Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The World's Most Dangerous Pizza

I can't seem to get enough of this pizza as this is now my third (and I hope last) blog post on it. post.

Regular readers will remember the sausage stuffed crust scary looking pizza from Japan. Below is a commercial advertising it.

Well along comes a blog I've not been to before, Fitsugar, that with the help of a translator put together a caloric estimate for this beast.

Ready for it?

Per slice, 646 Calories and 1,344mg of sodium (5,164 Calories for the whole pizza and a perhaps literally brain swelling 10,752 grams of sodium).

Feel free to peruse their calculations here

Monday, July 30, 2007

Does Kellogg's think you're Stupid?

So here is the Nutrition Facts label from Kellogg's original flavour Special K cereal.

It says a serving contains 110 Calories and is 1.25 cups in size. (click it if you need to make it bigger)

Now let's look at the Nutrition Facts label from Kellogg's new Special K Fruit and Yogurt Flavour.

It says a serving contains 120 Calories, but now it's only 0.75 cups in size.

It's examples like this that drive home just how lax, misleading and easily exploitable our current labeling laws are.

Clearly here Kellogg's wants consumers to think that their wonderful new flavour has only 10 more calories than original Special K, when in fact by volume it has almost double the calories (81% more calories per cup of the Fruit and Yogurt flavour).

Let me ask you, how difficult would it be for Health Canada to push for legislation that for instance for cereals would require all cereals have a standard 1 cup serving size label representation? Of course, this is only one example - misleading labeling is everywhere, mainly because Big Food's able to get away with it and because most folks don't take the time to read labels carefully or to compare.

Shame on you Kellogg's for what to me looks like your obvious attempt at deception, and shame on you Canadian government for not having laws that would prevent this type of overt label deception.

Friday, July 27, 2007

So You Wanna be a Goalie?

It's hot in Ottawa. Sticky too.

So today for Funny Friday, I've got a clip to cool you off.

Steve Carell teaches you what it takes to become a great goalie.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Obesity is "socially contagious"

The media will be all over this one.

A study came out today in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed that over a 30 year period people's weights were strongly influenced by the weights of their friends and spouses.

The study followed over 12,000 folks and mapped their weights against their "social networks".

Their research states:

  • If your spouse becomes obese, your chance of becoming obese rises by 37%

  • If your adult sibling becomes obese, your chance of becoming obese rises by 40%

  • If you're a man and your male friend becomes obese, your chance of becoming obese rises by 100%

  • Don't worry if your neighbours are obese

  • Don't worry if your opposite sexed friend is obese

  • Don't worry if you're a woman and your female friends become obese

    It's actually a beautifully put together study - from the writing, to the methodology, to the gorgeous diagrams and slick video on the New England Journal website that demonstrates the social march of obesity over time.

    So is it important? Does it tell us anything we don't already know?

    I don't think so.

    Friendships and marriages tend to be forged over commonalities, over shared pleasures.

    What am I getting at?

    Marathon running teetotaling vegans are far more likely to be friends with marathon running teetotaling vegans than they are with sedentary, beer swilling carnivores and they're probably alot less likely to marry them too.

    I think what this study proves beautifully is that lifestyle dramatically impacts upon weight and that friends and spouses dramatically impact upon lifestyles.

    So does this study help with prevention and treatment?

    The authors think so,
    "The relevance of social influence also suggests that it may be possible to harness this same force to slow the spread of obesity. Network phenomena might be exploited to spread positive health behaviors"
    I guess what they're getting at is that skinniness may also be socially contagious if harnessed by social networks. Good news is, if the researchers want to, they can simply apply their same statistics and formulae to examine the effects of weight loss in social networks....only problem there is that sustainable weight loss for the most part is a pretty elusive beast.

    Bottom line - your friends and spouses likely share your lifestyle more than your neighbours and coworkers, and your lifestyle obviously has a dramatic effect on your weight.

    What this study should spur you to do is examine how you spend time with your friends and family. If socializing means going out to dinner all the time or hitting the bars, maybe you can suggest trying some less calorie dense, or even some calorie burning activities.

    What this study should not spur you to do is put a sign outside your door that says, "You must be this thin to be my friend".

