Saturday, June 1, 2013

Up Your Coffee Intake & The Temperature of Your Baths to Get in Shape; Up Your Mood W/ Self-Paced Aerobics; Up Your Vitamin D in Time; Up Both Fat & Sugar For Diabesity

Ice cold baths are retarded. A cosy hot tub and a cup of coffee make a way better peak conditioning strategy.
+38% that's the SuppVersity Figure of the Week and it is the fat liberating advantage of the ingestion of 3mg/kg caffeine (in water) before sitting for 30 min in a hot bath (42°C; up to the navel) - yeah, you read me right:  The latest study from the Graduate School at the Department of Health Care of the Soonchunhyang University in the Republic of Korea is about the thermogenic effects of HOT (not cold) baths.

Even in the absence of additional caffeine ingestion the latter increases the amount of circulating free fatty acids by 52% (80% with caffeine) with the ~200-300mg of caffeine before the bath it almost doubles the amount of free fatty acids and increases the circulating leptin levels by 28% (vs. 5.6% w/out caffeine).

Whether the significantly more pronounced reduction in waist circumference (8.9mm vs 6.7mm) Tae-Wook Kim & Jeong-Beom Lee observed in their 9 male subjects (age ~26y; BF% 20%; no habitual caffeine consumers) is yet a result of real fat loss, remains highly questionable. However, even if that's not the case  sitting in a hot tub after having a large cup of coffee would still qualify as a potentially valuable peak-conditioning technique before a contest or photo shoot - or, for the less ambitious, before the high school reunion or the a first date ;-)

Aerobic workouts for a better mood

(Buscombe. 2013) You know these drill instructor classes, where the mostly female participants get their more or less over- and under-sized butts kicked ending up either severely overtrained or chit-chatting with the lady next to them? Yeah, I see - you know exactly what I am talking about ;-)

I guess Richard M. Buscombe and Helen Inskip from the University of London won't like my prelude to their study and there is in fact nothing bad about doing aerobic session like the ones in the Buscombe study, but both, the effects on body composition are about as intensity dependent as the affective changes, Buscome & Inskip measured in their study.
Figure 1: Psychological and physiological effect of 40 min or aerobics at different intensity (Buscombe. 2013)
As you can see in figure 1 the absolute affective change from pre- to post was clearly intensity dependent. Yet despite the fact that the intense workouts had the most significant (beneficial) effect on the feeling scales, the researchers are probably right, when they highlight that
"there was a positive pretest-to-posttest shift in the FS scores, irrespective of the intensity of exercise [and that this] finding supports existing literature advocating the role exercise plays in contributing to positive affective change" (Buscombe. 2013)
Still, in this group of 15 women (medium age 35.08) who think of themselves that they are "fit" or "highly fit", the high intensity (complete routine performed matched to a music with a 140bpm speed) has the greatest reward effect (pre- vs. post).

You have no idea, why I am mentioning the speed of the music here? Read up on the "Accustic Gear" post from 2011 (read more) and the corresponding research overview from April 2013 (learn more) to understand why the rhythm and tempo of the music matters.
In view of the significantly highly rate of perceived exertion and the frustration during the workouts, it does yet stand out of question that the "self-paced" routine, in the course of which
"[t]he participants were instructed that they could add or take away levels from their 'Step' aerobics box, as appropriate [and were allowed] alter the intensity of their session at any stage throughout the course" (Buscombe. 2013)
would be the preferable way to exercise on a regular basis - also, or rather especially because it does not entail the same risk of overtraining as the "push yourself to the limits" high intensity pattern.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is the fact that not everyone is as willing and able to push him-/herself, when he or she is told that it was not necessary. For less ambitious individuals, the "self-paced" workout may thus well end up mirroring the low intensity routine, in the course of which the participants used only small body movements and minimized any lifting or propulsion actions, performing their workout in sync with a 125 bpm music.

