Clean Ladder


135 x10, x8, x6, x4, x2

115 x10, x8, x6, x4, x2

95 x10, x8, x6, x4, x2

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How the Government Supports Your Junk Food Habit

From The New York Times

How the Government Supports Your Junk Food Habit

At a time when almost three-quarters of the country is overweight or obese, it comes as no surprise that junk foods are the largest source of calories in the American diet. Topping the list are grain-based desserts like cookies, doughnuts and granola bars. (Yes, granola bars are dessert.)

That’s according to data from the federal government, which says that breads, sugary drinks, pizza, pasta dishes and “dairy desserts” like ice cream are also among Americans’ top 10 sources of calories.

What do these foods have in common? They are largely the products of seven crops and farm foods — corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, sorghum, milk and meat — that are heavily subsidized by the federal government, ensuring that junk foods are cheap and plentiful, experts say.

Between 1995 and 2010, the government doled out $170 billion in agricultural subsidies to finance the production of these foods, the latter two in part through subsidies on feed grains. While many of these foods are not inherently unhealthy, only a small percentage of them are eaten as is. Most are used as feed for livestock, turned into biofuels or converted to cheap products and additives like corn sweeteners, industrial oils, processed meats and refined carbohydrates.

Health advocates have long pointed out this seeming contradiction. While the federal government recommends that people fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables to help prevent obesity, only a small fraction of its subsidies actually support the production of fresh produce. The vast majority of agricultural subsidies go instead to commodity crops that are processed into many of the foods that are linked to the obesity crisis.

“The subsidies damage our country’s health and increase the medical costs that will ultimately need to be paid to treat the effects of the obesity epidemic,” a 2012 report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization, concluded. “Taxpayers are paying for the privilege of making our country sick.”

Now federal health researchers have examined the relationship between metabolic disease and the consumption of federally subsidized foods.

The study, led by a team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published this month in JAMA Internal Medicine, looked at over 10,000 adults and the foods they reported eating in a typical day. Then the researchers split the subjects into groups according to the proportion of foods they ate that were derived from the seven major subsidized commodities.

After adjusting for age, sex, socioeconomic factors and other variables, the researchers found that those who had the highest consumption of federally subsidized foods had a 37 percent greater risk of being obese. They were also significantly more likely to have belly fat, abnormal cholesterol, and high levels of blood sugar and CRP, a marker of inflammation.

While the study does not prove cause and effect, its authors say that this strong association is consistent with other research showing that diets that are higher in subsidized foods tend to be poorer quality and more harmful to health.

“This tells us that the factors that influence the prices of our foods are an additional factor,” said Ed Gregg, chief of the epidemiology and statistics branch in the C.D.C.’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “We’re hoping that this information reaches policy makers and the people who influence how subsidies work.”

The subsidies program was started decades ago in part to support struggling farmers and to secure America’s food supply. Since 1995, the government has provided farmers with close to $300 billion in agricultural subsidies overall, which are included in the federal farm bill, along with money for nutrition initiatives like the federal food stamps program, known as SNAP. The farm bill is renewed by Congress every five years; the version approved in 2014 called for $956 billion in spending.

But critics say the subsidies program no longer serves its original purpose. Instead of supporting small farmers who grow fruits, nuts and vegetables – which the government calls “specialty crops” — the program now primarily subsidizes large producers that churn out a handful of “commodity” crops that include grains, corn, sorghum and oilseeds like soybeans.

According to the Government Accountability Office, small “specialty” farms represent three-quarters of the country’s cropland but receive just 14 percent of government subsidies. Large agribusinesses that specialize in growing the major commodity crops represent 7 percent of the cropland and receive about half of all subsidies.

Previous versions of the farm bill even stipulated that farmers who took subsidies for commodity crops could not grow fruits and vegetables. If they did, they were penalized, said Caroline Franck, the co-author of a 2012 report in the Archives of Internal Medicinethat explored the role of agricultural subsidies in obesity.

Ms. Franck, a research assistant at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research of the Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, said many factors influence what people choose to eat. While it’s difficult to argue that subsidies are a direct cause of obesity, they clearly play a role.

“I think it’s safe to say that what happens at the top of the food chain has an impact on what happens at the bottom,” she said. “Agricultural policies are just not aligned with public health goals.”

