Fitness Bucket List for Guys

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By Myatt Murphy, Fitness Reporter

The five fitness goals every man should try to reach

There are a few fitness goals that every guy knows he needs to achieve within his lifetime. Some are simply designed to boost a guy’s ego and give him something to brag about, while others are essential to helping him live a longer, healthier life. In no particular order, here are five of the top achievements every guy should try to accomplish — even if it’s just to say you did it once.

Bucket list item #1: Achieve a waist circumference of .80 or less

Why it’s important for men: First, measure the circumference of your waist at its narrowest spot. Next, measure the circumference around your hips and butt at its the widest spot. Finally, divide your waist circumference by your hip circumference. The higher it is over .80, the more belly fat you’re packing in your midsection, and, the higher your odds of developing heart disease.

Best ways to reach your goal: The key to losing weight wisely is eating only the amount of calories that your body requires, then doing some form of exercise that forces it to burn off excess body fat.

To start, take your current weight and subtract 10. Then multiply that new number by 12, and then againby 15. The two numbers you’re left with is the range of calories your body truly requires each day to maintain that bodyweight. For example, if you’re currently 210 pounds, you would subtract 10 from your bodyweight to get 200, then multiply 200 by 12 (to get 2,400) and 15 (to get 3,000). That would mean you should only consume between 2,400 to 3,000 calories each day.

With your diet in place, the next step is to add some form of aerobic activity into your schedule at least three times a week (up to five times a week) for at least 30 minutes each session. Afterwards, you’ll stick with this formula, but adjust it weekly by reweighing yourself, then take your ‘new’ current weight (which should be one or two pounds lighter), subtract it by ten and multiply it by 12 and 15 for a new, lower calorie range.

Pitfalls to avoid: Don’t drastically decrease the amount of calories you eat in an effort to drop weight faster. Reducing your caloric intake can cause your body to convert more of the calories you’re eating as unwanted body fat.

Bucket list item #2: Bench press 1.5 times your bodyweight for one rep

Why it’s important for men: It’s the granddaddy of all chest exercises, but more importantly, it’s the single exercise that every guy uses as the benchmark when it comes to where they rate strength-wise compared to other men.

Best ways to reach your goal: Bad form is the biggest reason most men never reach this fitness goal, but doing it the right way from the start can build a foundation of strength that can allow any guy to quickly add on the pounds.

To begin, lie face up on an exercise bench with knees bent, feet flat on floor. Grab a barbell with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lift the bar off the rack and hold it directly above your chest, arms straight and perpendicular to the floor. Slowly lower the bar down to your chest, then forcefully push the bar back up until your arms are straight, elbows unlocked. Inhale as you lower the bar, then exhale as you press it back up into the start position.

Pitfalls to avoid: Keep your head, back, and butt touching the bench at all times. Arching your back positions your body to allow other muscles — particularly your triceps — to help lift the weight, which removes effort from your chest, while placing your lower back at less risk of strain.

Bucket list item #3: Do 10 pull-ups

Why it’s important for men: Pull-ups aren’t just ideal for letting a man demonstrate his overall strength, but they’re also one of the best back exercises out there. In addition to being one of the top five back exercises for building size and power, they also target your latissimus dorsi — the muscles that flare out along the sides of your body — helping a man achieve a more V-shaped symmetry that tapers his torso and creates the illusion of a narrower waistline.

Best ways to reach your goal: Just like the bench press, the main reason most men never achieve this goal is because they never do the exercise the right way from the very start. Here’s the best form to use: Grab the bar with a supinated grip (palms facing you), hands shoulder-width apart. Hang from the bar with your arms straight, elbows unlocked. Pull yourself up until your chin clears the bar. Lower yourself back down into the start position and repeat.

If you’re not strong enough to do this exercise for the required number of repetitions, attach one end of a stretch band to the chin-up bar, let the other end hang down, then put one foot through the end of the band. This trick can help support a partial portion of your weight, so that you’re able to perform the exercise for the required number of repetitions without sacrificing your form.

TIP: If you’re heavy, the type of resistance bands you’ll find in stores may be too thin and not support as much of your weight. The strength bands that the pros swear by to support any sized guy are from Muscle Driver USA.

Pitfalls to avoid: Avoid jerking and twisting yourself up to reach the bar. The movement should always be steady and fluid, or else you could be compromising your neck, wrists and elbows.

Bucket list item #4: Sprint one mile in 6.5 minutes or less

Why it’s important for men: Have you ever seen a male sprinter that didn’t have a muscular physique? There’s a reason sprinters tend to not look as lean and lanky as their long-distance, marathon-racing male counterparts. That’s because traditional cardio does very little to elevate your metabolism and build muscle.

Sprinting on the other hand elevates your metabolism for a long amount of time, allowing your body to burn fat while helping it to add muscle fast. It also burns through stored glycogen much faster than sticking with a traditional long-duration, steady-state aerobic workout, causing your body to turn to stored fat as a fuel source a lot sooner.

Best ways to reach your goal: The best approach for building up sprinting speed and endurance is to break up your workouts into shorter distances with rest periods in between. This six-week plan is designed to be performed three times a week with one day rest in between each workout. After walking in place for five minutes to warm up your muscles, try this six-week routine. In between each and every sprint, you’ll rest no more than one full minute to keep your heart elevated.
Week 1: Sprint 20 yards x3; 40 yards x3; 60 yards x3
Week 2: Sprint 20 yards x2; 40 yards x2; 60 yards x2; 80 yards x2
Week 3: Sprint 20 yards x3; 40 yards x3; 60 yards x3; 80 yards x3
Week 4: Sprint 30 yards x2; 50 yards x2; 75 yards x2; 100 yards x2
Week 5: Sprint 30 yards x3; 50 yards x3; 75 yards x3; 100 yards x3
Week 6: Sprint 30 yards x2; 50 yards x4; 75 yards x4; 100 yards x3

At the start and end of the six-week program, try sprinting full out for seven minutes to measure how much you’ve improved your sprint time.

