New documentary on elite athletes who went vegan

The Game Changers is a new documentary about the vegan movement within sports and physically demanding occupations. It's by Louie Psihoyos (director of The Cove) and executive produced by James Cameron. Read the rest

The rich-poor obesity gap in kids is widening

A long time ago, obesity was often used as a shorthand for wealth, but over the decades obesity has become more and more correlated with poverty, both in culture and science (while wealth is increasingly correlated with being slim). Read the rest

New sensor pill like a "Fitbit" you can swallow to monitor your stomach

Researchers have developed a flexible sensor meant to be rolled up into a dissolvable capsule and swallowed so it can detect gastrointestinal problems and monitor food intake and digestion. The sensor is a 2 x 2.5 centimeter polymer that's printed with electronics, eventually to include wireless radio circuitry. Additional piezoelectric material enables the device to convert the movement from the stomach into enough electrical energy to power itself. The scientists from MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital tested a wired version of the device on pigs. From MIT News:

“For the first time, we showed that a flexible, piezoelectric device can stay in the stomach up to two days without any electrical or mechanical degradation,” (Canan) Dagdeviren says.

This type of sensor could make it easier to diagnose digestive disorders that impair motility of the digestive tract, which can result in difficulty swallowing, nausea, gas, or constipation.

Doctors could also use it to help measure the food intake of patients being treated for obesity. “Having a window into what an individual is actually ingesting at home is helpful, because sometimes it’s difficult for patients to really benchmark themselves and know how much is being consumed,” (Giovanni) Traverso says.

(via IEEE Spectrum)

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Hotel chef fired for boasting on Instagram that he feeds meat to vegans

Alex Lambert used to be head chef at the Littleover Lodge Hotel in Derby, UK. That was before he posted on Instragram that he enjoys feeding meat to unsuspecting vegans.

From NZ Herald:

The chef and father-of-one has since denied he ever fed meat to anybody against their will. He claimed he only made the comment on Instagram to irritate a vegan woman he'd gotten into an argument with.

In his bitter exchange, he wrote to the woman: "Well you should find a better way to spend your time, my personal favourite is feeding vegans animal products and them not knowing."

The woman replied: "Hope you get caught one day, would love to see that. I know we're a minority and really don't give a sh*t because that has no relevance. Enjoy the heart disease."

After a group of vegans threatened a boycott of the hotel, Lambert was fired. He insists he doesn't really give animal products to unsuspecting vegans, and only claimed that he did to wind the woman up. He issued a statement, saying:

"I have been a chef for nine years. I have never in this time done anything like feeding a vegan animal products or slipped in contaminated food.

"My job has always been my passion and something I have always taken very seriously. It was a stupid comment said out of anger.

"For the record I have no issue with vegans." Read the rest

Can losing weight help breast cancer patients survive? Fitbit joins study to find out.

Scientists are recruiting thousands of women for a large clinical trial to find out if weight loss should be prescribed as a treatment for breast cancer in some patients.

The trial will put obese and overweight women who are 18 and older and recently diagnosed with breast cancer on diets and track exercise to see if losing a little weight could help prevent a cancer recurrence. Read the rest

Watch: Documentary about hidden sugars in foods

Sugar Film from Paul Tuffery. The Video Guys on Vimeo.

That Sugar Film is a 2014 documentary about sugar in food, and the effects of a high sugar diet. You can watch the entire movie on Vimeo.

That Sugar Film is one man's journey to discover the bitter truth about sugar. Damon Gameau embarks on a unique experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived as 'healthy'. Through this entertaining and informative journey, Damon highlights some of the issues that plague the sugar industry, and where sugar lurks on supermarket shelves. That Sugar Film will forever change the way you think about 'healthy' food.

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Hunger is a mood: the psychology of weight loss and self-control

Michael Graziano, a psychologist, lost 50 lbs in 8 months by experimenting on himself to see how different dietary choices affected his feelings of hunger, reasoning that the major predictor of weight control isn't calories consumed versus calories burned -- but the extent to which your unconscious mind exerts pressure on you to eat more and exercise less. Read the rest

Here's what this man learned from one year on a high-fat / low carb diet

The Effects of a Year in Ketosis by James McCarter from Quantified Self on Vimeo.