In part because of public pressure, the last farm bill, which was passed in 2014, allowed farmers who grow commodity crops to use 15 percent of their acreage to grow fruits, vegetables and other specialty crops. It provided support to organic farmers, including $100 million for research to improve organic production. And it funded a “healthy incentives” program that encourages food stamp recipients to consume more fruits and vegetables by increasing the value of food stamps that are used to buy fresh produce at retail stores or farmers’ markets.

Ms. Franck said that early results suggest that the program is increasing the amount of fresh produce people consume. But others are not so sanguine. Raj Patel, a research professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, said that the funding for fruits and vegetables in the most recent farm bill was “crumbs” compared to the billions in subsidies for commodity crops.

Dr. Patel said it was time for the federal government to adopt a “national food policy” like one that has been proposed by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit advocacy group. Among other things, a national food policy would ensure that farm workers receive fair wages, that all Americans have access to healthy foods, and that the government’s nutrition recommendations and agricultural policies are aligned, he said.

“It would transition us away from the unhealthy consequences of the current industrial food policy,” he said. “I think there’s something very broken about the subsidy system.”

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What foods are healthy

Is popcorn good for you? What about pizza, orange juice or sushi? Or frozen yogurt, pork chops or quinoa?

Which foods are healthy? In principle, it’s a simple enough question, and a person who wishes to eat more healthily should reasonably expect to know which foods to choose at the supermarket and which to avoid.

Unfortunately, the answer is anything but simple.

The Food and Drug Administration recently agreed to review its standards for what foods can be called “healthy,” a move that highlights how much of our nutritional knowledge has changed in recent years – and how much remains unknown.

With the Morning Consult, a media and polling firm, we surveyed hundreds of nutritionists – members of the American Society for Nutrition – asking them whether they thought certain food items (about 50) were healthy. The Morning Consult also surveyed a representative sample of the American electorate, asking the same thing.

The results suggest a surprising diversity of opinion, even among experts. Yes, some foods, like kale, apples and oatmeal, are considered “healthy” by nearly everyone. And some, like soda, french fries and chocolate chip cookies, are not. But in between, some foods appear to benefit from a positive public perception, while others befuddle the public and experts alike. (We’re looking at you, butter.)

“Twenty years ago, I think we knew about 10 percent of what we need to know” about nutrition, said Dariush Mozaffarian, the dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. “And now we know about 40 or 50 percent.”

Here’s what we found.

Foods considered healthier by the public than by experts
Percent describing a food as “healthy” Nutritionists Public Difference
Granola bar 28% 71%
Coconut oil 37% 72%
Frozen yogurt 32% 66%
Granola 47% 80%
SlimFast shake 21% 47%
Orange juice 62% 78%
American cheese 24% 39%

Of the 52 common foods that we asked experts and the public to rate, none had a wider gap than granola bars. More than 70 percent of ordinary Americans we surveyed described it as healthy, but less than a third of nutritional experts did. A similar gap existed for granola, which less than half of nutritionists we surveyed described as healthy.

Several of the foods considered more healthful by everyday Americans than by experts, including frozen yogurt, a SlimFast shake andgranola bars, have something in common: They can contain a lot of added sugar. In May, the Food and Drug Administration announced a new template for nutrition labels, and one priority was to clearly distinguish between sugars that naturally occur in food and sugars that are added later to heighten flavors. (You’d be surprised how many foods contain added sugar.) It’s possible nutritionists know this, but the public still does not.

Foods considered healthier by experts than by the public
Percent describing a food as “healthy” Nutritionists Public Difference
Quinoa 89% 58%
Tofu 85% 57%
Sushi 75% 49%
Hummus 90% 66%
Wine 70% 52%
Shrimp 85% 69%

On the other end of the spectrum, several foods received a seal of approval from our expert panel but left nonexperts uncertain. Most surprising to us was the reaction to quinoa, a “superfood” grain so often praised as healthful that it has become the subject of satire. (At the moment, The New York Times cooking site offers 167 recipes for quinoa, roughly a third of which are explicitly tagged “healthy.”)

In addition, tofu, sushi, hummus, wine and shrimp were all rated as significantly more healthful by nutritionists than by the public. Why?

One reason may be that many of them are new foods in the mainstream American diet. Our colleague Neil Irwin measured mentions of trendy foods in Times coverage over the years, and found that quinoa had only recently picked up steam. Others may reflect mixed messages in press coverage of the healthfulness of foods. Shrimp was long maligned for its high rate of dietary cholesterol, though recent guidelines have changed. And public messages about the healthfulness of alcohol are conflicting: While moderate drinking appears to have some health benefits, more consumption can obviously have real health costs.