Detrimental effects of vitamin D deficiency on the heart accumulate with time 

(Assalin. 2013) I know that I am already notorious for being the "anti vitamin D guy", but that is about as overgeneralized as the notion that everyone must be taking at least 4k of vitamin D per day. People who have been following the SuppVersity for some time now will be aware that I have always maintained that you go and check your vitamin D levels, supplement, if necessary and re-check after 3-4 months. After all, we all know how detrimental it is to be in a state of full-blown deficiency....

What we did not know - at least up to a couple of days ago, was how "fast" the detrimental effects of vitamin D deficiency can become potentially life-threatening. At least for rodents a recent study from the  São Paulo State University in Botucatu, Brazil, fills this important knowledge gap.
Figure 2: Effects of short (2 months; D2) and long (4 months; D4) on vitamin D deficient diet in the absence UV light on inflammatory markers, anti-oxidant status and heart morphology; data relative to levels after 2 months on the standard diet with 1,000IU vitamin D/kg chow (Assalin. 2013)
The scientists put a group of weanling Wistar rats under non-UV lights on diets containind either 1,000IU VD/kg of chow (C2 and C4) or a vitamin D deficient, but otherwise identical diet for two (D2) and four months (D4), respectively and observed:
  • lower beta-hydroxyacyl coenzyme-A dehydrogenase activity and higher lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity, as well as 
  • increased cytokines release, oxidative stress, apoptosis and fibrosis and 
  • left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy and lower fractional shortening and ejection fraction 
in all vitamin D deficient animals. The differences in LDH activity, LV weight, right ventricle weight, and LV mass did yet not achieve statistical significance before the rodents had been kept on the vitamin D deficient diet for four months.

Bottom line: Given the fact that the animals in the study did not consume any vitamin D and were - due to being exposed to evanescent (non-UV) light unable to produce even minimal amounts of vitamin D, the study results confirm that you can survive without supplements for a couple of weeks. On the other hand, they underline the importance of getting your vitamin D levels checked regularly. After all, we do as of yet have no idea to predict, where you as an individual are on the 25OHD spectrum ranging from deficient to over the tops - for some it may suffice to get regular sun exposure in the summer, for others 5,000IU of D + sunlight may still not suffice to keep their levels in the normal range: Don't be cheap! Get your levels checked.

What's the best diet to induce metabolic syndrome? The SAD diet!

