In Healthiest weight just might be ‘overweight’, Science News reports:
As a group, overweight people are living the longest nowadays, suggests an almost four-decade study in Denmark published May 10 in JAMA. And obese people seem to be at no higher risk of dying than those of normal weight. The new analysis fuels ongoing debate about what’s a healthy body mass index — especially in light of rising obesity rates (SN: 5/14/16, p. 5), improved heart health treatments and other factors influencing health and longevity.
... The findings underscore the idea that a person’s BMI does not tell the whole story. While this measure is good for comparing populations, it is not as useful for evaluating individuals and their risk for disease and death, Ahima says. Interpreting an individual’s BMI depends on many other factors, including “whether you are man or woman, how much muscle you have, how physically fit you are and what diseases you have.”
Well, IMO BMI is junk science and malpractice if it in any way makes recommendations for individuals. So its good to (finally!) see several caveats to that point in that article (2nd para above). BMI may be statistically valid in some general sense for epidemiology (has this been validated for years?!), but wildlly inaccurate for many indidividuals. To even suggest that BMI is appropriate for evaluating an individual’s health is laziness bordering on malpractice: one can learn more by viewing a person’s semi-naked body than with BMI. Heck, holding breath in a swimming pool tells you a lot more about body composition! And a DEXA scan actually provides valid data for an individual.
The article above makes no reference to data validation of BMI against bone density, muscle mass, clothes on or off, time of day weighing, etc. It used Danes who might on average have higher bone density or muscle mass due to heridity or other factors. Nor does it mention any statistically valid sampling validation via DEXA. It seems to assume BMI as valid statistically, but based on what and when? It’s a huge flaw given that the article claims that a shift in “healthy” BMI has occurred. Where is the statistical validation via something like DEXA?
Finally, who says that “health” equates to the longest lifetime? That in itself is scientifically unsound and arbitrary. It might, for example, be that people with more body fat live on in in the face of pain or suffering longer (on average) because their body fat extends their lifespan in the face of difficulty eating! It’s just crazy to say that 'healthy = lifespan'.
In 2016, I had been having trouble losing weight as well as experiencing highly variable performance. I just could not make sense of it. Then I came across information with several key points:
- Iodine can be depleted in an athlete training regularly.
- The USA RDA of iodine is woefully low, at least in the context of regular exercise.
- Ordinary iodized salt rapidly loses its iodine content.
Also, I struggled with all these symptoms of iodine deficiency this year: weight gain (an inability to drop body fat), sluggishness, fatigue, cold extremities. I particularly noted a problem this year with feeling cold when the temperature was reasonable, and particularly cold hands and feet. See my weight loss chart after I started eating for iodine.
According to Wikipedia:
An opened package of table salt with iodide may rapidly lose its iodine content through the process of oxidation and iodine sublimation.
According to Iodine uptake and loss-can frequent strenuous exercise induce iodine deficiency? at nih.gov:
Most of the daily dietary iodine intake (approximately 90 %) will be excreted in the urine; measurement of urinary iodine excretion is thus routinely used as an index of dietary iodine intake. However, urinary excretion is not the only means of iodine loss.
Subjects such as athletes or those participating in vigorous exercise can lose a considerable amount of iodine in sweat, depending on environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. In areas of lower to moderate dietary iodine intake, loss in sweat can equal that in urine. Although electrolyte loss in sweat is well-recognized and replacement strategies are adopted, there is less recognition of potential iodine loss.
Crude calculations reveal that if sweat iodide losses are not replaced, dietary stores could be depleted in an athlete undergoing a regular training regime. The significance of these losses could be increased in areas where dietary iodine intake is lower in the summer months. Although there is little doubt that excessive sweating can induce a relative iodine deficiency state, there is no case as yet for iodine supplementation in those that take vigorous exercise. However, sustained iodine loss may have implications for thyroid status and possibly consequences for athletic performance.
What I did
I figure that 90 minute a day of vigorous exercise along with 7 double centuries in ~5 months qualifies me as being at high risk for iodine deficiency. See also Excessive Sweating, Athletic Performance, and Iodine Deficiency – Is There a Connection? and iodine lost during exercise.
