The Science of Happiness

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

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

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • The Science of Happiness

  • The King is dethroned

  • Supplement Scams

The Science of Happiness

There isn’t a single path to happiness, but there are key components that can help you guarantee a more enjoyable life.

In this podcast, Dr. Peter Attia interviews Harvard scientist Arthur Brooks about the key components of happiness, which he says are enjoyment, satisfaction, and purpose. But understanding how to make these a part of your life can be easier said than done, and Brooks outlines methods to bring more of each to your life. They also discuss what you need to know about money, fame, power, and pleasure.

If you ever feel limited by fear, you might find the discussion around the 74-minute mark of the podcast particularly interesting.

The King Is Dethroned

For years, whey was considered the gold standard of protein powders. But a slight tweak to plant proteins means it’s time for the “king” of proteins to share its throne.

Researchers compared 30 grams of milk protein (the source of whey) to 30 grams of a plant protein blend and found no difference in the ability to turn that protein into muscle.

Plant proteins were previously considered inferior because plants (think pea, soy, quinoa, and others) don’t have as many essential amino acids (the building blocks of your cells that your body doesn’t make on its own) as whey protein. The researchers made sure to balance the essential amino acids by combining wheat, corn, and pea protein so they had the same amino acid profile as whey. Just like that, the plants were just as powerful.

If you’re looking to try a plant-based protein, look for one with multiple sources (like in the study) with 20 to 30 grams per serving and approximately 4 grams (or more) of the branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine).

Do you need to take protein powder? There’s nothing special about powders, but the good ones are a high-quality, convenient way to ensure you get enough protein each day.

Supplement Scams

This winter, think twice before buying an immune booster. Researchers purchased and reviewed 30 popular products on Amazon and found that nearly 60 percent had inaccurate labels, 13 were misbranded, and 9 had hidden ingredients you probably don’t want in your body. Misleading claims were common with ingredients including echinacea, elderberry, zinc, and vitamins C and D.

Why is it so easy to stretch the truth on supplement labels? Blame a loophole in the FDA guidelines, which allows dietary supplements to make “third-party certification” optional. Translation: The words “scientifically proven” or “clinically studied” is about as trustworthy as an unmarked van selling candy.

The Science of Happiness

To make sure your products are safe and ingredients are accurate, look for third-party seals from NSF for Sport, Informed Sport, or BSCG. (FYI: Ladder supplements, which were founded by Arnold and Lebron James, are NSF Certified for Sport and have been tested to ensure quality and purity.)