  • Wednesday, July 25, 2007

    Another Dubious Honour for Obesity

    Saw a press release from the Canadian Liver Foundation yesterday.

    Obesity has overtaken alcohol as the number one cause of liver disease in Canada.

    Over 1.4 million Canadians apparently have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD.

    15% of obese children have NAFLD.

    NAFLD can of course progress to non-alcoholic steato-hepatitis or NASH.

    NASH can progress to cirrhosis.

    Cirrhosis can progress to death.

    Sorry, can't think of anything funny to say today.

    Tuesday, July 24, 2007

    Will Diet Coke make you fat?

    Splashed over headlines and sound bites today will be articles and reports telling you that a new study suggests that if you drink any soft drinks, even diet ones, that your risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity rises dramatically.

    Scary stuff, maybe you should immediately pitch your diet coke stash.

    Don't throw out it out yet.

    So this study, published yesterday in Circulation, looked at over 6,000 folks and their soft drink consumption with the authors reporting that they controlled for age, sex, physical activity index, smoking, saturated fat consumption, trans fat consumption, fiber, magnesium, total calories and glycemic index in asking whether or not consuming soft drinks (diet or otherwise) raised the risk of developing metabolic syndrome (the constellation of symptoms listed above).

    The authors concluded,

    "In middle-aged adults, soft drink consumption is associated with a higher prevalence and incidence of multiple metabolic risk factors"
    and they found this to be true regardless of whether the soft drinks were of the regular or diet variety.

    Problem is, there are too many inconsistencies and omissions in this study for it to have any value. Let's go through some of them:

  • They don't tell us how they tracked calories. They mention controlling for calories in their abstract but then fail to mention in their methodology how exactly they determined how many calories folks in this study were consuming. That's quite an important methodologic piece as if it turns out that folks who drink soft drinks (diet or otherwise) tend to consume more calories, it'll matter how they tracked calories since it's calories that lead to weight gain and weight that leads to metabolic syndrome.

  • The calories they did track are inaccurate. They reported that folks who drank no soft drinks consumed on average 1,800 calories daily and those drinking 2 or more daily 2000 or so Calories. In what alternate universe is the average per capita consumption of calories in America 1,800-2,000 calories daily? According to the USDA, the average American consumes around 2,700 calories daily and even back in 1970 was still higher than the calories reported in this study. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations actually thinks the average American consumes around 3,770 calories daily. Clearly if this study's calorie models are flawed, with calorie models based off of reported dietary intakes than dietary intakes are flawed in which case the conclusions aren't valid.

  • The authors did not control for type of carbohydrates. They kind of did, indirectly, by controlling for glycemic index, but frankly a more valuable control would be for whole grain consumption as its consumption has been shown quite conclusively to minimize the risk of developing metabolic syndrome while the converse is true from refined carbohydrates (the white stuff)

  • The authors did not control for sodium intake which of course would impact on the development of hypertension (one of the criteria above). Here actually is an argument that might be applicable as many diet beverages do still have salt in them

  • The authors did not control for meals out. If would certainly seem plausible to me that the folks drinking more soft drinks (diet or otherwise) are the folks eating out more regularly. Meals out have more calories and as a whole more dietary salt, less healthy fats and more refined carbohydrates - all of which contribute to metabolic syndrome development.

  • The authors could not come up with any commonality to explain the fact that diet soft drink consumption and regular soft drink consumption led to the same outcomes. Unfortunately, without commonality what they've failed to prove is causality and instead have proved association. They did mention "sweetness" of the beverages as a possibility leading people to consume more, but if you remember back to my criticisms on the study's calorie models, they concluded that in fact calories were not statistically different between groups. As well, if they did want to blame sweetness, another control would have to be juice consumption, because if both high fructose corn syrup and aspartame can have the same effect, so too should plain old fructose.

    So to sum up, the study's calorie models are flawed at best, the authors didn't control for known confounding variables that have in fact been proven to be contributors to metabolic syndrome and they admit that they can't think of any similarities between diet soft drinks and regular soft drinks that would explain their results.

