Friday, April 30, 2010

Boys will be boys

Somehow the foreign language in this prank makes it that much funnier.

Today's Funny Friday, a trick you can play on your friends or family.

Have a great weekend!

(email subscribers head to the blog to watch the video)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Is Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi stupid, misinformed, deluded, ignorant or evil?

You pick, but it seems to me it's got to be one of those five choices.


Because just two days ago Indra told reporters from Fortune magazine,

"If all consumers exercised, did what they had to do, the problem of obesity wouldn't exist."
Forget about the fact that doubly-labeled water experiments suggests activity levels haven't actually changed much over the course of the past 3 decades. Forget about all those studies that state we're eating on average an extra meal worth of calories a day since the 70s. Forget about the fact that portion sizes have grown astronomically and that you can't pump gas, go to the gym, visit a hospital or walk down the street without an unending, easily accessibly supply of calories and junk food.

It's exercise stupid. Why can't we just exercise.

I bet that the hundreds of millions of overweight folks out there haven't ever tried to exercise to lose weight - because clearly if they did, they'd be skinny by now and drinking all the Pepsi they want, right Indra?

Never mind the studies that report that regardless of the amount of exercise overweight women do, in the absence of dietary change they just keep gaining weight. Never mind the fact that obesity rates in toddlers have risen dramatically - clearly they're just not hitting the gym hard enough, lord knows I have a tough time getting my 3 year old to do her squats and bench presses.

The thing is, someone like Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi isn't likely to be stupid or ignorant - you don't get to be the CEO of a massive corporation by being stupid or ignorant. She's also unlikely to be delusional and given her stature, it'd be someone's head if she were misinformed.

So she's likely not stupid, misinformed, deluded or ignorant (though I suppose anything's possible).

And while I can't state for certain she's evil, as far as I'm concerned willfully, knowingly, and deliberately trying to deflect any modicum of Big Food corporate blame for obesity by shifting the entirety of the blame to individuals, is.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Boy Scouts should be prepared for a rise in sloth.


Apparently they've just commissioned a new badge for their scouts to earn.

The video game badge.


Just checked my calendar and it's not April 1st.

Sad sign of the times.

The weekend is 28.57% of the week

Does this sound like you - lose weight Monday through Friday and gain it back on the weekend?

It's one of the many unfairnesses of weight management. 2 quick days can easily erase a week of best intentions.

How does that happen?

Well weekends are actually pretty long.

I know, it sure doesn't feel that way but indeed, weekends take up roughly 30% of our weeks.

Get disorganized, go out to eat a few times, have a few drinks or simply have a "write-off" and suddenly nearly a third of your week is gone. Worse still, for folks actively trying to lose weight a weekend of indulgences can easily erase 2-3 days of great efforts leaving a person with just a day or two a week to lose. Have life throw a hiccup or two on those days and kiss your week's weight loss goodbye even if the majority of the week you were actually doing great.

Weekends need to follow the same rules as the week. Eat every 2-3 hours, be calorie aware and only eat out for celebration. Don't waste your calories eating in a food court because you didn't plan your day's shopping well, or lounge around till 11am only to have a 2,000 calorie brunch just because it's Sunday.

If you're serious about weight management your efforts need to occur 7 days of the week where effort means minimizing hunger with well organized meals, snacks and macronutrients and also means knowing what you're eating. It doesn't mean don't indulge, it just means ensure hunger doesn't fuel your indulgences and that you've thought about them to ensure they're actually worth their calories to you.

5 steps forward and 2 steps back when it comes to weekends often translates to 5 steps forward and 5 steps back.

Seems a shame to let 28.57% of your week erase the remaining 71.43%.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

So about Danone's Activia and DanActive Health Claims...

For those who aren't as odd as I am and read multiple international food newsletters like Nutraingredients, here's what's going on:

1. A little over a year ago in Europe Danone withdrew their claims of probiotic health benefits for Activia and Actimel (known as DanActive here in Canada and also in the US). They withdrew them in response to the European Food Safety Authority's newer regulations which demand rigorous scientific proof for all claims or else they can't be made. At the time, Danone reported they needed to review the new regulatory environment before submitting their claim dossiers and therefore it doesn't seem too much of a stretch to assume that their supporting dossier wouldn't have stood up to the new levels of scrutiny.

That's of course fair. If there were less hoops to jump through before, it would seem reasonable that the dossier they prepared prior to the changes wasn't up to new snuff.