(Pranpawit. 2013) The research design of the latest study from the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health at the Massey University looks like Araya Pranprawit, Frances M. Wolber, Julian A. Heyes, Abdul L. Molan and Marlena C. Kruger wanted to participate in a competition, where those researchers win whose rodents gain the maximal amount of weight in the minimal amount of time. I mean, if you put the little critter on either
  • control: 23% protein, 12% fat, 55% starch, 11% sugar
  • high sugar (HS): 22% protein, 18% fat, 60% sugar
  • high fat (HF): 16% protein, 60% fat, 20% starch, 4% sugar
  • high fat + high sugar (HFHS): 19% pro, 40% fat, 41% sugar
the question that remains is not: "Are the rodents going to develop diabesity"?, but rather "Which group of rodents will die from the consequences of it first?" ... well, guess what, in the end this was more or less what the scientists wanted to find out.
Image  from NYC Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene: The words on this poster from a 2009 campaign in the NY subway must be taken literally (learn why)!
Since published data with regards to diet‐induced metabolic syndrome in the SD rat model remain inconsistent, it is hypothesized that different types and amounts of diet as well as the period of time the animals are exposed to the experimental diet may significantly affect metabolic parameters in SD rats. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to compare the effects of consuming diets high in saturated fat, high in sucrose, and the combination of high saturated fat plus high sucrose, for a short time (4 weeks) and a long time (8 weeks), on selected markers related to metabolic syndrome in order to identify the optimal diet and experimental period for establishing metabolic disorder in the SD rat model (Pranpawit. 2013)
While the rodents in the HFHS and the HS diets consumed about the same amount of fat, those who had been randomized to the high fat (only; HF) diet obviously did not really enjoy their chow. At least weight-wise these rodents consumed significantly less food than their peers and still gained (due to the high energetic density of the chow) significantly more weight than the rodents in the "pure sugar" (HS) diet (see figure 3).
Figure 3: Weight and fat gain, as well as changes in Homa-IR (insulin resistance) and serum cholesterol; * indicates expressed in reference to control group at 2 weeks (Pranpawit. 2013)
As you can see the actual fat gain was slightly more pronounced in the high fat + high sugar diet (no this does not stand in contrast to yesterday's post on insulin not increasing fat storage, because we are not dealing with insulin sensitive critters here, but with severely obese pre-diabetics with elevated FFA levels, which do not require prior conversion to fat to be stashed away).
SAD, but true: "Human Study Shows: Three Days on "High Fat" Standard American Diet Produce Heart Healthier LDL Particle Profile Than NCEP  Approved Low Fat Diet" (read more).
"In all groups, fasting glucose, insulin concentrations (and insulin resistance (HOMA‐IR index) significantly increased between the 4 week and 8 week time points (p = 0.05; data not shown), indicating that these parameters increase with age regardless of diet. At 4 weeks, test diets had no effect on fasting glucose compared to CONT. HS, HF, and HSHF slightly elevated insulin and HOMA‐IR (Fig. 1). At 8 weeks, glucose was slightly elevated in test groups compared to CONT. HS had no measurable effect on insulin or HOMA‐IR, while HF slightly increased and HFHS strongly increased these parameters, although this did not reach statistical significance." (Pranpawit. 2013)
Somewhat surprisingly, none of the test groups differed from CONT as far as the weights of liver, kidney, pancreas, or caecum (data not shown) are concerned. The only, yet statistically non-significant difference was a "tendency for an increase in pancreas size with body weight" (Pranpawit. 2013). Moreover, rats on fat‐containing diets had markedly heavier abdominal white adipose tissues compared to CONT and this effect was unsurprisingly greater after 8 weeks on the diet compared to 4 weeks.

What's certainly interesting and an observation that flys right in the face of the generally held believe that it was the dietary fat that would precipitate to a messed up cholesterol metabolism is the fact that the rodents in the HS group showed elevated circulating cholesterol levels, as well. The often touted effect of sugar on the elevation of triglycerides, on the other hand, was absent unless the rodents received additional fat in their so that the combination of exogenous and endogenously produced (by fatty acid synthesis) fat reached a level that could not be compensated for by an increase in fat storage and/or oxidation.

Suggested read: "Standard Am. Diet Has 'Optimal' Fatty Acid Ratio to Induce Diabesity. Plus: Doubling SFA Would Yield More Benefits Than Halving Them" (read more)
Bottom line: While we have to be careful about direct extrapolation of conclusions pertaining to the corresponding effect in human beings, it is still interesting to see that (a) the high sugar diet with literally no fat produces a "skinny, but sick" (remember those rodents were not fat) phenotype that is characterized by a messed up glucose and cholesterol metabolism in the absence of obesity and insulin resistance, that (b) taking fasting or postprandial glucose levels as a means to judge the insulin sensitivity is not generally accurate and overestimated the de facto non-existent insulin resistance in the high sugar group (HS), that (c) it's rather the rise in free fatty acids than the carbs that are responsible for both the developing insulin resistance (in the HF group in the presence of low fasting glucose; cf. (b)) and last, but most intriguingly that "the starch‐based control diet may also gradually cause impaired glucose tolerance" and is thus not exactly healthier for the glucose metabolism of the rodents than the high fat or even the high fat + high sugar diets.

If we had to pick a "winner" to be awarded the grand prize for the most metabolically damaging diet it would thus (without question) be the high fat + high sugar diet, which does - not much to your surprise as I would get - actually show a high resemblance to the SAD diet with a relatively high content of saturated and omega-6 fatty acids (from lard, in the case of the study at hand) and tons of simple sugar. The high fat (only) diet and the high sugar (only) diet, on the other hand lead to obesity and insulin resistance, respectively - both did thus fail to induce the key features of the metabolic syndrome, the presence both.

