In 1972, a British scientist sounded the alarm that sugar—and not fat—was the greatest danger to our health. But his findings were ridiculed and his reputation ruined. How did the world’s top nutrition scientists get it so wrong for so long?
“A calorie isn’t just a calorie. And our mistaken faith in the power of this seemingly simple measurement may be hindering the fight against obesity.”
No diet, no detox: how to relearn the art of eating, by Bee Wilson, author of the weekly column, The Kitchen Thinker. "All the foods that you regularly eat are ones that you learned to eat. Everyone starts life drinking milk. After that, it’s all up for grabs. From our first year of life, human tastes are astonishingly diverse. But we haven’t paid anything like enough attention to another consequence of being omnivores, which is that eating is not something we are born instinctively knowing how to do. It is something we learn."
"He believed that since the coconut grew high up in the tree, closest to God and closest to the sun, it was godlike. And since it had hair and looked like a human head, he thought it came closest to being a man. According to his rather crackpot theory, to be a cocovore was to be a theophage — or eater of God."
Feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of feeding your holiday guests? Maybe you should refresh yourself on "How to Feed an Army" (1901). Perhaps a history lesson on feeding the troops would inspire you? (Break out your P38.) Ever wonder about the nutritional content of combat rations? Can sailors bring ship-grown lettuce to the table? [more inside]
Our waistlines aren’t expanding because people aren’t exercising intelligently or vigorously enough. You don’t need a new personal trainer, another Insanity workout video or a more aggressive CrossFit regimen. What you need is the truth, and here it is: Exercise — no matter how many gym memberships you buy or how often you wear your Fitbit — won’t make you lose weight. [more inside]
We talked to registered dietitians, personal trainers, health editors, book authors, nutritionists, and healthy food writers and asked them -- what do you eat for breakfast? (buzzfeed)
Vani Hari, AKA the Food Babe, has amassed a loyal following in her Food Babe Army. The recent subject of profiles and interviews in the New York Times, the New York Post and New York Magazine, Hari implores her soldiers to petition food companies to change their formulas. She's also written a bestselling book telling you that you can change your life in 21 days by "breaking free of the hidden toxins in your life." She and her army are out to change the world.--The "Food Babe" Blogger Is Full of Shit
Ever wondered what a days worth of calories looks like in fast food form? Well wonder no more!
Here, we show you what roughly 2,000 calories looks like at some large chains. (Depending on age and gender, most adults should eat between 1,600 and 2,400 calories a day.) Researchers have long understood that people are more likely to finish what’s on their plate than to stop eating because they’ve consumed a given amount of food. It’s “the completion compulsion,” a phrase coined in the 1950s by the psychologist Paul S. Siegel.[more inside]
Maybe you've heard of Bulletproof Coffee, the revolutionary fad that advocates mixing in butter and oil into your coffee? Well, Dan Norman's here to tell you about the Bulletproof Sandwich (YT) (here's the original Bulletproof Coffee promo video, for reference).
The New York Times on regulation and lobbying around cafeteria food: "The average school-nutrition director is not unlike the chief executive of a medium-size catering business, but with a school for a landlord and a menu regulated by the government. With lower subsidies, the lunch ladies needed cheaper calories, and they turned to the increasingly efficient processed-food industry to find them. School cafeterias also began to rely more on revenue from so-called competitive foods — snacks and lunches that are not regulated by federal guidelines and “compete” with the regular school lunch on cafeteria à la carte lines."
The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery is an annual weekend conference discussing food, its history, and culture. Since 1981 the papers presented at the Symposium have been collected into a conference volume called the Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, most of which have been made available for free in their entirety via Google Books. Each volume consists of about 25-40 papers surrounding the theme of that year's Symposium (e.g. Eggs, Authenticity, or The Meal). [more inside]
The psychology of Soylent and the prison of first-world food choices
People are born with neither the ability to cook nor compile; both are taught, and chastising even an adult for not knowing how to cook a healthy meal makes about as much sense as chastising an adult for not knowing how to code or how to compile an application from source. Each of those two different ridicules demonstrates an identical lack of empathy and an accompanying equally stunning sense of privilege that you should probably check immediately.
