Saturday, July 04, 2015

Saturday Stories: Woman Food, Modern Slavery, and @AcademicsSay

Adam K. Raymond in Thrillist describes what it was like that week he only at food designed for women.

Margie Mason in the Associated Press about modern day slavery in Southeast Asia.

Nathan Hall in The Chronicle of Higher Education, covers the story of his rise to Twitter fame as Shit @AcademicsSay.

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Friday, July 03, 2015

Get It Off Me! Get It Off Me!

Today's Funny Friday video is mere seconds long and well worth the watch.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, July 02, 2015

Pan Am Games' Athletes' Village Filled with Health Washed Sugar Water

Photo by Joel Clifton
Another reason why Coca-Cola wants to be involved in the sponsorship of sport - athletes. After all, what's a better health-washing visual for sugar water than it surrounding, or better yet, being consumed by elite athletes?

Vitamin Water, the same beverage that Coca-Cola defended by suggesting no consumer should ever confuse it with a healthy beverage, features pretty prominently in the Pan-Am Games' athletes' village in their relaxation hub (know as "The Cabin).

And that middle stack?

It's apparently a giant game of Jenga.

How many more years before sport begins to reject sugar water money?

I'm betting within the next decade.

[Thanks to my friend John Wellner for sending my way.]

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Canada's Heart and Stroke Foundation is Just Plain Awesome These Days

It's amazing what a public health NGO can do when it divorces itself from the food industry.

Canada's Heart and Stroke Foundation, just a few short years ago, was happily in bed with the food industry, selling it their "Health Check" front of package seal of approval and partnering with multiple fast food restaurants. But then last year, the Health Check program was shuttered and since then, the Heart and Stroke Foundation has forged a course that their prior partnerships would have undoubtedly prevented.

First they published the most rigorous sugar recommendations in North America.

Next they launched a campaign urging the government to restrict the commercial marketing of foods and beverages to children.

And most recently they proved that food industry money, while green, isn't the only money available as they've just announced their largest industry partnership in the Foundation's history - with the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Huge kudos to Canada's Heart and Stroke Foundation.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Dairy Farmers of Canada Break The Law At Medical Conference

I took that photo up above at the recent Canadian Obesity Network conference's exhibit hall.

According to Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency,
"Nutrient function claims may not refer to the treatment, prevention or cure of a Schedule A disease; or claim to treat, mitigate, or prevent a disease, disorder or physical state; or claim to correct, restore or modify an organic function [3(1) and 3(2), FDA]. Such claims are considered to be drug claims (see Drugs vs. Foods)."
"Nutrient function claims are not made for a food per se; they may only be made respecting the energy value or nutrients in a food."
And yet here we see, in a room full of influencers important enough for the Dairy Farmers to buy a booth, that Dairy Farmers of Canada have explicitly claimed that the consumption of "milk products" prevents colon cancer and type 2 diabetes, improves bone health, and confers healthy blood pressure.

While dairy has a longstanding tradition of marketing a protein source with calcium as a uniquely magical elixir of strength and health, even I was surprised at how blatantly they ignored CFIA guidance in a room that among others might well have included conference attendee Dr. Hasan Hutchinson, the Director General of the Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion within the Health Products and Food Branch of Health Canada.

Guess that means either the Dairy Farmers of Canada don't care about CFIA's guidelines, or that they're not worried about their enforcement, as the notion that they were unaware of the guidelines is simply not a possibility.

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday Stories: Vitamins, David Perlmutter, and Lithium

Cardiologist Chris Labos in MacLeans takes on the hard to swallow truth of vitamin pills.

Alan Levinovitz in The Science of Us covers the history, and it's an ugly one, of Grain Brain's Dr. David Perlmutter.

