KRON 4 | Why Caffeine Has Long-Lasting Effects

Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night? If so, caffeine could be keeping you awake even though you never consume it at night. That’s because caffeine has a longer-lasting effect than you may think.

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Negative Health Effects of Insomnia

Caffeine disrupts deep (restorative) sleep and the ability to fall asleep which cuts down on total sleep time resulting in:

  • Overeating and binge eating
  • Weight gain
  • Obesity
  • Increased mortality — According to a study by the American Cancer Society (Mortality Associated with Sleep Duration and Insomnia), insufficient sleep can shorten your life. Causes of death associated with sleep duration include heart disease, stroke, and breast/colon cancer.

Why Caffeine Has a Lasting Effect (Half-Life Explained)

Caffeine has a half life of five to six hours. In other words, it takes five to six hours for the amount of caffeine in your body to be reduced to exactly one-half of its concentration. (Translation: the amount of caffeine remaining in your body after six hours is equal to the amount you excrete.)

How It Breaks Down

The half-life of caffeine in a healthy adult is six hours. This does not take into consideration half-life variables (see below) that can influence how fast/slow a person metabolizes caffeine.

  • Excedrin Extra StrengthDue to the half-life of caffeine, caffeine starts accumulating in your body when you consume it throughout the day. This could be in the form of another drink, food, or even medication.
  • For example, if you drink two cups of coffee every day at 8:00 AM, by Day 3 at 2:00 AM nearly 45 gm of caffeine could still be in your system.
  • Caramel frappuccinoTo compound the caffeinated effect, if you drink another cup of coffee at 2:00 PM as an afternoon pick-me-up, by Day 3 at 2:00 AM, nearly 90 gm of caffeine could still be in your system. That’s nearly the amount of caffeine in a 16-oz Frappuccino® — a clue as to why you may not be able to sleep well.

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Your Personal Buzz (Half-Life Variables)

The half-life of caffeine is not a fixed number and can vary based on the individual. Variables include your:    Continue reading “KRON 4 | Why Caffeine Has Long-Lasting Effects”

KRON 4 | How to Stop Dieting and Lose Weight

You eat all the right foods — big leafy salads, bean soups, salmon, oatmeal and other whole grains — but you still can’t lose weight and worse yet, you may have even tacked on some extra pounds. Here’s why HOW you eat is just as critical as WHAT you eat to shed those stubborn pounds.

Hungry puppies
Eat instinctively, that is, eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.

‘Reach and Eat’ Behavior

Reach and eat behavior is mindless eating. It’s automatic. You eat without asking yourself, “Am I hungry?” or “Am I full?”.

‘Reach and Eat’ triggers: 

  • Walking past a vendor on the street
  • Driving by a burger drive-through
  • Passing a bowl of candies or food samples
  • Walking into the office snack room
  • Stopping at a gas station convenience store

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Use ‘The Hunger Scale’ to Lose Weight (a.k.a. How to Stop Dieting)

Losing weight requires two key fundamental habits:

  1. Recognizing your own levels of hunger and fullness (satiety)
  2. Acting on your body’s hunger and satiety signs

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The Plus Side to Using The Hunger Scale

You decide what and how much to eat and cultivate a healthy relationship with food. Instead of focusing on external cues (i.e., being told what you should eat), you get to focus on your own internal cues (i.e., your level of hunger/fullness, cravings).

As a baby or toddler, you likely ate naturally when you were hungry, and stopped when you were comfortably full. Use “The Hunger Scale” as an easy tool to help re-learn how to eat. Master it, and you can lose weight without “dieting”.

The Hunger Scale

Tune out those external cues, such as what to eat and when to eat. Instead, listen to your own feelings by practicing ‘The Hunger Scale’ habit.

Don’t wait this long to eat…

1 Ravenous — “I’m starving!” Dizzy, weak, nauseous, shaky. You’re so hungry you’ll eat anything.

2 Uncomfortably Hungry — Lots of stomach growling. You are over-hungry and pre-occupied with hunger. You’re irritable, have low energy and a headache. Feel like ordering everything on the menu.

