July 21, 2017

Category Archives: Nutrition & obesity

More money in food: USDA’s food dollar

More money in food: USDA’s food dollar

While I’m thinking about the role of money in food, take a look at USDA’s new food dollar series. Farm and agribusiness get 11.8 cents on the dollar. The real money is in adding value through processing (18.6 cents) and food service (33.7 cents). When farmers complain that it’s hard to make a living, they aren’t kidding. Continue Reading

Happy Labor Day Weekend: Eat!

Happy Labor Day Weekend: Eat!

It’s the end of summer and time to contemplate, if not visit, State Fairs selling increasingly imaginative deep-fried treats.  Apparently, deep-fried Oreos and deep-fried butter are so last year. The Wall Street Journal tells us that the Great New York State Fair—in Syracuse, right now—has a better one: “Twinks.” And what, pray tell, is a Twink? The recipe: Take one Twinkie. Stuff with a Twix candy bar Wrap in bacon. Dip in batter. Deep-fry. Sprinkle with sugar. The damage?  Just south of 1,000 calories. And from Montana, Daniel Schultz sends this photo of the latest grocery store deal.  If you buy a soda cake (soda cake?) for $4.99, you get 2 liters of your favorite soft drink to …Continue Reading

Cookie Monster Must Go!

Cookie Monster Must Go!

Not long ago, Erica Palan found it troubling that “America is waging a war on Krimpets.” This is a brand of snack cake, and the Disney empire had decided no longer to carry advertising for it. But Palan believes that such an attitude will backfire and cause more trouble in the long run. The psychological effect on parents is not helpful. Palan says: By banning junk food commercials, Disney is letting parents off the hook when it comes to educating their children about healthy eating. Shielding kids from the available options doesn’t help them understand why they shouldn’t guzzle a gallon…Continue Reading

Childhood Obesity and Creative Lip-Zipping

Childhood Obesity and Creative Lip-Zipping

Registered dietitian Maryann Jacobsen runs a great website with consistently interesting and helpful articles, often in list format. One such list names 10 verbal mistakes that parents can make in the course of trying to prevent or change the course of childhood obesity. Yes, it matters what we say and how we say it. Our responsibility does not stop with bringing nourishing food into the home and preparing it and serving it at regular mealtimes in a pleasant atmosphere. The responsibility extends to words. To win the hearts and minds of children over to maximum health awareness, we need to avoid saying harmful and useless things. Learning …Continue Reading

The Body Mass Index (BMI) Says Nothing About Your Health

The Body Mass Index (BMI) Says Nothing About Your Health

If you go to your physician’s office and inquire about your weight status, he or she will measure your height and weight to derive your BMI (weight in kg divided by height in m squared). Then they will compare your BMI to that of established criteria to decide whether you are underweight (30 kg/m2) . Often times, this measure alone determines whether or not you receive lifestyle treatment. But how useful is this measure anyways? What does it tell you about your health? And finally, how helpful is it to measure when assessing the effect of a lifestyle (diet/exercise) intervention? Before I …Continue Reading

Time to watch my weight?

Time to watch my weight?

After reading Peter’s post from earlier this week on the problems with BMI, I thought I should repost the below article from a couple years ago.   Image by Magnus D I had an interesting experience at my last physical exam, and I thought it would be worth sharing here on the blog.  Before the physical a nurse put me through an eye test, then took my blood pressure, height and weight.  She then calculated my BMI, and told me that I was in the “normal range” (it was around 24.5).  But, she continued, I was pretty close to the overweight cut-off of 25.0, so I…Continue Reading

You should workout in jeans (I do)

You should workout in jeans (I do)

Appropriate workout clothes (image by Per Ljung) At various points over the past few years, I have been fortunate to basically have a gym as my office.  I’ve worked near treadmills, exercise bikes, light free weights, and a bunch of machines (bench press, leg press, a chin-up bar, etc).  The gyms have always been for research and data collection, but there were plenty of opportunities for those of us working in the lab to pop out and do a quick set almost anytime we liked.  And it was awesome. During my time in the lab I would often take a short break to do a set of bench press, chin-ups, or leg press.  And when …Continue Reading

2014 Scopinaro Lecture

2014 Scopinaro Lecture

Nicola Scopinaro, MD, Professor of Surgery, University of Genoa Medical School, Italy This morning, at the XIX World Congress of the International Federation of Surgery for Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO2014), I have the great honour of presenting the 2014 Scopinaro Lecture. This lecture is named after Nicola Scopinaro, who in 1976 performed the first biliopancreatic diversion for the treatment of obesity. The Scopinaro Lecture is the highest recognition for a non-surgeon to be awarded by IFSO. In thinking about what to present, I settled on discussing the topic of whether or not obesity is a disease. Looking back over the work that I have done over the past 25 years, I came to realise that the issue of why some people…Continue Reading

On due dates (Or: why confidence intervals are often better than means)

On due dates (Or: why confidence intervals are often better than means)

A very pregnant woman (not my wife). Image by Nina Matthews. As regular readers will know, my wife is pregnant.  In fact, today is the due date.  As of this writing (2:30 EST), labour has yet to commence. Throughout the pregnancy, my wife and I have constantly reminded ourselves that the due date is a gross over-simplification.  It’s pretty obvious that it’s a ball-park estimate at best.  And yet, providing a precise date creates some weird psychological tension, even when you know that it shouldn’t be taken too seriously. For example: If today is the “due date”, does that mean that tomorrow the baby is “over due”? Can the baby spoil, like…Continue Reading

Obesity Weekend Roundup, August 29, 2014

Obesity Weekend Roundup, August 29, 2014

As not everyone may have a chance during the week to read every post, here’s a roundup of last week’s posts: 2014 Scopinaro Lecture: Why Obesity Is A Disease Call For Abstracts: Canadian Obesity Summit, Toronto, April 28-May 2, 2015 How Does Bariatric Surgery Work? Does Facebook Use Promote Eating Disorders? XIX World Congress on Obesity Surgery, Montreal Have a great Sunday! (or what is left of it) @DrSharma Berlin, Germany Continue Reading