Mother Jones reports on the annual California Dietetic Association conference, where highlights included a panel titled "Sweeteners in Schools" sponsored by the Corn Refiner's Association, and a lunch catered by McDonald's.
"....many a tragic episode in family life is superinduced by the baleful influence of a tortured stomach. Mighty is the hand that holds the ballot-box, but mightier is the hand that wields to advantage the pepper-box, the salt-spoon, and the sugar-shaker." read the entirely of Maud C. Cooke's, Breakfast, Dinner and Supper; or, What To Eat and How To Prepare It (1897) online and enter a world of home remedies, large scale recipes, sound advice, leftover wizardry, squirrel stews, scientific digestion, and horrible things done to vegetables.
Examine.com is "an independent organization that presents un-biased research on supplements and nutrition," and aggregates and analyzes studies on various supplements.
The bad news? Inflammatory dietary pattern is linked to depression among women. The good news: Drinking two-four cups of caffeinated coffee a day reduces the risk of suicide for adults by about half.
Nutrition experts contend that all we need is what's typically found in a routine diet. Industry representatives, backed by a fascinating history, argue that foods don't contain enough, and we need supplements. Fortunately, many excellent studies have now resolved the issue.(SLAtlantic)
"Don't forget to take your vitamins!" Or not. Some say it could kill you. Will there ever be any definitive answers when it comes to nutrition?
An in-depth talk at Google that sums up the scientific research on living a healthy life with lots of practical advice.
An exceptionally informative, nicely designed and useful nutrition database, where you can easily look up the glycemic load, inflammation factor, vitamins, proteins, nutrients, calories etc. It is a practical source of information if you wish to either shed excess poundage or put some on. There is a glycemic index info page and lots more. The site was created by Self magazine.
You got your cuisine in my astrophysics; no, you got your astrophysics in my cuisine: Neil deGrasse Tyson interviews Anthony Bourdain. (SYTL)
“If anyone in the food industry ever doubted there was a slippery slope out there, I imagine they are beginning to experience a distinct sliding sensation right about now.”
"I’m bigger than most people, let alone most nutritionists — but I’m a pretty normal person. And a damn good nutritionist." The Fat Nutritionist wants to help you eat normally again. [more inside]
RT @CoryBooker: "We have a shared responsibility that kids go to school nutritionally ready 2 learn"
Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, NJ, will spend a week or longer living on food stamps, in response to a Twitter user who told him that, quote, "nutrition is not a responsibility of the government." [more inside]
From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
I explained that, for a variety of reasons — including feeding my boys the most nutritious food available, supporting local farmers, and reducing the carbon miles our food inflicted on the environment — I tried to buy our food locally and organically. She looked at me as if I’d just told her I believed in Santa Claus and, with a poorly disguised smirk, said, "Honey, those days are over."In 2009, Michelle Gienow came close to having to feed her family sustainable, organic, local, and ethically produced (SOLE) food on a food stamp budget. She documented her budget calculations in the pages of the City Paper, Baltimore's alternative weekly. This year Ms. Gienow's financial situation really did call for financial assistance — and she found that her calculations were too optimistic.
Are Healthy Foods Really More Expensive? (6.78 MB PDF) It turns out that it depends on how you measure the price. In a recent study by the USDA, some 4,439 foods were compared using the following metrics: the price of food energy ($/calorie), the price of edible weight ($/100 edible grams), the price of an average portion ($/average portion), and the cost of meeting the federal dietary recommendations for each food group. The study found that for all metrics except the price of food energy ($/calorie) healthy foods cost less than less healthy foods (defined as foods that are high in saturated fat, added sugar, and/or sodium, or that contribute little to meeting dietary recommendations).
