1. How Fake Science Sells Wellness:
Dubious claims in product marketing are everywhere. Don’t fall for them.
You can’t browse a grocery store or pharmacy without being subject to flashy labels that promote health benefits. In the beverage aisle, for example, you might find “prebiotic” sodas that supposedly support “gut health.” In the beauty department, you’ll see “medical-grade” serums, “probiotic” facial creams and “skin detoxing” treatments. Go to the supplements section for promises of “immunity support,” “hormone balance” and “energy enhancement,” among other things.
Marketers have been using scientific-sounding buzzwords to sell products for centuries. But it’s becoming more common, said Timothy Caulfield, a research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta. Mr. Caulfield coined the term “scienceploitation” to describe how brands borrow language from emerging areas of science to market unproven products.
Scienceploitation crops up in far more places today than ever before, including in search results, on social media platforms and from influencers, Mr. Caulfield said. Consumers are often inundated with confusing options as more companies position themselves as healthy. Buyers are prioritizing scientific evidence, said Sienna Piccioni, an analyst and head of beauty at WSGN, a trend forecasting company. But they can’t always separate fact from fiction: A 2021 study suggested that people who trust science were more likely to share false claims that contained scientific references than claims that didn’t.
More...from the New York Times.
2. Medicine, Not Healthy Food, Is Still the Best Medicine:
Your diet impacts your health, but stop expecting so much from it.
Late last year, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey went live on the Freakonomics podcast and claimed that Americans don’t need better access to health care. Instead, he said, “The best solution is not to need health care. The best solution is to change the way people eat, the way they live, the lifestyle and diet.” People weren’t happy. You can probably imagine why: Mackey’s chain is expensive as hell. Eating only whole, nutrient-dense foods is financially (and physically) out of reach for many. In 2020, 15 percent of Americans experienced food insecurity, meaning they were unable to afford enough food to live an active, healthy life.
But Mackey is far from the first to claim that certain lifestyle choices, particularly eating the “right” foods, can ward off or cure health problems. Dr. Oz, a controversial but popular medical doctor whose talk show reached over 20 million people last year, repeatedly touts things like “cancer-fighting superfoods.” He even wrote a bestselling book dedicated to the idea that “simple, healing, wholesome food” is a “remedy for everything from fatigue to stress to chronic pain,” according to the publisher’s summary. And the internet is rife with articles like “10 Amazing Disease Fighting Foods,” from WebMD, and “16 Foods to Cure Common Illnesses,” from the site Active.
At best, these claims blow small bits of evidence way out of proportion—sure, raisins contain nutrients that can contribute to healthy blood pressure, but eating them won’t magically cure hypertension. And at worst, the claims are pseudoscience. Yes, food contributes to health and plays a role in the prevention and management of certain diseases, but food isn’t medicine, and no diet can replace good health care.
More...from Outside Online.
3. Blood of Young Mice Extends Life in the Old:
Infusions of youthful blood led older mice to live 6 to 9 percent longer, a new study found.
A team of scientists has extended the lives of old mice by connecting their blood vessels to young mice. The infusions of youthful blood led the older animals to live 6 to 9 percent longer, the study found, roughly equivalent to six extra years for an average human.
While the study does not point to an anti-aging treatment for people, it does hint that the blood of young mice contains compounds that promote longevity, the researchers said.
“I would guess it’s a useful cocktail,” said James White, a cell biologist at the Duke University School of Medicine and an author of the new study.
Joining animals together, known as parabiosis, has a long history in science. In the 19th century, French scientists connected the blood vessels of two rats. To prove that the rats shared a circulatory system, they injected belladonna, a compound from the deadly nightshade plant, into one of the animals. The pupils of both rats dilated.
More...from the New York Times.
4. 'Some bigger-chested women wear five sports bras to keep them down':
After growing frustrated with quality of sports bras, England netballer started to post online reviews – which thousands have watched .
After England’s semi-final exit at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham – and with a World Cup on the horizon – Eleanor Cardwell had reached a tipping point.