Ten months later Danone resubmitted their claims and then last week re-withdrew them.

Makes it really tough to argue this time that the dossier they submitted ten months after they retracted their old one wasn't up to the new snuff.

Why they withdrew their claims for consideration is anyone's guess. That said I imagine that the last thing Danone would want would be a formal rejection of their claims as that certainly wouldn't be good for business - better to just pull out on their own.

2. In the States Danone is known as Dannon and 2008 saw Dannon settling a class action lawsuit regarding Activia and DanActive health claims to the tune of $35 million. The terms of the settlement don't in fact have Dannon suggesting their claims aren't true but rather states that Dannon preferred to avoid the distraction and expense of litigation. $35 million seems like quite a large expense and distraction. Did they really think it would have taken $35 million to prove their claims were true and is it really that distracting for a massive multi-national corporation to have their lawyers working on their case?

I've been told by someone in the know that here in Canada Danone's been extremely careful not to make specific product claims but rather use inference to promote their suggested probiotic benefits. It would seem that's at least partially true as at least one of these yogurts is still promoting specific health claims - claims presumably pulled from consideration in Europe and the subject of a settled class action lawsuit in the States.

Before we get there, first let's look at the inferential claim. For evidence of this head over to Activia's homepage and you'll see a downward facing arrow on a naked belly with an animation of falling balls, the addition of a probiotic cleverly named B. regularis , and the mention that B. regularis remains active in the intestinal system. Looking at their FAQ you will see some benefits of B. regularis mentioned, but none for Activia the yogurt.

Danactive on the other hand has a very specific claim on its website (and in the photo up above taken at my local supermarket),

"DanActiveTM helps strengthen your natural defenses".
Ultimately I'm surprised that an enterprising class action lawyer here hasn't jumped on this bandwagon.

I'm certainly not an expert in probiotics or the law, but it would seem to me that with the groundwork in the US where Dannon seemed to rather a $35 million settlement to the "distraction and expense" of litigation, and Europe where they keep withdrawing their dossiers for consideration, as well as the claims being inferred by Activia and explicitly made by DanActive here in Canada that this would be a ripe area for an enterprising lawyer.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The food-pocalypse is nigh.

Now I'm not a theologian, but I'm pretty sure this is an official sign of the apocalypse.

It's the Bob Evans automated gravy dispenser.

According to the advertisement, buy one gravy dispenser for the low, low price of $595 and receive 4 FREE cases of gravy!

So my question to the readers out there, and no it's not the obvious who in their right minds would want to eat this, my question is what's up with the vomity gravy? I mean that's the food stylist's shot. If that's the best it can look, can you imagine what actually comes out of one of those machines?

Best line ever?

"Gross profit from free gravy"
Gross profit indeed.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday Stories

Sorry, was a crazy, crazy week and did barely any reading.

Doug Powell from Barfblog covers the story of the 4th grader whose science fair experiment showed that Purell doesn't kill E. coli.

Marion Nestle and the very exciting news that the American 2010 Dietary Guidelines might actually be evidenced based!

Want to tell Susan G. Komen for the cure to stop "pinkwashing" KFC? You can send them a note with just a few simple clicks.

A fantastic video taking us around the world in 80 seconds.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A compliation of infomercials' best idiots

You know the ones - the ones that can't crack eggs, pour milk, put an iron on an ironing board. They're the "before" pictures of the informercials and some genius decided to string them all together into one clip of idiocy.

Have a great weekend!

(email subscribers - head to the blog to watch the video)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A gentle request for help

One of the most important factors for success in life is a good education.

Certainly without it I wouldn't be writing this blog and likely you wouldn't be reading it.

I was lucky. My parents were very generous and so was the Bank of Montreal and between them I was able to weather 11 years of University. Unfortunately, not everyone is that lucky and sadly not everyone has the means or the fortune to pursue higher education.

To that end my office, the Bariatric Medical Institute, is launching our first (and hopefully annual) Movement for Youth Bursary Challenge.

Working with the Champions for Children Foundation and the Nepean Sportsplex we've put together an event we hope will help underprivileged youth get a higher education.

We've rented the entire Nepean Sportsplex for an "open house" the afternoon of Saturday May the 1st. Skating, open gym, spinning class, the weight room, volleyball Court, bike trails and badminton courts will be open for you to explore with no admission fees.

