The Top 10 Stories of 2014

In 2014, more than 80,000 readers consumed the stories we published every day here at ConscienHealth. The New York Times and the New England Journal of Medicine clearly have nothing to fear, but it amazes us that a growing number of people seek out the admittedly esoteric stuff we’re writing. Thanks for making it worth writing!

Old and New Nutrition FactsHere are the ten stories that captured the widest interest in 2014.

  1. Food Labels. In February, FDA announced three big changes in food labels and made the news that more people read on ConscienHealth than any other in 2014. When they’re implemented, calories will be displayed more prominently, serving sizes will be more realistic, and added sugars will be there for the first time.
  2. Metabolic Effects of the Biggest Loser. A study published in Obesity in September found that losing weight on the Biggest Loser led to significantly more slowing of metabolism than losing weight with bariatric surgery. Despite an intense exercise regimen, Biggest Loser participants might be more at risk for weight regain than surgery patients.
  3. How Many Calories Make a Pound of Fat? Just last week, our story about a myth that keeps getting repeated — by folks who should know better — leapt into the top tier of all stories for 2014. Hint: anybody who tells you that 3500 calories makes a pound of fat should be regarded with suspicion.
  4. Low-Calorie Sweeteners. Despite substantial evidence and authoritative analyses that they are safe and helpful substitutes for sugar, people with little regard for the facts continue to make wild claims about all the bad things that low-calorie sweeteners can do to you.
  5. Behaviors That Matter More Than Weight. Any good dietitian or obesity medicine physician will tell you that healthy behaviors matter more than weight. The REGARDS study provides perspective on this in an analysis of outcomes for people with coronary disease.
  6. Dr. Oz Goes to Washington. People were dumbfounded by an announcement last summer that Dr. Oz would be telling a U.S. Senate committee about weight-loss scams. Then they were delighted when senators grilled him for his role in promoting them.
  7. Maternal Health & Obesity. A growing body of evidence points to the importance of the metabolic health of mothers for addressing the excess of obesity.
  8. Mistakes & Gaps in Obesity. Too often, we repeat the same mistakes in trying to address obesity and progress is slower than it needs to be as a result.
  9. Cleansing Diets. What the heck is a cleansing diet and why are people so ready to embrace this nonsense?
  10. New Obesity Treatments. 2014 was a big year for new obesity treatments. An FDA advisory committee recommended approval of the first new medical device for obesity in years. Another committee voted for approval of liraglutide by the widest margin in recent memory. And more is on the way.

Building on everything that happened in 2014, we expect that 2015 will be hold even more interesting developments for those of us interested in nutrition, health, and obesity.

Ten, photograph © seagers / flickr

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