“I went to get all my sports bras out ready for England camp and they were all trashed,” she says. “I could just stretch them. They were terrible. I remember the first week, I had to wear them as I had no option. I remember holding my chest down, arms crossed and warming up, jogging and making these facial expressions. I was in loads of pain. I had flashbacks of what it was like for me at school, when you’re having to run for a bus in a normal bra.”
Cardwell flagged the issue to England Netball, but the bras the organisation provided did not offer the support she needed. So, she decided to take matters into her own hands: she started reviewing sports bras on her social media channels.
More...from The Telegraph.
5. Nike Ultrafly Review: Race Day Magic in a West Coast Trail Shoe:
ROBBE: My most love/hate relationship with any brands is probably that of Nike Trail. I perpetually love the designs, the look, even the fit of the shoes– seriously, I think Nike trail gets their color palettes from a fourth dimension because year after year, nobody comes close. As part of the everlong quest of balancing design with function, Nike’s attention to detail is always industry best. However on the seesaw of both, it seems the design side had its ass on the ground more often than not.
Much of that imbalance was thanks to Nike’s persistent refusal to use anything other than their in-house outsole rubber, which was lacking. And by lacking, I mean it was the worst outsole rubber in the entire trail market. We’ve opined the matter for years, I won’t keep beating a dead wildhorse.
All that’s changed with the Nike Ultrafly, a race day trail shoe featuring, yes– the coveted Vibram Litebase with Megagrip outsole– as well as a ZoomX midsole wrapped in fabric, full-length carbon fiber Flyplate, Vaporweave upper, and so much more. Everyone’s been wondering– can Nike take the race day magic of its road shoes (Vaporfly and Alphafly) and translate it to trails? Turns out, it can. Kind of. Sometimes.
More...from Belivbe in the Run.
6. Do Women Really Need Women's Specific Bikes?
As the 2023 Tour de France Femmes rolls along, we break down the past and current philosophy behind "women's specific" bikes.
As the Tour de France Femmes rolls along, we wanted to spotlight the ebb and flow of women’s specific bicycle geometry philosophy.
It wasn’t too long ago that there was a sudden surge in the number of women’s bikes—AKA: women’s specific bike, women’s geometry, women’s specific design, WSD—available from brands big and small. There were even a few brands—Terry, Liv, Juliana—that only made women’s bikes.
In some cases, these bikes followed the “shrink it and pink it” philosophy, which was little more than painting the smallest frame a “feminine” color and calling it a women’s bike.
But other brands developed specific geometry based on studies that delineated anthropomorphic differences between men and women. Among other differences, those studies stated that—compared to men—women had longer legs, longer arms, shorter torsos, narrower shoulders, and different proportions of upper to lower body strength.
7. Your pelvic floor is the epicentre for a female athlete:
As an industry, women's sport lacks expertise, and too often treats competitors as small men.
I get very frustrated when I hear lazy comments about the number of knee injuries in women’s football. It reminds me of when a team loses a lead in a title race and people say “they’ve bottled it” – it’s never just that simple. By the same token, anterior cruciate ligament injuries in women should not casually just be blamed on “the players playing too many games” or “the pitch is too dry”. That’s too easy. That’s lazy.
It’s also not as simple as saying “we need to do more research” into ACL injuries. Your research has to be done internally too. Our conversations around injuries in the women’s must not get too comfy.
If your player suffers an injury, did you look at the inflammation markers that were there? Because trust me, they will have been there. Did you manage the player’s training load properly? How was the player’s emotional wellbeing? Where are they in their menstrual cycle? Were there any issues within their last international camp where maybe they had an intense training load while they were away? Have they had a big spike in training that differed from what they usually do? There are so many different markers, it’s never straightforward.
More...from The Telegraph.
8. New study shows athletes how to beat competition heat:
The potentially lethal cocktail of high heat and humidity, strenuous exercise and dehydration hit Czech endurance athlete Hana Švestková Stružková so hard during a championship event that her body went into meltdown mid-race and she lost consciousness.
Stružková was racing in the classic up and down 8.2km mountain event at the inaugural World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Chiang Mai, Thailand last year when, 1.5km from the finish, she succumbed to heat stroke and lost control of her body.
