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Monday, June 15, 2015

Weights and protein: Are protein supplements really the whey to go?


Protein shakes have divided nations! Some will be critical of the singlet toting gym junky’s protein shaker and others will feel inspired to shake themselves. So should you protein shake?

To shake or not to shake?

One quality scientific review, found protein supplementation with resistance training to increase muscle mass more than resistance training alone. Additionally, in conjunction with a healthy diet protein supplementation can aid in fat loss (1). A further review study found protein ingestion with resistance training to increase muscle mass, strength, explosive power and power during endurance based tasks more than resistance training alone (2). This tells us you should get shaking!


What, when, how to shake:

If it is an entire protein supplement you are consuming such as whey powder, then consuming the product within 30 minutes post workout appears to offer maximal strength and muscle mass benefits (3). Consuming protein after a workout becomes even more effective when it is consumed with a high GI carbohydrate like glucose or maltodextrin. Try adding a spoonful of honey to your shake or buy maltodextrin powder and add a sprinkle.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and one such amino acid is Leucine. It appears that protein supplements containing 3-4g per dose of leucine most optimise the amount of protein effectively used (synthesised) by the body. Consuming any normal whey protein should achieve this.

Alternatively, If you consume an isolated amino acid supplement (more expensive), you’re best taking this pre-workout. Although these are more expensive than protein supplements and confer no further benefit (3).


Is it healthful?

Yes, the singlet clad gym junkie was right. Take whey protein after your workout with a bit of honey for best effect.

Our verdict: very healthful.


Isithealthful

I hold a Doctor of Physiotherapy, Bachelor of Exercise Science and am a qualified personal trainer. I have extensive clinical and research experience and a strong passion for all things health. This has driven me to write the blog: Is it healthful, in order to analyse sound scientific research to determine if a product, service or intervention is healthful, or simply a waste of money or time.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Should you be exercising your face?



In our increasingly image obsessed society, more and more people are going under the knife, or having cosmetic injections to improve their appearance. These procedures can be costly, have significant side-effects and in many cases look unnatural. One little known therapy said to improve facial appearance is performing resistance exercises for the face. So, could facial exercises be a viable alternative to Botox, filler, or even cosmetic surgery? Let’s ask science.

What does the science say?

A review paper analysed nine different scientific studies. The studies analysed were on a small number of people and of a pretty poor quality, likely because facial exercises are not yet hugely popular. However, of the nine studies analysed, every single one reported positive effects on appearance (1). Yay! Another review paper, although less structured then the previous paper, grossly reported facial exercises to decrease the appearance of wrinkles in several different studies, but that these changes only lasted as long as the exercises were performed (2). This is about as far as the studies on facial exercise and appearance go, so let’s have a look at the effects of facial exercise on some other things.

Studies conducted on patients with facial injuries, found that facial exercises can improve facial muscle strength and alter lip position (3). Facial exercises have also been found to improve facial function in Bell’s Palsy (facial drooping) patients, likely due to changes in muscle strength and activation (4). So, does this mean facial exercises are healthful?

The-V

Is it healthful?

Facial exercises appear extremely promising. We can confidently say that facial exercises can improve facial muscle strength/function and that there is a good chance this will enhance appearance. However, due to the poor quality research on the topic we can’t yet be absolutely certain.

Our verdict: Slightly healthful. Once more good quality research is conducted, I am confident this rating will be upgraded to very healthful!

I hope this has been healthful!


Isithealthful

I hold a Doctor of Physiotherapy, Bachelor of Exercise Science and am a qualified personal trainer. I have extensive clinical and research experience and a strong passion for all things health. This has driven me to write the blog: Is it healthful, in order to analyse sound scientific research to determine if a product, service or intervention is healthful, or simply a waste of money or time. 
 
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