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You Are What Your Father Eats: Father’s Diet Crucial To Newborn Health

Photo Samir and Ares Max Becic

Father’s Diet Before Conception Plays Crucial Role in Offspring’s Health, Study Suggests

Dec. 14, 2013 — Mothers get all the attention. But a study led by McGill researcher Sarah Kimmins suggests that the father’s diet before conception may play an equally important role in the health of their offspring. It also raises concerns about the long-term effects of current Western diets and of food insecurity.

The research focused on vitamin B9, also called folate, which is found in a range of green leafy vegetables, cereals, fruit and meats. It is well known that in order to prevent miscarriages and birth defects mothers need to get adequate amounts of folate in their diet. But the way that a father’s diet can influence the health and development of their offspring has received almost no attention. Now research from the Kimmins group shows for the first time that the father’s folate levels may be just as important to the development and health of their offspring as are those of the mother. Indeed, the study suggests that fathers should pay as much attention to their lifestyle and diet before they set out to conceive a child as mothers do.

“Despite the fact that folic acid is now added to a variety of foods, fathers who are eating high-fat, fast food diets or who are obese may not be able to use or metabolize folate in the same way as those with adequate levels of the vitamin,” says Kimmins. “People who live in the Canadian North or in other parts of the world where there is food insecurity may also be particularly at risk for folate deficiency. And we now know that this information will be passed on from the father to the embryo with consequences that may be quite serious.”

The researchers arrived at this conclusion by working with mice, and comparing the offspring of fathers with insufficient folate in their diets with the offspring of fathers whose diets contained sufficient levels of the vitamin. They found that paternal folate deficiency was associated with an increase in birth defects of various kinds in the offspring, compared to the offspring of mice whose fathers were fed a diet with sufficient folate.

“We were very surprised to see that there was an almost 30 per cent increase in birth defects in the litters sired by fathers whose levels of folates were insufficient,” said Dr. Romain Lambrot, of McGill’s Dept. of Animal Science, one of the researchers who worked on the study. “We saw some pretty severe skeletal abnormalities that included both cranio-facial and spinal deformities.”

The research from the Kimmins’ group shows that there are regions of the sperm epigenome that are sensitive to life experience and particularly to diet. And that this information is in turn transferred to a so-called epigenomic map that influences development and may also influence metabolism and disease in the offspring in the long-term. (The epigenome is like a switch, which is affected by environmental cues, and is involved in many diseases including cancer and diabetes. The epigenome influences the way that genes are turned on or off, and hence how heritable information gets passed along).

Although it has been known for some time that there is a massive erasure and re-establishment that takes place in the epigenome as the sperm develops, this study now shows that along with the developmental map, the sperm also carries a memory of the father’s environment and possibly even of his diet and lifestyle choices.

“Our research suggests that fathers need to think about what they put in their mouths, what they smoke and what they drink and remember they are caretakers of generations to come,” said Kimmins. “If all goes as we hope, our next step will be to work with collaborators at a fertility clinic so that we can start assessing the links in men between diet, being overweight and how this information relates to the health of their children.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University.

Are Grocery Store Chains Making You Fat?

With over 20 years of experience as a fitness trainer working with thousands of clients, and educating over 1000 trainers in the Houston area, I came to a simple conclusion that food companies and grocery store chains are one of the main reasons why America is obese and has a population that is over 70% overweight. They are contributing to over 500,000 deaths annually which are directly correlated with obesity and unhealthy lifestyle. I’m not trying to be dramatic, but I cannot help myself but to call this a crime against humanity. In many countries around the world, we accuse governments for killing far fewer people than our own food production and distribution at home.

Grocery stores and food companies are manipulating our foods so that our tasting palettes and our brains become addicted to them. Food designers are encouraged by food companies to produce food with a perfect blend to create a dependence on their product – in simple words, they’re turning us into food junkies! To top it off, grocery stores are encouraging us to buy unhealthy foods by whetting our appetites with samples; a study published in 2008 found that sampling food that tastes good enhances consumption of similar foods and may prompt people to seek other rewarding foods such as chocolate or other junk foods.

