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In the seventh part of the series “science vs mythology,”: soda improves athletic performance, to train on an empty stomach is not necessary, but the brain can be made to work better and faster – and almost effortlessly.

Continue to translate the best articles of the rubric Wellness Lies with popular science website Tonic.Vice.com.

Previous releases:

  • Myths about diets: multivitamin useless, and the sugar improves mood
  • Myths about health and diet: detox does not exist, and gluten is not so bad
  • 5 myths about nutrition: probiotics, Kombucha, and other
  • 5 myths about beauty and health: microwave ovens are not harmful, but not infrared sauna lose weight
  • 5 myths about health and diet: the wine is useless, but vinegar is not a cure
  • Myths about diets and health: carbohydrates are useful, and the magic crystals — on the contrary

Baking soda improves athletic performance

Sounds like grandma’s superstition, but now it’s backed up by science. Soda, mixed with water and consumed before exercise (Yes, disgusting, I agree), really improves endurance and athletic performance. Particularly effective drink for sprints, high-intensity interval training and anaerobic training in General.

Can I use soda as a dietary Supplement for sports? Sodium bicarbonate also known as baking soda, is an American College of sports medicine one of the main productivity tools. This is due to the fact that soda helps to neutralize acid in the body.

High-intensity exercise largely depend on anaerobic glycolysis is a process that accelerates the production of energy. But at the same time may lead to decrease of pH and increase of acidity, says Eric trexler, Director of online education and training platform Stronger by Science, whose research focuses on nutrition before exercise: “exercise-Induced fall in pH called metabolic acidosis and it may interfere with metabolism and cause muscle fatigue”. That, in turn, causes us to feel burning and pain in the muscles during intensive exercise.

“Although the sodium bicarbonate in the body is formed in a natural way, if taken as a Supplement, it acts as an alkalinizing agent, that is, can counteract the acidic environment that builds up during high intensity exercise,” adds Daniel Prieto, a specialist on strength training from new York and founder of coaching services power Be Elite Nutrition.

Thus, one should not confuse this process with pseudo-scientific advice about the benefits of an alkaline diet. This is not proven. But the intake of soda for an hour or two before an intense workout will reduce the oxidation of our body and allow us to work more efficiently – that is, in this case, the alkalinity will bring us only benefits.

“The use of baking soda increases the level of sodium bicarbonate in the blood, and we are less tired during intense exercises or sets with a duration of 1-7 minutes, and sprints,” says Traxler.

And still — training on the resistance of crossfit, especially high-intensity interval. The research results confirm this: the runners-sprinters become stronger, rowers and swimmers — fitter and tennis players and boxers last longer and more accurate sounding.

However, fans are less intense and longer workouts soda does nothing – at least until proven otherwise.

Whether to combine baking soda with creatine? Creatine increases muscle size and endurance. Why not enhance the effect by adding soda? Really, why not.

A small 2013 study conducted on trained the sprinters-men showed that the combination of creatine and sodium bicarbonate doubled their peak and average power during the six repeated sprints.

How much soda? Scientists believe that 200-500 mg per 1 kg of body weight. With a weight of 80 kg and the average dozirovke 300 mg you will need 24 g of sodium, or 1 ¼ tablespoons of baking soda. High dosage can be more effective, but often cause digestive problems, e.g. diarrhea, bloating, nausea.

Make the necessary soda diluted in water for two and a half hours before training. But even 2.5 hours is not useless: the effect will still be. So drink the soda right in the gym is not necessary.

  • To read more about the benefits of baking soda.

Hungry exercise do not help get rid of fat

We used to think that hungry exercise help to burn more fat. Let’s look at it from the point of view of science. In the morning your insulin levels are quite low. In the blood – a lot of fatty acids that are just waiting for your muscles will take it, and transform it into energy.

In a study conducted by the British journal of nutrition, studied two groups: one went for a morning jog before Breakfast, the second after. Those who ran on an empty stomach burned 20% more fat than well-fed runners. Moreover, the Japanese found that the fat burning continues throughout the day hungry after a workout. This suggests that in the fasted state our body is easier to reach the fat reserves and to feed them.

Everything seemed to be perfect. But alas, here lies the catch.

Over time, the body adapts to the speed at which burns fat and carbohydrates. So you need to learn how playing sports on an empty stomach affect fat loss weeks or even months. What happens immediately after a workout and during the day after it, not give a complete picture. While such long-term studies conducted not many, but they all show one thing: in the long term not so important, you exercise hungry or full.

