Frequent consumption of red and processed meat has been shown in population studies to be positively correlated with cardiovascular disease [1-3], cancer and type 2 diabetes. Recent meta-analyses also indicate that it increases total mortality . Hence, a high meat intake (regardless of its fat quantity and quality) is generally perceived to be unhealthy and something that should be avoided. However, although there are many studies documenting these associations, results are not always consistent and there are several methodological issues which weakens the strength of their findings (more on that in a bit). In the same way as the putative health risks of red meat consumption is investigated, its documented health benefits (which I will cover below) are equally as important and must be given a fair chance in the establishment of public health messages in relation to red meat consumption. In this article I will therefore cover both the risks and benefits associated with red meat consumption, and after having taken all the scientific data into consideration, argue that meat has been unfairly blamed…
NOTE: The brand of ARA used in the study covered in this article – the brand with longest track record and most extensive feedback by users – is X Factor by Molecular Nutrition. For companies looking to carry ARA, the manufacturer of ARA is Cargill and the contact (wholesale inquiries only) is email@example.com
I recently did a video on ARA which discusses this study that found ARA had positive effects on strength and muscle mass, but was not able to give details because it had yet to be published as an abstract or full paper. The study results are now public and I cover them below. Two previous articles on ARA ( Part I), by Monica M cover why ARA is a generally misunderstood fatty acid and not a a negative to health, (part II ) covered the safety of ARA as a supplement. Finally, Part III, cuts through the hype and bro-science to give details on ARA and it’s use as a supplement for increasing strength and muscle mass! My understanding is a full paper is in process that will also examine the specific mechanisms of ARA and its impact on strength, muscle mass, and performance.
This study looked at the effects of 1.5g per day of ARA for 8 weeks on muscle hypertrophy, body composition, strength, and power, compared to a placebo matched control. For those who don’t enjoy reading abstracts and studies, here’s the cliffs notes followed by the full details:
• The group receiving 1.5g of ARA had in increase in lean body mass (LBM) of approx 3%, corresponding to 3.5 lb (1.6 kg) compared to no changes in the placebo group
• Muscle thickness increased in the group receiving ARA (+9.5%) vs. the placebo group (+4.7%).
• There was an improvement in anaerobic power (via Wingate test which measures 30 second maximal output), which increased in the group getting ARA (+10.7%) vs. the placebo group (+3.8%).
• The group receiving ARA increased their bench press and leg press strength to a greater degree than the placebo group.
EDITORS NOTE: I (Will) recently did a video on ARA which discusses a recent study that found ARA had positive effects on strength and muscle mass readers will want to check out. The results of this study will be covered HERE and in a future article by Monica. This excellent article below by Monica discusses the safety of ARA supplements and possible health benefits that set the record straight on this fatty acid…
In part 1 I outlined the background to the “ARA is bad” theory, and presented studies that have refuted this notion. Part 1 also explains the importance of distinguishing the different omega-6 fatty acids, LA and ARA, and describes the bell-shaped relationship between ARA and EPA + DHA in cell membranes.
In this part you will learn about safety aspects and potential health benefits (!) of ARA supplementation…
Safety and Health Effects of ARA supplementation
With the bad reputation that ARA has, let’s start by looking at safety data. On a typical modern diet (that includes meat, eggs and fish) the average intake of ARA is approximately 100–200 mg ARA per day.[1-5] Several studies have investigated safety aspects of ARA supplementation in different populations.
When healthy volunteers were given over 7 times the usual intake of ARA (i.e. 1500 to 1700 g ARA per day, compared to usual intake of 200 mg ARA per day) in a 7 week controlled feeding study, no effects on platelet aggregation, bleeding times, the balance of vasoactive metabolites, serum lipid levels, or immune response were observed.[6-10] Likewise, in a recent study on healthy men aged 26-60 years, supplementation with 840 mg ARA per day for 4 weeks had no effect on any metabolic parameter or platelet function.
A study in healthy Japanese men and women aged 55-70 investigated whether ARA supplementation affects clinical parameters involved in cardiovascular, inflammatory, and allergic diseases. Subjects were supplemented with ARA-enriched oil (240 or 720 mg ARA per day) or placebo for 4 weeks, followed by a 4-week washout period. The fatty acid contents of plasma phospholipids, clinical parameters, and AA metabolites were determined at baseline, 2, 4, and 8 weeks. It was found that ARA content in plasma phospholipids in the ARA supplemented groups increased dose-dependently and was almost the same at 2 weeks and at 4 weeks. The elevated ARA content decreased to nearly baseline during a 4-week washout period. Contrary to expectations, during the supplementation and washout periods, no changes were observed in plasma phospholipid EPA and DHA content. There were no changes in clinical blood parameters related to cardiovascular, inflammatory and allergic diseases.