Every time I go to the grocery store, I notice something: there seems to be more and more processed foods and less and less natural foods. In 1970, there were about 700 unique food products to over 40,000 today, with processed foods accounting for most of the increase. Another observation I have is that the natural, healthy foods are hidden, unlike the processed, colorful junk food at the front of every aisle. Product placement is big money to grocery stores; studies have shown that unhealthy sweets and snack foods are commonly placed in checkout lines with the hope that they will buy impulsively, when are brains are most susceptible to it. And it works! Analysis shows that the average American woman eats more than 14,300 calories per year as a result of impulse purchases alone, while men consume 28,350 calories per year from impulse purchases. Which brings me to ask: Are grocery stores purposely making us fat? Consider this fact: 80% of all food items sold in grocery stores today did not exist ten years ago. Over the past 10 years, close to 10,000 new items have been introduced into supermarkets, with the majority of these items being packaged junk foods lacking nutrients due to over-processing.

If you do a simple google search for coupons right now, you would most likely see coupons solely for unhealthy, processed junk foods, which have the highest profit margin in stores. In an independent study of 1000 coupons from 6 national grocery chains, analysts found that 25% were for processed snack foods, candies, and desserts, 14% were for prepared meals, 12% were for beverages (half of which were high in sugar), 11% were for cereals, and only 3% offered discounts on fruit, 1% on unprocessed meats and <1% for fruits. John Hopkins School of Public Health founds that store sales and specials were usually directed towards food high in fats, sodium, carbohydrates, or a combination, This research is significant given that food prices are an important driver of what people eat.

Very often, grocery stores donate food to schools and students – and guess what – on multiple occasions, I personally witnessed the junk food they gave kids. But that’s not all – grocery store purposely market junk food to kids by placing them at their eye-level and using fictional media characters, which hold a strong influence on children, on the packaging of junk food. Researchers who examined nutrition labels of child-targeted products available at a U.S. grocer over the course of two years found that only 18% of products met the Institute of Medicine’s standards for nutritional quality of school foods, which is already fairly low.

Now let’s talk about the socio-economic impact of food buying. The location of the store heavily determines the quality of food found within – this applies to the amount of organic and natural food available to consumers. Regardless of the neighborhood, buyers are still paying a pretty penny for unhealthy products that could easily be replaced with more wholesome options – but the truth is, the profit margin on produce is significantly less than that of processed foods, and the grocery stores are more concerned with their bottom line than the health of their consumers.

But I’m not just here to criticize, I truly believe there are easy solutions to these issues so that big grocery store chains can play an important part in making the general population healthier. It would help if grocery stores not only promoted healthy, natural foods with more coupons, but also made these items more visible in store. They should begin showcasing healthier food companies and allow them to be more accessible, in addition to discriminating against foods that are making our children ill longterm. Grocery store chains are powerful companies with many employees, and I think that they should spend some of their resources to educate their employees on healthy lifestyle through seminars and educational materials so they can be enthusiastic about being healthy and more knowledgable for the customer. In my experience, big companies benefit from health challenges for both the employees and the customers – they create synergy between the grocery stores and the clients, making them more loyal to the brand or chain. Socially, these big supermarket chains could donate more to health and fitness non-profit organizations as support to healthy living. Health stores are the future of the 21st century, and the sooner grocery store chains realize this, the sooner they will gain new customers that are health oriented – a population that is growing as we speak. By combining all these basic points, grocery store chains’ net profit will grow in addition to contributing to a healthier and fitter American society today and tomorrow.

Health Fitness Revolution Ambassador: Sanja Music Milanovic

The Health Fitness Revolution team and I started the Balkan Project in 2013 with the agenda of promoting healthy lifestyle in those countries. With this being said, we will go in to every segment of society, take into consideration every relevant factor, and use every possibility to improve the health of that region. One of these relative factors is also the healthy ambassadors and the individuals that can motivate millions of followers to live a healthy lifestyle. The person we are appointing as this month’s Health Fitness Revolution honorary ambassador for the Balkan region is the first lady of Croatia, Sanja Music Milanovic.

