Nutrition and Lifestyle

Whole Foods lies to you. The company's entire business model -- which is predicated upon the idea that organic, non-GMO food is somehow healthier and tastier than regular food -- is a gigantic "alternative fact." And it's a profitable one at that, since organic food commands a high premium over conventional food.

That's what makes the latest news about Whole Foods so infuriating. Food Safety News reports that the company has shut down all three of its regional kitchens because the FDA "discovered a long list of 'serious violations,'" some of which resulted in surfaces being contaminated with Listeria.

Of all the different...

Here we go again. Considering that there are literally thousands of chemicals out there to pick on, one wonders why we keep seeing scaremongers return again and again to the old ones. Case in point: acrylamide. Back in 2002, some Swedish scientists discovered that acrylamide is present in many foods, and the scare began.

              Credit: Shutterstock.comcredit: shutterstock.com

The main industrial use for acrylamide is as a precursor to polyacrylamide, a chemical used to clarify water, e.g. waste water. It has been known for a while that workers exposed to acrylamide in industrial settings (not eating the stuff, just working with it) have demonstrated some...

If feeling older than you look appeals to you, take a seat while you read this: A recent study found that women who sit longer than 10 hours a day, combined with low physical activity, have cells that are biologically older — eight years older to be exact — than their actual age. 

The study looked at the lifestyles of 1,500 women, between the ages of 64 and 90, who are part of a Women's Health Inititative (WHI) — a national study on chronic disease and postmenopausal women. Researchers found that women who sat for more than ten hours per day, and exercised less than 40 minutes daily, had shorter telomeres — the caps at the ends of DNA strands which protect chromosomes. Shorter...

In a new position statement, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) and the American College of Endocrinology (ACE) have replaced the word “obesity” with “Adiposity-Based Chronic Disease” (ABCD).  

While that sounds like a clunky switch, the authors have laid out why a simple notion should be replaced with what they call a "complications-centric" approach to the diagnosis and treatment of excess body fat (adiposity). It's more complex than something like BMI, they note.

It may be time to consider a new approach. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity affects more than one-third (36.5%)...

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who eat bugs knowingly and those who eat bugs unknowingly. Oh yes, you eat bugs. Even vegans eat bugs.

While farmers and food processors want our grub to be pure, it is impossible to eliminate every single contaminant in the food supply. Crops are covered with insects, and little can be done to prevent a leg here or an antenna there from making its way into the final product.

The FDA is fully aware of this and even has a handbook that describes the allowable level of food "defects." Peanut butter, for example, can have up to 30 insect fragments per 3.5 ounces.

Wine, too, is not immune to this nuisance. Brown...

Food and nutrition companies always capitalize on whatever fad diets are currently in fashion to shamelessly promote their products. Science is of secondary concern, if it's a concern at all. For instance, Centrum Silver is running an advertisement that brags about its (utterly worthless) multivitamins being gluten- and GMO-free.

Nestlé wants in on the action, too. This company is playing a TV commercial for ProNourish, a nutritional drink. As one might expect, the company eagerly and unscientifically boasts about the product's lack of...

Listen up, slackers: You can no longer use 'work' as an excuse to avoid burning calories during the week. It turns out, you could get your best workout in over the weekend, without lifting a finger Monday through Friday.

According to a recent study, cramming all of your weekly exercise recommendations (or goals) into one or two weekend sessions is just as good as working out during the week, and yields the same significant health benefits. Experts say staying active over the weekend was still enough to reduce the risk of early mortality by a third. 

The observational findings — published in JAMA...

Calvin Trillin tells a story of taking his out-of-town friends and relatives to New York’s China Town to play tic tac toe against a chicken. Frequently, the chicken wins and Trillin reports that the vanquished foes often defend themselves by saying, “But the chicken got to go first” or that “the chicken plays every day.” I love that story, which hides behind a paywall here.

Lori Marino, in Animal Cognition, brings some science to the issue of just how smart that chicken might have been in a meta-analysis of chicken cognitive research. Spoiler alert, if you love fried chicken and knowing that pigs are intelligent interferes with your love...

The famed sue-and-settle group Center for Science in the Public Interest, founded by a former employee of Ralph Nader, are in the news again. This time they are using their "health justice" little sister Praxis Project as the lead and are going after both Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association, claiming they knew all along that soda was harmful and covered it up. You know, like Big Tobacco in the 1950s and '60s.

Bloomberg News sums it up thusly:

  • Federal court complaint alleges Coke downplayed sugar effects
  • Sugary drinks ‘are scientifically linked to obesity, diabetes’

The Praxis Project claims...

My work day last spring had been frustrating; the writing had gone slowly (and not too well). In my desire to write an acceptable paper had I forgotten how my neighbors eat today; I was using too many academic studies with their stark numbers and not enough of today’s eating realities. A reality check of the real world was in order. 

I also wanted a break from the computer screen, the isolation of my cluttered office, and needed the invigoration of people milling around.  I slid my computer chair back, hurried downstairs, and out the back door into the garage, backed my car down the twisting gravel driveway into the oncoming traffic. I abruptly stopped, allowing a runner to slide by the trunk of my car.  

As my car picked up speed, I eyed the runner in passing.  She was...