At the most recent Quantified Self conference, geneticist Jim McCarter talked about the effects of going on a ketogenic diet for a year.

In this fascinating short talk by geneticist Jim McCarter, we see detailed data about the effects of a ketogenic diet: lower blood pressure, better cholesterol numbers, and vastly improved daily well being. Jim also describes the mid-course adjustments he made to reduce side effects such as including muscle cramps and increased sensitivity to cold.

Jim begins: “When I tell my friends I’ve given up sugar and starch and get 80% of my calories from fat, the first question I get is: Why?”

Image: Wikipedia Read the rest

Eat these 5 things and live to be 110 years old, says 110 year old guy

This 110-year-old man says he managed to keep living for more than a hundred years in part by eating sensibly. Read the rest

Quitting sugar "changed my brain"

Michael Grothaus quit sugar, soon regretted it, but came through after a week or so. Read the rest

Living tomato ripeness chart

Not yet. Not yet. Not yet. Read the rest

Coca-Cola to fund obesity research that says it's not about diet

Sugar water company Coca Cola is funding scientists who "shift blame" for obesity away from diets, reports The New York Times.

The company supports a new nonprofit, the Global Energy Balance Network, that promotes a “science-based” approach to weight control: Get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories.

A big lie built on a small truth. 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

Scientists still trying to figure out how added sugar affects your health

Here's a crazy fact: Thanks to soda and the sneaky added sugars in store-bought foods, 25% of Americans consume a diet that is 25% sugar. In fact, all it takes to hit that is three cans of soda on top of an otherwise sugar-free diet. What does eating like that mean for your health in the long term? Scientists are still trying to figure that out. Scicurious breaks down a recent study in mice that successfully demonstrates both why our sugar intake has health experts concerned AND why we don't yet know exactly what we're doing to ourselves. Read the rest

Vegans expose quitters

Raphael Brion: "the website Vegan Sellout List ... is a refined mix of unchecked self-righteousness and threats of actual physical violence." [Eater] Read the rest

Evolution, pregnancy, and food

The populations at lowest risk for developing gestational diabetes — namely, ladies of European decent — come from cultures that eat (and have eaten, for thousands of years) dairy and wheat-heavy diets that would, normally, increase your risk. Meanwhile, writes Carl Zimmer at The Loom, Bangladeshi women, who have one of the highest risks for gestational diabetes, come from a culture that traditionally ate a low-carb, low-sugar diet. What's going on here? The answer might lie in evolution. It's a particularly interesting read given the ongoing pop-culture debate about whether 10,000 years is enough time for humans to adapt to eating certain foods. This data on pregnant ladies would suggest the answer is, at least in some respects, yes. Read the rest

Everything you eat is associated with cancer, but don't worry about it

Image: Shutterstock. Fried chicken gave the model in this stock photo cancer of the double chin.

Sarah Kliff at the Washington Post digs into new research out today from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. She writes about correlation and causality, and how to read statistics more intelligently.

Snip:

“I was constantly amazed at how often claims about associations of specific foods with cancer were made, so I wanted to examine systematically the phenomenon,” e-mails study author John Ioannidis ”I suspected that much of this literature must be wrong. What we see is that almost everything is claimed to be associated with cancer, and a large portion of these claims seem to be wrong indeed.”

Among the ingredients in question for their purported relation to cancer risk: veal, salt, pepper spice, flour, egg, bread, pork, butter, tomato, lemon, duck, onion, celery, carrot, parsley, mace, sherry, olive, mushroom, tripe, milk, cheese, coffee, bacon, sugar, lobster, potato, beef, lamb, mustard, nuts, wine, peas, corn, cinnamon, cayenne, orange, tea, rum, and raisin.

Now: combine all of them into one recipe and do the study again, I say.

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