Currently, some media outlets, political factors, and certain organizations are trying to discourage her health suggestions to the Croatian/Balkan people by sarcastically using her tips as political fuel to discredit her noble intentions. Health Fitness Revolution and I stand behind her suggestion that whole grain bread, although slightly more expensive, can be sliced thinner and still have more nutritional value for the body.

Considering that we did some research on the Balkan region, and that the average resident is consuming more calories than 90% of the rest of the world population, I am not worried about this region not having enough calorie consumption. Health Fitness Revolution team and I chose Sanja Music Milanovic as a great example of a person who is contributing to Balkan healthy lifestyle and fitness- which is more important than politics, especially in a region that is known for having too much of that.

As one of the supervisors for the promotion of health with the Croatian Public Health Department she is a great ambassador on how to live and promote a healthy lifestyle in a region that needs it. She has said “We need to destroy the myth that healthy food is expensive food. Healthy food is actually more affordable because the body requires less quantities of it.” She has also said that healthy consumption doesn’t mean shopping at the most expensive stores and buying the most expensive products, but rather buying things that are healthy, available, and for affordable prices.

Top 500 Fittest Celebrities in the U.S.

We believe celebrities who lead healthy lifestyles have a great deal of influence and can set an example on the importance of healthy eating and regular exercise. Because of that, we are putting the spotlight on the top 500 celebrities in America, which is one of the fattest countries in the world. Just as we know how many billionaires are in the world, by name, rank and biography, Health Fitness Revolution is bringing you all the celebrities who are leading healthy lifestyles and can be role models to the public so that America can transform from one of the fattest to one of the fittest countries in the world. With the help of these health heroes, the United States can save hundreds of billions of dollars yearly on unnecessary medical expenses due to obesity and unhealthy lifestyle. With their influence, these celebrities can be as equally important to the American economy as the billionaires, so that America can continue to flourish and lead the world in terms of economy, democracy individual freedom and military for centuries to come.

We also encourage all the billionaires who do have a healthy lifestyle to promote physical fitness, healthy nutrition, and mental, social and spiritual balance so that they can contribute even more to the well being of the American economy. For those who are not fit, we encourage them to become healthy and fit because by being in the spotlight, their contribution to the cause can be enormous.

To see the top 500 fittest celebrities in the U.S., visit Health Fitness Revolution founder Samir Becic’s Twitter account. Samir only follows celebrities who are healthy and fit and promote healthy lifestyle, regardless of their political, racial, religious or cultural agenda.

Top 10 Tips to Learn from Chuck Norris

Few men have had the honor of going toe-to-toe with Bruce Lee on the silver screen, yet that is exactly what martial arts legend Chuck Norris did in 1981 Kung-Fu epic Way of the Dragon. Chuck Norris is one of the most decorated martial artists of all time, and has channeled his successful film career into powerful philanthropic efforts. Chuck has been a huge advocate of a healthy lifestyle, and his work with Kickstart Kids foundation earned him a nod for the “2015 Man of the Year.”

“Chuck Norris is not only a martial arts legend and Hollywood action start, but he is a man who understands community and does whatever it takes to make his community a better place to be. He is one of the rare athletes who reached the greatest heights of competitive success with only natural means, and I cannot overstate the respect I have for this man.”-Samir Becic

 Here are the Top 10 Tips Chuck Norris would approve of:

  1. It’s Never Too Late to Start

Chuck Norris wasn’t always the image of health and fitness, in fact, he grew up un-athletic and shy. “Because I didn’t have a father image, I grew up very shy and introverted,” he told a crowd of 2,400 people during the McLane Lecture April 2016 at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas. “I was too shy to participate in sports, so I grew up non-athletic and very timid.”

After graduation from high school, Norris joined the U.S. Air Force. During his station in Korea, he had his first exposure to the martial arts. Norris enrolled in a Judo class, but while exploring the village one day, something caught his eye.