    The ABA (the American Beverage Association) came out with a statement of their own and amazingly, I agree with their conclusions more than this study's.

    The ABA states,
    "This study doesn't prove any link between soft drinks and increased risk of heart disease. Its assertions defy the existing body of scientific evidence as well as common sense. Even the researchers acknowledge that their study can't support a link."
    I couldn't (and didn't) say it better myself.

    You may now enjoy your Diet Cokes.

  • Monday, July 23, 2007

    Goodbye Supersize, Hello Hugo-size

    In 2004, following the public backlash after the release of the movie Supersize Me, McDonald's discontinued their practice of promoting Supersized portions.

    Well guess what? Starting this summer there's a new McDonald's Supersize in town and it's called Hugo.

    A Hugo sized soft drink costs only 89cents, is 42oz in size (for us Canadians that means 1.25 litres) and contains over 400 Calories and 31.5 teaspoons of sugar.

    Dayna Proud, a McDonald's spokesperson when cornered by the New York Times had this to say about the Hugo,

    "People, I believe, tend to drink more during the summer"
    and when asked if it were comparable with prior Supersized promotions stated,
    "That’s not what this is about, you have to put it in context with the rest of our menu."
    Certainly from the ad above, that context is meant to be to buy it alongside an ice cream sunday.

    And why Hugo? Because it's meant to make you huge? Because it's so large it makes you want to give people hugs? Because of that character on Lost?

    Lastly I wonder if McDonald's will offer apologies to all the Hugos of America whose respective "friends" and bullies now have a wonderful new way to make fun of them.

    Friday, July 20, 2007

    People will buy anything

    Today's Funny Friday post was born in the 80s.

    It's a clip from a workout video by Green Childers called Body Flex II.

    I'm thinking of buying it myself - laughing's great for your abs.

    Have a great weekend!

    Watch the video "Odd Workout"

    Thursday, July 19, 2007

    Big Food's Useless Gesture

    Yesterday was awash with news reports of how Big Food is voluntarily planning to decrease advertising targeting children.

    They're trying to throw government a bone so as to allow the government an easy out as to why they're not going to legislate any reforms.

    So what has Big Food offered?

    Well certainly not a blanket ban. Instead it's a company by company, product by product, voluntary (and therefore reversible and unenforcible) series of changes. And apparently it's a ban on advertising during children's shows, but not "family" shows like American Idol which according to a report in the New York Times is watched by 2.1 million children between the ages of 6-11.

    For a complete list of the companies involved and their pledges, click here.

    Pepsi-Co will only market two products to children - Baked cheetos and Gatorade. McDonald's will only advertise two type of Happy Meals one with four Chicken McNuggets, apple dippers with caramel dip and low-fat white milk, or one with a hamburger, apple dippers and milk. General Mills will stop marketing its Twix cereal, but Cocoa Puffs will remain A-OK to target to kids.

    Let's see. Cocoa Puffs for breakfast, baked cheetos for a snack, four Chicken McNuggets, apple dippers with caramel dip and low-fat white milk for lunch, some gatorade while playing XBOX and then for dinner - maybe that rising crust pizza that was advertised last night on American Idol.

    What a healthy day.

    Thank you Big Food - you guys sure are a big help.

    Wednesday, July 18, 2007

    Should we ditch nutrition in schools?

    That's what a recent non-scientific study conducted by the Associated Press would suggest.

    In the study the AP examined 57 nutrition education programs conducted at schools and of them, only 4 showed anything even remotely resembling a positive result.

    Some programs offered kids free fruits and vegetables, others gave prizes to students who ate fruits and vegetables, and most simply provided more in depth nutritional education. All programs were rather time and/or resource intensive.

    Sounds discouraging, right? Kids will be kids and just won't change, right?

