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 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, 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

Nutritionists' professional events catered by McD's, sponsored by High Fructose Corn Syrup

An alarming report from the California Dietetic Association describes a kind of corporatist apocalyptic nightmare where junk-food companies pony up fat sponsorships in order to pervert the agenda and distort the science. Nutritionists, like other medical professionals, have to attend educational meetings in order to keep up their credentials.

Their professional bodies have seemingly been totally co-opted through corporate sponsorships, and nutritionists who try to document this are thwarted by "no photography" policies. But even without pictures, it's obvious that a panel on corn sweeteners that's paid for by the corn growers and only sports employees of high-fructose corn syrup is not going to produce a rounded picture of the science of obesity and HFCS.

The situation for nutritionists is a microcosm for the whole health industry. As Ben Goldacre details in his essential book Bad Pharma, doctors' continuing education is almost entirely funded by pharmaceutical companies that present multi-hour adverts for their products -- including dodgy studies that they funded -- in place of genuine, impartial scientific training. Read the rest

Obesity driven by overconsumption of protein-mimicking carbs and fats

In an editorial for Nature, Stephen J. Simpson (academic director of University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre) and David Raubenheimer (Leonard P. Ullman chair in nutritional ecology and nutrition theme leader at the Charles Perkins Centre) argue that the obesity epidemic isn't caused by sedentary lifestyles, but by overconsumption, because our appetite control systems are "fooled or subverted" by carbohydrates and fats that mimic proteins.

The ersatz proteins are much cheaper than the real thing, and have also made their way into the feed of livestock and pets. The authors state that "the range of processed food becoming available is evolving faster than our appetite control systems," and argue that the historic shortage of sugars caused us to evolve appetite systems that are bad at judging when we've had enough of them.

These arguments echo many of those raised in The End of Overeating (recently featured in a This Day in Blogging History post), in which former FDA commissioner and MD David A Kessler tries to understand how industrial food science has produced food that is exquisitely engineered to cause overeating and constant cravings. Read the rest

1.2kg Mega Pizza Burger hits Kyoto

A significant addition to Kyoto's justly famed cuisine: the 1.2 kg mega pizza-burger: Read the rest

Heart attack on a hook

On Long John Silver's "Big Catch" meal: "This company is taking perfectly healthy fish and entombing it in a thick crust of batter and partially hydrogenated oil." -Center for Science in the Public Interest executive director Michael F. Jacobson. The dish has 16 days' recommended allowance of transfats. Read the rest

Obesity isn't solved yet -- so why do we legislate like it is?

We know that people have gotten fatter over the course of the last 60 years. We don't yet know exactly why, writes David Berreby in a fascinating long read at Aeon Magazine. Yes, we know that diet and exercise have something to do with it — but they don't explain all the changes we've seen. Yes, you can find plenty of people who will proselytize to you about how they've found the One True Obesogen — but in order to do that they have to ignore contradictory studies and studies that suggest there's more than one thing going on.

Long story short, if we know anything about obesity its that it's complicated — and that's true for both the factors that create an obesity epidemic, and the factors that allow people to reliably and permanently lose weight. The problem, writes Berreby, is that legislation on the subject has been focused pretty much entirely on diet and exercise, alone. That suggests that laziness and gluttony are the primary reasons people get fat. But we don't know that that's true.

Berreby's piece is a really fun read, mainly because it can serve as an introduction to the plethora of far-reaching and often contradictory data on obesity. There are lots and lots and lots of different things that might be behind the obesity epidemic, from industrial chemicals, to sugary high-fat diets, to epigenetic factors that pass the environmental impacts of one generation on to their descendants. There are even social factors that influence how exposed you are to other risks and affect your ability to make the healthy choices when it comes to diet and exercise. Read the rest

American cuisine

Planning a weekend brunch? You're in luck! The new Mountain Dew Kickstart is a crowdfunded highly caffeinated pseudo-juice that PepsiCo is marketing as a great breakfast drink. Then, swing round to your local county fair and get Chicken Charlie to sell you a nice takeaway package of his deep-fried cereal to accompany things, and well, you've got yourself a(n insulin) party!

(via Techdirt) Read the rest

Sailing is hard work

Rome Kirby is an extreme sailor. When they tried putting him on a heart-rate monitor, they found he was burning 9,000 calories a day. (via Super Punch) Read the rest

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