We weren’t surprised to find areas in which both ordinary Americans and experts disagreed.

We expect researchers to be better informed about current research, and everyday consumers to be more susceptible to the health claims of food marketers, even if the claims are somewhat dubious.

But some of the foods in our survey split both the public and our panel of experts.

Foods that both experts and the public have mixed feelings about
Percent describing a food as “healthy” Nutritionists Public Difference
Popcorn 61% 52%
Pork chops 59% 52%
Whole milk 63% 59%
Steak 60% 63%
Cheddar cheese 57% 56%

Four of the foods listed above – steak, cheddar cheese, whole milkand pork chops – tend to have a lot of fat. And fat is a topic few experts can agree on. Years ago, the nutritional consensus was that fat, and particularly the saturated fat found in dairy and red meat, was bad for your heart. Newer studies are less clear, and many of the fights among nutritionists tend to be about the right amount of protein and fat in a healthy diet.

The uncertainty about these foods, as expressed both by experts and ordinary Americans, reflects the haziness of the nutritional evidence about them. (If you’re a steak lover and you find this news discouraging, our colleague Aaron Carroll has written that red meat is probably fine in moderation.)

It’s clear that many shoppers do want to eat healthful foods but are unsure what to choose. To gain some perspective on this, we asked Google which foods were most commonly part of a simple search: “Is [blank] healthy?” We used these results to generate some of our survey questions. The food people were likeliest to ask about was also one nutritionists generally approve of: sushi.

Is _________ healthy? What American internet users searched for most often

4.peanut butter
11.brown rice
15.cottage cheese
18.rye bread
23.white rice
26.dark chocolate
27.coconut milk
29.canned tuna
30.feta cheese
32.frozen yogurt
33.beef jerky
36.chinese food
38.greek yogurt
39.brown sugar
41.sparkling water
42.turkey bacon
45.sourdough bread
46.smoked salmon
47.dried fruit
48.miso soup
49.Indian food
50.Basmati rice

There are some areas of nutritional consensus. Nearly everyone agreed that oranges, apples, oatmeal and chicken could safely be described as healthy, and also agreed that chocolate chip cookies,bacon, white bread and soda could not.

Foods that both groups think are unhealthy
Percent describing a food as “healthy” Nutritionists Public Difference
Hamburgers 28% 29%
Beef jerky 23% 27%
Diet soda 18% 16%
White bread 15% 18%
Chocolate chip cookies 6% 10%
Foods that both groups think are healthy
Percent describing a food as “healthy” Nutritionists Public Difference
Apples 99% 96%
Oranges 99% 96%
Oatmeal 97% 92%
Chicken 91% 91%
Turkey 91% 90%
Peanut butter 81% 79%
Baked potatoes 72% 71%

Where does this leave a well-meaning but occasionally confused shopper? Reassured, perhaps: Nutrition science is sometimes murky even to experts.

Your overall diet probably matters a lot more than whether you follow rigid rules or eat just one “good” or “bad” food. Our colleague Aaron Carroll has published a list of common-sense rules for healthful eating, which represents a good start.

We also asked our experts whether they considered their own diet healthful, and how they described it. Ninety-nine percent of nutritionists said their diet was very or somewhat healthy. The most popular special diet type was “Mediteranean”; 25 percent of our nutritionists picked it. But the most common answer, even for experts, was “no special rules or restrictions.”

Monday 160718

 From Vox

We need to call American breakfast what it often is: dessert

In America, breakfast is often nothing more than disguised dessert, as this recent tweet from author and researcher Alan Levinovitz reminded us:

Dessert translations of breakfast foods:

muffin = cupcake
smoothie = milkshake
granola = streusel top
yogurt = ice cream
waffle = cookie

Look no further than the menu at IHOP, where dessert for breakfast reigns. You can find such items as New York cheesecake pancakes or raspberry white chocolate chip pancakes, which come with a whopping 83 grams (nearly 21 teaspoons) of sugar. Remember that the government recommends no more than 12 teaspoons of sugar per person per day (though the average American consumes 23.)

But you don’t need to go to IHOP to get a day’s worth of sugar in your morning meal. The muffins that greet us in the bakery aisle and at the coffee shop can contain about 37 grams of sugar — or a little more than 9 teaspoons.

