Link Land III: Nutrition and Health

Sending you across the web to nutrition and health stories in the news.

The latest batch of links include Weight Loss | Diet & Health | Recipes | Eat This

Weight Loss

New Weight Watchers Plan Leaves Some Grumbling | The New York Times | February 6, 2012

“The latest iteration of the weight-loss plan, called Points Plus, was intended to steer people toward more healthy food choices, encouraging people to eat more fresh fruits by giving them zero points, as most vegetables already were. But many longtime members who were familiar with the earlier plan, like Ms. Holwell, have been grumbling about slow weight loss under the revised plan.

“In December, in a move that seemed to acknowledge the difficulty many dieters were having with the new system, Weight Watchers recommended that all members consider reducing their daily food intake, or points allotment, by 10 percent, not counting fruits and vegetables. (For those who’ve missed a few meetings, that means most women might cut their daily Points Plus allotment to 26 per day, down from 29.)”

In other words, the logic follows on a semi-starvation diet: when the diet isn’t working, add in a little more starvation. It’s more likely that not all fruits and vegetables are created equally (not from a caloric perspective, rather its effects on our biochemistry) and when dietary guidance isn’t backed by science, the results of the program are going to be frustrating.

New Diet Drug Qnexa Promises 10% Weight Loss - At What Price? | Forbes | February 23, 2012

“This week’s big news is the potential arrival of Qnexa, the first new obesity drug to head for tentative FDA approval in 13 years. (The last, Xenical, hit the market in 1999.) Of course, there’s good reason for that; numerous weight loss drugs have been found to have dangerous side effects, causing the FDA to reject them. In fact, Qnexa itself was rejected by the FDA in 2010. So what’s up now?

“As to the combination of the two drugs together? It’s a bit of an unknown. While Vivus registered four Stage III clinical trials with the government registry, no study results from any of those trials have been published, though presumably preliminary data were submitted to the FDA panel. At least, let’s hope so.”

In its essence, this diet drug has been approved before the data has shown whether it will be safe or not. The other thing to keep in mind is if you believe in the alternative hypothesis of obesity; that eating more and moving less are symptoms, or side effects, of the fat tissue accumulating excess fat, this drug treats a symptom, not the underlying problem, and will not have long-lasting effects on bringing weight back to normal.

Why Weight Watchers is actually a low carb diet | Peter Attia, MD | February 22, 2012

“You’ll note that people on these [various weight-loss] diets, including the strictest low-fat high-carb diets, significantly reduce their total amount of carbohydrates (therefore reducing the amount of insulin they secrete). Even the Ornish diet, which is the most restrictive diet with respect to fat and most liberal with respect to carbohydrates, still reduces carbohydrate intake by about 40% from what people were likely eating pre-diet.

“The reason, I believe, most of these diets have some efficacy – at least in the short-term – is that they all reduce sugar and highly refined carbohydrate intake, either explicitly or implicitly. No one on the Ornish Diet or Jenny Craig Diet is eating candy bars and potato chips, at least not if they are adhering to it. Hence, these diet plans do “clean up” the eating habits of most folks.”

The post includes an image to a list of “this year’s most “popular” diets, according to Consumer Reports. Popularity, of course, was determined by a number of factors, including compliance with current government recommendations (sorry Atkins), number of people who have tried the diet, and reported success on the diets. So it’s actually quite misleading when the report says it’s reporting on the “most effective diets.”

This blog post also touches upon the absurdity of the rationale of Consumer Reports in their labelling of “most effective diets,” by including in the criteria, compliance with current government recommendations, which have been woefully ineffective, and some say have contributed to the obesity, and related diabetes (among other diseases) epidemic.

Shouldn’t the most effective diet be the one that results in the shedding of the most excess fat?

Paleo Diet | Am I losing enough weight? | Robb Wolf | February 6, 2012

“Just [a] quick one here. I’ve received about 50 private messages, twitter pings and other reach-outs this morning with the general theme being: ‘Hey Robb, I think I’m stalled on my WEIGHT LOSS…should I go ketogenic? Cut out nuts? Join an Ashram?’

“I do not want you focusing on weight! I want you taking photos, and measurements, I want you picking away at a performance goal. I want you sleeping 8-9 hrs per night in a pitch black room. I want you to know the difference between a mouth and a vacuum cleaner. If you can do those things, you will succeed.”