Pitfalls to avoid: Your body should always be in perfect alignment as you sprint. Your eyes should always stay focused ahead of you (never looking down at your feet) with your arms kept bent at a 90-degree angle at all times. With reach stroke, pump your fist towards the height of your chin, then pull your elbow back as far as you comfortably can to help propel you forward.

Bucket list item #5: Reach down and touch your toes

Why it’s important for men: Being able to bend over — or sit with your legs extended in front of you — and reach towards your feet and touch them may seem silly to some men. However, it’s having that kind of flexibility that can prevent unnecessary back pain caused from tight, stiff lower back muscles and hamstrings.

Best ways to reach your goal: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Concentrate on bending at the waist and reach your fingers towards your toes. As you go, roll your shoulders and back forward. At the bottom of the move, don’t bounce or strain to get your fingers to go lower. Instead, let your arms simply hang down, then concentrate on taking a few deep, relaxing breathes.

Pitfalls to avoid: Never stretch before warming up first. Instead, try jogging in place for three to five minutes before you stretch to bring blood into your muscles.

So what’s on your bucket list? Let us know if there are any fitness goals that you feel we missed. And maybe, we can show you how to accomplish your goal in a later post.


8 Foods that Keep You Fuller Longer

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By Lexi Petronis

Filling Foods

Has your stomach ever growled in anticipation of lunch, even though you just ate breakfast? At some point, we’ve all fallen victim to an unexplained raging appetite, which can lead to eating snacks that are high in calories, sugar and fat-and, of course, weight gain. But instead of popping pills that’ll supposedly curb hunger, turn to something surprising: food. It sounds contradictory, but eating can actually suppress your appetite-as long as you choose the right foods. Try one of these extra-satisfying eats to keep your appetite in check.

There’s a reason people are clucking about eggs lately. A recent study from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA, found that overweight people who ate eggs for breakfast take longer to get hungry later. The research participants had lower levels of ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone that tells the brain to eat, and higher levels of PPY, a hormone that helps stomachs feel full. “Eggs are a perfect combination of protein and fat, so they’re more satisfying than other breakfast foods,” says Julie Kaye, MPH, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian in New York City. Worried about cholesterol? Don’t be. “Despite the high content in yolks, eggs aren’t the main culprit in raising blood cholesterol,” explains Kaye. If you’re still concerned, try liquid egg whites, which also contain protein and can stave off hunger.

The green, creamy flesh of an avocado isn’t just tasty-it’s also filled with fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. In other words, avocados might be the perfect fill-you-up food. “Foods high in fiber and rich in fat take longer to digest, allowing you to experience less overall hunger-and possibly take in fewer calories,” says Erin Palinski, RD, CDE, LDN, CPT, author of the forthcoming Belly Fat Diet for Dummies. Research also shows that avocados’ oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, tells your brain that your stomach is full. Just remember that, nutritious as they are, avocados are high in calories-stick to snacking on half the fruit (about 140 calories) each time.

A serving of beans, lentils, chickpeas or even peanuts delivers the right feel-full combo of lean protein, complex carbs and good fats. According to Julie McGinnis, MS, RD, a registered dietitian, certified herbalist and owner of The Gluten Free Bistro in Boulder, CO, research has shown that this trio can keep blood sugar stable. “And stable blood sugar means getting a full feeling-and keeping it,” she says.

Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
This potent spice is a proven appetite suppressant. Researchers from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, found that people who added half a teaspoon of the red pepper to a meal ate 60 fewer calories at their next meal. Bonus: Sprinkling half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper over some food can cause your body to burn an extra 10 calories. Ay, caramba!

There are lots of reasons to raise your glass for water. H2O is critical for keeping organs, joints, tissues and the digestive system functioning well, but it can also curb hunger, says Elizabeth DeRobertis, MS, RD, CDN, CDE, a registered dietitian in Harrison, NY. In fact, one study showed that participants who drank two cups of water before a meal ate 75 – 90 fewer calories than people who drank no water at all.

Greek Yogurt
Greek Yogurt
Rich in calcium and low in sugar, Greek yogurt is protein-packed-a typical six-ounce serving has 15 – 20 grams, which is twice the amount in regular yogurt and about the same as in a piece of lean meat. “The protein in foods is one of the main factors in feeling satisfied,” says Kaye. “Protein-rich foods also contain some fat in varying amounts, which also keeps you full for a longer period.”

Eat more soup, experience fewer cravings? Absolutely, according to recent research from Pennsylvania State University. In the study, women who ate a serving of low-calorie chicken and rice soup as a morning snack (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!) ate 100 fewer calories at lunch than women who started their day with chicken-and-rice casserole. You can thank soup’s high water content for that full feeling-though the fiber-filled veggies and hot temperature don’t hurt (dietitians say that sipping warm liquids can curb your appetite). Make sure to slurp broth-based soups, not creamy ones, which can be fatty and highly caloric, says DeRobertis.

All nuts have heart-healthy fats, but almonds contain the most fiber per serving, which can keep you fuller, longer. “Eating about 15 almonds between lunch and dinner can stave off that 4 P.M. energy dip, helping you avoid those cookies in the break room,” says Kaye. Interestingly, one study suggested that our bodies may not absorb all of the fat in almonds, which might lead to an overall lower calorie intake when eating them. Still, don’t overload on these snacks. “Eating too many almonds spoils your appetite for your next meal and contributes significant calories to your daily intake,” says Kaye.

Healthiest meal ever: After editing thousands of claims, scientists serve up a superdish

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It’s not exactly what you could call fast food. In fact, it took years of effort.

Food researchers pored over some 4,000 health claims used by manufacturers and supermarkets to tempt shoppers into buying their products.

These were whittled down to only 222 that were judged to have basis in scientific fact – and from those they have concocted a menu that is being hailed as the healthiest ever.

It includes a series of superfoods that can provide you not only with a filling main meal but also plenty of extra snacks and treats with equal health- promoting benefits.