We're hoping to raise $15,000 for the Champion's for Children's Dare to Dream Bursary Program and in so doing provide ten $1,500 scholarships for youth pursuing their educational dreams.

If you're a regular reader of my blog (or a kind hearted visitor), I'd greatly appreciate it if you could consider sponsoring my fundraising for the event. The blog's truly a labour of love and I sincerely hope you enjoy reading it and while I'll never monetize it with advertisements, I may, from time to time, like today, ask you for some love in return in the form of generosity for a great cause.

To give simply click here to get taken to my donations page. Donations greater than $10 will receive a tax receipt.

And of course, if you're in Ottawa, please come on out and support us and enjoy a great afternoon, fee-free at the Sportsplex.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Coca Cola's latest deceit

Here's a case study on deceitful marketing that I cut out of my local newspaper.

The ad screams,

"Up-front Calorie Labeling. No need to read between the lines"
and goes on to explain,
"the easier it is to find the calories, the easier it is to make the choices that help you and your family achieve a sensible, balanced diet"
Now putting aside the fact that Coca Cola has no place in a sensible balanced diet let's go back to how easy it is to find the calories.

Looking at this helpful new label it would appear that the bottle of Coca Cola has 110 calories. No need to read between the lines.

What it doesn't mention is that while there might not be a need to read between the lines, there's a need to read below the lines and then follow that up with some long division and multiplication.

If you look just below the large fonted 110 you might notice the small fonted calories/250ml qualifier.

The bottle is 591mL.

591mL/250mL * 110 calories = 260 calories.

Coca Cola folks, when you read this - 260 calories in big type on a 591mL bottle would be up-front labeling. 110 calories in big type on a 591mL bottle with small print below stating /250mL? That's just slimy marketing.

[UPDATE May 8th, 2010: Saw some cans at the store. They were labeled correctly with total calories for the whole container and not just 250mL. Looks like their deceit is limited to their national campaign launching the program]

[Hat tip to Twitter's @kidactivecanada]

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Susan G. Komen for the Cure doesn't understand breast cancer.

You'd think they would.

You see Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a charity set up in 1982 in memory of breast cancer victim Susan G. Komen. According to their website they've raised over $1.5 billion for the fight against breast cancer.

So why would I suggest they don't understand breast cancer? Simple. For this year's runs they've teamed up with KFC in their, "Buckets for the Cure" campaign. By teaming up with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, KFC is able to advertise their buckets of chicken as a tool in the fight against breast cancer - something that will likely drive sales of deep-fried chicken as well as help with their corporate image. A whole 50 cents from every pink bucket sold will go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure with a minimum KFC contribution of $1 million.

For KFC this is an incredible coup. Not only is this a feel-good cause but they're likely to make a fortune off of it. KFC hopes to donate $8.5 million to Susan G. Komen for the Cure and by my calculations that'll mean the sale of 17 million pink buckets of chicken.

17 million pink buckets containing 255 million pieces of deep-fried chicken, and I imagine that along with the 17 million pink buckets KFC will sell at least 34 million medium orders of fries, 17 million orders of gravy and 17 million orders of a KFC "salad".

So in effect Susan G. Komen for the Cure is helping to sell deep fried fast food and in so doing, helping to fuel unhealthy diets and obesity across America, an odd plan given that diet and obesity certainly impact on both the incidence and recurrence of breast cancer.

According to the helpful summary found at the National Cancer Institute, obesity increases the relative risk of developing post menopausal breast cancer by 50%. They also report that maintaining a body mass index of 25 could prevent 11,000 to 18,000 deaths per year from breast cancer in U.S. women over age 50, that breast cancer is more likely to be detected at a later stage in obese women than in lean women, and that weight gain during adulthood has been found to be the most consistent and strongest predictor of breast cancer risk in studies in which it has been examined.

It would be one thing if KFC simply handed over a cheque to Susan G. Komen for the Cure in the amount of $8.5 million - that'd be incredibly generous and welcome. However it's quite another thing for Susan G. Komen for the Cure to sell their name to KFC and allow them to use it to encourage the consumption of high calorie, high sodium fast food and the promotion of a lifestyle that increases the risk of not only breast cancer, but a myriad of diet and weight related illnesses. That's just reprehensible.

Shame on you Susan G. Komen for the Cure, surely you know better and yet you've chosen greed over responsibility.