Jaime Low, an author who has had bipolar disorder for 20 years, in The New York Times Magazine, on how she doesn't believe in God, but she does believe in lithium.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

♫ "I'd Like to Buy the World a Drink That Doesn't Cause Disease" ♫

So, it's far sadder than it is funny, but CSPI's take on Coca-Cola's iconic "Hilltop Ad" (the one featured in the last episode of Madmen and with the song, "I'd like to teach the world to sing"), is definitely worth including as a Friday video.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Eat Your Veggies and Proteins Before You Eat Your Carbs

Was Pink Floyd onto something?
Very cool, very small, very preliminary study.

Those qualifiers out of the way, the study, published in this month's Diabetes Care, looked at the impact of order of food ingestion on post-meal glucose levels, in 11 adults with type 2 diabetes who were taking metformin. The subjects, after a 12 hour fast, were offered two meals spaced one week apart. The meals included carbs - ciabatta bread and orange juice, protein - skinless grilled chicken breast, and vegetables - lettuce and tomato salad with low-fat Italian vinaigrette and steamed broccoli with butter. What differed was when they ate the carbs. One week it was first, the next, last. Post-meal glucose levels were measured at 30, 60 and 120 minutes.

Though the study definitely left me scratching my head as to why the diabetic patients were given juice with their meals at all, results wise, when protein and veggies were consumed before a meal's carbs, post meal glucose and insulin levels were markedly lower!

And though indeed this is a very small study, given the incredible ease of the intervention, and with no obvious downside or hardship attached, it may well be worth considering the order of your meals' foods if diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance is a concern.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Badvertising: Kellogg's New Frosted Flakes with Energy Clusters Cereal

Thanks to RD and friend Andy Bellatti for highlighting Kellogg's new, "Frosted Flakes with Energy Clusters" cereal. According to Andy, it's Kellogg's most sugary cereal!

No doubt the "energy clusters" name will sell far more product than would, Frosted Flakes with "Sugar Clusters", but given the cereal, at more than 4 teaspoons of added sugar per cup, contains more of the stuff cup per cup than Froot Loops and regular Frosted Flakes, no doubt it'd have been a far more honest descriptor.

Consider this further proof that the word "energy", is used by the food industry, as a health-washed euphemism for "sugar".

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Use the 95:5 Rule To Forever Ignore All Further Healthy Living Advice

You've heard of the 80:20 rule. 80% of the time focus on your strict diet and exercise routine and 20% of the time, don't worry about it. And the 80%, it's usually filled with lots of difficult to follow and remember rules, and generally includes a fair bit of sacrifice and restriction.

Well I've got a different ratio to sell you on today. It's the 95:5 ratio, and if you follow it, you can ignore every new fad diet, every well-intentioned friendly lifestyle zealot, and every supplement huckster out there.

Here goes.

Focus 95% of your healthy living energies on:
  1. Cooking your meals from fresh whole ingredients while minimizing restaurant meals and ultra-processed foods (and remember too "minimize" is a relative term and one that you can continually improve upon but need not start at awesome), and then eating those meals free from distractions and ideally with friends or family.
  2. Exercising as often and as much as you can enjoy, and ideally more days of the week than not, while still remembering if all you can find are short bursts, they're good too.
  3. Not smoking
  4. Cultivating good night sleeps (dark, cool and quiet rooms, no screens right before bed, set sleep times, no caffeine past noon, rare alcohol within 3 hours of bed time would be a good start)
  5. When indulging, asking first if it's worth it, and second what's the smallest amount you need to be happy?
  6. Drinking alcohol only in moderation (1 daily for women, 2 for men)
  7. Nurturing your friendships and relationships
As to what makes up the remaining 5%? Well it's everything else. It's stuff like "best" diets, "right" exercises, organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats, ancient grains, supplements, cleanses, and all that other minutia that people spend so much time agonizing over despite the very real likelihood that even were all those things scientifically, demonstrably, useful (most aren't), in a best case scenario, when compared with the impact of the 95%, that 5% might increase a person's quantity of life by a few days or weeks, while agonizing over that 5% would definitely suck away a whole pile of quality.

Life's too short to worry about the minutia of healthful living and if you're looking for the best bang for your healthful living buck, look to the unsexy, but incredibly beneficial, 95%.

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