Gastric bypass surgery radically improves subjects' gut biomes

Gastric bypass surgery is remarkably effective at promoting weight-loss (it cuts the long-term risk of early death from morbid obesity by 40%), and it's long been presumed that the major action by which it worked was that, by bypassing the parts of the gut where most food absorbtion takes place, it limited the calories that subjects' bodies could harvest from the food they ate. Read the rest

Juice is basically sugar-water

Fruit is good for you; fruit-juice is mostly sugar and water, and what's more, getting your calories from liquids does not invoke your satiety response meaning that you stay hungry even after consuming crazy amounts of calories. Read the rest

Sugar taxes reduce soda consumption

In 2016's Impact of the Berkeley Excise Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption (Sci-Hub Onion mirror), UC Berkeley scientists showed that the imposition of a $0.01/ounce tax on sugary drinks led to a sharp decrease in the consumption of sodas in Berkeley. Read the rest

Artificial sweeteners be damned; these naturally occurring, safe proteins are thousands of times sweeter than sugar

KSU plant biochemical geneticist Raj Nagarajan describes the properties of Thaumatin, Monellin and Brazzein, all found in west African plants that are generally considered safe for consumption; each is a protein, and they are, respectively, 1,000x, 2000x, and 3000x sweeter than sugar. Read the rest

A virus first found in chickens is implicated in human obesity

As someone who's struggled with his weight all his life (and who comes from a family with similar problems), I've long been fascinated with the science of weight and obesity; many years ago I listened to a Quirks & Quarks segment detailing the theory that the modern obesity epidemic was the result of a bird flu that affected our gut flora and changed our metabolisms to make us hungrier and more susceptible to convert the food we ate to fat. Read the rest

Coca-Cola is paying dietitians to tweet scare-stories about soda taxes

When registered dietitians like Roseanne Rust, Sylvia Klinger, Carol Berg Sloane tweet about proposed taxes on sugary drinks and claim that these will be used to impose "stealth tax" on other food, promoting the anti-soda-tax group Cart Choice (funded by Coke) they're reflecting the deeply held views of the Coca-Cola company and its industry body, the American Beverage Association -- and amazingly enough, they all take money from Coke or the ABA. Read the rest

Meet 2 real-life guys behind Donald Trump's "400 pound hacker" stereotype

At the first presidential debate this week, GOP nominee Donald Trump fat-shamed a fictional IT character he made up. Speaking about a series of hacks on Democratic National Committee organizations, Trump said, “I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK? You don’t know who broke in to DNC.”

Trump's mean trope of a hacker “sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds” is nothing new to “XXL and greater” sized information security professionals.

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Here's a device that drains food from your stomach, via a tube, to the toilet

"All I ask is that there's a way to take off the pounds without exercising, or changing what I eat, or how much of it I eat," says Stephen Colbert. "Other than that I am willing to do anything. Well, anything has finally arrived, and it's called Aspire Assist." Read the rest

Fried Jesus: architect of State Fair deep-fried butter

Abel Gonzales Jr was raised by Tex-Mex restaurateurs, and began his career as God of the deep fryer out of necessity, when he was desperate to come up with a dish for the Texas State Fair's Big Tex Choice Award, and all he had was a fryer. Read the rest

Brown fat therapy reverses Type I diabetes in mouse trial

A Vanderbilt University School of Medicine study published in Endocrinology and Metabolism found that mice with Type I diabetes that received brown fat transplants had their diabetes reversed 53% of the time. Read the rest

Superweapons in the hyperpalatability wars

Foods containing mixtures of salt, fat, sugar and starch are "hyperpalatable" and induce strong, habitual compulsions to consume; the most successful high-calorie dishes are engineered to deliver staggering loads of all four, singly and in combination. Read the rest

Turd transplant leads to rapid weight-gain and obesity

A woman whose c.difficile infection was treated with a fecal transplant from her overweight daughter experienced rapid and dramatic weight gain as soon as her daughter's microbial nation took hold in her gut. Read the rest

Bilious Alka-Seltzer shill, 1942

Hard to imagine a contemporary ad headed with a picture showing a man who's just vomited into his mouth. Read the rest

Roca Labs sues unhappy customer who agreed to testify against it

This is the "non-surgical gastric bypass" company whose terms of service forbid complaining, and require you to let them use any kind of success you experience to publicly endorse the company, who are suing pissedconsumer.com for having a message board where its customers are complaining about its product. Read the rest

Roca Labs threatens suit against customers who helped website it is also suing

Roca makes a dubious weight-loss product whose fine-print makes you promise not to complain, and the customers were cited by Pissedconsumer.com, whom Roca is suing for providing a place where dissatisfied customers could air their grievances. Read the rest

Sportsfans offered toilet-seat made of mystery meat & beer-cheese

The Horse Collar is a $20 monster kielbasa sold at the Green Bay Packers' Lambeau Field, intended for consumption by two persons ("If you can tackle this one alone, you're a champ" -Lambeau Field executive chef Heath Barbato). Read the rest

Long-term weight loss considered nearly impossible

Here's a CBC science piece quoting several obesity experts argues that long-term weight loss is almost impossible, saying that (uncited) meta-analyses of weight-loss intervention found that in the 5- to 10-year range, most weight-loss was reversed. According to Tim Caulfield, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, this is an open secret in scholarly and scientific weight-loss circles, but no one wants to talk about it for fear that it will scare people off of healthier eating and exercise regimes, which have benefits independent of weight-loss.

I found the article frustrating. While I am willing to stipulate that the data on long-term weight-loss suggests extreme difficulty, I wish the journalist had found biologists or doctors to discuss the issue, and had cited actual, specific research to support the claims made, which would make it easier to parse the nuances in the piece. It's not that I think that interdisciplinary lawyers with an undergraduate science background have something to say on this (I am 100 percent for interdisciplinary researchers, especially on complex questions like obesity), and while I think that psychologists like Traci Mann have a lot to say about some dimensions of weight-loss, it would have been great to find out what endocrinologists and other bioscience-types had to say about the phenomenon.

For my part, I went from about 250 lbs to about 170 in 2002/3, by eating a very low-carb diet. This morning, I weighed in at 176 lbs. I attribute my sustained weight loss to daily swimming (which I do for physiotherapy for chronic back pain) and a moderate-carb diet, as well as a two-day-a-week 600 calorie fasting regime. Read the rest

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