Eat now, then stop…

3 Very Hungry Stomach is beginning to growl. You have hunger pangs. The urge to eat is strong.

4 A Little Hungry — Beginning to feel hungry. It’s time to think about what to eat, but you can wait to eat.

5 Neutral (Neither Full Nor Hungry) — “My mind is on things other than food.”

6 Satisfied and Light — “I could eat more but…”. Pleasantly full.

Stop eating before this point…

7 Full — Slightly uncomfortable. You won’t be hungry for 3 to 4 hours.

8 Very Full — Feeling stuffed. Need to unbutton your pants. You don’t want anything else. “I ate more than I needed to.”

9 Very Uncomfortably Full Feel heavy. Thanksgiving full. Your stomach aches.

10 Painfully Full Binge fullness. So full you may feel sick.

Stay in the range of No. 3 (Very Hungry) to No. 6 (Satisfied and Light). When you do, you’ll lose weight AND feel more energetic.

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: Become an “intuitive” eater by becoming reacquainted with your hunger and satiety signals. Eating mindfully also means eating slowly. Changing an eating behavior is not easy, so give yourself lots of time to practice The Hunger Scale habit.

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KRON 4 | How to Survive a Sedentary Job

If you sit for long stretches of time, are you doomed to live a shorter life? Is a standing desk the answer? Find out the health effects of and solutions to over-sitting and over-standing.

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The Pitfalls of Sitting

  • Studies have found that long hours of sitting are linked to heart failure and disability risk, and shortens life expectancy.
  • Research has shown that sitting all day reduces the breakdown of fat and increases fat retention.

The Pitfalls of Standing

  • There may be negative health effects from sitting, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that standing is the solution and a standing desk is the answer.
  • Standing has “side effects” and a variable height desk is not appropriate for everyone. Prolonged standing at work can actually be bad for your health.
  • Per a 2005 study in Denmark, long bouts of standing can lead to a higher risk for being hospitalized for varicose veins in the legs (swollen, twisted, and enlarged veins and damaged valves).

When Standing May Not Be Healthier

It may be inappropriate for the following people to stand at their desks if they have:

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When Standing May Not Work at Work

Sitting requires less energy (about 20% less) than standing and helps keep the body stable, so certain tasks are better performed while sitting down, such as those requiring: Continue reading “KRON 4 | How to Survive a Sedentary Job”

KRON 4 | Smell Test to Detect Brain Disease

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A simple smell test could provide a quick and inexpensive way to identify those at high risk for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Weekend anchor Marty Gonzalez on “KRON 4 Morning News Weekend” is a willing test subject for the Alzheimer’s peanut butter test.

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Smell Test Protocol

Testing for Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias can be time-consuming, costly and invasive. In contrast, this University of Florida study used a simple peanut butter test:

  1. Patient: Closed his/her eyes and mouth. Then blocked one nostril.
  2. Clinician: Opened the peanut butter container (one tablespoon).
  3. Clinician: Held the ruler next to the open nostril while the patient breathed normally.
  4. Clinician: Moved the peanut butter up the ruler one centimeter at a time during the patient’s exhale until the person could detect an odor.
  5. Clinician: Recorded the distance.
  6. After 90 seconds, the procedure was repeated on the other nostril.

Left-Right Asymmetry

  • peanut butter_dollarphotoclub_40526513_600x400The study revealed dramatic differences between the left and right nostril in patients with early stage Alzheimer’s disease.
  • In patients with other kinds of dementia, there were either no differences in odor detection between nostrils or the right nostril was worse at detecting odor than the left one.
  • When smelling the peanut butter, the left nostril in the Alzheimer’s patients could not detect the smell of the peanut butter until it was an average of 10 centimeters (about 4 inches) closer to the nose than the right nostril had detected the smell. *A normally functioning olfactory nerve can detect odors at about 20 centimeters (about 8 inches) from the test agent.

