Nutrition and Lifestyle

Is the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the take from Big Soda? Dr. Tom Frieden will be surprised to hear that their $7 billion budget is moved by a tiny marketing sponsorship at some events. As would the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and we here at the American Council on Science and Health. But that is the inference made by a 'follow the money' conspiracy correlation brought about by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

All of those groups are advocates for public health and all, including some 90 others, received occasional funding from a large soda company in...

Despite decades of public health campaigns, a lot of Americans still smoke. The CDC recently released data on the prevalence of tobacco use in the U.S. The map below depicts the percentage of adults who smoke cigarettes in each state. Clearly, there is a regional pattern: Tobacco is most popular in Midwestern and Southern states, where roughly 20-25% of the population smokes. 

Notably, this regional pattern is very similar to the one observed for obesity. The map below depicts the prevalence of obesity in each U.S. state. Once again, the Midwest and South struggle with the highest percentages of people with obesity.

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Last week the Northern California Record published an article about the plethora of questionable lawsuits being brought in California against various companies on the basis that their products or marketing are basically fraudulent. The article questions whether the real basis for many, if not all, of such suits derive from anti-science activists trying to frighten consumers (especially mothers) away from conventional foods and products.

What caught our attention was the results of a survey run by the Independent Women's Forum that found:

-    "83 percent of women said they have trouble telling the...

America has an obesity problem. We can thank science for that.

Not science directly, of course, the scientific method doesn't make us pick up that spoon, but science in the sense that it's now easy to be obese. For the first time in the history of the world, the poorest people can afford to be fat, a much different scenario than was painted a few generations ago, with mass starvation and mandatory birth control promoted by Apocalyptic firebrands like Drs. Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren.

Rather than watch helplessly as people starved, as was the future promised those born in the 1960s, scientists have made it possible to produce more food on less land using less environmental strain than was ever believed realistic. Three generations ago, meat was something most people...

Cryotherapy Believer

When they're not cooking themselves in the latest incarnations of searing hot boxes, a legion of celebrities are dunking themselves in cylinders of super-chilled air -- all in the name of stress and pain relief. Or so they'd like to believe. 

Hot. Cold. Cook. Freeze. Pick an extreme, and someone will embrace the craziness, spending a bundle in the process. Lost on these adopters is the fact that whatever these so-called feel-good machines claim to do, none of it is true. And despite health warnings from experts, and the lack of evidence from the scientific community, the true believers still line up for more.

Only weeks ago we wrote about the...

 

As a professional nutritionist, I have been evaluating nutrition research for more years than I care to remember. This task involves perusing articles from multiple journals, keeping up with the latest governmental guidelines, and trying to make sense of often conflicting advice for consumers. To say nothing of investigating the often bogus claims of the latest fad diet or out-of-the-mainstream diet doctor. But now, I am forced to admit that, as expressed on the website 538, much of what we think we know about nutrition probably isn't so. 

Let's be clear, I'm not talking about some tried and true nutrition information — yes, vitamin C does prevent/treat scurvy, and vitamin D...

Exercise — organized or not — is crucial for optimum health. And one way to encourage exercise becoming part of life is to start early and have youngsters participate in a sport (hopefully) of their choosing. In addition to the potential for improved physical health and possibly delaying or preventing some chronic diseases, participation in organized sports can improve self-esteem and help develop social skills.

The question arises, What are the nutritional needs of young athletes as opposed to their more sedentary comrades? Do they need more protein? Fewer carbohydrates? What about vitamins? Actually, says Dr. Christine Rosenbloom in a new article in the journal Nutrition Today, we don't...

Too many raisins will kill you, too.

Busybodies in the American public, never content to leave other people alone, always seem to need a common enemy to rally against. For years, it was McDonald's. Then it was Monsanto and Big Pharma. Now, it's Big Soda.

At first glance, a war on soda might appear to make sense. There is no nutritional benefit to soda. Given the large and growing segment of the U.S. populace that is obese or contracting type 2 diabetes, perhaps a Pigovian tax on soda (with the aim of reducing soda consumption) makes sense. After all, the science on sugar is pretty clear: Too much of it in your diet can lead to health problems.

But a closer look at food science reveals that a tax on sugary drinks (such as soda, sports drinks, and tea), a policy being...

Time for a chemistry lesson.

For people who enjoy beer and football (be it the American or European variety), autumn is perhaps the best time of the year. The hot summer has ended, the football season is beginning, and the leaves are turning brilliant shades of amber -- not unlike the cold brewsky on tap. And for many, the climactic event of these annual rituals is the beer-swilling festival called Oktoberfest. 

Beer, one of the world's favorite beverages, is chemically complex. Many different molecules are responsible for the wide variety of tastes and colors associated with beer. Of these, perhaps some of the least studied are the molecules that are produced as a result of the Maillard reaction. This reaction, famous in kitchens all over the world, is responsible for the "browning" of meats and bread that...

Last week, a New York Times article detailed the story of a literature review in JAMA which claimed that Big Sugar in the 1960s and onward was a lot like Big Tobacco. And it hinted that scholars who denied that sugar was some special cause of obesity and stated fat might be more of an issue were manipulating the science. Even Professor Fred Stare, the founder of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard and a co-founder of the American Council on Science and Health, must have been on the take from Big Sugar.

Wow, one paper in the 1960s ...