“I saw these guys doing these incredible kicks in the air. I didn’t think the human body could do something like that,” Norris said. “I wanted to find out what it was, but they looked mean, so I didn’t go down and talk to them.” When he went back to camp and was informed it was Taekwondo, a passion was ignited within him. “I was so determined to learn this art, that I finally made my black belt in it,” he said.

  1. “It doesn’t cost money to stay fit”

Talk about starting from the bottom, Chuck Norris didn’t actually grow up rich. Stemming from his background, he believes that being fit and healthy can be very simple! You can do a variety activities that require very little or no money. He also recommends purchasing old workout DVDs and equipment because they’re very cheap and totally worth the buy. He is also an advocate of walking as a simple form of exercise.

  1. Failure is normal and OK- just keep persevering

We all think of Chuck Norris as this invincible perfect human being. But before Chuck became such a sensation in the fitness world, he actually failed in martial arts. When he first opened a martial arts school in LA with $600 borrowed from his father, he and three of his students traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah to compete. “My three students won, and I lost,” Norris remembers. “As we were driving back, I thought about how I’d lost, and I said, ‘I may lose again, but I’ll never lose the same way twice.’” After that, however, he went on to become a 6-time world champion. Just goes to show sometimes in order to succeed, we must learn from failures first.

  1. “Eating with a purpose is key” -Chuck Norris

He believes in eating for disease prevention as well as weight maintenance. Norris prefers to eat whole, organic foods to keep his body properly fueled for his martial arts workouts. He also uses healthier substitutions daily- instead of sugar, he uses stevia, which is a natural plant derived sweetener. While Chuck Norris enjoys popcorn when he watches a movie, he makes sure that it’s the non-buttered kind. He even penned an article here where he describes the diet he followed to beat his skin cancer

  1. Wear Sunscreen!  

Chuck Norris is a huge advocate for sunscreen/sun tan lotion due to a surprising skin cancer he once had. Sunscreen is essential for protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can potentially cause cancer. He does however, advise you chose a sunscreen free of oxybenzone.

  1. Do some Chun Kuk Do (American/Korean martial arts techniques)

Chuck’s signature technique uses grappling, striking, kicking to incorporate a full martial arts practice. It also comes with key guidelines to live by. There are a variety of benefits from this form of exercising that enhances: fitness, mood, confidence, self-esteem, coordination,energy, attitude, and plenty more.  

  1. Give Back

Chuck Norris started his non-profit organization Kickstart Kids Program in 1990 and has been empowering children through karate ever since. Since it’s inception, over 85,000 alumni have graduated from the program. Following Chuck’s lead, find a cause you’re passionate about, and make a difference, it truly is rewarding!

  1. Have dinner early

According to Dr. Gullo, Chuck Norris prefers to eat his evening meal around (5:30) to let his food digest before bedtime. His final meal of the day is often a combination of a lean protein such as fish or chicken, green vegetables, and a complex carbohydrate, such as brown rice.

  1. Sleep Enough

Norris advocates for teens to sleep 10 hours a night a says adults should aim for 7-9 hours to improve memory, learning, and mental. He said he personally aims for 9, because that’s what works for him. And if it works for Chuck Norris, it will probably be good for you too!

  1. Be Spiritual

Chuck Norris, a devout Christian, admits to losing his way during his Hollywood career and drinking too much alcohol and being angry during a time. Since then, however, he has returned to his Christian roots and is an advocate for his spiritual beliefs. In an article he wrote for WND, he cites a 30 year research study done by the Human Population Laboratory that “proved for the first time that churches, synagogues, mosques or Buddhist monasteries helped create good health behavior, rather than simply attracting people who already took better care of themselves.”

The study’s analysis also confirmed that those who attended services regularly led more disciplined lifestyles, took physical exercise more serious, were more in control of their weight, experienced less depression, had stronger immune systems, had lower blood pressure, smoked and drank less and even maintained stable marriages compared to non-attendees. So be like Chuck Norris and find your form of spirituality.


