement a reality. Throwing exercise into the mix enhances this even more. In a recent study conducted by the University of Buffalo, runners were broken into three groups that consumed either 16%, 31%, or 44% of their calories from fat. In the end, the 31% groups' times improved 14% more than the low-fat and high-fat groups.

1Int J Obes Relat Metab Disor. 2003;27:840-7.
2Urology. 2004;63:900.

Tip of the Week
By Kathy Smith, Health and Wellness Leader and Beachbody Fitness Expert

This week's tip is taken from the Kathy Smith Forum on the Beachbody Message Boards.


My right shoulder always pops when I do some of the upper-body exercises on the LWTLW I
[Lift Weights to Lose Weight] tape. It kinda feels like grinding too. Is there a reason behind this? I try to have good form. It's not as bad with a one-pound weight, but still pops a lot and it's really bad with the heavier weights. Sometimes it hurts just lifting my arm straight up without any weights. I have no problems with my left shoulder, just the right.

I'm 47 years old and have some arthritis problems in my back and knees. Do you think that may be the problem? I mean, having arthritis, and it may be spreading to my arm?

Any advice would be helpful! Thanks!


Hi! I hope I can explain this so you can understand it—since I think it will help. If not, look at the Lift Weights to Lose Weight 2 upper-body section and try and understand the Shave the Head exercise that preludes the workout. Here's my guess of what is going on. Imagine a teeter-totter. Now, put your hand up in front of you with your elbow straight so it is just as high as your shoulder. THAT is now going to be a teeter-totter. We are going to put the HEAVY kid on the hand end. So that end should go DOWN, right? Well, as it does, the shoulder end of the teeter-totter should go UP—but it can't because it is trapped in the shoulder girdle. Now, put a weight in your hand—that's the HEAVY KID. As you control this and have the kid start to go down, the top of the arm, which is going UP into your shoulder socket is now RUBBING INSIDE THE SHOUDLER, creating pain. What you need to do is get the TOP of the arm AWAY from the top part of the shoulder girdle. HOW???? You need to find the muscles that do that! So, try this again—put your hand out in front of your shoulder with or without a weight (try both and see if it makes sense to your body), and try and PULL YOUR SHOULDER BLADE DOWN TOWARD YOUR WAIST. As you do that, it pulls the top of the arm down away from the top of the shoulder socket (the shoulder blades ATTACH to the arm). Then the top of the arm will have more space to move and flow around the shoulder socket—this space should decrease your pain.

I really hope that you understood those cues. Read them carefully, and if you don't, see if a friend can figure it out and then maybe the two of you can explore this. It takes some body awareness to figure it out, but it makes a huge difference! Good luck! Kathy (:

New Success Story: Christine L.

"When my husband and I started our family, my focus was on the kids. I didn't care what I looked like. I never believed I could lose all that weight. So I threw in the towel for 11 years and accepted my size, living with all the limitations that go along with being overweight. I stopped making new friends. I didn't join any clubs. I refused to be in family pictures. Imagine 11 years of pictures with beautiful children and no mom in them!"

Click here to read more of Christine's Success Story and find out how she changed her life.


2004 Hawaii Trip

If you've had incredible results with Power 90®, you could be invited to Hawaii!

Submit your Power 90 Success Story and you could be off to a one-week all-expense-paid trip to the tropical paradise of Kauai! Click here to learn more about our annual Hawaii trip and how you can submit your story.

Hurry, the deadline is September 1, 2004!

Recipe of the Week: Health Bread

Dana S., a Power 90 Success Story, writes in with something she created (with a little help from her mom, the nutritionist), called "Health Bread." As she points out, "It takes many variations, always turns out, makes great toast, has no added fat, and requires no fancy bread-making techniques."

We're all about keeping away from fancy bread making, Dana. Nice work and enjoy your T-shirt.

If you have a recipe you think is Beachbody material, send it to recipes@beachbody.com. If we choose to use it, we'll send you a free T-shirt!


1/2 cup flaxseed meal
2 1/2 cups plain soymilk
1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
3 cups whole-wheat flour
2/3 cup soy flour
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins

Whisk flaxseed, soymilk, and molasses. Set aside. Separately, mix the flours, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Stir in the wet ingredients. Gently mix in the raisins. Scrape batter into a 9 x 5 oiled loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes at 300 degrees. Bread should be lightly browned. Turn out of pan to cool. Slice the loaf into 12 pieces when cool and store in a freezer bag. You can thaw and toast as needed. I like to double the recipe to maximize the oven use.

Variations: Oat bran can be substituted for flaxseed meal. Regular flour works instead of the soy flour. Honey instead of molasses produces a lighter taste. If you don't want to use soymilk, regular milk works.

Nutritional Information (from Dana's mom, the nutritionist): Per slice—130 calories; 5 grams protein; 3.6 grams fiber

Do You Have a Good Post of the Month?

We are always looking for inspiring posts by our Members. If you come across one, send it to us at greatposts@beachbody.com. If your post is chosen, you'll receive a brand new Beachbody T-shirt!

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