May 25, 2023

Here’s the free but abridged version of RLRH for May 25, 2023. Thanks for subscribing and reading. Click here for details about subscribing to the complete, full text edition of “Run Long, Run Healthy.”    Stay well. Amby

The low-carb lowdown: It increases risk of death

An impressive new nutrition study reports on mortality risks/benefits of a low-carb diet vs a low-fat diet. The  investigation tracked more than 371,000 adults (ages 50-71) over a followup period of 23.5 years. During that time, 165,000 of the subjects died. That’s a nice, big number to dive into.

The two contrasting diets have mainly been researched in terms of weight loss, where both have been found successful in different studies with different subject groups. But these studies rarely last more than 6 to 24 months.

What about the long-term health effects of the two diets? That’s what everyone has been wanting to know.

Results from the new paper: Those who most closely followed a low-carb (and therefore high-fat) diet had a 12 to 18% greater risk of “total and cause-specific” mortality ” vs the study’s average risk. Conversely, those on the strictest low-fat diet had a 16 to 18% lower risk.

The outcome included an important wrinkle of the type you can only find in a truly massive study like this one. If the low-carb eaters consumed healthy fats rather than saturated fats, they had a 5% lower-than-average mortality rate.

So you can eat healthy on a low-carb diet provided you pay attention to the types of fat in your meals. Stay away from the greasy fried foods and meats marbled with saturated fat.

Conclusion: “Our results support the importance of maintaining a healthy low-fat diet with less saturated fat in preventing mortality among middle-aged and older people.” More at J of Internal Medicine with free full text.

What’s the best time of day for optimal training?

Many of us don’t have much latitude with regard to the time of day when we train. After all, family, work, and other obligations are often the first concern. But we’re still interested in the question: Does time of day of training have an influence on our health and fitness gains?

The authors of this new paper say they are the first to investigate the question with a systematic review and meta analysis. Note that they weren’t primarily interested in time of day of best performance. That’s generally agreed to be the late afternoon. Rather they were looking for the best time to train to improve performance.

However, they couldn’t reach a conclusion that was “generalizable or consistent across studies.” For example, training to increase vo2 max proved “independent of the time of day at which the training” was performed. So it appears your training can be effective whenever you manage to squeeze it in. 

With this important caveat: If you train at a certain time of day, that will become the time when you are most efficient. If you’ve got an important early-morning race on the horizon, you’d better get up to run early on several occasions. Your body likes routine, and dislikes being shocked out of its normal routine. More in Sports-Medicine Open with free full text.

Tendon injury? Here’s unexpected advice: Lift heavy

Two new papers on tendon injuries provide advice you can use to prevent and recover from these nagging issues at the Achilles and around the knees. 

A study of almost 2000 Dutch runners found that about one-third had experienced a tendon injury at some time. Achilles tendinitis was the most common problem. Others included patella tendinitis and plantar fasciitis. Men had more tendon injuries than women, possibly because they ran more miles and harder, and raced more often. However, the sex association persisted after the researchers made statistical corrections for training and body weight. 

Among women only, there was an interesting link between soft surface running and tendinitis. The soft surfaces increased tendon-injury incidence. 

While earlier studies (mainly in animals) had uncovered certain nutritional associations between diet and tendinitis, this human study revealed none. This could have been because the subjects followed a largely high-quality diet. More at BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine.

If you do develop a tendon injury, you have to decide on a recovery program. A new systematic review and meta analysis of such programs included 110 studies with a pooled total of 3900 subjects. It reported that “Exercise therapy is the main mode of conservative treatment for tendinopathies with a focus on resistance exercise, which is shown to be effective in improving patient outcomes.”

This leads directly to the question of low weights vs high weights? And the answer might not be what  you’re thinking, as heavier weight programs were more successful, provided they allowed for adequate rest. That is, avoid low-weight programs that include multiple sets per day.

Conclusion: The most successful programs prescribed “higher intensities (through inclusion of additional loads) and lower frequencies, potentially creating stronger stimuli and facilitating adequate recovery.” More at British J of Sports Medicine with free full text.

In memoriam: Dick and Ricky Hoyt

The first time I saw Dick Hoyt pushing his wheelchair-bound son Ricky Hoyt in the Boston Marathon, I was, to be totally honest, shocked by the sight of them. Dick was thick and muscle-bound--no marathon whippet. The wheelchair, back then in 1980, was a heavyweight rumbler. Ricky, with his cerebral palsy, looked to be in agony.

I soon learned different, as did millions of us when we read the details about this amazing father-son love story. We are lucky to be part of a sport with so many inspiring runners. None will ever surpass Dick and Ricky Hoyt, at least not in my mind.

The father died 2 years ago, the son this week at age 61. But their story will have no finish line. More at NY Times.

SHORT STUFF you don’t want to miss

>>> Long-running mystery: What killed Pheidippides? Was it rhabdo?

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. See you next week. Amby

NOTE: If you were a subscriber to the complete, full-text version of RLRH for $4/month, you would also have received new articles about:

# The ultimate, endurance-boosting, carbohydrate-loading plan

# Simple hopping exercises that improve your running economy

# When to lose weight for performance (and when not to)

# Can Coenzyme Q10 increase your immunity?

# The “excessive exercise” guy is calming down

# The world’s tallest, ex-hockey-playing ultramarathon runner

# Plant-based eating: How to get all the exercise you need

# An inspirational quote from Dick Hoyt

Click here for details about subscribing to the complete, full text edition of “Run Long, Run Healthy.”

And remember: “I spend HOURS searching the Internet for the best, most authoritative new running articles, so you can review them in MINUTES.” Stay well. Amby