Top 10 Reasons To Start Living Healthy Today

We are now on the back half of 2016. Might as well wait till 2017 before you get healthy…  Maybe you’ve been meaning to start working out, but it’s just too hot outside. Maybe you’ve been meaning to start your diet, but its hard during summer with all the holidays and parties!

Don’t! There’s always another excuse to keep your bad habits. The longer you wait to start living healthy, the less likely it will ever happen. So stop putting it off. The benefits of living a healthy lifestyle are immediate and immense. You just need to start. To help convince you make the jump, we’ve assembled a list of the top 10 reasons to start living healthy today.

  • Do It For You

Everyone forges their own path in life. No one else is in charge, you decide what to do. Since you are the creator of your own destiny, why not choose to live healthy? Forget other people’s opinions of you, the only thing that matters is what you think about yourself. Believe you are worthy of being healthy and experience the rewards of taking care of yourself. At the end of the day, you have the choice and you will be the one to reap the rewards.

  • Inspire Others

Live well to help yourself, but also to inspire those around you. Close friends and family will start to see a change in your appearance and attitude. You will be more energized, happier, and glowing. The obvious benefits will encourage your loved ones to make a change as well!

  • Fight Off Illness

If you take care of your body then you minimize the risk of developing disease and cancers. By consuming foods that nourish your body, you lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancers, and more. Throw in some daily exercise and your chances of getting sick are even lower. Engaging in these practices will strengthen your body to fight illnesses that can creep up throughout life. “Let food be thy medicine.”

  • Now Is The Time

It is so easy to say “I’ll do it tomorrow.” But TODAY is the day to take charge of your health. By starting today and not putting it off, you honor your body and give it the gift of good health. Start to take care of yourself by being impeccable with your word and reap the benefits of beginning. You have to start sometime, it might as well be today. After all, tomorrow is never guaranteed!

  • Your Future Self Will Thank You

Picture yourself 10 or 20 years down the road. What do you want to feel and look like? Do you want to be energized, happy, and fit or sluggish, unhappy, and overweight? Are you happy with the direction you are going? The choice is yours. Those who are healthy everyday live longer simply by virtue of their daily habits. But nothing happens overnight. Look at the bigger picture and realize why it’s so important that you start today.

  • Challenge Yourself

Don’t get me wrong, living healthy isn’t always easy. Serious challenges come along that get in the way of your best laid plans. In such instances, commitment and discipline are your best friends. Keep life interesting and fulfilling by learning to choose the right foods and workouts for you. Mix things up and push yourself to the limits. Be proud of all that you’re capable of.

  • Feel Good

Many positive changes start to take place when you decide to take care of your health. Exercise ultimately impacts your mood for the better, leaving you feeling great and happier than those who don’t workout. Certain healthy foods can do wonders for the human brain, from improving memory to reducing stress, your mental health will flourish.

  • Look Good

Although appearance isn’t everything, it’s still something to be proud of when you’ve worked hard for a fit body. Your self-esteem will soar like never before when you start to see those muscles developing! Looking good makes you feel good in return, and a fit body will enable you to do many different things. Wanna climb a mountain or become a personal trainer? Go for it. How about sign up for a Tough Mudder? You got this!

  • Inspires Creativity

In need of some inspiration? Sometimes our motivation can hit a wall and simmer out. It’s easy to let this block takeover and get stuck in a rut. Thankfully, research has shown taking a walk or just simply moving can help bring us back up and inspire creativity. Physical activity can flood your brain with new ideas and innovations. Who knew healthy living could be so empowering?

  • Sleep Better

A lot of people struggle with getting enough sleep at night, it’s normal. But there’s nothing that a little exercise and eating the right foods can’t help! Exercising during the day keeps your energy levels up which can help get better shut-eye at night. Poor nutrition can also stunt a good night sleep so make sure to eat nutritious foods throughout the day and avoid sugar and caffeine close to bedtime. Getting an adequate amount of sleep each night will enable you to perform the daily functions of life filled with energy and vigor.