Want to tell Susan G. Komen for the cure to stop "pinkwashing" KFC? You can send them a note with just a few simple clicks.

(Below is KFC's TV spot showing how they're using this partnership to sell goodwill and bad chicken - email subscribers will have to head to the blog to watch)

[Hat tip to my friend Julie from Dinner with Julie]

Monday, April 19, 2010

The call to retire Ronald McDonald

Notice I didn't title the post the call for Ronald McDonald to retire.

There's a difference there. Some news reports on this new campaign, a campaign spearheaded by Corporate Accountability International at Retire Ronald, suggest that the campaign is simply for McDonald's to give the clown his walking papers.

That's actually not the case, the case is to retire the ability of the food industry to utilize characters like Ronald to market their fare to kids.


Because that clown embodies an advertising practice that has preyed on generations of children and certainly has been a real contributor to societal obesity. That practice? Targeting children who aren't able to discern truth from advertising to utilize kids' "nag power" to control their parents' purse strings while at the same time cultivating lifelong brand loyalty.

Ronald's more than just a restaurant clown, he's also a charity clown in places like Ronald McDonald house, a comfort clown in hospitals, a teacher clown in schools and an activity clown at sporting events.

Ultimately though, he's still a clown and as such he's clearly designed to appeal to our children.

The call isn't for McDonald's to retire Ronald, it's for society to retire him. Pressure from society to lawmakers may ultimately lead Ronald and his ilk to be legislated out the door.

From their report, The Case for Ronald McDonald's Retirement, Corporate Accountability International's call for action includes:

• The end of all use of celebrities, cartoons, and branded and licensed characters that appeal to children

• The elimination of all gifts, toys, collectibles, games or other incentive items from kids meals;


• The removal of all advertising and promotional materials from places children visit frequently including schools, playgrounds, recreation and community centers, and pediatric health care centers.

I signed the retire Ronald petition. Will you?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday Stories

The Chicago Tribune takes a very deserved, long hard look at "America's Doctor", Dr. Oz, and the quakery he now espouses.

Scott Gavura on Health Canada's regulation of sugar pills.

And a great video on garbage in our oceans (email subscribers, head to the blog).

Friday, April 16, 2010

Old Jews telling jokes talks sex and schmaltz


That's yiddish for rendered chicken fat.

You need to know that to enjoy this week's Funny Friday video.

Have a great weekend!

(email subscribers you've got to head to the blog to view)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

10 common fast food sandwiches way worse than KFC's Double Down.

I can't get over all the hoopla surrounding the Double Down.

It's definitely a Frankenfood, but more from the yuck factor perspective than the nutritional perspective - certainly it was the yuck that hooked me.

Personally I think KFC's Double Down is more of a marketing home run than something KFC actually expects to sell a lot of. I wouldn't be surprised at all if in a few years it's gone from the menu due to lack of sales and I also wouldn't be surprised if its appearance doesn't spur an increase in this quarter's KFC profits simply by getting curious feet marching through its doors.

Nutritionally it sure is salty at 1,380mg of sodium, but calorically it's a bit of a fast food yawn at 540 calories.

That said, think of the incredible amount of coverage it's received. According to Google there's been over 3,000 news stories on KFC's Double Down in the past month. The blogosphere has 460,000 hits (including mine). But nutritionally is it really worth all the attention? When it comes down to it, nutritionally it's pretty much a Big Mac which also clocks in at 540 calories and a smidge less sodium at 1,020mg.

Interestingly in the coverage reporters and bloggers seem aghast that KFC's selling the Double Down. Really, is it KFC's job to look after our health? If you want to fault someone for KFC selling the Double Down (or for fast food in general) I'd point the finger at us. Why us? KFC and everyone else is just selling what the people want and buy. If we want healthier fare then we need to make it clear that we won't buy the garbage anymore. Industry, unlike government, reacts quickly to consumer demand. If we demanded health, we'd get it. The problem is, we don't demand it.