“Every step became harder, I couldn't run straight, my body became weaker and I couldn't control my legs,” Stružková recalled. “I fell down many times. Over the last 200 metres I could only scramble. It felt like a dream. After coming to the finish I was unconscious for one to two minutes and woke up in the medical tent. I couldn’t drink anything for about an hour and a half. I felt I would vomit. I felt very bad.”
Stružková admits she drastically underestimated the severity of the race conditions, she didn’t acclimate properly, and she didn’t drink enough water.
More...from World Athletics
9. Study: caffeine reduces pain perception and perceived exertion while running:
Caffeine may improve performance by increasing the ability to tolerate discomfort .
While you know your morning java helps you jump-start your day; you may even know that it’s a legal performance enhancer. But you may not know what the science behind that boost is–and whether it can carry over to race day. A new study published in Nutrients Journal evaluated the impact of caffeine on endurance running performance and prolonging time to exhaustion, and the results may have more of us reaching for an espresso before toeing the line.
The athletic community all agree on the performance-enhancing benefits of caffeine, with World Athletics even recommending it as a performance enhancer. However, most of the evidence for this was established using laboratory-based studies on cyclists. Researchers set out to determine what impact caffeine had on endurance runners, conducting a meta-analysis of 21 separate randomized controlled studies.
The boost caffeine gives is called an ergogenic effect, meaning it elevates energy, performance and recovery. This review focused on time to exhaustion and time to complete a given distance, and researchers acknowledged that more research is needed on the impact of caffeine on women, since the available information heavily is based on male runners (only 7.5 per cent of participants were women). More than two-thirds of the athletes in the studies were recreational, with a third competing at a more advanced level.
More...from Canadian Running Magazine.
10. Are female athletes’ carbohydrate needs different to men's?
As I discussed in a previous article, there isn’t sufficient evidence to support adjusting your hydration strategy based on your sex alone. The optimal approach is a personalised one based on other factors such as your sweat rate, age and environmental conditions.
But, what about energy needs? Do women have different fueling requirements to men? Or is this another area of performance that’s driven more by your individual physiology and circumstances. Let’s find out...
The lack of data from female athletes
A review paper titled ‘Fuelling the female athlete: Carbohydrate and protein recommendations’ was published in the European Journal of Sport Science.
The paper raised a question which piqued my interest. Should female athletes be fueling differently to their male counterparts?
You may be wondering why this question is only being asked now. Surely, in the 21st century, we know whether males and females need to fuel differently?!
More...from Precision Hydration.
11. Listen: Is there a link between the menstrual cycle and sporting injuries?
Women's Sport podcast: Sam Quek talks to former England rugby player Fiona Pocock and Dr Emma Ross about the menstrual cycle and injurie
There are growing calls for more research into how the menstrual cycle affects injury risk as anterior cruciate ligament ruptures dominate conversations at the Women’s World Cup.
With only six per cent of sport and exercise science research done exclusively on women, there are still a lot of unknowns around how the female body is impacted at different stages of the menstrual cycle.
This has become more topical given the number of high-profile female footballers suffering ACL injuries in the past 18 months. Women are between two and eight times more likely to rupture their ACL and while no exact reason for this has been determined, one theory is that different stages of the menstrual cycle can affect the ligament’s stability.
This is discussed on the latest episode of the Telegraph Women’s Sport Podcast, which centres on ACL injuries – what it is like to suffer one, the possible causes and ways to reduce the risk – and highlights the importance of more research being undertaken.
More...from The Telegraph.
12. How You Should Change Your Workout Once You Hit 40:
Making a few tweaks to your fitness habits — and mind-set — as you hit middle age can set you up for long-term mobility with less pain.
Getting older doesn’t have to mean moving less. The key to longstanding fitness, experts say, is envisioning the kind of athlete you want to be 20, 30, even 40 years from now, and training smartly in the present for that future.