    Maybe. However I can't help but wonder if the problem isn't with the kids, but rather with the programs. I've had the misfortune of being involved in the planning of some of these programs. I say "misfortune" because certainly in the cases where I've been involved the organizers involved in the programs' designs were often a hodge-podge of very well intentioned, but not necessarily expert folks who always want to promote the same old tired, overly simplistic and clearly useless messages of:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Eat less fast food
  • Exercise more
  • Watch less TV
  • Play fewer video games
  • Eat less fat

  • If I was setting up school nutrition curricula, certainly the one thing I would ensure was front and centre was the concept of energy. Calories. People are afraid of talking about calories. I've often heard folks express concern that if we teach kids about calories, we'll promote eating disorders. Never mind that there's never been a study that suggests that teaching calories leads to any sort of disordered eating behaviour; never mind that by teaching calories you could argue you're providing kids with minimum calorie targets thereby perhaps reducing anorexic risks; and never mind of course that calories that are the currency of weight. It's only in calorie blind world where low-fat muffins, fruit juice and smoothies are healthy choices. Teach kids how many calories they need and how to find them and perhaps they'll make different choices.

    Don't believe me?

    It worked in Pennsylvania with zero additional guidance. Four schools there simply posted calories on their cafeteria menu board and then tracked cafeteria purchases and low and behold, immediately kids started choosing the lower calorie options - the study was published here in the Journal of Child Nutrition and Management. A followup study showed that when you combined school nutrition programs with point of sale nutrition information, students were happier with the school nutrition programs as a whole.

    Schooling aside, regular readers of my blog will know that my belief is that the best way to combat childhood obesity is to walk the walk which is why when I counsel parents of overweight or obese children I always provide them with the same message,
    "Live the way you want your children to live and then hope for the best"
    As far as I'm concerned, the bigger problem here is the fact that adults aren't taught what's healthy or how to maintain a healthy body weight and consequently they're unable to walk the walk for their children. That's also why it's such a horrible shame that the Canadian government decided to put out a Food Guide that spent more time promoting industry in Canada than promoting an evidence-based approach to healthy eating with clear and useful guidance on weight management. I guess for now we should all just keep our fingers crossed that it doesn't take the government another 15 years to revise this one.

    Tuesday, July 17, 2007

    A Weight Loss Cult?

    It's called the Weigh Down Workshop and since 1986 it has been held in over 30,000 locations around the world. Even more remarkable is the fact that out of this God based diet has grown an actual evangelical church.

    I'll get back to the church in a moment, but first let me help you with the question, "How will God help me lose weight?"

    Well according to the Weigh Down website,

    "God is broken hearted over the fact that so many of His children have learned to run to the food instead of to Him for comfort, companionship, and acceptance."

    "God does not care about what we eat, so we should no longer feel self-righteous about following any man-made rules. Instead, what God cares about is how much we eat; He cares very much about - and is displeased with - overindulgence."

    "Typical diets have not worked because everyone is using man-made rules instead of God’s rules. God has never asked anyone to eat food off of a list, count fat exchanges, or take an appetite suppressant! Weigh Down doesn’t have any of those things. What we DO have is a future-a future to be filled and fulfilled. Hunger will be filled and appetites will be under control, given to God
    Ok, a little weird that these folks feel that God cares how much I eat, but to ask God to help them with weight loss, what's wrong with that?


    Interestingly however, the Weigh Down Workshop actually spawned a church called the Remnant Fellowship (130 worldwide and growing) and on the Remnant Fellowship website they describe the role of the Weigh Down workshop as,
    "The Weigh Down Workshop Productions creates the Bible material for its members and is the evangelistic arm to these Churches that are now scattered across the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia."
    Now I'm no cult expert, but Rick Ross is and The Rick Ross Institute has a collection of articles regarding the Remanant Fellowship including some which detail how the church apparently teaches that over eaters court eternal damnation.

    Oh, and did I mention that the Church was featured prominently in the beating death of an 8 year old by two of its members? Apparently the Church is a big fan of corporal punishment for children. They funded the defense of the two parishioners Joseph and Sonya Smith who were each given life plus 30 years for the death of their son who prosecutors said was kept locked in a wooden box and confined to a closet for hours at a time before he died in October 2003 from a blow to the head. The Church has stuck by the convicted parents and have set up a website to help pay for their appeal.

    So let me get this straight, their version of God hates over eaters and damns them to an eternity burning in the fires hell but has a soft spot for child abuse?

    I think I like my version better.