Want some perspective? Here are ten common fast food items, all of which top the Double Down in nutritional deviance and some of which put the Double Down to shame when it comes to unhealthy eating. This was by no means a difficult search either, took literally 10 minutes, and had I bothered to explore items other than sandwiches I'd have found offerings that would have put these numbers to shame:

10. Dunkin' Donuts Tuna (Albacore) Sandwich
660 calories, 1,280mg sodium

9. Au Bon Pain Southwest Tuna Wrap
760 calories, 1,570mg sodium

8. A&W Double Mozza Burger
780 calories, 1,230mg sodium

7. Arby's Roast Turkey Ranch and Bacon Sandwich
830 calories, 2,270mg sodium

6. Burger King Steakhouse XT with Cheese Burger
1,000 calories, 2,090mg sodium

5. Dairy Queen 1/2lb Flamethrower Burger
1,010 calories, 1,540mg sodium

4. Boston Pizza Boston Cheesesteak Sandwich
1,140 calories, 3,900mg sodium

3. Ruby Tuesday's Avocado Turkey Burger
1,234 calories, 2,961mg sodium

2. Applebees Quesadilla Burger
1,420 calories, 3,740mg sodium

1. Quizno's Prime Rib Cheesesteak Sub (that's it in the photo above)
1,770 calories, 2,895mg sodium

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Study reveals reason why sleep deprivation leads to weight gain

Get ready for it.

Sleep deprivation leads to weight gain because people who are sleep deprived eat more.

The study was a small one. 12 men completed a randomized 2-condition crossover study where the conditions involved sleeping for 8 hours or sleeping for 4 hours. Following their sleeps the men were allowed to eat freely and consumption was recorded. Subjects also wore actimeters to measure physical activity and the men were also polled as to feelings of hunger, pleasantness of food, cravings and sensation of sleepiness.

The results?

Total physical activity was effectively the same whether sleep deprived or not and if anything showed a trend towards greater activity in the sleep deprived state. There was no difference in feelings of hunger, perceived pleasantness of food, or cravings. Not even remotely surprisingly, when sleep deprived subjects felt sleepier.

So what difference was found? When sleep deprived people ate a whole lot more. On average they ate 20% more calories the day after a poor night sleep than the day after a good one.

In terms of why this might occur other studies have found the hunger hormone ghrelin to be elevated following sleep deprivation which may explain things physiologically. To explain the physiology the authors speculated to Reuters that perhaps a heightened drive to eat following sleep deprivation would reflect an aim to store calories in the longer days of summer where nights are shorter and food more plentiful, prior to a long, hard, dark winter.

Bottom line?

Sleeping better may help you with your weight management efforts and certainly is something all physicians and allied health professionals should assess in a weight management screen.

Brondel, L., Romer, M., Nougues, P., Touyarou, P., & Davenne, D. (2010). Acute partial sleep deprivation increases food intake in healthy men American Journal of Clinical Nutrition DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28523

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Toronto's Peel Region schools schedule lunch at what time now?


Yup, you read that right, according to an article on Parent Central, some schools in Toronto's Peel region have their kids eating "lunch" at 9:50am.

Crazy, right?

Not just crazy, I'd argue nutritionally irresponsible and were there such a thing, nutritionally criminal.


Feed kids "lunch" at 9:50am with the expectation that they might have time to snack somewhere later in the day but with no plan for a real meal until dinner and you'll accomplish a whole bunch of horrible stuff. The kids' attention spans will be shot so their learning will be impaired, they're going to be starving at some point so their dietary choices are going to be impacted and their hunger is going to fuel huge dinner portions and heighten their risk of childhood obesity.

The rationale?

Apparently it's because of overcrowding in the lunchroom and instead of buying some portables or allowing lunch to be consumed in classrooms the Peel District School board has decided it'd be preferable to hamstring their students' educations and increase their students' risk of developing childhood obesity.

Great plan there Peel. Way to think through a problem.

[Hat tip to my friend Brad from the Canadian Obesity Network who commented to me regarding his 6 year old, "If Jack ate lunch at 10:00 he would kill another child to eat him, by, say, 2:00"]

Monday, April 12, 2010

Frankenfood - Lollipop edition

Yup, lollipop.

To be exact, a maple syrup, bacon, caffeinated energy lollipop that contains the equivalent amount of caffeine as you'd find in 2 cups of coffee!

I'll let the folks who're selling it describe it for you,

"we’ve made it the bacon-y equivalent of an energy drink, adding two cups worth of caffeine to the already time-tested wonder of organic, sustainably farmed bacon and delicious Vermont maple syrup."
Want one?

4 for $10 or 36 for $52.