And if you’re a follower of that popular belief that eating healthily has to be boring, think again.

This menu promises to be appetising and tasty too.

It was created by scientists at Leatherhead Food Research, an independent British organisation, using the 222 surviving health claims which have now been cleared by EU food watchdogs.

Health-giving components include Omega 3 fish oils, which are good for cholesterol, and folates, found in high-fibre multigrain bread and which boost the brain and developing babies in the womb.

Healthiest meal

The menu starts with a fresh and smoked salmon terrine, which contains Omega 3 and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is good for the arteries, heart and brain.

An accompanying mixed leaf salad with a dressing of extra virgin olive oil is good for maintaining normal blood cholesterol levels. Chicken casserole with lentils and mixed vegetables is a particularly nutritious main meal, with the study showing it could safely make 80 official health claims.

The protein in it ‘contributes to a growth in muscle mass’, while the pantothenic acid found in lentils can help reduce tiredness and ‘improve mental performance’.

Walnuts are part of the healthiest meal ever according to scientists

For dessert, a live yogurt-based blancmange topped with walnuts and a sugar-free caramel-flavoured sauce scores well as being good for digestion, the teeth and blood glucose control.
The inclusion of guar gum in the dessert is said to help in the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol, while lactulose ‘contributes to an acceleration of intestinal transit’.

The walnuts in the topping are a superfood – consumption of 30g a day, or a small handful, is proven to ‘contribute to the improvement of the elasticity of blood vessels’.

The scientists also included their own sports drink creation which could genuinely claim to boost performance. Its many ingredients include micro nutrients such as biotin, calcium, zinc, chromium copper, iron, potassium, selenium, and magnesium.

Biotin, for example, can help the metabolism, the nervous system, skin and hair, while calcium is good for muscle function and the bones.

Eat your greens: The study showed that salad as well as berries and nuts are a vital part of a healthy diet, so there is no escape from vegetables

Other recommendations include a concoction for dieters – a mixed berry shake that serves as a meal replacement.

Its ingredients include Glucomannan, which contributes to weight loss for someone on a calorie controlled or energy restricted diet.

For cold days or nights, there is a velvety hot chocolate drink containing melatonin, which helps send you to sleep quickly at night.

As a final helpful thought, the experts recommend activated charcoal tablets, which contribute to ‘reducing excessive flatulence after eating’.

Dr Paul Berryman, the Leatherhead chief executive, conceived the idea as a perfect airline meal, but says the ingredients and dishes would work just as well in the home.

‘We have also shown that healthy foods do not have to be dull,’ he said. ‘We carry out thousands of consumer taste tests a year and one thing is clear. No matter how healthy, if foods do not taste good they will not sell.’

Only The Strong Survive: Lift To Live Longer

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Written by: Nick Bromberg

“I used to be able to do that when I was your age.”

It’s a phrase you’ve undoubtedly heard countless times. Heck, many of you have probably uttered a similar line more times than you’d like to admit.

The aging process can be a hard thing to accept. Our bodies make it easier to store fat as we start to lose muscle. Aches and pains that didn’t exist 10 years ago occur on a frequent basis.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We’re all going to go down someday, but why go down without a fight? With the right training approach, your athletic prime could be in front of you, rather than a speck in the rear-view mirror.

“We’ve seen research on every age group, from children to men and women in their 90s, and it’s clear that you can get stronger at any age,” says Lou Schuler, co-author of the new book The New Rules of Lifting for Life.

“That’s pretty well-established. What’s less well known is that strength is directly correlated to longevity. It almost doesn’t matter what type of strength is being measured — abs, thighs, grip. The strongest people live the longest. So no matter what age you are, being even a little stronger is always better.

“The great thing about strength training is that it addresses most of the major problems that sneak up on us as we get older. The average man or woman will lose about 1 percent of their muscle mass per year, starting in middle age. With muscle goes a lot of stuff we rarely think about — the thickness and strength of our tendons and ligaments, the size of our bones, the number of muscle fibers and nerves we can call on when we need them.”

But don’t blindly dash off to the gym just yet in your newfound quest to be the oldest living person. You have to train intelligently; focusing on stability and mobility in the areas you need it most, and total body strength. Strength that comes from lifting relatively heavy weights — that means you, ladies — and for the guys, total-body workouts that don’t involve 15 different sets of arm exercises.

“Middle-aged and older women think their bones will shatter if they pick up a weight that’s heavier than their purse. There’s nothing stranger than seeing a woman do a bench press or bent-over row with a dumbbell that’s smaller than her forearm,” Schuler says.

“Then you have the guy with a 40-inch waist who comes into the gym and spends the first half-hour working on his arms. Those are the only exercises he can do with weights that seem manly enough for him. First of all, what a total freaking waste of time. Here’s a guy with a body that, more than anything, needs exercise. It needs to move. And what’s he doing? He’s sitting on a bench, trying to move nothing but his elbow joints.”

We need that stability most in our midsections — namely our abdominals and lower back — which are abused daily when we sit in our cars, at our desks, and in front of the television. We need the mobility in areas like our hips and shoulders, which also suffer greatly during our prolonged periods of sitting down. And what’s the best antidote for sitting down? Standing up — and Schuler’s co-author Alwyn Cosgrove incorporates that premise frequently.

“Sitting for hours at a time is probably the most dangerous thing we do on a daily basis,” Schuler says. “But when people go to the gym, young or old, what do they do? They sit. They sit on recumbent bikes, they sit down to do cable rows and lat pulldowns, they sit on benches to do shoulder presses. In between sets, they sit some more.

“In Alwyn’s workouts, you don’t sit. If you’re going to do a lat pulldown, you’re either kneeling or standing. Same with a cable row. It’s a great exercise when you stand up to do it. You have to brace the muscles in your core to maintain your balance and posture. Not only does that make it tougher, it keeps you on your feet.”

And it may make you the last one standing.

