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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dr. Peter Attia Battles The War on Insulin

Dr. Peter Attia continues his War on Insulin with his latest article on irisin, the magic exercise hormone.

Peter always pens thought-provoking missives that serve as educated, logical analyses of nutrition, health and sports performance issues.

He backs up his statements and beliefs with hard science, physiological facts and self experimentation.

His goal, which is rapidly earning the attention of power-brokers from the halls of government in Washington D.C. to the board rooms in Hollywood, is to shake up how we eat in order to lead healthy lifestyles.

It is a noble goal and his success, along with many others combating the same issues, is not a given. But watching a Catalina and Maui Channel swimmer fight the battle is at once educational and enjoyable.

In his latest article, several points came to mind:

The problem with obesity and diabetes is slow-burning plagues that is hurting not only the United Sates, but also large portions of the entire world.

While the type of exercise was not the subject of Peter's article, open water swimmers do enjoy arguably the best form of exercise in the world - working every muscle group and stressing their cardiovascular systems in a non-impact sport.

While Peter addressed the amount of exercise in his article, even the word "exercise" seems to have changed in its implications and nuances over the generations.

Exercise was just what people, especially kids, did generations ago. Exercise was not a formula or regimen showcased in magazines, books and TV shows. Exercise was not scheduled into a child's play dates and it was not something that drew kids away from the iPads, GameBoys, laptops and TV.

Riding bikes, playing basketball, and walking to the park were simple activities governed by the joy and creativity of children, not the whistles of adult referees or workout policies of age-group coaches.

But Peter describes how BAT (brown fat) is intriguing but not the core issue when addressing weight-control issues.

But discussions of BAT are interesting to certain niches of the open water community.

BAT can evidently be developed by cold acclimatization, always a good thing for those swimming in the English Channel, Catalina Channel, Cook Strait and dozens of other marathon swims around the world. While firing up the brown fat is, perhaps as Peter says, a term of a lesser order, getting acclimated to extreme temperatures generally makes a channel or marathon swim more pleasant and achievable.

Always a pleasure to read, this article generated the following follow-up question to Peter and other researchers: if we have too much white fat and brown fat is good for channel swimmers, what fat is good for all those open water swimmers who compete in warm waters where hyperthermia - not hypothermia - is the risk?

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source

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