(If it gets sold in Canada I bet our backwards Natural Health Product Directorate would award it a Natural Health Product license. Stay tuned for more on this in the coming week or two)

And for a followup from last week's Frankenfood post, in case you're wondering what an actual version of KFC's infamous Double Down looks like (as opposed to their advertising shots), here's one from Houston [via The Consumerist]

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saturday Stories

Some crazy guy on Slate details his plan to bail on the internet for 4 months leaving me feeling both jealous and smug at the same time.

Millon Dollar Journey discusses the fear of money.

David Katz on how the world needs a new "Fattitude" and at the same times explains why he can't support organizations like NAAFA.

My friend Travis from Obesity Panacea explains how staircases are "the easiest exercise intervention ever"

Friday, April 09, 2010

The best of Old Jews Telling Jokes

I love Old Jews Telling Jokes and thankfully the folks over there have compiled their best jokes of 2009.

The jokes run one after another so today for Funny Friday, sit back and enjoy.

Have a great weekend!

(Remember, email subscribers have to head to the blog to watch)

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Top 10 things to look for in a weight loss program

Unfortunately not everyone involved in weight management utilize evidence-based practices. Fraud, both well-intentioned but misinformed and overtly unethical, runs rampant in the weight loss industry.

To help navigate your way through the unregulated maze of commercial weight loss options, have a peek at the following list and unless a program meets all 10 criteria, don't join!

1. The program is not a one-size-fits-all diet and has individualized nutritional, exercise and behavioural components.

2. Nutritional advice is provided by a physician or a registered dietitian (in Quebec, nutritionists can also be added to this list).

3. Exercise is encouraged but physical activity is promoted at a gradual, rather than at an injury-inducing rapid pace

4. Reasonable weight loss goals are set encouraging at most a 3lb per week pace and the program does not promise or imply dramatic, rapid, weight-loss as an outcome

5. The program does not require large sums of money at the start or make clients sign contracts for expensive, long-term programs without the option of at least partial refunds (which you should discuss with them before enrolling)

6. The program does not promote diets lower than 800 Calories daily and if less than 1200 daily are supervised by a physician.

7. The program does not require the use or purchase of any products, supplements, vitamins or injections

8. The program does not make outlandish claims such as, “you will only lose fat” or that they are able to, “target” problem areas.

9. The program has an established maintenance program optionally available.

10. The program is able to provide you with statistics that include the percentage of clients who drop out, the average percentage of weight loss and the average weight loss sustained following completion of their maintenance program.

The Federal Trade Commission in the States also has a resource to help and here you can read their how to choose a weight loss program recommendations.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A black belt in weight management?

Bear with me here.

Have you ever seen a martial arts movie?

If you answered "yes" then can you picture in your head one of those jumping spinning hook kicks? You know the one where you'd be doing an aerial 360 and finally landing your foot on the bad guy's face. And if you can picture one in your head, can you jump up and do one?

Probably not.

If you wanted to learn how to do one would you on your own simply try over and over again?


Would you buy a martial arts book, read it and then try?

Probably not.

What you'd probably do is find a martial arts expert to teach, guide and help you. You'd join his or her school, you'd start with the basics of punching and kicking and over time, with considerable practice, you'd work yourself up to that jumping spinning kick.

Now on to weight management.

Everyone's got their own mind's eye view of what it would look like, yet unlike jumping spinning hook kicks people seem to have it in their heads that they ought to be able to just jump up and do it.

Sure everyone's got an idea about what weight management looks like and ultimately like a jumping, spinning, hook kick it can be mechanistically broken down into simple instructions, but that doesn't mean you can just jump up and do it and frankly were it that straight forward, I'd be in another line of work and everyone out there would be as skinny and fit as they wanted to be.

The good news is there are in fact lots of folks out there who can help you with modifying your energy input, output or both.

If you're having a tough time just jumping up and doing it maybe you should find yourself a healthy living dojo or sensei, join, and just as if it were a true martial art be patient and don't expect to be doing the jumping, spinning, hook kick anytime soon but do enjoy your journey getting there.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Frankenfood showdown: KFC's Double Down vs. McDonald's Mc10:35

And people claim it's because we're less active.

In the fried corner we've got KFC's "Double Down". Until now available only in select markets but the business folks over at KFC have determined that there's a national appetite for this breadless beast. Two deep fried chicken fillets serve as the bun for two pieces of bacon and two slices of processed cheese. 540 calories and 1,380mg of sodium.