18 Most Sickening Food Ingredients

Gross stuff in food

News about gross-out ingredients like pink slime and ammonia (more about both later) got us thinking: What other surprises lurk in the food we eat? We put that question to food safety as well as food manufacturing experts, and it turns out all kinds of things go into refined and processed foods that you wouldn’t willingly put in your mouth. Here’s a few…read at your own risk!

That’s not to say it isn’t safe to eat. The Food and Drug Administration and other agencies spend lots of time and energy to make sure you’re not eating stuff that will kill you. But the idea that something seems “just plain wrong” often isn’t part of the calculation.

Here’s a list of food ingredients that rate high in the yuck factor.



What it is: Vegetarians prepare to be shocked! The same stuff that puts the jiggle in Jello and other gelatin-based products is derived from collagen, a protein often collected from animal skins.

The source varies depending on the type of food, says Andrew L. Milkowsi, PhD, adjunct professor of animal sciences at the University of Wisconsin Madison. The gelatin in desserts, for instance, comes mainly from pig skin.

Where you’ll find it: Gelatin, which is a thickening agent, can also be found in frosted cereals, yogurt, candy, and some types of sour cream. (Check the label.)

Gross-out factor: High for vegetarians, low for everyone else.

Mechanically separated meat

Mechanically separated meat

What it is: Mechanically separated meat is what’s left over after the meat clinging to the bones of chicken or pork are forced through a sieve-like structure using high pressure. “It looks like a paste or batter,” says Sarah A. Klein, a staff attorney with the Food Safety Program at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “You have crushed bits of bone and cartilage and other things that can end up in that final paste.”

Because of the risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease, mechanically separated beef is no longer allowed in human food.

Where you’ll find it: Some hot dogs and other products (again, check the label)

Gross-out factor: High

Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide

What it is: We have carbon monoxide detectors in our homes for a reason: this odorless gas can be deadly. But the same stuff that comes from the exhaust pipe of your vehicle is also used in packaging ground beef and some fish like tilapia and tuna. It helps them retain their youthful blush, says Patty Lovera, assistant director of Food & Water Watch.

Where you’ll find it: Carbon monoxide is injected into plastic wrap after all the air is sucked out to block the process of oxidation that can turn pink meat brown. The process is considered safe for humans although it isn’t widely used anymore, says Lovera. Consumer groups have objected to the treatment’s potential to mask meat spoilage.

Gross-out factor: Medium



What it is: Candy lovers, cover your eyes: pretty, shiny treats like jelly beans come at a price. They’re often coated with shellac, a sticky substance derived from secretions of the female Kerria lacca, an insect native to Thailand.

Where you’ll find it: Shellac makes jelly beans, candy corn, and other hard-coated candy look shiny. It may be called a “confectioner’s glaze” on the packaging. So sweet, and yet so sick.

Gross-out factor: Low

Saltwater injections

Saltwater injections

What it is: Saltwater is fine in the ocean, but injected into food? Believe it! Too much salt can contribute to high blood pressure and other health problems, so less is better. But in a practice called plumping, manufacturers inject salt and other ingredients into raw meat (mostly chicken) to enhance flavor and increase the weight of the meat before it’s sold.

Where you’ll find it: In packaged meat, and you should avoid it! Check the fine print and the nutrition facts label. Meat that’s been injected may say “flavored with up to 10% of a solution” or “up to 15% chicken broth.” Regular chicken has about 40 to 70 mg of sodium per 4-ounce serving, while plumped chicken can contain 5 times or more than that amount, or 300 mg and up.

Gross-out factor: High, for health reasons



What it is: Don’t viruses make us sick? Well yes, but bacteriophages —tiny bacteria-killing viruses—actually help us by making bacteria sick. First approved for use on food in 2006, bacteriophages infect food-contaminating germs, not humans, says Milkowski.

Where you’ll find it: Manufacturers spray these on ready-to-eat meat and deli products that are sold in sealed plastic pouches. The bacteriophage products come in two types: One that combats E. coli and the other Listeria bacteria. (Only the second is used on food; the first is used to spray cattle.) Check the ingredient list for the words “bacteriophage preparation.”

Gross-out factor: Low



What it is: Ammonia is a strong smelling chemical found in household cleaning products, but it’s also used as gas to kill germs in low-grade fatty beef trimmings.

“The trim (of animal meat) is prone to having more bacteria on it,” Lovera explains. “They use ammonia as a kill step to deal with the bacteria during processing.”

Where you’ll find it: This controversial practice started around 2001, and the resulting product—sometimes called pink slime—is used as a filler in ground beef.

Gross-out factor: High

Pink slime

Pink slime

What it is: Pink slime is a product derived from the bits of meat clinging to fat, which are separated out by melting the fat away and spinning in a centrifuge.

The result is a pinkish substance called lean finely textured beef that’s treated with ammonia gas to kill germs, and then added to ground beef as a filler. Lots of ground beef, as in 10 billion pounds per year.

Where you’ll find it: Recent furor over the concoction has caused companies like Wendy’s and McDonald’s to report that their hamburgers are pink slime-free and some supermarkets like Safeway and Wegmans to say they will no longer carry it. Schools participating in the National School Lunch Program now have the option of ordering beef without it, according to the USDA.

Gross-out factor: High

Bisphenol A

Bisphenol A

What it is: Though the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, has been removed from most hard plastics (including baby bottles and sippy cups), it can still be found in the sealant in the lining of some cans, says Lovera.

Where you’ll find it: “This can be especially problematic with acidic foods like tomatoes,” she says. “The concern is that it leaks into foods.”

BPA has been linked to brain, behavior and prostate problems, especially in fetuses and children.

Gross-out factor: High



What it is: Brace yourself—this food flavoring is extracted from the castor sac scent glands of the male or female beaver, which are located near the anus. According to Milkowski, the substance is pretty expensive (think about what it probably takes to obtain it) and is more common in perfume than in actual foods.

