This week, read about fad diets, how supplements hurt exercise, why running may be the fountain of youth, yogurt and diabetes, how your muscles uses protein, and more.
Why Do Fad Diets Persist?
A main motivation for starting my website was to provide a resource for evidence-based nutrition information, and help dispel myths and fads. I am forever perplexed at the number of otherwise intelligent individuals who embark on diets that don’t have a solid evidence base. Clearly, those behind these fads are experts at convincing others to adopt their magic plan! This week David Katz wrote about a talk by senior health editor at The Atlantic (James Hamblin), who tapped into his media savvy to explain the formula authors use make their books so alluring, outlined below:
“1. Cite only those studies that support the position you held before you examined the evidence.
2. Invoke a scapegoat, silver bullet, or both.
3. Offer the moon and stars, by means of pixie dust.
4. Insinuate (or say) that everyone who addressed this topic before is a moron.
5. Proclaim absolute certainty.”
If any of these sound familiar, steer clear of the advice!
Good Diet Advice . . .
In contrast to the preponderance of misinformation, the following piece by provides some good tips for those who need to lose weight. Julia Beluz interviewed 20 experts, who provided these surprisingly simple tips to lose weight and keep it off.
And have a look at my pages:
I’m excited. . .
World Cup cross country skiing starts this weekend!
Other links of interest this week:
- How the world could better fight obesity. Over 30% of the global population are overweight or obese, and the global costs of obesity are a staggering 2 trillion dollars/year: just imagine better ways to spend that money. . . and obesity is preventable. Micheal Joyner offers an excellent perspective on the McKinsey report here. (McKinsey & Company).
- Why Running May Really Be The Fountain of Youth: Elderly people who run show similar fitness to 20-year-olds (Time Magazine, PLOS One November 20, 2014).
- The Bulletproof Diet: simplistic, invalid & unscientific. Scientists debunk a fad diet invented by tech millionaire Dave Asprey. Read my take on bulletproof coffee here. (The Telegraph).
- 5 brain hacks to make you fitter and faster. Good article – I like the behavioral science perspective! (Outside Magazine)
- Exercise & the immune system: short & intense better than >120 min (& consume carbs during long workouts) (Alex Hutchinson, Globe & Mail).
- How much protein can your muscle use at one time? Good info by expert Stuart Phillips.
- Does hot chocolate delay brain aging? The flavonols in cocoa have many potential benefits! (Neurorexia.com; Nature neuroscience, 2014; 17 (12), 1798-803).
- What Do I Need in My Winter Emergency Car Kit? Now that is what I call prepared — we have 4/19 in our car. . . (Outside Magazine)
- Will a gluten-free diet really make you healthier?
The biggest trend in the food world shows no signs of slowing down. Here are the six realities behind the labels. (Consumer Reports, November 2014)
- Yogurt linked to reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Obersvational study, but provides interesting hypothesis to test in further research. (BMC Medicine 2014, 12:215)
- Antioxidants (vit C & E) can dampen the benefits of endurance and strength training. This adds to the growing body of research showing supplements can hinder athletic performance. See my info on supplements and athletic performance on this page (Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times)
- How we got so stupid about our diets. Review of Matt Fitzgerald’s book Diet Cults. Looks like a good read! (Vox.com)
- Obesity, a certain and avoidable cause of cancer. Obesity is responsible for half a million cancer diagnoses a year. (Vox.com; The Lancet, Volume 384, Issue 9945, Pages 727 – 728, 30 August 2014)