In the someone-must-have-been-high-to-try-this corner is McDonald's Mc10:35

You've never seen the Mc10:35? Doesn't mean you can't have one as necessity is the mother of invention, and necessity here is apparently the need to eat something repulsive at 10:35am.

The Mc10:35 is a "secret" menu item that's making some social networking waves. It's called the Mc10:35 because it's only available at or around 10:35am. You see 10:30am is when breakfast changes to lunch at McDonald's. To order the Mc10:35 you'll have to order one of the day's last McMuffins and simultaneously order a McDouble. When your order arrives reassemble by taking the egg and bacon from the McMuffin and added them to the McDouble. Voila a Mc10:35. Estimated calories 560, estimated sodium 1,300mg.

Nutritionally? Pretty much a wash. Yuck factor? Flip a coin.

The winner?

The Double Down. Because it's actually a real menu item whereas the Mc10:35 for now is something hungover college students will have to build for themselves.

[Hat tip to many of my readers who wrote in about the Double Down and to the Consumerist for alerting me to the existence of the Mc10:35]

Monday, April 05, 2010

Menu labeling law impact? Outback to launch sub-500 calorie entrees.

Folks like me love to bash Outback. With appetizers like Bloomin' Onions with 1,565 calories and 5,510mg of sodium and Aussie Cheese Fries with 2,136 calories and 2,344mg of sodium (and great, I-bet-you-a-million-bucks-they're-not-included-on-the-menu "serves 6" guidance on their online nutritional calculator) they're an easy target.

Well I can't bash them on this one - they plan to roll out entrees with less than 500 calories a piece.

I predict the sub-500 calorie entree is a trend that we'll see sweep the fast-casual restaurants and I believe that the new menu labeling law will fuel it.

Like it or not Americans are about to get schooled in calories and whether they're watching their weight or not, as the numbers slowly start to sink into their subconsciousness', as they gain reference points, diners are going to start using calories to help make decisions and unless there are lower calorie options available, some restaurants are going to lose business.

Never thought I'd say this but kudos to Outback Steakhouse!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Saturday Stories

Kristin Brinner explains how dog food is more regulated than "natural" dietary supplements"

Kevin MD covers the case of is the American Heart Association shilling for Diet Coke?

Drs. Thomas Fairey and Richard Daines from New York make a very compelling case for soda taxes.

Dan Gardner on political short-sightedness as it pertains the fertility flop.

David Katz on the shortcomings of "Eat Food, not too much, mostly plants".

Gawker had me in stitches with their piece explaining why if you use foursquare you're a jackass.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Oh fudge! Elementary school scarface.

I know, I know, it's horrifying, but that doesn't mean it isn't funny.

Somehow I doubt I'll be able to convince my kids' school to choose Scarface as their school play.

Have a great weekend!

(Remember, email subscribers needs to visit the blog to watch)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Will subsidizing healthy food lead to buying more junk?

No one said changing the world would be easy.

Certainly one of the strategies put forth to change our nutritional environment is the subsidization of healthy foods.

The theory is pretty straight forward - make healthier foods cheaper and people will buy more of them.

The practice may be slightly different than the theory.

A paper published ahead of print in the journal Psychological Science studied the effects of healthy food subsidizies on the purchasing behaviour of 42 mothers. Half were from low-income families and half high. All moms had at least one child between the ages of 6 and 18 at home and all moms were their family's primary grocery shopper.

Researchers set up a make believe grocery store and divided food into high-calorie for nutrient foods (bad foods) and low-calorie for nutrient foods (good foods) based off of Drewnowski's scoring system.

Participants were given $22.50 in make believe dollars and told to imagine that she had no food in the house and she was to purchase groceries for her family for the week. Prices of foods were based off grocery prices and different scenarios were played out.

Two of the scenarios involved lowering the prices of the good for you foods.

The results?

When good for you foods were subsidized moms did in fact buy more of them. But they also bought more bad for you food - in fact they bought more extra bad for you food than extra good for you food. When the price of the good for you foods was lowered by 10%, moms bought 10.3% more bad for you food but only 6.8% more good for you food.

The authors' conclusions?

If we're looking to use pricing to motivate healthier dietary choices sticks (taxes) may well work better than carrots (subsidies).

Epstein, L., Dearing, K., Roba, L., & Finkelstein, E. (2010). The Influence of Taxes and Subsidies on Energy Purchased in an Experimental Purchasing Study Psychological Science, 21 (3), 406-414 DOI: 10.1177/0956797610361446