Where you’ll find it: While it sounds downright disgusting, the FDA says it’s GRAS, meaning it’s “generally recognized as safe.” You won’t see this one on the food label because it’s generally listed as “natural flavoring.” It’s natural all right—naturally icky.

Gross-out factor: Medium

Sodium benzoate

Sodium benzoate

What it is: Did you ever take a slug of soda or juice and feel a tingling sensation in your throat? That may be sodium benzoate. This common preservative is also generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA, meaning it shouldn’t pose a hazard. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t avoid it: a 2007 study published in The Lancet found that a mixture of sodium benzoate and food dyes was linked to hyperactive behavior in children, although it was hard to tell if the dyes or the preservative were to blame.

Where you’ll find it: Soft drinks and other carbonated beverages, fruit juices and jams, salad dressings, condiments, and pickles.

Gross-out factor: Medium



What it is: People take antibiotics to kill germs. Livestock get antibiotics because they grow bigger and faster—and thus are more lucrative.

Where you’ll find it: “The main concern about overuse of antibiotics in livestock production is the growing problem of antibiotic resistance,” says Lovera. Researchers are concerned about antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the overall environment and in livestock facilities.

But foodborne illnesses can result from resistant bacteria in food, including a ground turkey recall in 2011 (resistant salmonella) as well as a 2012 ground beef recall (also salmonella).

Gross-out factor: High

Silicon dioxide

Silicon dioxide

What it is: Silicon dioxide is what gets in your bathing suit and your hair at the beach. Affectionately known as sand, it’s also found in food. “It’s used in a lot of things as a flow agent and partly because it does a nice job of absorbing a little bit of atmospheric humidity that would cause clumping in a variety of things,” says Milkowski. Swallowing a little sand at the shore probably never hurt you and it probably won’t hurt you at the dinner table either.

Where you’ll find it: Salts, soups, and coffee creamer.

Gross-out factor: Low



What it is: Yup, insects again. In your food. When it comes to food, insects are handy for other things besides their shine. They’re good for color too, especially red. Carmine is a red food-coloring that comes from boiled cochineal bugs, which are a type of beetle.

There have been reports that the bug-based coloring can cause severe allergic reactions in some people, including potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reactions, so the FDA now requires that the ingredient be listed clearly on food and cosmetic labels.

Where you’ll find it: Carmine can be found in ice cream, Skittles, Good n’ Plenty, lemonade, and grapefruit juice.

Gross-out factor: High if you’re a vegan, medium for the rest of us

Propylene glycol

Propylene glycol

What it is: This chemical is found in antifreeze, it’s true. But, says Milkowski, “it’s a very, very safe material.” In fact, it’s much safer than a kissing cousin, ethylene glycol, which is particularly toxic to dogs.

Propylene glycol has lubricating properties which aid in making spice concentrates, not to mention condoms. And if you need good mixing in food, this is your compound. “You’ll find things that don’t mix well in water do disperse well in propylene glycol,” says Milkowski.

Where you’ll find it: Sodas, salad dressing, and beer

Gross-out factor: Medium



What it is: Cellulose, derived mainly from wood pulp and cotton, is used in paper ­manufacturing—and sometimes added to food.

Where you’ll find it: Cellulose is added to shredded cheese to keep the strands from sticking together, and also can be found in ice cream. It’s found naturally in corn. Cellulose is “is very innocuous material,” says Milkowsi. “Humans can’t digest it.”

Gross-out factor: Low



What it is: Do you eat seaweed? If you said no, prepare for a surprise, because carageenan is everywhere. Extracted from seaweed, carrageenan is a gel used as a thickening agent and emulsifier (keeps food from separating.)

Where you’ll find it: May be injected into raw chicken or other meat as a way to retain water, as well as in dairy products like cottage cheese and ice cream. Chocolate milk often contains carrageenan to keep the cocoa from separating from the milk.

Gross-out factor: Low

Liquid smoke

Liquid smoke

What it is: We worry about smoking and eating too much smoky barbecue. We also wonder, what exactly is liquid smoke, anyway? Liquid smoke is made by burning sawdust and capturing the components in either water or a vegetable oil, explains Milkowski.

Where you’ll find it: The resulting product can be purchased and added to sauces and other foods to give it that—yes—smoky flavor. If you’re used to cooking on an open fire, this might not seem all that gross to you, and manufacturers certainly don’t shy away from it. Liquid Smoke is also added to barbecue products, baked beans, hot dogs, bacon, and beef jerky, among others.

Gross-out factor: Low

The #1 Reason You Aren’t Losing Weight

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By Lucy Danziger and the staff at Self magazine

Half of Americans down at least one sugary drink a day, and some guzzle more than 567 calories’ worth—that’s almost the calorie equivalent of a Big Mac in a glass. Gulp! SELF experts Stephanie Clarke, R.D., and Willow Jarosh, R.D., reveal better-for-you bevvies ( cocktails included) from your favorite spots so you can sip and stay slim.

At the smoothie shop…
Skip it: Jamba Juice Original (24 ounces) Aloha Pineapple Smoothie (410 calories, 1.5 grams fat)

Sip it: Jamba Juice 16 oz Apple ’n Greens Smoothie (220 calories, 1 g fat) We applaud the high-fiber fruit and calcium-rich yogurt in the Aloha Pineapple. But sherbet adds mega sugar (91 g here!), and the shake falls too short on protein to make a balanced lunch. Swap it for the Apple ’n Greens to cut 190 calories and 51 g sugar. Our pick also has 2 g more fiber, thanks to extra fruit (mango, peach) and veg (spinach, kale). Pair it with 1 oz protein-packed nuts for a complete lunch.