“If you’re dreaming of retiring and hiking the mountains of Hawaii, make sure you can do that now, first and foremost,” said Kate Baird, an exercise physiologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
Starting in your 30s, you lose between about 3 and 8 percent of your muscle mass per decade, and more after turning 60. Bone mineral density also starts to decline in midlife, which puts you at risk for fractures and osteoporosis. Your VO2 max, or the heart and lungs’ ability to take in oxygen and convert it into energy, decreases as well.
More...from the New York Times.
13. Struggling for a new PB? Your genetics could be to blame:
A recent study discovered only some people have the genetic makeup to maximize their training.
You’re doing everything right–nailing all your workouts, fuelling properly and not going too hard on your easy days–but the time on the finish clock just won’t budge. What gives? According to a new study, it might be because of your genetics. Recent research out of the University of Essex in the U.K. discovered that less than 31 per cent of people have the genetic makeup that allows them to maximize their training and see the best results.
The eight-week study involved 45 participants (25 men and 20 women) between 20 and 40 years old. The participants completed the Cooper 12-minute Run Test at the beginning of the study, in the middle and again at the end. This test requires participants to run as far as they can in 12 minutes.
hroughout the eight weeks, each participant completed the same training protocol–three weekly runs, with the duration increased from 20 to 30 minutes over the course of the eight-week study.
After performing a genotype analysis and statistical analysis on participants, researchers discovered that each of the top performers had a combination of key gene variants called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that were linked to running performance. Participants who had these SNPs improved by an average of 11.5 per cent over the eight-week period, while those who did not saw little to no improvement, even after following the same training program.
More...from Canadian Running Magazine.
14. How to Optimize Your Pre-Workout Meal Timing: :
Analyzing glucose data from endurance athletes offers new(ish) insights, with the potential of more to come.
There are two parallel agendas in a new paper from the science team at Supersapiens, the company promoting continuous glucose monitors for endurance athletes. The obvious one is to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding rebound hypoglycemia, a plunge in blood sugar that afflicts some people when they eat too close to a workout. The underlying one is to show that sticking CGMs, which were initially developed as medical devices for managing diabetes, on thousands of perfectly healthy athletes yields some useful insights that we wouldn’t be able to obtain otherwise. Both goals are interesting—at least to me, given that I’ve experienced occasional bouts of rebound hypoglycemia for as long as I can remember.
The initial pitch from Supersapiens was that a CGM could function as a “real-time fuel gauge” to track levels of glucose (i.e. sugar) in the bloodstream. I dug into the details of this claim in this 2021 article, but the key point is that glucose levels are way more complicated than the gas dial in your car. Exercise burns glucose, but triggers the liver to dump more into circulation. Eating carbs raises glucose levels, but triggers insulin that moves glucose back out of the bloodstream and into muscle and fat cells for storage. There are a whole bunch of signals and countersignals attempting to keep roughly a teaspoon of glucose in circulation at all times.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.
15. Why Fatigue May Be All in Your Mind, with Dr. Stephen Cheung:
Stephen Cheung differentiates some physiological causes of fatigue, including muscle damage, glycogen depletion, body temp, and why none of these reasons fully explains fatigue, despite what some researchers might tell you.
We all know what fatigue feels like. It’s likely we’ve all experienced that exasperating feeling when our legs give out on a critical climb, or our sprint fails to materialize at the critical moment. But do you know what causes fatigue?
In this episode of Fast Talk, we’ll attempt to unlock the mysteries of fatigue. Is it just lactic acid pooling in your legs, as your high school coach probably told you? No, that’s not it. The answer is actually a lot more complex than you’d think. In fact, some of the most exciting theories have only recently been proposed. This episode reveals those exciting revelations and explores the foundations of fatigue.
First, we’ll discuss the many different physiological causes of fatigue, including muscle damage, glycogen depletion, body temperature, and why no one of these reasons fully explains fatigue, despite what some researchers might tell you.
We’ll discuss an exciting new theory that suggests there’s a “central regulator” of fatigue, which integrates all of the different past theories and ultimately allows our mind to decide where our limits are. That is, could fatigue be, in part, a psychological thing.
We ask the question, how much fatigue is actually a conscious choice that can be influenced by the length of the race, cues we give ourselves, and mental tricks.
More...from Fast Talk Laboratories.