*  See your physician if you lose your sense of smell. *

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Validated Five-Item Test for Dementia

orange-03_croppedIn University of Chicago Medical Center study, nearly 3,000 adults, aged 57 to 85, had to identify five odors (peppermint, fish, orange, rose, and leather). During a five-year follow-up, those that could not identify at least four out of the five odors were found to be more than twice as likely to develop dementia.

 * The smell test marks someone who needs closer monitoring and further testing. *

Scratch-and-Sniff Test for Parkinson’s   

Continue reading “KRON 4 | Smell Test to Detect Brain Disease”

KRON 4 | Payoffs from Losing Just Five Pounds

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If you resolved to lose weight at the beginning of the year, but haven’t reached your goal, here’s some good news. You really don’t have to lose that much weight to reap huge health benefits.

How Losing Just Five Pounds Boosts Your Health

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Lower Blood Pressure

  • The American Heart Association says if you are overweight, losing as little as five pounds may help lower blood pressure.
  • Lowering blood pressure reduces risk of stroke, heart disease, heart failure, and kidney failure.
  • The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says for every 20 pounds you lose, you can drop systolic pressure 5-20 points. That is, drop a pound, drop a point.

Improve Urinary Incontinence (UI)

Simbolo toilette, bagno uomo e donnaLosing weight reduces risk factors for many medical conditions, especially heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Now, there’s a new benefit that can be added to the long list of health benefits: reduced urinary incontinence (involuntary urination). About 25 million Americans have urinary incontinence and about 25% are men. About half of U.S. women over age 65 leak.

Causes and Cures for UI

  • Gravity, aging tissue, and hormonal changes all contribute to urinary incontinence.
  • Increased pressure on the bladder during pregnancy and as well a weakened or stretched pelvic floor from childbirth can cause incontinence.
  • Losing five pounds can reduce the stress on the pelvic floor and reduce incontinence significantly.
  • A UCSF study of over 338 women (average age of 53), those who lost an average of just three pounds reported 28% fewer urinary incontinence episodes. Those that lost 17 pounds had 47% fewer episodes. These outcomes improved quality of life measures. The study strongly suggests weight loss decreases incontinence episodes, and a reduction of intra-abdominal pressure (due to central obesity, i.e., belly fat) on the bladder and pelvic floor is possibly why.

Weight loss is an effective, nonsurgical, and noninvasive treatment and should be considered a first line therapy for incontinence. Incontinence drugs have side effects (e.g., dry mouth, dry skin, dry eyes, constipation, upset stomach), and it has been reported that 50% of women discontinue drug treatment within one year because of the side effects.

Improve and Prevent Arthritis Symptoms

  • Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of disability in the U.S.
  • When you carry extra pounds it puts huge pressure on your joints and puts you at risk of osteoarthritis (degenerative “wear and tear arthritis”).
  • In knee osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the knee joint gradually wears away. As the cartilage wears away, the protective space between the bones decreases. The deterioration of the “shock absorber” can result in bone rubbing on bone, pain, stiffness, loss of movement in the affected joint, and painful bone spurs.
  • Wake Forest University conducted an 18-month diet and exercise study on sedentary, overweight, older adults with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. They concluded that for each pound of weight lost, each knee bears four pounds less pressure per step.

Amount of Knee Pressure When Walking

Senior woman power walking on a Gulf Coast beach.

  • If you lose five pounds, you reduce 20 pounds of pressure bearing down on each knee which can lessen pain.
  • When walking one mile (assuming 2,000 strides per mile), a five-pound loss in weight would be a reduction of more than 40,000 pounds of accumulated pressure on each knee.
  • Walking on an incline, walking up/down stairs, squatting, and jogging significantly reduce pressure on each knee even more.

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: Aim for losing a little weight versus a lot. It’s less daunting and the scientific evidence is clear. You’ll receive the health payoffs long before you drop large amounts of weight.

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