At the coffee shop…
Skip it: Starbucks Grande Iced Caramel Macchiato with whipped cream, extra vanilla syrup and caramel (440 calories, 21.5 g fat)

Sip it: Starbucks Tall Coffee Frappuccino with skim milk, no whipped cream (160 calories, 0 g fat) There’s room for treats in every diet , but the added syrup and caramel and whipped cream turn the Macchiato from a small splurge into a calorie and fat overload. Trade it for the Coffee Frappuccino: It has the same craveable qualities. (Creamy texture? Check! Tastes like a milk shake? Yep!) But forgoing the high-cal extras and opting for skim milk trims 280 calories and 21.5 g fat. And it’s still plenty flavorful, so the smaller cup is enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.

At the convenience store…
Skip it: Snapple Lemon Tea (160 calories, 0 g fat per 16-oz bottle)

Sip it: Honest Tea Half & Half Organic Tea with Lemonade (100 calories, 0 g fat per 16.9-oz bottle) Four of the Snapple ingredients—water, tea, citric acid and natural flavors—are virtually free of calories and sugar . That means the drink’s 36 g (3 tablespoons) of sugar come from the only other listed ingredient: added sugar. By contrast, Honest Tea delivers the same refreshing tea-and-lemon combo for 60 fewer calories. It does have some added sugar but 12 g less than Snapple does. Honest Tea also contains all-natural ingredients, making it a good alternative to soda, which has artificial stuff.

At the gym…
Skip it: Juice Generation 24 oz Mucho Mango Smoothie (370 calories, 4 g fat)

Sip it: Juice Generation 20 oz Pure Energy Juice (150 calories, 0 g fat) Juice Generation’s blends are made with lots of produce and nothing artificial—bravo! But the smoothies are too high in calories to count as a snack, which shouldn’t exceed 200 calories. If you want a small pre- or postworkout pick-me-up, our choice, Pure Energy Juice, gives you 5 g energizing protein for 220 fewer calories. If it’s lunchtime, opt for the 24-oz Protein Buzz Smoothie (410 calories, 6 g fat). Blended with fruit and hemp , soy or whey protein, it’s more of a meal than other less caloric choices, and has the ideal combo of carbs and protein.

At happy hour…
Skip it: Oaxaca old-fashioned with tequila, mezcal, agave and bitters (159 calories, 0 g fat)

Sip it: Club soda and a splash of fresh lime juice with a shot (1.5 oz) of tequila (100 calories, 0 g fat) You know a cocktail a day may help protect your heart, but we’d offer this advice: Order carefully. Specialty drinks often have multiple types of liquor, and every 1.5-oz shot adds an additional 97 calories. (Plus, some bartenders are heavy-handed.) Also, beware excess agave: The plant-based sweetener can be 80 percent fructose, a sugar shown to increase belly fat in a study at the University of California in Davis. Stick to one type of booze with a zero-calorie mixer like club soda. Cheers!

Does Microwaving Veggies Kill the Nutrients?

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SHAPE Magazine

Is it really safe to put veggies in the microwave?Does microwaving “kill” nutrients? What about other cooking methods ? What’s the best way to cook food for maximum nutrition? We wanted to know, so we went to SHAPE’s diet doctor, Mike Roussell, PhD, to get the scoop. Here’s what he had to say:

Despite what you might read on the Internet, microwaving your food does not “kill” nutrients. In fact, it can make certain nutrientsmoreavailable to your body. In terms of the impact on your food’s nutrients, microwaving is the equivalent of sautéing or heating up in a pan (just a lot more convenient). Research on this topic shows that whenever you cook greens (broccoli, spinach, etc), some of the B vitamins and other water-soluble vitamins are lost. The amount you lose depends on the duration and rigor in which the food is cooked-steaming broccoli in the microwave for 90 seconds is a lot different than nuking it for five minutes. Another example: Sautéing green beans in a pan allows for much better vitamin retention than if you were to boil them. Boiling leaches the most nutritients out of your food, so with the exception of potatoes, try to avoid boiling your vegetables.

Although cooking vegetables does reduce the amount of certain vitamins, it can also liberate other nutrients, like antioxidants, allowing for greater absorption by the body. Research from the University of Oslo found that microwaving or steaming carrots, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, green and red peppers, and tomatoes led to an increase in the antioxidant content of the foods (in that the antioxidants become more available for absorption). And still more research shows that lycopene, the powerful antioxidantthat gives tomatoes and watermelon their red color, is better absorbed by the body when it’s consumed in cooked or processed tomato products-salsa, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, etc.-rather than fresh tomatoes.
Eating cooked vegetables has its pros and cons, but the bottom line is that it’s important to eat your food in a variety of ways. Enjoy raw spinach in salads and go for wilted or steamed as a side dish with dinner.

If you use a microwave to steam your veggies, be careful not to add so much water that you’re actually boiling, and watch the clock to avoid overcooking (the amount of time needed will vary greatly, depending on the type of vegetable and how small it’s cut). The primary takeaway is to incorporate both raw and cooked foods into your diet. It’s the easiest way to ensure that you’re getting the maximum amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Battle of the Superfoods

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From the editors of Runner’s World

Food Fight! In a battle of nutritional superstars, which options offer a healthier edge?

As a health-savvy consumer, you try to toss nutrient-packed foods into your grocery cart. But when you’re deciding between similar-seeming nutritious items (say, turkey or chicken?), you may not know the superior choice. “Food is your fuel,” says Mitzi Dulan, R.D., co-author of The All-Pro Diet. “Selecting the most nutritious options will improve your diet and give you a competitive edge.” While you can’t go wrong eating both quinoa and brown rice, choosing the nutritional champ may give your running the boost it needs. In a healthy-food smackdown, here are our winning picks.

The winner: Blueberries

Both are health all-stars, but a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported that blueberries (particularly wild ones) showed the most antioxidant activity of all the fruits tested. “These antioxidants help keep your immune system strong,” says Dulan, “and reduce muscle-tissue damage from exercise.”

HEALTHY CHOICE: Mix blueberries into lean ground beef for burgers. The juicy fruit will help keep the meat moist.

