Nutrition and Lifestyle

Public-health campaigns focusing on reducing smoking have found that including graphically disturbing images in their messaging has proven to be effective. That same approach is now leading researchers to consider employing similar strategies when raising awareness of the damaging results – and potentially deadly dangers – of indoor tanning.

While studies have shown indisputably that tanning beds pose serious health threats, there's still a sizable segment of the population that simply ignores its health consequences – just like smokers, in their own way – because any deleterious effects are delayed and won't become apparent for years. What's more, the risk of skin cancer ...

If you just read the headlines, you'd immediately run to your pantry (or wherever you keep soft drink) and pour all your diet sodas down the sink. After all, they increase your risk of stroke and who knows what else, according to a new study just published in Stroke! But before you pop the top on those cans, please read this — that new study has nothing to say about a causal connection between diet drinks and cardiovascular ailments, and there are at least a couple of good reasons why I can say this.

First, this is an observational study, the weakest type. The investigators (the senior authors of the report were Drs Sudha Seshadri and Paul. F. Jacques of the...

How many minutes is your commute to work? The average American spends around 25 minutes - one way - according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If you want to take a look at how your commute compares to that of your neighbors, go to this interactive map to find the average number of minutes in your zip code. 

Assuming that you also go back home, that's a big chunk of a day. If only there was something important to your health that could be accomplished during that time... 

A new study suggests that we should start to think about that commuting time differently, and sheds light on how your chosen method of...

The push to change consumers' dietary habits, taking a page from changing our use of tobacco, has seen a surge in the special taxation of sugar sweetened beverages [1], like soda. So far these initiatives have seen indifferent success. In Mexico, sales went down and then went up again, in Philadelphia, sales went down for retailers impacted but not buying among the public.

In PLOS Medicine, Silver et al. discuss the impact of Berkeley, California’s tax one year after implementation.

The key points were what you would expect, that consumers paid the higher tax fully on sodas and energy drinks (retailers did not absorb it for competitive reasons) and, in the 26-store survey, the tax was more than fully passed on in...

When I was learning how to do word problems in elementary school, we were taught to ask ourselves a few questions after arriving at an answer. One of them was, "Does my answer make sense?" For example, if a problem asked how many apples a person can buy if he has $5 and each apple costs 50 cents and your answer is negative 17 million, something has gone horribly wrong.

Does my answer make sense? is such a great question, that every published scientific paper henceforth should be required to answer it explicitly. Perhaps we would avoid seeing papers with titles like this:

...

So reducing sugar-sweetened beverages and overall sugar consumption should decrease the obesity surge, right? Or at least that's what those who are advocating taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages are telling us. Probably soon they'll be promoting taxes on all things sugary — especially those containing the dreaded added sugars. But so far, there doesn't seem to be any real evidence that such taxes, indeed such a lowering of sugary foods and drinks will do anything about the obesity problem.

Well, don't look here for such support‚ especially since I just read a new study from Australia that found that when sugar consumption decreased, obesity increased. This surprising correlation supports the position we've taken...

In Personalizing Nutrition - Automating The Science of Metabolomics and Personalizing Nutrition - Metabolomics and Glucose, I discussed the idea that our metabolic response to a meal, what is described as phenotypic flexibility, is a measure of the interaction of glucose, fat and protein metabolism. And that our metabolism is perhaps better measured by a standardized, test meal that mimics what we really eat as compared to solely the 75 grams of sugar found in an oral glucose tolerance test.

But can we use the metabolomics data of phenotypic flexibility in truly creating a...

Ever wonder why orange juice tastes to bitter after brushing your teeth? It's science.  

Ever wonder why brushing your teeth may suppress or open up your appetite? That's science-y.

In Personalizing Nutrition - Automating The Science of Metabolomics I defined a therapeutic diet as a diet personalized to an individual’s needs. I mentioned a group called Community Serving, which is a blend of Meals on Wheels and customizing a diet. I also mentioned a service called Habit, which claims to scientifically personalize dietary recommendations by evaluating an individual’s metabolism. Let’s take a look at what they do.

The concept of a metabolic challenge is at least as old as the quest to diagnose and treat diabetes. Diabetes can be defined in various ways, but at its heart, it is an alteration in our...

“The woman who once marched up to the French chef Jean-Louis Paladin and told him a dish didn’t have enough salt can no longer taste the difference between a walnut and a pecan, or smell whether the mushrooms are burning. The list of eight languages she once understood has been reduced to English. Maybe 40 percent of the words she knew have evaporated.”

This description, in the New York Times, is of Paula Wolfert, an American culinary treasure, the woman who some claim introduced us to Mediterranean food. Now 78, she suffers from dementia and in the...