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Twelve Minutes’ Exercise Per Week ‘Enough To Improve Health’ If You Do It The Right Way…

Published on June 7, 2013,

A new study into high intensity exercise suggests just 12 minutes of intensive exercise per week is enough to improve your health if you are overweight. This is from the Telegraph…

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Four-minute bursts of high-intensity exercise such as running on a treadmill, three times a week are enough to increase fitness, researchers found.

Overweight volunteers who undertook the regime for 10 weeks increased their body’s oxygen uptake – a measure of fitness – by 10 per cent and saw small decreases in their blood pressure and glucose levels.

Health guidelines generally state that we should undertake at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 20 minutes of vigorous exercise per week in order to stay healthy.

But the new study suggests that just 12 minutes of high-intensity exercise, spread out across three sessions, could be enough to keep us fit and healthy, researchers said.

The team from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim studied the effects of different exercise regimes on 24 men who were overweight but otherwise healthy.

Three times a week for 10 weeks, the men undertook bouts of “vigorous” exercise, which involved running on a treadmill at a speed which raised their heart rate to 90 per cent of its maximum capacity.

For half of the men the regime involved simple four-minute sessions, three times a week, while the other half completed three sixteen-minute sessions, each of which was divided into four-minute segments.

Despite carrying out different amounts of exercise, the results for the two groups were strikingly similar.

Oxygen uptake – the amount of oxygen the body can use during exercise – increased by 10 per cent in the four-minute group, and by 13 per cent in the sixteen-minute group.

Blood pressure and glucose levels lowered by similar amounts in both groups, but the more intensive sixteen-minute sessions was more effective at lowering cholesterol and body fat.

Writing in the Public Library of Science ONE journal, the researchers said that such improvements could lower the risk of death from conditions like heart disease and stroke.

“These data suggest that it may be possible to reduce cardiovascular mortality with substantially less exercise than is generally recommended, provided it is performed in a vigorous manner,” they wrote.

The researchers said the exercises could easily be incorporated into a daily regime, for example by walking quickly up six to ten flights of stairs or by walking up a hill with an eight to 10 per cent gradient.

More at:  Twelve minutes’ exercise per week ‘enough to stay fit’

Success Story: I’ve Lost 60lbs and My High Triglycerides Have Become a Thing of the Past

Published on April 26, 2013,

Laurie was 230lbs, tired most of the time and had been prescribed medication for high blood pressure. She knew something needed to change and tried a low fat, carb-based diet with very limited results. Then she switched to low carb and the changes started. Laurie still wants to go further but here’s her story so far from Ancestral Weight Loss Registry…

Laurie before (

Laurie before (

In October of 2010, my doctor prescribed medication for high blood pressure. After a few weeks on the medication, my blood pressure hadn’t dropped at all. She wanted to start me on another medication, but at that point it struck me that I needed to take control of my health. I was about 230 pounds and tired most of the time. I got out of breath walking my stairs, and fell asleep on the sofa most nights. I told the doctor that I wanted to try diet and exercise before a new medication. So, for the next month, I followed the DASH diet – a low fat, carb-based diet – and exercised (cardio) most days. I did lose 15 pounds, but my blood pressure wasn’t getting any better, and I didn’t feel much better, either. This was especially so because I still suffered from intense, painful, daily gastric issues which I expected would go away once I adopted a “healthful” diet.

One day while I was surfing the Internet for something unrelated, I came across a Website that featured low carbohydrate eating. Although I was always against low carb, something about this Website made me want to give it a try. Within a couple of days, I’d switched to Atkins. I decided to avoid things such as sweeteners and low carb products, though, knowing how addicted I was to sweets and carb-heavy foods.

I lost 60 pounds fairly quickly and easily, without much tweaking. I did have one 6 week stall after the first 40, but it was easily overcome. I felt satisfied most of the time, and lost weight even though I typically ate between 1800 – 2,300 kcals per day. My blood pressure dropped, my high triglycerides became a thing of the past, my energy increased, my gastric issues disappeared and I was (and still am) thrilled about all of this.