In one study, we studied the effect of fed and hungry workouts for four weeks. And Yes, engaged in fasting reduced the amount of fat in the body stronger well-fed athletes. How much? At 225 grams. But the instruments used for measurements were not very precise, so the difference can be reduced to statistical error.

In another study, 20 women were divided into two groups: one ran or walked for 50 minutes 3 times a week before Breakfast, the other after. After four weeks, the scientists found no significant difference in the amount of lost fat among these groups. In a similar study in a Canadian University MacMaster considered the difference on the example of women with overweight and obesity. After six weeks women in both groups lost an average of 600 grams of fat.

Hungry exercise affect the total amount of lost fat only in the short term. But good work spot: they can help to throw off the excess from the abdomen.

Some critics hungry workouts believe that while we spend not fat, but muscle. But the scientific evidence is not. In General, more important than what you eat before training or not, and what kind of sports do. The fact that cardio is not so strongly affects fat loss, no matter if you have Breakfast before or not. So there is no before or in the morning depends solely on your preferences.

  • Read more about training on an empty stomach.

The brain can be accelerated almost without effort

We sometimes seem to improve brain performance requires making a huge number of large and small movements. But here are 5 not-so-complex things that will help the brain to work faster.

Sleep more — at least a day

In the mid 1900s people slept on average 9 hours a day. In the 1970s – have 7.5. According to statistics, today a third of Americans sleep less than 7 hours per night. “Sleep is essential to neuro-linguistic activity was optimal, says W. Christopher winter, neurolinguist and sleep from Virginia in his book “Why your sleep is broken and how to fix it”. – Sleep is vital, and the lack of a significant effect on cognitive function, emotion, focus, and organize information in our minds”.

But what if you just can’t sleep more than 7 hours? Take a NAP during the day! A small study in 2010 examined the learning outcomes of the two groups. During the day both groups had to do a complex multi-step task. After performing the first part of the first group slept an hour and a half, not the second. Then everything started to implement the second part of the task. The group that slept during the break, I managed the second part is much better than the other.

Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and sleep sure sleep increases attention and improves memory. Only 20-25 minutes of sleep will compensate for lack of sleep a night.

Drink caffeine (but moderate!)

We are all certainly familiar with the ability of caffeine to get us up early in the morning, but not all, of its ability to help us think fast. The word W. Christopher Winter: “Caffeine helps to concentrate, to focus, remember and remember”. According to a 2012 study, 200 mg of caffeine (Cup of coffee) improve the speed of memory. The group of adults were given a caffeine tablet with this dosage in the morning and then asked to perform a task on word recognition. Speed and accuracy were higher than the group which performed this task without caffeine.

Give up alcohol (at least sometimes)

In the study, whose results were published in the British medical journal, the scientists more than 30 years studying the effect of moderate alcohol consumption on brain activity. In the experiment, was attended by 500 people. As it turned out, people who drank 15-20 servings (1 serving is 14 grams of pure alcohol) per week, three times were inclined to atrophy of the hippocampus — a brain area involved mechanisms of memory consolidation and spatial navigation.

In General, alcohol does not kill brain cells, but too frequent use of it damages the part that is responsible for the storage. Also not cool!

Leave it alone Google

If you are over 35, you can remember a time when your memory can hold at least a dozen phone numbers. To pull off this trick, you used various techniques: for example, to associate the individual numbers or combinations with some significant events or phenomena (“a grandma’s birthday-my apartment number-the number of school nephew”). What is it called? It’s called “use your brain.”

Today we store information elsewhere, but not in the head. According to the study, published in 2011, the subjects recalled less information when they know that they can always watch it on the Internet. And, by the way, winter says that memorizing of information is affected by stress. And for the better! Knowing that the right information is always available, we remember less.

Often have sex

In a small study of 2017, published in the journal of gerontology, researchers asked a group of elderly people questions about their sex lives and asked to be tested. As it turned out, frequency of sex affects intelligence: people who had sex at least once a week, showed the best results of testing compared to those who did not have sex. However, this conclusion requires further study: it is possible, the opposite is true – those who feel smarter, have more active sex life.

Another study of 2017, the results of which were published in “Archives of sexual behaviour”, examined the relationship between sexuality and cognitive abilities 78 women aged 18 to 29 years. As it turned out, the frequency of sexual contacts affects the ability to remember abstract words during testing. Other studies show that people who have sex are less likely to suffer from depression and feel more emotionally satisfied, says winter.

  • Read more about healthy habits, stimulate the brain.

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