Diet & Health

Saturated Fat. On your Plate or In your Blood? | Richard Feinman | February 22, 2012

“One of the more remarkable results from Jeff Volek’s laboratory in the past few years was the demonstration that when the blood of volunteers was assayed for saturated fatty acids, those who had been on a low carbohydrate diet had lower levels than those on an isocaloric low-fat diet. This, despite the fact that the low-carbohydrate diet had three times the amount of saturated fat as the low-fat diet.  How is this possible?  What happened to the saturated fat in the low-carbohydrate diet?  Well, that’s what metabolism does.  The saturated fat in the low-carbohydrate arm was oxidized while (the real impact of the study) the low-fat arm is making new saturated fatty acid.

“The bottom line is that distribution of types of fatty acid in plasma is more dependent on the level of carbohydrate then the level or type of fat. [The researchers] give you a good reason to focus on the carbohydrate content of your diet.”

This blog post helps explain the supposed paradox that people who begin eating a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet report lower triglycerides (fat in the blood) whereas people who begin eating a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet raise triglycerides.

Mitochondria Rejuvenating Diet The Nutritional ‘Experts’ Bash | Michael R. Eades, M.D.| February 21, 2012

In this post, Dr. Eades provides two videos, that, “[t]aken together, they confirm the widespread notion that doctors, in general, know very little about nutrition and seem to be proud to keep it that way.”

This first video … is a spectacular talk given by Dr. Terry Wahls, a female physician who was struck down by a relentlessly progressive neurodegenerative disorder.  She describes how she was able to restore her health by revamping her diet in in a way designed to properly feed her mitochondria.  The transformation is almost unbelievable, especially considering the disease she was battling.  If you haven’t already seen this video – watch it.  I guarantee you’ll be glad you did.  And while you watch, pay careful attention to what her diet doesn’t contain much of.

“After you’ve seen the above video, take a look at the one below.  It is a little over 2 minutes long and was developed to give doctors – who, for the most part, don’t give a flip about diet – advice they can pass along to their obese or overweight patients.  Watching the longer video above first will give you more context to better appreciate the one below and show you just how lame mainstream medicine can be.”

The Long-Term Effects of the high-Carb SAD* Diet | ATLCX | Dr. Cate Shanahan | February 20, 2012

* Standard-American-Diet

“Listen to Dr. Cate Shanahan discuss “The Long-Term Effects Of The High-Carb SAD Diet”:

  • Before we gain weight, our diet dysregulates our hormone
  • Your metabolism can get deranged so you hormone signals are gone
  • The best example of this is Type 2 diabetes and the hormone insulin
  • 10 percent of all adolescents already have pre-diabetes
  • Inflammation is an example of the hormone signal disruption
  • When you hit a plateau, it’s best not to change ANYTHING about your diet
  • Fat cells tend to promote “extra estrogen” which impacts fertility
  • Fertility can come back in your 20s and 30s with the right diet changes
  • The more you can do to nourish your body with quality foods, the better
  • Why it may take longer for you to reach your goals than you want
  • How getting your diet right impacts testosterone levels
  • Women with PCOS tend to have high luteinizing hormone (LH) and low estrogen
  • Over time you get down regulation of hormones (“dwindling down”)
  • We’re trying to get you to “act like a teenager” (sleep and activity)
  • What’s most important for your health when you travel a lot
  • Her favorite things from a Whole Foods store when she’s traveling
  • Which is worse: high blood sugar or high total cholesterol?
  • High total cholesterol is a “totally meaningless” number
  • The most important ratio is triglycerides/HDL in cholesterol
  • Carbs are sugar and it’s addicting and people have a hard time giving up
  • Why hormone levels come back “normal” with PCOS symptoms
  • Low-carb diets have been shown to help “fix” PCOS


Rich and Hearty Hungarian Goulash | Mark Sisson | February 25, 2012

Deconstructed Gyro Salad | The Clothes Make the Girl | January 13, 2012

Eat This

Fresh Iced Oysters | Bufala Mozzarella and Tomatoes | Bone-In Filet Mignon | | Wayland, MA

Super Veggie Omelette (ditch the home fries and toast and get some bacon!) | | Wayland, MA

Bob Kaplan holds advance degrees in exercise physiology and business, an undergraduate degree in nutrition, is a nationally certified personal trainer, and owns and manages Get In Shape For Women in Wayland.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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