And yogurt? The fermented dairy product has the patina of a health food, thanks to its protein and beneficial bacteria.

final breakfast chart

Yet companies like Yoplait and Chobani have built yogurt empires in America by saturating their products with sugar. Yoplait recently lowered the sugar in its classic 6-ounce strawberry yogurt from 26 grams to 18 grams (4.5 teaspoons), but that’s still more than the 15 grams you’ll get in a standard brownie.

And if you believe granola is any healthier, think again.

A fascinating story from the New York Times’s Upshot blog last week looked at the results of a poll that asked nutritionists about their perceptions of the healthfulness of popular foods and compared their answers with those of the general public.

“No food elicited a greater difference of opinion between experts and the public than granola bars,” wrote Times reporters Kevin Quealy andMargot Sanger-Katz. “About 70 percent of Americans called it healthy, but less than 30 percent of nutritionists did.”

Granola didn’t fare much better. Less than half of the nutritionists described the crunchy food, made popular by hippies, as healthy.

The main reason nutritionists worry about granola: Most of it is deceptively high in calories and sugar, particularly in the quantities people are likely to eat. According to CSPI, many granola brands pack at least 200 calories in each serving — and servings are usually listed as half a cup. (For some brands, a serving is only a quarter-cup — or a measly 4 tablespoons.) Many people eat much more than that in one sitting, which means you could be getting 600 calories or more from one bowl.

Let’s not forget cereal, which continues to find new ways to hide lots of sugar behind healthy-sounding labels.

Numerous reports from health advocates like the Environmental Working Group have pointed out the gratuitous amount of sugar in the usual suspects like Lucky Charms and Honey Smacks.

But then you have Cheerios Protein, a variation on the classic but with added protein. “A serving of Cheerios Protein, with its four teaspoons of sugar, has much more sugar than a typical cereal marketed to kids, such as Trix or Frosted Flakes,” said Michael Jacobson, president of CSPI, in a statement. “They really ought to call the product Cheerios Sugar.” Meanwhile, a serving of Honey Nut Cheerios contains more sugar than three Chips Ahoy cookies.

Crushed-up cookies in a bowl: That’s how many cereals really should be viewed.

Breakfast doesn’t have to be dessert

There are many cereals that look and taste nothing like dessert — with plenty of fiber to fill you up and little or no added sugar, as food policy and nutrition researcher Marion Nestle has noted. (Here’s a helpful ranking of cereals according to their healthfulness from the Food Advertising to Children and Teens Score project.)

Similarly, some yogurts are far healthier than others. I’ve written aboutSiggi’s, an Icelandic yogurt that was created in response to the overly sweet options on offer in US supermarkets. Every serving has about 100 calories and 25 to 50 percent less sugar than mainstream brands. Plain yogurts from any brand are a safe bet, and it’s always a good idea to steer clear of yogurts with names like Key lime pie and Philly cheesecake.

Eggs, particularly when served with vegetables, are a dependable, nutrient-rich option. They’re also satiating, thanks to their protein and fat. A less satiating breakfast is going to be low fat, low protein, and high sugar — like a low-fat muffin.

Or maybe you want to try something completely different. Though sweet foods (or egg-based meals) have become synonymous with breakfast in the US, people in some countries branch out much further.

In Japan, for example, breakfast will often include a hearty mix of fish, rice, and miso soup. Lots of filling protein, vitamins, and minerals, with no cookies in a bowl or sugar-loaded dairy.

And don’t forget: Not everyone necessarily has to eat breakfast. That’s a myth that was mostly cooked up by the makers of sugary desserts — I mean, breakfasts — outlined here.

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Tuesday 160621


150m Prowler Push
25 Air Squats
10 Toes to Bar

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Monday 160620


Ultimate Squat Routine

Box Squats

16 inches
50% x3
65% x3
80% x3
100% x3

12 inches
80% x3 x3

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Saturday 160618

US Army Birthday WOD

60:00 AMRAP of:

17 – 135 lbs Power Cleans

75 – Air Squats

move 1-45 lbs plate 200m
move the 2nd 45 lbs plate 200m
move the bar 200m


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Friday 160617


400m run
1:30 rest

500m Row
1:30 rest

25 Calories Assault Bike
1:30 rest

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Thursday 160616

Push Press 5 x2

the last set needs to be 90% of your Push Press 1RM or 100% of your Press 1RM


10:00 or 10 rounds of “Cindy”


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Wednesday 160615


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