The winner: Turkey Breast

Both breast meats are free of saturated fat, but turkey has three additional grams of protein per three-ounce serving, plus more iron (which helps deliver oxygen to muscles) and selenium. “This mineral functions as part of an enzyme called glutathione peroxidase,” says sports dietitian Suzanne Girard Eberle, R.D., author of Endurance Sports Nutrition. This enzyme works as an antioxidant to protect cells from free radicals that may contribute to cancer and heart disease.

HEALTHY CHOICE: Make your own lunch meat to avoid the excess sodium in much deli turkey. Bake turkey breasts, slice them thinly, and add to sandwiches.

The winner: Almond butter

Almond butter has more calcium and magnesium, a mineral that’s often lacking in runners’ diets and is important for muscle contraction. While the two nut butters contain about the same amount of fat, the almond variety has 60 percent more monounsaturated fat. “When consumed in place of saturated fat,” says Dulan, “monounsaturated fat lowers harmful LDL levels to help decrease heart disease and stroke risk.” Almond butter also has three times more vitamin E, an antioxidant that may reduce cancer risk.

HEALTHY CHOICE: Use almond butter instead of PB on your bagel. Blend it into a postrun smoothie, or stir it into oatmeal.

The winner: Kale

Kale’s nutritional might would win over even Popeye. Gram for gram, kale contains four times more vitamin C, and one and a half times the amount of immune boosting vitamin A and vitamin K. “Vitamin K ensures that blood clots properly,” says Eberle, “but it’s also needed to make a bone protein essential for strong, healthy bones.” Kale contains three times more lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants deposited in the retina that work together to protect eye health.

HEALTHY CHOICE: Make kale “chips”: Spread bite-sized pieces on a baking sheet. Spray with olive oil, season with salt, and bake for 15 minutes (until crisp).

The winner: Goat’s milk

When Spanish researchers compared cow’s and goat’s milk from animals raised under similar conditions, they found that both have the same amount of essential amino acids needed to repair and build muscle. But goat’s milk contains a larger percentage of omega-3 fats, as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and conjugated linoleic acid (or CLA). Studies suggest CLA has a number of effects, including lowering cancer risk, improving bone health, and helping reduce body fat.

HEALTHY CHOICE: Use tangy, slightly sweet goat’s milk (found at health-food stores) the same way as cow’s milk-on cereal, in smoothies, and when baking.

The winner: Rye bread

According to a study in the Nutrition Journal, researchers in Sweden found that participants who ate rye bread for breakfast experienced less hunger later in the day compared with those who ate wheat bread. Hanna Isaksson, the lead study author, believes that rye’s ability to quell hunger is due to its high fiber count. Rye can have up to eight grams of fiber per slice-even more than whole wheat.

HEALTHY CHOICE: Rye bread often contains some refined wheat flour, so to get the most fiber, buy “100 percent rye” loaves or make sure whole rye flour or meal is the first ingredient.


Here are some some more superfood winners.

Quinoa beats brown rice. Quinoa has three extra grams of protein per cooked cup, plus more fiber, iron, and magnesium.

Greek yogurt beats regular yogurt. The Greek variety has about twice as much protein as traditional types.

Green tea beats coffee. It’s bursting with antioxidants (such as EGCG) that help ward off diabetes and certain cancers.

Pork tenderloin beats beef tenderloin. The pork version has less saturated fat, more B vitamins, and is cheaper.

Goat cheese beats feta cheese. Goat cheese has nearly half the cholesterol and a third less sodium.

Orange beats apple. They have similar amounts of calories and fiber, but oranges have 12 times as much vitamin C.

Red pepper beats green pepper. It boasts eight times the vitamin A, which keeps your immune system strong.

Flaxseed beats flaxseed oil. The seeds have lots of magnesium, potassium, selenium, and fiber.

From Skinny to Spartacus

By Jill Yaworski


This year, give your body the ultimate fitness challenge

Two years ago we teamed with Starz to create the official Spartacus Workout. Its popularity surprised even us: Readers told us it was their favorite Men’s Health workout ever. So to kick off the new season of Spartacus: Vengeance, we asked Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S.—the fat-loss expert who created the routine—to design an all-new version that’s even more intense, challenging, and effective. Like the original, the 2012 Spartacus Workout requires only a pair of dumbbells, a stopwatch, and, well, some serious grit. But try Cosgrove’s plan just once and you’ll quickly understand why it burns fat, sculpts muscle, and leads to fantastic results.

Directions: Do this workout 3 days a week. Perform the exercises—or “stations”—as a circuit, doing one movement after another. At each station, perform as many repetitions as you can in 40 seconds using perfect form. Rest for 20 seconds as you transition to the next exercise. After you’ve done all 10 exercises, catch your breath for 2 minutes. Then repeat the entire circuit two more times. If you find you can’t keep working for the entire 40 seconds, use a lighter weight. If you feel as if you could keep going hard for an additional 15 seconds, progress to a heavier weight.



Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold a pair of dumbbells next to your shoulders, elbows bent, palms facing in [A]. Push your hips back and squat deeply [B]. Push back up, rotating your torso to the right and pivoting on your left foot as you press the dumbbell in your left hand above your shoulder [C]. Lower the weight and rotate back to center. Repeat, rotating to the left and pressing up the dumbbell in your right hand.



Assume a pushup position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles [A]. Without allowing your lower-back posture to change, lift your left foot off the floor and move your left knee toward your chest [B]. Return to the starting position, and repeat with your right leg. That’s a mountain climber. Now do a pushup [C].



Hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length at your sides [A]. Take a big step to your left and lower your body by pushing your hips back and bending your left knee. As you lower your body, bend forward at your hips and try to touch the dumbbells to the floor [B]. (Note: Go only as low as you can without rounding your lower back.) Then push yourself back to the starting position as quickly as you can. Perform arm curls [C]. Alternate back and forth, doing a lunge to your left and then a lunge to your right.



Start in a pushup position with a dumbbell on the floor next to your right hand. Lower your body into a plank so you’re resting your weight on your forearms instead of your palms [A]. “Walk” back up to a pushup position [B]. Without leaving this position, grasp the dumbbell with your left hand [C] and drag it underneath your chest until it rests on your left side [D]. Repeat, this time dragging the weight with your right hand.



