Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving and Water Weight

Thanksgiving is a time for reflecting on the abundance God has given us. Gratitude has been linked to many health benefits including reducing depression. For many of us, it is also a time for reflecting on the abundance of our waistline, which makes many of us "depressed".

Glycogen and Water

Talking with a fellow wedding guest a couple months ago, I overheard another conversation regarding the relationship between water retention and glycogen, the storage form of glucose, commonly referred to as blood sugar. According to this guest the ratio of glucose to water was approximately 3:1, but according to Gary Tubes, it is closer to 2:1

How Much Weight Gain Is Water?

Either way, if the body can store 15g of glycogen per kilogram of lean body mass, it is evident that the body will store two or three times this in water. As you can see, someone like me can easily store 3.5 to 5.2 pounds of water along with the 1.7 pounds of glycogen. 

This lends some credence to the common belief that the first "ten pounds" you lose on a low carbohydrate diet is "water weight". This also shows that someone like me can easily pack on 5.2 to 6.9 pounds over the holidays. 

This Should Be a Comfort

While this should not be an excuse to eat poorly for days on end, it should be a comfort that a little weight fluctuation is completely normal, particularly around Thanksgiving. So, take the time give thanks, enjoy a meal with family and friends and, as always, stay well engineered.

Happy Thanksgiving,


These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These statements or products referenced are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Why I Am Not Hungry in the Morning

For almost as long as I can remember, I have not been hungry when I wake up in the morning. This PubMed article may hold the key. The article suggests the body can store 15 grams of glycogen per kilogram of lean body mass. Naturally, I was curious how much this meant I could theoretically store.

As you can see, someone my size could easily store upwards of three thousand calories of glycogen. This kind of makes sense. Following a vertical growth spurt in my preteen years, I began to pack on lean muscle. By the time I was in high school, I had gained nearly 23 kilograms (50 pounds) of lean muscle mass. This larger capacity for glycogen storage was great for high school sports, but was not particularly useful for the relatively sedentary life of a college student or young engineering professional. The fact that I could probably go a day without eating carbohydrates escaped me for many years, but that is another post all together.

Stay well engineered,

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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These statements or products referenced are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Hacking Blue Light

I have been wearing my red sunglasses at night for almost two years. They block the melatonin blocking blue light as well as UVA and UVB. Unfortunately, they are too darkly tinted to drive with at night, as are my genuine BluBlocker Stargazers. So, I had been experimenting with these orange tinted ZeroUV which have a lighter tint, but seemed to cut down the blue light as well as all of the UVA and UVB spectra.

I recently received a pair of Swanwick glasses in my Dave Asprey (now Biohacked box). They have a much brighter tint and are more suitable for driving at night, or a rainy day when this photo was taken. 

Swanwick recommends wearing their blue blocking glasses whenever you will be looking at screen for an extended period of time as does the Blue Light Exposed website. 

What is Wrong with Blue Light?

Blue light exposure has acute (sudden and transient) and chronic (long-lasting permanent) symptoms. First, there is the disruption of melatonin production at night, making it hard to fall asleep. It turns out that this has nothing to do with the optic nerve. Your eyes have melanopsin, a photopigment which is able to detect light between 420 and 440 nanometers according to this NIH article which means that your eyes can detect this narrow band blue light regardless of sight.

Almost everyone  is aware of the harmful affects of UVA and UVB radiation on your eyes and skin. Ultraviolet light, by definition, is a shorter wavelength than violet light, closely preceded in wavelength by blue light. As this Pub Med article explains, animal studies have confirmed the connection between blue light and Age-related Macular Degeneration and it is only a matter of time before the confounding factors are eliminated in human models. 

What are Some Sources of Blue Light?

Blue light has permeated every aspect of our lives. The obvious sources of blue lights may be the screens of computers, mobile devices and televisions, but the lights in your home and office could also be to blame. Florescent and LED lights, while more energy efficient, tend to emit more blue light than traditional incandescent or halogen lights. Also, more and more LED and HID headlights are appearing on cars.

Especially with the days growing shorter, I will be wearing my "Swannies" on my commute. Do your vision a favor and help yourself fall asleep faster with a pair of blue blocking glasses. Need a prescription? Companies like Lens Crafters and Gunnar appear to offer blue blocking corrective lenses and there are likely others.

Stay well engineered,

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These statements or products referenced are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.