Friday, March 12, 2010

Some Sciency Goodness...and Badness. Or Madness???

A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef

Cynthia A Daley, Amber Abbott, Patrick S Doyle, Glenn A Nader and Stephanie Larson
Nutrition Journal 2010, 9:10doi:10.1186/1475-2891-9-10

Published: 10 March 2010

Abstract (provisional)

Growing consumer interest in grass-fed beef products has raised a number of questions with regard to the perceived differences in nutritional quality between grass-fed and grain-fed cattle. Research spanning three decades suggests that grass-based diets can significantly improve the fatty acid (FA) composition and antioxidant content of beef, albeit with variable impacts on overall palatability. Grass-based diets have been shown to enhance total conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) (C18:2) isomers, trans vaccenic acid (TVA) (C18:1 t11), a precursor to CLA, and omega-3 (n-3) FAs on a g/g fat basis. While the overall concentration of total SFAs is not different between feeding regimens, grass-finished beef tends toward a higher proportion of cholesterol neutral stearic FA (C18:0), and less cholesterol-elevating SFAs such as myristic (C14:0) and palmitic (C16:0) FAs. Several studies suggest that grass-based diets elevate precursors for Vitamin A and E, as well as cancer fighting antioxidants such as glutathione (GT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity as compared to grain-fed contemporaries. Fat conscious consumers will also prefer the overall lower fat content of a grass-fed beef product. However, consumers should be aware that the differences in FA content will also give grass-fed beef a distinct grass flavor and unique cooking qualities that should be considered when making the transition from grain-fed beef. In addition, the fat from grass-finished beef may have a yellowish appearance from the elevated carotenoid content (precursor to Vitamin A). It is also noted that grain-fed beef consumers may achieve similar intakes of both n-3 and CLA through the consumption of higher fat grain-fed portions.

--->Now, while I don't like the dogmatic slant of "cholesterol-neutral" and "fat conscious consumers", I do like the fact that this study illustrates the differences in grass fed vs grain fed beef, and does actually mention the O6:O3  ratios.  Is grass fed the be-all, end all?  No, I'd much rather see folks eating conventional feed lot beef and vegetables versus stuffing their pie holes with, well, pie and other similar facsimiles of frankenfoods, but I do think it's a wise choice to make.

If you've dialed in your diet to where you've cut out processed foods, given up on useless bread, and said F*ck off to wheat and similar bullshit grains, think about making the move to grass fed beef.

On a similar note, Brian St. Pierre, a CSCS and CISSN at Cressey Performace has a kick-ass blog and often posts up some great this little tidbit on pastured eggs: The Incredible Edible Pastured Egg
I'd like to highlight here the differences between conventional and pastured:
Vitamin A:
  • Conventional: 487 IU
  • Pastured avg: 792 IU
Vitamin D:
  • Conventional: 34 IU
  • Pastured avg: 136 - 204 IU
Vitamin E:
  • Conventional: 0.97 mg
  • Pastured avg: 3.73 mg
  • Conventional: 10 mcg
  • Pastured avg: 79 mcg
Omega-3 fatty acids:
  • Conventional: 0.22 g
  • Pastured avg: 0.66 g
If anyone is wondering, I get my beef and eggs from Harris Farms, and they deliver; Joanne (one of the owners) calls me up every few weeks making sure I'm stocked up on eggs and beef.  Good stuff!

Yes, you can spaz.

Ok, kiddies.  Hold onto your badass beanie caps.  This one is liable to piss a lot of folks off.  And that makes me smile, because I love when shit like this pops up.

Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of cancer: a prospective cohort study1,2,3,4

Stephanie M George, Yikyung Park, Michael F Leitzmann, Neal D Freedman, Emily C Dowling, Jill Reedy, Arthur Schatzkin, Albert Hollenbeck and Amy F Subar
Background: There is probable evidence that some types of fruit and vegetables provide protection against many cancers.
Objective: We hypothesized that fruit and vegetable intakes are inversely related to the incidence of total cancers among women and men aged >50 y.
Design: We performed a prospective study among the cohort of the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study. We merged the MyPyramid Equivalents Database (version 1.0) with food-frequency-questionnaire data to calculate cup equivalents for fruit and vegetables. From 1995 to 2003, we identified 15,792 and 35,071 cancer cases in 195,229 women and 288,109 men, respectively. We used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate multivariate relative risks (RRs) and 95% CIs associated with the highest compared with the lowest quintile (Q) of fruit and vegetable intakes.
Results: Fruit intake was not associated with the risk of total cancer among women (RRQ5 vs Q1 = 0.99; 95% CI: 0.94, 1.05; P trend = 0.059) or men (RRQ5 vs Q1 = 0.98; 95% CI: 0.95, 1.02; P for trend = 0.17). Vegetable intake was not associated with risk of total cancer among women (RRQ5 vs Q1 = 1.04; 95% CI: 0.98, 1.09; P for trend = 0.084), but was associated with a significant decrease in risk in men (RRQ5 vs Q1 = 0.94; 95% CI: 0.91, 0.97; P trend = 0.004). This significant finding among men was no longer evident when we limited the analysis to men who never smoked (RRQ5 vs Q1 = 0.97; 95% CI: 0.91, 1.04; P for trend = 0.474).
Conclusions: Intake of fruit and vegetables was generally unrelated to total cancer incidence in this cohort. Residual confounding by smoking is a likely explanation for the observed inverse association with vegetable intake among men.

