Count to Ten

The Top Ten Most Read Stories of 2019

So far this year, about 130,000 of you have read our posts. It boggles our mind. But of course, nobody reads all of the daily posts we offer up. So as this year closes out, we think it makes sense to take stock of the stories that most commanded your attention this year. Thus we give you the top ten of 2019. They’re ranked by how many people read them, as best we can tell.

Click on any of the items and you can open up the original post.

1. Low-Fat or Low-Carb, Results Will Vary

This year, word of mouth and popular press suggest that low-carb diets are fantastically effective – especially ketogenic diets. Low-fat diets are passé.

But it’s all anecdotes. Look at the data and you’ll find that, on average, a low-carb dietary pattern works about as well as all the others. No better and no worse.

Different people respond differently to different options. The only thing that matters is what works for you. Figuring that out can be a matter of trial and error. A skilled dietitian can be a big help.

2. Does Physical Activity and Self-Weighting Prevent Regain?

It’s basic physiology and it’s the bane of obesity care – weight regain. When a person loses weight, homeostasis kicks in. The body protects itself by working really hard to restore its reserves of energy in fat tissue. But the lore of weight loss holds that a person can fight that off with physical activity and vigilant self-weighing.

Is it true? Sadly, not 100 percent.

3. Diet Soda: Beating a Correlation to Death

How many times have researchers (perhaps with an agenda) documented a correlation between diet sodas and cardiovascular disease? Who cares, say the editors of Stroke. Apparently, the click bait is irresistable. But no matter how many times they repeat the finding, it tells us nothing about causality.

Worth noting: if you measure how many times people shared each of these posts, this one grabs the #1 spot.

4. Flummoxed by an Imaginary Concept of Healthy Food

“Healthy food” may now be more of an imaginary concept than a objective entity. This leaves us with a paradox of ever more information about diet and yet, less health.

Are we promoting health or merely marginalizing people who enjoy less health?

5. ObesityWeek: Intermittent Fasting and Circadian Rhythms

The role of intermittent fasting and circadian rhythms is definitely a hot topic in obesity. How can you tell? People packed the hall at ObesityWeek 2019 for the Blackburn Symposium on this subject.

Food timing matters. Intermittent fasting might be a smart strategy for weight management. But beware of people who want to sell you dietary miracles based on this science. It’s not miraculous. It’s merely a subject of intense scientific interest.

6. Hype About Keto Diets? Say It Ain’t So!

Please don’t tell the keto cult. They’ll be all over us with compelling anecdotes. But it seems that we may be nearing the peak of ketogenic diet hype.

7. Thinsplaining the Ease of Calorie Restriction

Easy peasy. That’s how a thinsplaining cardiology professor described long-term calorie restriction. He did it in one of JAMA‘s most popular articles this year. But his ‘splaining has no basis in real world facts.

8. Five Subjects Too Hot to Handle in Nutrition and Obesity

Sadly enough, we live in an age of angry tweets and venting spleens. So it is in nutrition and obesity (as well as politics) these days. Touch on any of these five subjects – whatever we say – and we attract responses that are too hot to handle.

9. ObesityWeek: Top 10 Take Home Messages

ObesityWeek 2019 in Las Vegas have us us more to think about than shows and casinos. With record attendance of 5,800, it was more than any one person could absorb. No doubt, everyone has returned home with a different experience from ObesityWeek. But here are our ten top take-home messages.

10. Ultra-Processed Food: What Now?

At this point, it’s clear that we have a problem with ultra-processed food. There’s smoke and there’s fire. However, it’s not clear precisely where the fire is. What exactly is the problem with this stuff that we’ve defined as ultra-processed food?

Ten, photograph © Maurizio Agelli / flickr
Subscribe by email to follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health, obesity, and policy.


December 16, 2019

One Response to “The Top Ten Most Read Stories of 2019”

  1. December 16, 2019 at 10:05 am, David Brown said:

    Asymmetrical science is a big problem. A glaring example is the anti-saturated fat campaign. More than 6 decades ago proponents established the belief that saturated fats clog arteries based on the flimsiest of evidence. At this juncture they demand that opponents produce strong evidence that saturated fats are healthy before they will abandon their position.

    Meanwhile, arachidonic acid researchers accumulate more and more evidence that the practice of feeding cereals to livestock has made animal products defective and essentially unfit for human consumption.