Tag Archives: nutrition

PSA: Don’t listen to Gwyneth Paltrow’s health advice

I’ve mentioned before that taking advice from unqualified celebrities when it comes to health is a bad idea. While they might be well intentioned, good intentions are not the same a good advice. On that note – please stay away from goop.com – the health, wellness and lifestyle business operated by Gwyneth Paltrow. There’s too much in it that is either misinformed of frankly dangerous to take a chance that something in it might be useful.

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High expectations and anxiety impact weight loss

According to research by behavioural scientists from Australia’s CSIRO, most Australians tend to over-think, have too high expectations and are anxious about failure – all of which can derail the best intentions when it comes to shedding unwanted kilograms (or pounds if you prefer).

They found there are five behavioural “Diet Types” with the over-thinking, anxious perfectionist the predominant type.

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Correlation, causation, flaky science and trust

Debunking Food MythsA recent article on the weight loss benefits of eating breakfast says

That doesn’t mean particular breakfasts can’t help some people control their appetites, or bring other benefits like energy. Schlundt’s study was tiny. But it shows how easy it is to simplify the complexities and limitations of nutrition science and cherry-pick the findings.

The point of the article is that choosing a single study to prove a point is easy. When you’re looking at a “fact” a single data point is not enough. The reason peer review is so important in science is that being able to repeat a study is critical.

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BMI and GI – can we trust the numbers?

Body mass Index, or BMI, has been used by doctors and other health professionals as aindicator of healthiness. And Glycemic Index (GI) has been a popular tool for nutritioists to advise on the rate at which foods will release sugars into your bloodstream.

The trouble is, niether tool is perfect nor do they take into accout the differences in our indivdual body compostion or metabolism.

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Sugar lobby paid for favourable research from Harvard

SugarIn news that comes as no surprise, it’s been found that the sugar industry paid for research that found sugar didn’t have a role in coronary heart disease.

Harvard nutritionists published two reviews in a top medical journal downplaying the role of sugar in coronary heart disease. Newly unearthed documents reveal what they didn’t say: A sugar industry trade group initiated and paid for the studies, examined drafts, and laid out a clear objective to protect sugar’s reputation in the public eye.

This is why it’s important you critically read all research and ask questions – particularly when the outcomes of a study can benefit one particular group. Also, it highlights that even highly respected institutions like Harvard can be manipulated.

You can read more at Raw Story.

Dairy and weight management: what’s the story?

imageA recent article, published at the CSIRO blog discusses the impact of dairy product consumption on weight management. I hate the term weight loss – it implies lighter is always better whereas healthy is what we are really striving for.

There is no one-size-fits-all (excuse the pun) solution we are advocating here – for various reasons, you may prefer a different dietary route to weight loss. But, for many people, increased dairy intake can help knock off the kilos while still staying healthy.

You can read the full article here.

Thinking about exercise can deliver benefits

mind-bodyResearchers at Florida Gulf Coast University conducted research with 60 college students, half of whom had a high need for cognitive stimulation. The others preferred to avoid anything too mentally taxing.

Both groups were outfitted with fitness trackers, which showed those who craved a mental workout were far less likely to do a physical one during the week.

If their deep thoughts include exercise, other research shows they might just be able to trick their body into believing it got a workout.

To top it off, some Japanese research has found that looking at sweets can cause your body to retain more calories.

In other words, getting your head in the right place may have profound effects on your health.

BMI is a flawed measure – let’s stop using it

is-bmi-goodResearchers have examined data from 40,420 people in the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, looking for a link Body Mass Index (BMI) and key health markers including blood pressure, glucose, insulin resistance, and cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The BMI/health connection didn’t pan out—by a long shot.

We’ve noted previously that BMI is flawed for individual analysis and how it doesn’t take into account the weight of lean muscle versus fat.

You can read more at Bicycling magazine.

Australian scientists say nutrition research needs a shakeup

A paper titled Nutritional Ecology and Human Health, published by David Raubenheimer and Stephen J. Simpson from the Charles Perkins Centre and School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney says the way we measure the health impacts of the human diet needs to be reconsidered.

Simpson says “Conventional thinking which demonises fat, carbohydrate or sugar in isolation as causes of the obesity crisis — dubbed the single nutrient approach — has now run its course. We’ve provided a framework for not only thinking about but also experimentally testing issues around dietary balance. Much like the invention of the telescope or microscope, this framework offers a new tool with which to look at complex dietary problems and bring them into focus”.

You can read the full text of the paper at the Annual Review of Nutrition