Back to Back Issues Page
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter, Issue #133, Do men get PMS?
March 01, 2014

March 1, 2014

In this newsletter . . .

Male PMS (Pectoral Madness Syndrome)

Food label chicanery

Male PMS (Pectoral Madness Syndrome)

I have never understood the current obsession with pectorals. I’m talking to guys now. I think it all got started when we began measuring a man's worth by how much he can bench press. I just don't get it.

Maybe you don't think, as I do, that pectorals have become an obsession. Well, I read an article in the Sunday papers that reported a large number of men are actually getting chest implants. Now that has to make you wonder, doesn’t it?

Don't get me wrong. A strong, well-developed chest makes sense as part of an athletic body. But paste a set of massive pectorals on guys who are otherwise too skinny or they’re fat and flabby and you've got some pretty strange looking people.

Maybe I'm way out of step. I also think bench pressing is over-rated, even if it is the honest road (not implants) to pectoral nirvana. Why? For too many people it eventually raises hell with their shoulders and they end up with chronic aches and pains. Moderation, of course, is the answer. But try preaching that message to the pec worshiper guys. It's weird, to me anyway. Still, not nearly as weird as guys getting implants.

Finally, the superstars of yesterday, Grimek, Reeves, LaLanne and others spent most of their workout time standing upright -- and not so much flat on their backs. They had pecs, but in proportion to the rest of their musculature.

If you like the newsletter, we're making it easy to share it . . .

Facebook Twitter More...

Food label chicanery

We have a local doctor, Bill Elliott, M.D., who writes a weekly column for the local newspaper. His topics are usually good and he explains things in a way that doesn't require a medical degree to understand them.

This week he wrote about the pluses and minuses of food labels. He calls the labels a step in the right direction, but explains they’re not perfect and are subject to trickery.

In 1994, the Food and Drug Administration required all packaged foods to begin using "Nutritional Information Per Serving" labels, using a standard serving as the basis for calories counts. The labels also listed the amount of fat, salt and carbohydrates per serving.

To quote the doctor: “But that doesn't mean the food industry has been entirely honest about its labeling. It has pulled just about every trick in the book to mislead, misinform and generally scam American consumers into buying its products with confusing labels and claims.”

Don’t think you’re immune. Misleading food labels can fool even savvy consumers. So we owe it ourselves to be able to recognize the chicanery. The following are a few of the most common tricks:

  • Cholesterol free: This label has little meaning if you are trying to watch your blood cholesterol intake. So-called “cholesterol free” foods are still allowed to contain up to 2 percent cholesterol, but even worse they can contain harmful noncholesterol fats such as saturated fats and trans fats, ingredients that may be more harmful to your health than cholesterol.

  • Sugar free: These products often have as many calories as the same product with sugar. Most packaged "sugar-free" products contain other carbs, including sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and mannitol. Some people are quite sensitive to these sugar alcohols (if you ever wonder why you occasionally get diarrhea out of the blue look for these sugar alcohols on food labels including chewing gum and soft drinks). Sugar-free products also often make up their calories with extra fat.

  • No added sugar: This label is often seen on fruit juices and canned fruit. These products may contain significant amounts of natural sugars or may contain various artificial sweeteners. Look at the label for calorie counts and total carbohydrates.

  • Multigrain: This does not equate to "whole grain." In fact, many multigrain products are simply refined wheat products with a few other grains mixed in. Some breads even use food coloring or molasses to darken their products to make them look healthier. Look for "whole grain" or "100 percent whole wheat" on the label; those products are the real deal. Brown rice, oats and oatmeal, wheatberries and stone-ground whole grain are other designations of healthier grains with all the good fiber.

  • 2 percent milk: Wow, 98 percent fat free, right? Well no. Regular mild contains about 3.5 percent milk fat, 2 percent milk has about a third less but 1 percent milk has about ¼ of the fat of regular milk.

  • Gluten free: These foods may truly be gluten free, but why does that matter to the average person? If you have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease it is important to avoid gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye). But for the rest of us, gluten-free foods are of little value and may actually contain more fat and sugar to compensate for the lack of gluten.

What should a health conscious shopper do? Dr. Elliot advises the following:

“First of all, avoid trans fats. Most of us know this by now, but just as a review, the food industry figured out years ago that Americans like rich tasting foods but want to avoid animal fats (like lard). The solution? Take a relatively healthy clear vegetable oil and bubble hydrogen though it, artificially saturating the oil and making it taste like an animal fat. Tropical oils such as palm oil are naturally saturated and are also used in this role.

“Trans fats are solid or semi-solid at room temperature so 'cholesterol-free' hard fats like margarine and shortening generally contain some form of hydrogenated oil. Foods that contain lots of trans fats include almost everything at a fast-food stop (especially french fries), nondairy creamers, battered and deep-fried foods, pie crusts and many pie fillings, margarine, cake mixes and frostings, pancake and waffle mix, many ice creams, many microwaved popcorns, and just about anything that comes in a box at the supermarket.”

Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Buy low-fat or (even better) nonfat dairy products. Eat fish and only lean meats. Avoid prepared and boxed foods. You won't need to worry about confusing and misleading food labels.

Find my own dietary suggestions here.

The Kettlebell Boomer How to Defy Aging and Be a Human Dynamo Throughout Your Senior Years—Thanks to Kettlebells With Master RKC, Andrea Du Cane

Newsletter Policy

The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter is a free publication sent twice monthly to subscribers. The purpose is to provide honest and realistic fitness information for people age 50 and above.

I have never been paid or received compensation of any kind to write a positive review or endorse a product. If I say that I personally use a product or service, it is because I find value in it and have paid for it with my own money.

Like newspapers, magazines and television, this newsletter and my web site contain advertising and marketing links. Naturally, I am compensated for these.

The newsletter and web site provide information to help users establish and maintain a fitness lifestyle. But fitness information is not the same as fitness advice, which is the application of exercise and dietary practices to an individual's specific circumstances. Therefore, always consult with your physician for assurance that fitness information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate for you.

Your comments and questions are always appreciated. Simply click on the "Reply" bottom.


Logan Franklin
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter

Back to Back Issues Page