Like too many studies, the Stanford study dangerously isolates a finding from its larger context. It significantly plays down the disparity in pesticides...and neglects to mention that 10,000 to 20,000 United States agricultural workers get a pesticide-poisoning diagnosis each year. And while the study concedes that “the risk for isolating bacteria resistant to three or more antibiotics was 33 percent higher among conventional chicken and pork than organic alternatives,” it apparently didn’t seek to explore how consuming antibiotic-resistant bacteria might be considered “non-nutritious.”.... That the authors of the study chose to focus on a trivial aspect of the organic versus conventional comparison is regrettable. That they published a study that would so obviously be construed as a blanket knock against organic agriculture is willfully misleading and dangerous. That so many leading news agencies fall for this stuff is scary. Mark Bittman - That Flawed Stanford Study (SL NYTimes)
The known knowns, known unknowns, and perhaps even the unknown unknowns of why a calorie is not a calorie.
Vitamin K2, a fat-soluble vitamin also known as menaquinone, was long thought to be a different version of the more commonly known Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone, best known for its role in clotting). But recent studies have shown that poor Vitamin K2 status is associated with a number of other health issues, including increased risk of coronary artery disease and frature. By directing calcium from soft tissues into your bones, K2 reduces soft-tissue calcificiation, including hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), and increases bone density. [more inside]
Should we be reducing our salt intake? Maybe not.
Nichelle Gainer (whose Vintage Black Glamour blog was seen previously on MeFi) responds insightfully to a NY Times editorial by author Alice Randall called "Why Black Women Are Fat."
io9 asks the question: When and Why did Science Fiction drop the ubiquitous "Dinner in a pill" device?
The food desert has been a regular topic here on MetaFilter, posts about which often highlight a particular narrative about the effects of meager food choices for poorer urban communities, negatively affecting health and choice among low income people. Though not always. Some new studies indicate the situation in the US might be more like the latter, not quite as dire as is usually asserted. [more inside]
The nutrition puzzle Why do so many people in poor countries eat so badly—and what can be done about it?
"Believe it or not, Twinkies have an expiration date. Some day very soon, Life's little Twinkie gauge is gonna go... empty."
Taxpayers in the San Francisco area spend $2,762,295 each year in junk food subsidies, but only $41,950 each year on apple subsidies. [LATIMES] A new report released this week has found that, among the billions of dollars spent each year in federal subsidies for commodity crops, a steady flow of these taxpayer dollars are going to support high fructose corn syrup and three other common food additives used in junk food. The report, “Apples to Twinkies: Comparing Federal Subsidies of Fresh Produce and Junk Food” by CALPIRG and the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, studies the interesting question of whether the nation's problem with obesity is fueled by farm subsidies.
Food Fight: Does Healthy Food Have to Be More Expensive? In which the blog Get Rich Slowly chronicles an argument about nutrition vs cost and then invites readers to chime in.
My favorite response to questions about how to eat clean is, “Wash your food.” On the always-changing understanding of ‘good’ food and how some of the bodybuilding community’s dogma doesn’t hold up to research.
Obesity Epidemic Grows: [CNN.com] "Two-thirds of all adults and about a third of all children and teenagers in the United States are overweight or obese according to a report release Thursday by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). According to "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2011,"[PDF] adult obesity increased in 16 states during the past year and rates soared to 30% or more in these 12 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. Four years ago, only one state - Mississippi - had an adult obesity rate of more than 30%. No state showed a decrease in it obesity rate in Thursday's report."
The USDA has ended the pyramid scheme. For the first time, the USDA advises Americans to "eat less." The previous design abomination (previously) is archived for comparison.
Why Wal-Mart Is Making Our Health Its Problem - "So what's behind the [healthier-eating] initiative? In a word: scale. In a recent article in HBR, Chris Meyer and I argued that we'll see companies taking more and more ownership of externalities they could ignore because of changing sensibilities and better sensors (meaning detection and reporting of impacts by third parties). But we also identified a third driver: the scale of modern business. Whereas in the past, a single grocer could not have much impact on society, in today's highly consolidated market, Wal-Mart touches a significant percentage of the nation's food intake. Once you reach a scale where your decisions have ramifications for millions, it is hard to pretend that the impacts, even as distant ripples, are not your problem."