Not convinced?  Check out another study , which concludes:
     Increased fruit and vegetable consumption was associated with a modest although not statistically significant reduction in the development of major chronic disease. The benefits appeared to be primarily for cardiovascular disease and not for cancer.

More: This prospective cohort study demonstrated that, in the Japanese population, consumption of fruit is associated with lower risk of CVD, whereas fruit or vegetables may not be associated with lower risk of total cancer.

Now, don't get me wrong:  Fruit and vegetables are GOOD.  They taste good, they have anti-oxidant and polyphenol goodness, they are generally light on the glycemic load, blah blah blah.  Just don't think they are the panacea of health.  Disease prevention has everything to do with what you DON'T eat vs what you DO eat.  Interesting sidebar: They treat patients with various cancers in Germany by utilizing a ketogenic (read: very low or zero carbohydrate diet) diet.  Why?  Most types of cancer can only use glucose as their main substrate.  Interesting stuff, chew on it for a while.  That light bulb just got brighter, I bet.

Stuff You Should Read

The Performance Menu - I like this once-a-month ejournal a lot...various writers, various topics, all relating to athletic performance and development. It's like 25 bucks a freakin' year, so you totally can't go wrong. Put out by Greg Everett and company from Catalyst Athletics.

Alan Aragon's Research Review - Alan take the latest research studies and deconstructs them with an analytical eye, and, for the most part, generally turns them to dust. Scary smart guy. 10 bucks a month, one issue a month. Expensive? Yes. Enjoy beating people into a sobbing mess with sciencey verbal jujitsu and the latest research?  Then get it.

Crossfit Journal  - For as much as I bash certain things about Crossfit, it's hard to diss this. 25 or so bucks a year for a SHITLOAD of well done content; everything from athlete profiles, pdf articles on running a Crossfit affiliate, and killer vids from the CF SMEs (subject matter experts)on everything from endurance running to powerlifting. Well, well worth the money.  The Barry Sears videos I completely ignore, but that's another topic for another day.

CFLA, 1PM, Tuesday, March 9th
Split Jerk 3-3-3-3-3
Felt pretty damn good on these, but seeing as how I haven't done much of anything in the way of heavy OH loads, I kept it pretty light.  I love the split jerk---it's the one movement I feel I can REALLY "push" myself under the bar.  My goal for a 1RM in this is 225#.  Amazingly, as I type this at 1130 on March 12th, my shoulder feels awesome.
Front Squat at 65#
4:50; only went 75%.  When you're standing around after a 21-15-9 and NOT feeling like you want to die, you either 1) didn't go hard enough, or 2) didn't go hard enough.  Fair enough, I'd call it a 75%.  Hell, I just got off the boat Sunday night.  I'm fine with it, lol.

CFLA, 7PM, Wednesday, March 10th
Oly Class with Goach G
OHS 2-2-2-2
Could have gone heavier on the OHS; last time I tried, 175# was my 1RM, with the weak link heaving it off my back.  Felt pretty light at 155#, so I'm happy with that.

Heaving Snatch Balance
95#-115#-115#-135# (f) (f) (1)
Great movement, and I KNOW this will fix my bailing-in-the-hole that I do with my snatch.  When I did get the 135#, it felt oddly easy; don't know what I did differently. 

GHD Partner Raise x3 to failure
These are just ugly; calf cramped like a mofo on the first set, and I was between laughing and crying it hurt so much.  Tough movement.

Great class; I rarely get the chance these days to actually be coached, so I'm jumping at the opportunity for a number of reasons; first and foremost, I love Oly lifting.  Secondly, I get to watch someone else coach---this is LEARNING for me.  Coaching is still so new to me that I'll take any chance I can get to become a better coach, and Cory has been coaching and teaching for a long time.

Bags are packed, and Big G will be by within the hour so we can jet to San Jose for the weekend!!  There's a optional WOD on Sunday morning that we're going to take part in.  I expect to be totally crushed by it, seeing as how there'll more than likely be some serious big dawgs there.  Good times!  I'll post up a recap and some photos when I get back.