That's it for today and aside from the obligatory information that you can find addition real short (and I mean "short" as in few words) short news on, e.g.
  • Most nuts deliver way less energy than the label or calorie tables tell you - for almonds, for example it's ~35%  less (learn more)
    More direct evidence for the free fatty acid - muscular glucose uptake connection: Reducing the amount of free fatty acids in the blood has immediate effects on the ability of the muscle (esp. of diabetics) to take up glucose (read more)
  • The verdict on nuts: Not only are nuts not fattening, a recent meta review suggests that incorporating them into your diet may even yield reductions in BMI and more important waist circumference (read more)
  • Stupid fools! "Reduced fat" labels are a signal to overeat... well, sort of at least the average customer is more likely to overeat, when the label tells him/her "this food is not as bad as the real deal" (read more)
there is just one thing left to do for me, which is to wish all of you a great Saturday morning, noon, afternoon and evening (whatever your clock may tell you it is now and will be in a few hours :-)

  • Assalin HB, Rafacho BP, Dos Santos PP, Ardisson LP, Roscani MG, Chiuso-Minicucci F, Barbisan LF, Fernandes AA, Azevedo PS, Minicucci MF, Zornoff LA, Rupp de Paiva SA. Impact of the Length of Vitamin D Deficiency on Cardiac Remodeling. Circ Heart Fail. 2013 May 24.
  • Buscombe RM, Inskip H. Affective change as a function of exercise intensity in a group aerobics class. Journal of Exercise, Science & Fitness. 2013 [epub ahead of print]
  • Pranprawit A, Wolber FM, Heyes JA, Molan AL, Kruger MC. Short-term and long-term effects of excessive consumption of saturated fats and/or sucrose on metabolic variables in Sprague Dawley rats: A pilot study. J Sci Food Agric. 2013 May 24.


  1. Making clearing among suppvercity students, Adel? :)
    Just tell us after tomorrow's blogpost hows reader metrics thinned by people who died from stroke and myocardial infarction during hot caffeinated bath.

    Btw, how bath would be different from sauna? Does immersion into water plays the role?

    1. I suppose this will work well in a turkish (steam) sauna. Not sure about the regular sauna, because the immersion does matter as far as the cooling is concerned. Sweating is basically useless when you are immersed in water or hot steam

  2. "Even in the absence of additional caffeine ingestion the latter increases the amount of circulating free fatty acids by 52% (80% with caffeine) with the ~200-300mg of caffeine before the bath it almost doubles the amount of free fatty acids and increases the circulating leptin levels by 28% (vs. 5.6% w/out caffeine)."
    Lipolysis ≠ fat-burning.
    High NEFAs absent fat-burning = bad news, long-term.

    1. I can't disagree here, you will have to do some squats or at least fast after the bath to benefit....

      wrt to the caffeine epidemiological evidence suggest otherwise. Also the increase in leptin is something esp. formerly obese people could benefit from (after huge weight loss leptin is often inappropriately low)

      still you are obviously right. Without fasting + exercise (or a baseline caloric deficit) this is not resulting in fat loss, but I guess by now the average SuppVersity reader should understand that anyway

  3. So, this summer, if I'm going to take a nice leisurely but 10-hour bicycle tour through the hills in my area, I should take a hot bath the night before? (I'll have coffee in the morning in any case.) All those NEFAs floating around in my bloodstream will be burned off in the ride?

    Nothing, but nothing, beats a cold bath after a long ride or an intense weight training session!

    1. well, before the workout that would make sense, after the workout the epinephrine surge and shortage of carbs should actually have had your body spill out the FFAs anyway

  4. So the papers title says "saturated fats" but really, that's not saturated fats, THIS is saturated fats:

  5. Or snow, it looks very exciting and strange for women. But the loss of three KLG weight a month I think she deserves you to experience.

    Where a U.S. study indicate that take a bath of water for ten minutes three times a week, . .