Around the Web

www on sandOver the last several years I’ve fallen more and more in love with the scientific method, and in this set of posts called ‘Around the Web’ I highlight some of the recent science related to nutrition, exercise, and health. I realise that these posts aren’t especially sexy and interesting to the average reader, so I try to make them a tidbit more appealing by finding articles that summarize recent findings (instead of linking directly to research papers) and adding the occasional video, opinion piece, and blog post.

Should you begin your training sessions with resistance training or cardio? New research indicates that it doesn’t matter…

… this study expectedly revealed that the anabolic responses of one single training session seemed to be less favorable in the training group starting with cardio. This was especially indicated by reduced concentrations of serum testosterone during recovery for up to 2 days, which may possibly be detrimental to optimal muscle growth and strength development. However, this initial difference between the recovery times was no longer observed after the 24-week training period and both groups actually increased physical performance and muscle size to about a similar extent. Read more…

eirik garnas push ups

Do resistance training first if your goal is to build muscle/strength.

My thoughts: If your goal is to build strength and muscle I recommend that you perform resistance training prior to cardiovascular exercise, if you choose to do both during the same session. If your primary goal is to increase aerobic performance you could be better off doing cardio first and then finishing of with resistance training.

Gut bugs can make you smarter

… But why should bacteria in the gut affect the brain? There are several different ways that messages can be sent from one organ to the other. It can be hormones or immune cells via the bloodstream, or by impulses along the vagus nerve, which stretches from the brain to intertwine closely with the gut. Through these pathways, actions in one produce effects in the other. Read more…

My thoughts: I’ve previously talked about the microbiome-gut-brain axis, and given what we know about the connection between microbes and mental health it doesn’t come as a surprise that microbes can “make you smarter”.

Recent systematic reviews don’t support the notion that saturated fat is bad for you

Diets low in saturated fat don’t curb heart disease risk or help you live longer, says a leading US cardiovascular research scientist. And current dietary advice to replace saturated fats with carbohydrates or omega 6-rich polyunsaturated fats is based on flawed and incomplete data from the 1950s, argues the author. Dietary guidelines should be urgently reviewed and the vilification of saturated fats stopped to save lives, he insists. Read more…


Death by lipids?

My thoughts: Recent systematic reviews don’t support the notion that a high intake of saturated fat increases the risk of cardiovascular disease or heart disease. However, a high-fat diet can increase the absorption of endotoxins into systemic circulation and induce a state of chronic low-grade inflammation, which could help explain why the diet-heart hypothesis gained foothold in the first place.

Diets high in animal protein may help prevent functional decline in elderly individuals

A diet high in protein, particularly animal protein, may help elderly individuals function at higher levels physically, psychologically, and socially, according to a study. The research suggests that as people age, their ability to absorb or process protein may decline. To compensate for this loss, protein requirements may increase with age. Read more…

My thoughts: I’ve previously highlighted the fact that modern diets are very low in protein. While the typical protein intake in the western diet is about 15%, the average protein intake in hunter-gatherer populations is 19-35%, indicating that the so-called high-protein diets consumed by many strength trainees and heavy meat-eaters in present time actually contain a percentage of protein that is on the low-normal range compared to the diets we’ve been eating throughout most of our evolution.

Air pollution affects the human microbiome

We have recently shown that urban airborne particulate matter (PM) ingested via contaminated food can alter gut microbiome and immune function under normal and inflammatory conditions. Read more…

My thoughts: It’s already clear that several lifestyle factors, such as diet, pharmaceutical use, and hygiene, impact the microbial ecosystems that colonize our bodies, and we’re now also learning that air pollution can have an effect on the microbiome. The mismatch between the natural ancestral environment and the modern environment has sigificant implications for both our human genome and the microbiome.

New studies take a closer look at the reasons why dark chocolate is good for you

Dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels. Read more…

The friendly bacteria in our guts can gobble up cocoa powder and turn it into compounds known to help the heart, food scientists from Louisiana State University Tuesday at the American Chemical Society meeting in Dallas. The critters also convert the cocoa powder into molecules that reduce inflammation and help tell us when we’re full. Read more…

My thoughts: Check out my recipe for dark chocolate.

Other interesting stuff


  1. Nice work Eric. Keep doing this

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