I felt that there had to be a connection, so I started eating sheets of seaweed nori, and taking kelp tablets. Not long after starting, my weight began to plummet and my performance bumped up strongly.
I now use Himalayan pink salt*, which is claimed to be high in iodine and other trace minerals. And it has a goo texture and taste (some iodized salts are too fine, and taste harsh to me). A one pound bag in my local grocery store cost me $4.99. That amount lasts me a long time, so it’s plenty cheap—and it’s a good texture and taste also.
* Set aside the trendy (and moronic) labels on salt as being “gluten free and GMO free”. This catering to the scientifically ignorant is a sad state of affairs, but vendors recognize that nitwits buy stuff too, and thus have to make it easy for irrational pea brain customers too.
This is an update to my January 2016 discussion. See details there about goals and habits.
WOW: look at the plummeting weight (green line). Weight as of 17 June is 2 pounds lower on the same date as my ultra-lean year of 2011/2012, where I reached 7.9% body fat as per DEXA scan. I’m not at 8% yet, but maybe I’ll get there.
Starting with the Davis Double on 21 May, I took one day off, then I entered into a 10-day aggressive calorie burning program of about 1400 calories per day with 2+ hour rides at low/moderate intensity. This was an extreme load: about 14000 calories burned (4800 calorie deficit) in 10 days on top of a 6600 calorie deficit from the Davis Double.
Next, I did the Eastern Sierra Double Century on 4 June for a calorie deficit of ~5000 calories. The next day I did a 14-mile 4000 vertical foot hike for “recovery”, so probably another 1000 calorie deficit. The following days more hiking at high altitude.
- I’ve stayed away from grains (mostly), the exceptions being Panda licorice during double centuries and rice as part of sushi before double centuries. Otherwise, no wheat/rice/corn for a couple of months now (a few minor exceptions).
- I noticed that I had something like 6 of 10 or so symptoms of iodine deficiency (non symptomatic as in goiter, but nonetheless having many health effects). I read that iodine is lost through exercise (and I excercise vigorously at least 90 minutes every day). Things clicked: I started eating sheets of seaweed nori, taking kelp tablets. IMO, the RDA of iodine is probably far too low.
- I started taking 25,000 IU Vitamin D3.
I feel GOOD again. I won the Eastern Sierra Double Century and might have won the Davis Double (Davis Double is untimed, so uncertain).
As shown below, body weight has plummeted sharply (meaning body FAT). My TSH has been borderline (low) for some years as has my Vitamin D (even in summer). Those two factors figure in as likely candidates, but seasonality may play a role; my body has always responded to the mid-May/mid-October seasonal cycle in weight loss/gain.
See also Healthiest weight just might be ‘overweight’.
The 174-pound mark at right was reached after Davis Double and the following 10-day efforts. The 171.6 mark was seen after returning from the mountains after the Eastern Sierra Double.
2016: Tracking calories and caloric deficit vs body weight
In spite of what felt like impending heatstroke, I won the Eastern Sierra Double Century (see the page for Eastern Sierra Double Century also).
It all started out great, I was feeling strong, and by Tom’s place at mile ~45 I had dropped all the fastest riders, the fastest of which had been drafting the tandem of all things. Not my style at all: I soloed it, taking no drafts as I have done for the last 25 or so doubles. I found myself outclimbing everyone by the end of the big climb to Tom’s Place. By the Mammoth Lakes area I had passed most of the 5:00 AM riders as well. I was on a roll.
Note that most if not all of these riders drafted, and some started at 5:00 AM and so got a full hour of cooler temperatures.
Results for June 4, 2016 Eastern Sierra Double Century
As the heat began to build past mile ~100 or so, my power dropped off a little, but nothing significant. It was now getting lonely with no one else around. My choice of the Lightweight Autobahn front wheel proved a liability as gusty windys caused disconcerting instability, forcing me to scrub of speed on many downhills. I also lost time dropping my map once and my water bottle another time, forcing me to stop and backtrack.
Final leg: extreme heat and wind, no aid station
All was going well until the last checkpoint at mile 155. I knew I was somewhat dehydrated (but not thirsty). Here is what I did at the last checkpoint:
- Rested a few minutes.