    Monday, July 16, 2007

    Stupidest Treadmill Ever

    If you ever feel a need to look patently ridiculous, you need look no further than this treadmill by Oooms.

    Called the Rollator, walking on it causes its wheels to turn thereby propelling you forward. What this means of course is that you can only use it outdoors and you can use it to get from one place to another.

    You know what else does that?


    A video of this sublimely stupid product below.

    Thursday, July 12, 2007

    Dizzy Boxing - my new Favourite Sport

    This week has seen an influx of new subscribers to my blog thanks in part to its being picked up by CTV's Mednews Express blog (they grab the posts they want).

    For those of you new here, Fridays are my day off indignation. Around here Fridays become "Funny Fridays" where usually I find some bizarre clip from YouTube to brighten up your day.

    Email subscribers, you've got to log on to the blog itself to watch the video.

    So without further ado, here's a video of perhaps my new favourite sport. It's called dizzy boxing and here's how you play. Get spun by a giant machine in a circle for a while, get released and run down a narrow plank towards your opponent (who for good measure, is wearing a dress), try to hit your opponent without falling off the plank because if you do you should know, the water surrounding you below is scalding hot. If you do fall off, hurry out of the water because just outside of the pool is a big bowl of ice that you can jump in.

    I think we should petition the Olympics for inclusion.

    Have a great weekend!

    Are Antioxidants Dangerous?

    Since the late 1980s antioxidants have been heralded as molecules that are dramatically important to our health. Multivitamins shout their antioxidant concentrations on their labels and food and beverages are promoted based on their antioxidant properties.

    Antioxidants work by neutralizing free radicals, the byproducts of oxidative stress in the body - put simply, they are supposed to be working to protect us by neutralizing dangerous and damaging molecules that have been touted as being theoretical culprits in a myriad of disease processes.

    This week a study was pre-released by the Annals of Internal Medicine that looked at the long term effects of selenium supplementation on the risk of developing diabetes. The reason researchers chose selenium is because it's a potent antioxidant and oxidative stress has been proposed as an important mechanism in the development of insulin resistance and diabetes and therefore researchers postulated that if they provided folks with more protection against oxidative stress, it might translate into protection against diabetes.

    What the researchers found was that the more selenium provided to the study patients, the greater their risk (yes, I did say greater) of developing diabetes.

    So what's going on here? I thought it was supposed to lower risk.

    What's going on here is further proof that common sense does not dictate treatment response and that our bodies are big black boxes that don't always behave as predicted.

    Interestingly that can be said about a few other heavily promoted antioxidants.

    Beta-carotene, once expected to be a contender at reducing the risk of cancer development was actually shown to increase the risk and rate of lung cancer growth in Finnish smokers.

    Vitamin E, once expected to help reduce the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer's, cancer and more, was shown in fact to be associated with increased rates of all cause mortality and increased risk of congestive heart failure.

    At the end of the day, I'm not suggesting you should immediately stop your antioxidant containing multivitamin. The risks we're talking about here are far from astronomical and there may indeed be benefits to other disease processes. I do however think that consumers need to bear in mind that we really don't have nearly the understanding that folks think we have in terms of how individual micronutrients impact on our health and simply because something theoretically sounds healthy, doesn't make it a smart choice.

    My recommendation is to remember that while we might still lack data about the individual components of food, where we've got a great deal of data is about food itself. Diets higher in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and fish and lower in red meats, refined carbohydrates and salts indeed have been shown to reduce the burden of chronic disease.

    Focus on your food, not on your vitamins.

    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    Menu Board Calories Arrive in New York

    On July 1st, a new regulation passed by the New York Board of Health required chain restaurants to put calories on menu boards. The menu board above is the first to comply and not too surprisingly it comes from Subway, a chain that has long since been banking on nutritional disclosure.

    The food industry as a whole however is not as welcoming of this regulation as Subway and in fact most chains are refusing to comply and in fact are busy suing the city in federal court.

    In Canada a similar law was rejected by the House last year during its second reading following massive pressure by the food and restaurant industries to reject it.

    If passed it would have certainly necessitated significant menu changes when shocked Canadians would have demanded lower calorie options as it doesn’t take a degree in dietetics to recognize that many of the foods that are out there have absolutely astronomical numbers of calories in them.