What was the biggest challenge to adopting a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet?

New Laurie

Laurie after (

My biggest challenge actually didn’t come until after I lost these 60 pounds. I still wish to lose another 30, but I’ve been unable to get those pounds to move without uncomfortably restricting Calories, which I find I cannot do for any meaningful length of time. Although most people find that their appetites are very suppressed on a low carb diet, I do not. And, sometimes my appetite is quite high. I am looking into going with a lower protein, continued very low carb approach to try to induce a level of nutritional ketosis that may suppress my appetite enough to shift these last 30 pounds.

What advice (if any) would you give to someone interested in trying a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet? Were there any obstacles that you overcame that could help future dieters?
Make sure to read, read and read. You will likely be bombarded with advice from well-meaning friends, relatives and physicians to avoid a high fat regimen and eat more carbs. Being armed with knowledge will help to keep these people from diverting you.

More at:  My high triglycerides became a thing of the past

New review suggests low carb diet brings statistically significant benefits for weight loss and heart risk

Published on August 25, 2012,

A research review paper was published this week which suggests statistically significant benefits of a low carb diet can be seen on a variety of important health markers including weight loss and major risk factors for heart disease with, for example, average reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, reductions in blood insulin levels and increases in the supposedly healthy HDL cholesterol.  Here is an overview of the paper from the blog…

My eye was caught today by a paper published yesterday which reviews the impact of low-carbohydrate eating on a range of health markers. The review amassed data from 17 studies in the form what is cal

Blood pressure 126/70 mmHg - result of measurement

Blood pressure measurement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

led a ‘meta-analysis’ [1]. This sort of review study is not necessarily ideal, at least in part because it included approaches utilising different carbohydrate intakes over different lengths in sometimes quite different demographics of people. Also, another problem is that in studies of this nature people are usually ‘free living’, and this means that adherence to the ‘diet’ is not assured and tends to drop off over time too.

Nevertheless, the broad results from this review make interesting reading in that, overall, low carbohydrate eating was found, on average to bring statistically significant benefits in several measures including:

  • Body weight (average loss of 7 kg)
  • Abdominal circumference (average reduction of 5.74 cm = 2.26 inches)
  • Systolic blood pressure (average reduction of 4.81 mmHg)
  • Diastolic blood pressure (average reduction of 3.10 mmHg)
  • HbA1c – also known as glycosylated haemoglobin and a measure of blood sugar control over the preceding 3 months or so (average reduction 0.21 per cent)
  • Reduction in blood insulin levels
  • C-reactive protein reduction (an inflammatory marker – inflammation being something that has the capacity to drive disease process)
  • Increase in levels of supposedly ‘healthy’ HDL cholesterol

No overall effect was seen on levels of supposedly ‘unhealthy’ LDL cholesterol. Though, we know from research that low carbohydrate diets tend to lead to lead to increases in the size of LDL particles and reduce the number of ‘small, dense’ LDL – changes that are believed to be desirable in terms of cardiovascular disease risk reduction [2].

Taken as a whole, these effects can only really be seen as a sign that low-carb eating has broadly beneficial effects across just about every health markers it’s been judged with.

None of this, I suspect, will come as too much of a surprise to those who employ this strategy in practice, or to many people who have used it on themselves, in that similar results to those found in the studies will often stare us in the face. What is perhaps more surprising is how often doctors and health professionals seem unaware of the evidence for low-carb eating (or perhaps just choose to ignore it).


1. Santos FL, et al. Systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials of the effects of low carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular risk factors. Obesity Reviews epub 21 Aug 2012

2. Volek JS, et al. Modification of lipoproteins by very low-carbohydrate diets. J Nutr. 2005;135(6):1339-42

More at: Review finds low-carb eating benefits wide range of health markers

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