Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Is strenuous running bad for you or are BBC journalists getting lazy?

Yesterday the BBC posted this article with the title "Too much jogging 'as bad as no exercise at all".

This sensational sounding article is bound to attract interest and give a lot of people the impression that regular strenuous running is bad for you and you would be better off on the couch.

Now most of us would expect that Paula Radcliff has a better likelihood of growing old healthily than say Waynetta Slob. But this article says otherwise.

You would expect that the BBC journalist had taken a good look at the subject before writing such an article.

The article refers to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Which apparently says that People who jogged more intensively - particularly those who jogged more than three times a week or at a pace of more than 7mph - were as likely to die as those who did no exercise.  This is a surprising finding.

The article they refer to is here;  In the public synopsis it says: "Light and moderate joggers have lower mortality than sedentary non-joggers, whereas strenuous joggers have a mortality rate not statistically different from that of the sedentary group." 

This statement is simply not supported by the data shown. The graph below, which forms the central illustration of the report, shows clearly that over a quarter of the non-joggers died, and only one 18th of the strenuous joggers died; further to that the total of those was just 2, this is not a statistically reliable number from such a small sample group (the data is not adjusted for freek accidents).  The one thing we do see is the glaring fact that far more sedentary people died than those who jogged. 

If you listen to the audio commentary they refer to the sample size and say that more data is required. So you have to wonder why a responsible journalist would feel happy to draw such a dramatic conclusion from the available information.

It’s not hard to find further research on the same web site that clearly supports the generally held view that regular running is beneficial. Here is an example from a much  larger study of 55,1367 adults.

This graph suggests that running at about 7.5 mph up to 5 times per week is the best thing you can do for your health out of the reported choices.

Come on BBC, you can do better than this!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

RUN ON FAT - The Movie

So after investing in the production of the new Cereal Killers film RUN ON FAT it was with great anticipation that we watched the film for the first time last night (a few hours ahead of the world premier in San Francisco).

We were not disappointed. The film closely followed Sami Inkinen and Meridith Loring during their preparations for and performing the Fat Chance Row, a 2400 mile row from San Francisco to Hawaii, powered primarily by burning fat. Sami is a world Ironman champion and adopted the LCHF diet when he realised he was becoming a diabetic.

Interspersed with this account was expert commentary from Shephen Phinney and Tim Noakes, both world experts on sports nutrition. Further comment was provided by several elite athletes who have switched to fat burning primarily for health reasons.

One big message from the film was that elite performance has only been measured in terms of race performance, never in terms of health outcomes. Being fit does not prevent you from getting diabetes, in fact the risk is raised by high consumption of carbohydrates.

While the documentary concentrated primarily on elite performance there were enough references to public health to remind us that the big issue at stake here is not whether we can break a PB running on fat but whether we can reverse the catastrophic failure in dietary advice that has led to millions of people suffering unnecessarily with obesity, diabetes cancer and other diseases.

After a year on LCHF I can vouch for the significant improvement in my health (see my earlier post on ulcers), I am enjoying excellent food, training as hard as I ever did and enjoying the challenge of what lies ahead.

Along with the first Cereal Killers movie this is an inspiring pair of films and I would urge anyone with an interest in public health and running to watch them.

And if you want to come to the UK Premier of the film then we are hosting it, in Hassocks on Wednesday 4th February.