    Back in 2005 I participated in a Think Tank on obesity in Toronto and I asked Sherry MacLauchlan, the Manager of Government Relations for McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada what McDonald’s position on menu board calories were and she responded that McDonald’s felt it would be too confusing to have all those numbers on the menu boards and that they would be impossible to read and navigate through.

    It’s an argument that clearly has trickled over to the States as well and the Center for Science in the Public Interest has a great exhibit on it that includes a legal brief from Dunkin’ Donuts regarding New York City’s new regulations that included a mock menu board proving how difficult it would be to fit in calories (see below).

    Indeed, in that mock up it is quite difficult.

    The Health Department’s in house graphic artist caught wind of this and immediately whipped together a mock up of his own (see below)

    Looks pretty easy to follow to me.

    The restaurant industry is running scared because at the end of the day, industry, unlike government, responds to demand. In this case the demand will be for lower calorie items that actually taste good. For the industry that’s going to translate into money spent on research and development, and eventually for us it will hopefully be one more step towards a shrinking nation.

    For the food industry, ignorance is business, for the public it might be bliss, but for your weight - ignorance is risk.

    Tuesday, July 10, 2007

    The Baconator

    Heart attack waiting to happen.

    6 strips of hickory smoked bacon, 1/2lb of beef, 2 slices of cheese, mayonnaise and a giant bun.

    830 Calories, 50% of calories directly from fat, 2.5gr of trans fat and 1,920mg of sodium.

    (Add a medium fries and a medium coke (a combo) and you're up to 1,470 calories, 71 grams of fat and 2,350mg of sodium.)

    The Baconator

    Thanks Wendy's.

    Monday, July 09, 2007

    How to Choose a Weight Loss Program

    So let's say you have decided you want to try to lose some weight and that you've also decided that you'd like some help - who should you call?

    Unfortunately I know of no country that regulates the weight loss industry. I say unfortunately because literally for centuries, weight loss scams and snake oil salesmen have been commonplace.

    Some programs have celebrity endorsements - of course that doesn't mean that the celebrity has used the program or products. Just last week Rachel Hunter, new spokesperson for Slimfast admitted to Newsweek that she'd never even tried any and in fact the closest she could come to saying that she might try their product (though certainly her weight does not carry with it much in the way of medical risk) was this statement,

    "I'm kind of more than willing to try their product."
    Currently I'm working on a short set of questions to ask when considering a weight loss program based on some simple truths and principles regarding weight loss. As soon as they're done, I'll post them up here, but until then, there's a very extensive checklist/fill in the blanks document published by the FTC which you can print out and bring with you to any weight loss program you consider.

    Some for sures:
    1. Don't join a program that makes you pay up front and doesn't offer refunds
    2. Don't join a program that makes you sign a contract or guarantees your weight loss
    3. Don't join a program that requires the purchase of products of supplements
    4. Don't join a program that has you eating fewer than 1,200 calories daily
    5. Don't join a program that can't explain their success rates through a maintenance period.
    To print up the FTC's checklist, click here.

    Friday, July 06, 2007

    Please Don't Let my Daughters Turn Out Like This

    This one's another clip that's been floating around a long time.

    It's so over the top I do wonder if it was staged.

    It's about a teenager who's surprised by her family with her new Saab convertible as a birthday gift.

    I should take this time too to wish our trainer Kelly a belated Happy Birthday and hope that this year affords her the time to train to the point of being faster than my wife.

    Have a great weekend!

    Thursday, July 05, 2007

    Is Avandia Safe?

    If you're a diabetic and on a medication called Avandia (Rosiglitazone) and you read the news you're probably pretty scared. A few weeks ago a study came out in the New England Journal of Medicine that concluded, via a meta-analysis of other studies, that taking Avandia increased the risk of severe cardiovascular disease or death from cardiovascular causes by 8%.

    I read the meta-analysis and I'll be honest, my knowledge of medical statistics was insufficient to truly decide how scary this all was. I chose to start taking my patients off Avandia and putting them on other medications figuring that until the issue is more firmly established one way or the other, I'd err on the side of caution.