The Ultimate Program For The Ultimate Whole Body Strength & Conditioning Tool
If you’ve been following my stuff for a while via vids, articles, and blog posts, you know I have been working with push sleds (specifically the Prowler II) for years now with people from all walks of life. SWAT teams, fitness models, strong man competitors, body builders, IFBB pro Figure competitors, to Joe/Jane every day fitness enthusiast, and those looking to shed some weight, to name just a few. The longer I use the sled with an ever wider variety of people with varying goals, the more convinced I became that the push sled is the single most effective strength and conditioning tool known to mankind. Push sleds from various manufacturers have become very popular as of late, and for damn good reason; or as creator of the highly popular 5/3/1 program, elite ranked power lifter, and strength coach Dave Wendler says of sled work:
“I am thoroughly convinced that the Prowler is the answer to most of our world’s problems: debt, overpopulation, drugs, obesity, etc. “
Ok, a slight exaggeration, but only slight! The fact is, a good quality push sled used correctly – in my view – one of the single most effective strength and conditioning tools ever invented. It’s whole body kick ass training nothing I’m aware of can match, and when combined as a cohesive program, impressive gains in strength, conditioning, and body composition are the result. I also find sled work allows people with various preexisting injuries and tendinopathies to make continued progress. If you already have a push sled, and have been working with it for some time, then you already know that. If not, well, find a push sled, or purchase one, and discover that for yourself. Enter, the BrinkZone Sled-Centric Program (BSCP) which is the Ultimate Program For The Ultimate Whole Body Strength & Conditioning Tool.å
Origins of the The Sled-Centric Program
EDITORS NOTE: I (Will) recently did a video on ARA which discusses a recent study that found ARA had positive effects on strength and muscle mass readers will want to check out. The results of this study will be covered in a future article by Monica when the study is published. This excellent article below by Monica discusses the long held belief this fatty acid is a negative for health and well being. As usual, the truth turns out to be more complex and a read of this article will cover the studies to demonstrate that. Part II of this article can be found HERE.
It is well known that the typical American diet provides too little omega-3 and too much omega-6, and thus has an elevated omega-6/omega-3 ratio. In turn, an elevated omega-6/omega-3 ratio has been linked to a number of common chronic diseases, notably cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory diseases, cancer, and certain psychiatric diseases such as depression.[1-3] The omega-6 fatty acid that has been vilified and blamed to give rise to these detrimental health outcomes is arachidonic acid (ARA).
However, a deeper look at the research data reveals that the association between omega-6 fats, especially ARA, with detrimental health outcomes isn’t as clear-cut as previously thought. Prominent lipid researchers are even questioning the value of the conceptually entrenched omega-6/omega-3 ratio. And there are indications that ARA, previously thought to be the omega-6 villain, actually may confer health benefits and even increase muscle mass and strength when combined with resistance training…in this 3-part series you will find out about it all…
“Estrogen blocker” supplements, do they really work? If so, should people – men in particular – use them? I answer that question in this vid and cover the facts on these supplements as few others can or will…BTW, most of more popular ingredients used in OTC estrogen blocker/anti estrogen supplements used on the market, are covered in detail in my BBR program and SSB book if you want details beyond what this vid covers, either of which can be found in the “Recommended Stuff” section of the site.
Many know Red meat has a reputation for being superior for building muscle, and has for thousands of years, but is it true? I attempt to cover that issue in this vid!
Health Concerns over red meat? See: Red Meat and Health – have we been blaming the wrong thing?
Study mentioned in this vid:
Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Dec;70(6):1032-9.
Campbell WW1, Barton ML Jr, Cyr-Campbell D, Davey SL, Beard JL, Parise G, Evans WJ.
Very limited data suggest that meat consumption by older people may promote skeletal muscle hypertrophy in response to resistance training (RT).
The objective of this study was to assess whether the consumption of an omnivorous (meat-containing) diet would influence RT-induced changes in whole-body composition and skeletal muscle size in older men compared with a lactoovovegetarian (LOV) (meat-free) diet.
Nineteen men aged 51-69 y participated in the study. During a 12-wk period of RT, 9 men consumed their habitual omnivorous diets, which provided approximately 50% of total dietary protein from meat sources (beef, poultry, pork, and fish) (mixed-diet group). Another 10 men were counseled to self-select an LOV diet (LOV-diet group).
Maximal strength of the upper- and lower-body muscle groups that were exercised during RT increased by 10-38% (P < 0.001), independent of diet. The RT-induced changes in whole-body composition and skeletal muscle size differed significantly between the mixed- and LOV-diet groups (time-by-group interactions, P < 0. 05). With RT, whole-body density, fat-free mass, and whole-body muscle mass increased in the mixed diet group but decreased in the LOV- diet group. Type II muscle fiber area of the vastus lateralis muscle increased with RT for all men combined (P < 0.01), and the increase tended to be greater in the mixed-diet group (16.2 +/- 4.4 %) than in the LOV diet group (7.3 +/- 5.1%). Type I fiber area was unchanged with RT in both diet groups.
Consumption of a meat-containing diet contributed to greater gains in fat-free mass and skeletal muscle mass with RT in older men than did an LOV diet.
Or maybe both? In this vid I cover this controversial supplement and give science based advice. An extensive article that examines the study mentioned in this video on the effects of ARA on strength and muscle mass can be read HERE!
Whey protein has become a staple nutritional supplement with both athletic populations requiring the highest possible quality protein to help recuperate from exercise, and those interested in the various health and disease fighting benefits of whey.
However, whey is a complex protein which leads to various questions regarding this biologically active protein. Some of this confusion has stemmed from the marketing efforts of various companies competing for sales in a very competitive market. Some of the confusion stems from a simple misunderstanding of the science of whey.
This Q&A will attempt to address some of the most common questions regarding whey as it applies to some of the major differences between types of whey, such as whey concentrates and whey isolates and other common sources of confusion. For in-depth information on whey and its many potential health benefits, read the “50 Shades Of Whey”
Q1:“What are the essential differences and advantages/disadvantages of each type of whey protein? Isolate, concentrates?”