Stand holding dumbbells at your sides [A]. Step forward with your left foot and lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees [B]. In one motion, push back up and take a long step back with your left foot into a reverse lunge [C]. Keep shifting between forward and backward lunges with the same leg for 20 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.



Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell between your feet on the floor. Push your hips back, squat, and grab the dumbbell with one hand [A]. Pull the dumbbell up and “catch” it at shoulder height as you rise to a standing position; keep your knees slightly bent [B]. Pause, lower the dumbbell to the floor, grab it with your other hand [C], and repeat on the other side [D].



Place a pair of dumbbells on the floor and assume a pushup position with your hands on the dumbbells [A]. Pull the right dumbbell up to the side of your chest [B]. Pause, and then lower the dumbbell; repeat the move with your left arm [C]. While holding the dumbbells, quickly bring your legs toward your torso [D], and then jump up [E]. Once you land, squat and kick your legs back into a pushup.



Hold a dumbbell vertically in front of your chest, cupping one end of the dumbbell with both hands [A]. Keep your elbows pointed toward the floor and perform a squat [B]. Then push back up to the starting position [C]. Now step back with one leg—into a reverse lunge—and lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees [D]. Pause, and then push up quickly. Alternate your lunging leg with each rep.



Sit holding a dumbbell in front of your chest. Lean your torso back slightly and raise your feet off the floor [A]. Without moving your torso, rotate the weight to your left [B] and then to your right [C]. Move back and forth quickly.



Stand with your knees slightly bent and hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length in front of your thighs [A]. Without rounding your lower back or changing the bend in your knees, bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s nearly parallel to the floor [B]. Without moving your torso, pull the dumbbells up to the sides of your chest [C]. Pause, and then lower the dumbbells. Raise your torso back to the starting position.

WHEN LIAM MCINTYRE AUDITIONED FOR THE television drama Spartacus: Vengeance, he couldn’t have looked less fit for the title role. He was fresh off a movie called Frozen Moments, playing a man who had awakened from a coma. Skinny made sense for that. For Spartacus? Not so much.

But McIntyre is a good actor, so the Starz network put him at the top of its list, with one major caveat: At go time, he’d better look the part of a rebel warrior.

So he set out to rebuild his musculature. “It was a combination of mental and physical effort,” he says. “The body can do incredible things as long as the mind supports it.”

We’re providing McIntyre’s fitness advice and our own Spartacus workout. Put them both to work, and when you reach go time—beach vacation, high school reunion, first date—you’ll be sure to look the part, too.

McIntyre wanted a body like Hugh Jackman’s in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It would have been a challenge anyway, but especially so given McIntyre’s 13-hour workdays. His strategy: Never miss a planned workout.

Make it work for you: Focus on the means, not the end. University of Iowa scientists found that people are more likely to stick with a weight-loss plan when they concentrate on specific actions instead of the desired result.

“Break your goal into habits that will help you achieve it,” says Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California. For example, you might set a goal of completing the 2012 Spartacus Workout 12 times a month. That’s just three workouts a week. But if you reach your 12-workout goal every month, by the end of the year you’ll have logged 144 high-intensity workouts. How many gut-busting workouts did you complete last year?

McIntyre had never been a gym rat before Spartacus. “I didn’t treat my body as well as I should have,” he says. But with his new role, he needed to perform intense weight workouts 4 days a week—every week, for months. Now McIntyre is stronger and fitter than he’s ever been. “When I look back at the photo the Spartacus producers took at the start, I think, ‘Oh, God,’ ” he says. “I didn’t realize how much weight I’d lost for Frozen Moments.” Which is a good reminder: Amazing results don’t happen overnight, but they do happen over time.

Make it work for you: Since you’re not likely to notice a change in the mirror right away, focus on what you can measure: Your performance. “You should be able to do more every workout; lift more weight, do more reps, add more sets,” says Cosgrove. “You can bet that if your numbers are improving, so is your body.”

“You can lift all the time,” says McIntyre, “but if you don’t eat the right foods, you won’t have the body you want.” The key ingredient for any diet is protein. It provides the nutrients you need for muscle growth and also keeps you satisfied between meals.

Make it work for you: To grow larger and speed fat loss, Alan Aragon, M.S., a nutritionist in Thousand Oaks, California, recommends eating 1 gram of protein per pound of your target weight. So if you want to weigh 180 pounds, you should eat 180 grams of protein a day.

But some guys say it’s too expensive; others say they feel like they have to force-feed themselves. So shoot for 0.7 gram of protein for every pound, says Aragon. It’s still a highly effective dose for your muscles. The only downside: You may find that you’re hungrier and more at risk of binge snacking.

McIntyre rarely goes to the gym alone. “There are tons of benefits to working out with someone else. You can do a better range of exercises if someone’s there to spot you,” he says. Plus, others push you outside your comfort zone. “They’ll yell at me when I’m not working hard enough, and compliment me when I am.”

Make it work for you: Find a workout partner or join a boot-camp class at a local gym, says BJ Gaddour, C.S.C.S., a leading boot-camp expert. “The more people we have training together, the more energy, sweat, and encouragement are in the room.”

McIntyre inherited his role as Spartacus from the actor Andy Whitfield, who recently passed away after a long battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “Andy was amazing at his job,” McIntyre says. “I want to do justice to the character he already created. I think of Andy and remind myself that no day is too hard.”

Make it work for you: Not in the mood for a sweat session? Keep moving for the people who can’t. Says Cosgrove, whose husband is a stage IV cancer survivor and the co-owner of their gym, “Put it in perspective. It’s not chemo. When you think about people fighting for their lives, it makes a workout seem like nothing.” Honor them by making yourself better. “We owe it to people like Andy to bring our best to everything we do,” says Cosgrove. “And that includes taking care of our health.”

Read more at Men’s Health, and here.