Archive for November, 2016

Chasing the Genes That Shape Our Bodies

November 30, 2016 — Genes play a profound role in shaping our bodies, as does the environment into which we are born. To date, more than 80 genetic variations have been linked to BMI and body fat distribution. Atul Chopra and colleagues at Baylor College of medicine are studying a defect in the FBN1 gene that can have a profound […]

Low Fact Reporting on Sweeteners

November 29, 2016 — Is factual reporting on sweeteners no longer a possibility? A sampling of recent headlines raises that question. Here are a few: How Sugar Substitutes Prevent Weight Loss Which Is Worse: Artificial Sweeteners or Sugar? Why Researchers Think Aspartame Is Making You Fat Low Calorie Drinks Actually Boost Weight The cause for these headlines was a […]

Magical Blue Cheese Thinking with a Dab of Science

November 28, 2016 — The sciency food news of the week says blue cheese has magical health benefits, thanks to a compound found in aged cheeses – spermidine. Medical Daily tells us: New research suggests that certain types of this rich dairy staple may be able to promote heart health and even extend your lifespan. The Sydney Morning Herald […]

Are Randomized Controlled Trials Overrated?

November 27, 2016 — Randomized controlled trials are either a nuisance or a godsend – just depending on the question at hand and the questioner. A recent kerfuffle about flossing has people (like Jamie Holmes at New America) suggesting that they might be overrated. Writing in the New York Times Holmes says: Experiments, of course, are invaluable and have, in the past, shown the consensus […]

Mixed Signals on Trump Food Policy

November 26, 2016 — Food policy wonks are agitated and confused. Many of them worry about withdrawal from the lavish attention their pet issues received from the soon to be former First Lady Michelle Obama. Some, who are more sympathetic to the food industry, see an opening. But the signals are decidedly mixed on Trump Food Policy. Early in the […]

Weight Regain, Microbes, and Yo-Yo Reporting

November 25, 2016 — How does a mouse study about the role of gut microbes in weight regulation become a study of “yo-yo dieting?” The answer, unfortunately, is heavy-handed academic public relations and sloppy health reporting. The case in point is a perfectly good mouse study published yesterday in the journal Nature. The authors found evidence in mice that […]

Thanksgiving: From Bounty to Blessings

November 24, 2016 — Bounty and blessings are two distinct aspects of this Thanksgiving day in America. Many images of the holiday evoke a bountiful feast. In a classic study, Melanie Wallendorf and Eric Arnould described Thanksgiving as a consumption ritual. Thanksgiving Day is a collective ritual that celebrates material abundance enacted through feasting. Thanksgiving Day both marks and proves […]

Chipotle Chorizo Burrito: What Calories?

November 23, 2016 — Call it bad luck or call it bad karma. Chipotle has been having more than its share. The latest turn of the screw is a class action lawsuit for false advertising. This wound is a self-inflicted. In-store advertising depicted a new chorizo burrito as having only 300 calories. In fact, just the chorizo is 300 […]

Forget the Health Sites, Dolly Has Better Health Advice

November 22, 2016 — You might think a magazine or website devoted to health is the best place to look for health advice. But unfortunately, you would be wrong about that. A new study of the health advice in popular Australian magazines concludes: Australian magazines, especially those with health in the title, generally presented poor quality, unreliable health advice. Teen […]

This Is Us: Working on Weight Loss Under Contract

November 21, 2016 — What could be worse than living with obesity and feeling like you’re invisible? How about having the whole world watch while you work on your weight under the terms of an employment contract? That’s a circumstance that actress Chrissy Metz is embracing. When she signed on for the role of Kate in the hit show, […]