    This week the New England Journal of Medicine invited a diabetologist, a cardiovascular epidemiologist, and a drug-safety expert to give their opinions on the study and their views are available on the New England Journal's website for free here (scroll down to the editorial content and click on the free full text links).

    Their conclusions?

    Same as mine (but with their knowledge of statistics and study design backing them up) - given that there is certainly uncertainty regarding Avandia's safety and that alternative drugs for diabetics are readily available, it would seem prudent to consider switching patients off Avandia.

    If you're a patient taking Avandia I would not recommend stopping it on your own. Go and see your physician and discuss it with them. If you were to stop it on your own without an alternative your sugars may climb dramatically high which certainly carries with it far more established and dramatic risks than staying on the Avandia for the extra few days it may take you to set up your appointment with your doctor.

    Tuesday, July 03, 2007

    Big Milk Hasn't Backed off Weight Loss Claims

    Big Milk is still promoting the ridiculous concept that drinking 24 ounces of milk (the caloric equivalent of 27lbs a year of skim, 37lbs a year of 2% or 43lbs a year of chocolate milk) will magically help you lose weight.

    If you remember, back in May Big Milk (specifically the National Dairy Council in the States), admitted that there was insufficient evidence to suggest that milk consumption has any benefit in weight control, and in response to pressure from the Federal Trade Commission agreed to back off on those advertisements.

    Well it's now two months later and their obscene website is still up and running and going strong. The entire site is dedicated to the premise that milk causes weight loss as they state,

    "The current body of research supporting dairy's role in weight management includes randomized clinical trials (considered the "gold standard" of science), observational, animal and cellular studies conducted by leading research institutions throughout the country."
    This post is for the benefit of my American readers - if you'd like to petition the FTC to actually do something, please complain.

    Click here to be linked to the FTC's online complaint form.

    No Marijuana Weight Loss Drug Yet

    So last week Sanofi-Aventis pulled their marijuana receptor based drug rimonabant from the FDA's application process.

    It seemed that the drug, widely touted as the next great thing in medical weight loss, worked alright as a weight loss aid but had the nasty habit of inducing psychic side effects including suicidal ideation.

    Rather than risk getting rejected from the FDA (I imagine that would hurt sales in the EU where the drug is in fact approved), Sanofi pulled the application.

    Sanofi had sunk a tremendous amount of money into the research and development of the drug and shares dropped close to 5% on the news.

    Sanofi had predicted over $3 billion per year of global sales of the drug and spent tremendous amounts of money marketing it even before its eventual non release in the States. I remember they were the only booth at the last Obesity Society conference with red carpets, plasma screen televisions, slick handouts and for some odd reason, frozen yogurt bars.

    Bottom line here, while certainly I'd welcome a weight loss medication that was safe, effective with little in the way of side effects, it doesn't appear that we're too much closer.

    Monday, July 02, 2007

    Help Wanted

    So no formal post today (it's a long weekend in Canada) but I thought I'd use the blog to advertise a job working with me and the other folks over at the Bariatric Medical Institute located in Ottawa, Ontario Canada.

    Our great front desk person has decided to go back to school and consequently we've got an opening.

    Knowing that I have a fair number of readers in Ottawa I thought I'd advertise the position here.

    It's a full time position.

    Here's our ad from the paper,

    "We are looking for someone who loves working with people, is great at multi-tasking, is a team player and thrives off of challenge and responsibility. Our professional, holistic and unique medical office is looking for an office Administrator/Receptionist to join our team and our extremely positive and upbeat work environment. You will be responsible for answering 3 very busy lines, booking appointments, dealing with payments and most importantly playing an important role in overall patient relations.

    Working with us you will have access to a full gym facility as well as shower and change rooms. Physical activity and healthy living are the primary focus of our work and therefore we view your active lifestyle as a great asset.

    Our offered salary is highly competitive and includes a generous benefits package while the position has ample room for growth into an office management position.

    We look forward to meeting with you.
    If you or someone you know might be interested please send or have them send their resume to jobs(at)bmimedical.ca.

    Thank you!