- Drank a full can of ice cold Mountain Dew.
- Filled two 1-liter bottles with water.
- Filled a 3rd for dousing myself as well.
- I do not recall any mention of further aid, so I thought the above would be plenty.
Leaving the aid station at mile 155, I turned ontoHwy 6 with 34 miles to go. Temperatures were now over 100°F, and rising towards Chalfant. But there was also a “hair dryer headwind” which I estimate as at least 25 mph. Within a few miles, I realized with that kind of headwind, making even 12 mph was hard, which meant ~3 more hours to go (2:52 was the actual time for me from that point). Within a few miles my water was warm as bathwater, and with about 15 miles to go, my water was gone—all of it. I now regretted using that 3rd bottle to douse myself.
I was thirsty and hot. I stopped several times, hoping it would cool me, but each time I just got hotter: at 105°F or so and the brutal wind, my body temperature only continued to rise and my dehydration continuted unabated. I began to feel odd, and I seriously feared heatstroke. Things began to shut down badly, with massive power loss (see graph). I began to curse the race organizers for not having a crucially important aid station. I held out my water bottle to oncoming motorists, none of whom even took their foot off the gas.
Each time I stopped, I was panting like a dog just standing there. As the chart shows, my heart rate (red line) stayed practically contant at ~128 beats per minute, even when stopped and not moving at all—a clear sign that the body is having serious difficulty eliminating heat, and a likely precursor of heatstroke. Finally, for the last few miles it began to cool slightly, and the road finally turned out of the wind as Bishop was approached—this helped.
As for the finish, I was so wiped I just sat with my body drooping at the door. A few people looked concerned, but no one came out to help—I had to ask for the race organizer who was not exactly quick about it. I told her of dangerous conditions and no aid, no ice, no water (she absolved herself by saying that Chalfant had water, see next para). When I asked her for water, she brought me a 2 oz cup and left. Only by the grace of the teenage daughter of another rider did I get cup after cup of ice water until I began to recover. My entire body was shiny with heavy droplets of sweat in the now air-conditioned room. In retrospect, I am dumbfounded at the callous disregard for my condition, which might have been dangerous (me or anyone). Does this person have any medical sense at all?
No aid stations noted for 34 miles in ~105° heat and ~25 mph headwind
As noted above, the race organizer claimed (after I had finished) that there was water at Chalfant for hosing down or whatever (I’m not clear on what exactly was or was not there). But this (a) not mentioned on the cue sheet, (b) I recall no one telling me that at the last aid station, (c) I saw no signs or markings so indicating and there was no one there to flag riders, (e) when under duress, riders are less aware; they need a bit of help. Under the extreme conditions, at best this very poor planning. At worst, it was irresponsible and potentially dangerous (heatstroke and dehydration, hyponotremia).
Poor planning, particularly under the conditions
I have serious concerns about the competency of Planet Ultra in running this event. That is, poor planning and a disregard for potentially dangerous conditions. .
The race details have an admonition that faster riders must start at 6:00 AM, not 5:00 AM.
“Mass” start at 5am for riders needing 12-17 hours to finish. All riders expecting to finish in under 12 hours must start at 6 AM.
When I pointed out to the race organizer this meant that the fast riders would be riding in extreme heat, I was shocked. First, it was clear that the suggestion was not even understood as to its merits; the idea was dismissed out of hand (unrelated suggestions in past years were met similar disinterest and apparent lack of comprehension, this is not the first time). Isn’t it obvious that starting one hour earlier trades one hour of the coolest part of the day for one hour of the hottest?
The last checkpoint was at mile 154.9. Then 36 miles to go in 105° F heat straight into a 25 mph (maybe stronger) headwind. Meaning a 2-3 hour effort into extreme dessication conditions with no aid station. I am certain I was losing at least 2 liters per hour of body fluid, if not 3 liters. This was/is risky to riders. The lack of an aid station was/is unacceptable, and given the extreme conditions calls into question the judgment and competence of the race organizer. See previous notes above on the claimed water at Chalfant.
June 4, 2016 Eastern Sierra Double Century: power in watts, heart rate, temperature, elevation profile