The billion-dollar hoax

Welcome to the positive corner of wellness. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If...

Welcome to the positive corner of wellness. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Better than testosterone

  • The billion-dollar hoax?

  • A real fat burner

Better Than Testosterone

What would you say if we told you something was better than taking testosterone? You might be skeptical, but recent research might change your mind.

In a randomized controlled trial (or RCT, the gold standard for research design), scientists explored whether exercise or testosterone had a greater impact on aerobic fitness, strength, fat, and muscle mass. Four different variables were tested: one group performed workouts (a combination of resistance training and aerobic exercise), another received testosterone, a third group received a combination of both workouts and testosterone, and a control group performed no exercise and didn't take any testosterone.

The researchers found that adding testosterone did not add any additional benefits to exercise alone.

The exercise group saw improvements across the board: more strength, less fat, more muscle, and better cardiovascular fitness.

Taking testosterone alone did increase muscle mass in the upper and lower body, but it didn’t significantly impact strength, endurance, or fat mass. And it didn't lead to additional benefits above and beyond the exercise group.

It’s worth noting that the research focused on people between the ages of 50 and 70, which just shows you it’s never too late to start making improvements. You don't need pills or injections if you want to transform your health. A little movement is the best medicine.

The Billion-Dollar Hoax?

Food should make you feel good. And, if certain foods are a problem, knowing when to put up a stop sign is helpful.

Unfortunately, most at-home food sensitivity tests don’t work the way you’ve been told. The most common test (typically sold for more than $100) is an IgG test, which examines immunoglobulin G. The problem? Elevated IgG could be a sign that your body is good at processing particular foods, meaning you might be removing certain foods for no good reason.

At-home testing for food allergies and sensitivities is big business. And the testing inaccuracy is serious enough that The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology recommends against IgG testing for diagnosing food allergies, intolerances, or sensitivities.

If you want to do a food sensitivity test, blood work focusing on IgE (another immunoglobulin) is more accurate. But you don’t necessarily need a blood test to figure out how to feel better.

If you’re worried that something isn’t working for you, save your money and try the free method: an elimination test. Remove a food that you're worried about for two weeks, and see how you feel. Then, add it back after the break, and see if anything changes.

Make sure you don’t remove too many foods at once (that makes it hard to know which was the problem), and be mindful of other factors. Oftentimes, something like stress or poor sleep can be the real issue when you’re not feeling well. But a simple elimination test can help you better understand your body and build the diet that helps you feel your best.

A Real Fat Burner?

In previous emails, we’ve shared that coffee might help protect against cancer and improve heart health. And, according to research out of Spain, coffee may also help support the fat-burning process.

In the study, drinking caffeine (the equivalent of a very strong cup) 30 minutes before aerobic exercise increased fat oxidation by 11 percent when consumed in the morning and by 13 percent in the afternoon.

Before you double down on your coffee addiction, these improvements are relatively small (although not completely insignificant). If you want to lose fat, you must first build good habits that support a healthy diet, help you exercise consistently, and maintain a good sleep schedule.

If you’re not eating well (consuming too many calories), working out, or sleeping less than 7 hours, then you no amount of coffee (or any fat-burner) will deliver the changes you desire. But if you’ve built good habits, then some coffee (or caffeine) before exercise might give you an extra boost.

The billion-dollar hoax

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