Main

April 24, 2009

Speaking of Obesity...

Obviously this proposal did not get passed, but I thought it was pretty amazing that it was even considered.

HOUSE BILL NO. 282
AN ACT TO PROHIBIT CERTAIN FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS FROM SERVING 1 FOOD TO ANY PERSON WHO IS OBESE, BASED ON CRITERIA PRESCRIBED BY 2 THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH; TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT TO 3 PREPARE WRITTEN MATERIALS THAT DESCRIBE AND EXPLAIN THE CRITERIA 4 FOR DETERMINING WHETHER A PERSON IS OBESE AND TO PROVIDE THOSE 5 MATERIALS TO THE FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS; TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT TO 6 MONITOR THE FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS FOR COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS 7 OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES. 8 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
1. (1) The provisions of this section shall apply 10 to any food establishment that is required to obtain a permit from 11 the State Department of Health under Section 41-3-15(4)(f), that 12 operates primarily in an enclosed facility and that has five (5) 13 or more seats for customers. 14 (2) Any food establishment to which this section applies 15 shall not be allowed to serve food to any person who is obese, 16 based on criteria prescribed by the State Department of Health 17 after consultation with the Mississippi Council on Obesity 18 Prevention and Management established under Section 41-101-1 or 19 its successor. The State Department of Health shall prepare 20 written materials that describe and explain the criteria for 21 determining whether a person is obese, and shall provide those 22 materials to all food establishments to which this section 23 applies. A food establishment shall be entitled to rely on the 24 criteria for obesity in those written materials when determining 25 whether or not it is allowed to serve food to any person. 26
(3) The State Department of Health shall monitor the food 27 establishments to which this section applies for compliance with 28 the provisions of this section, and may revoke the permit of any 29 H. B. No. 282 *HR03/R51* 08/HR03/R51 PAGE 2 (RF\LH) ST: Food establishments; prohibit from serving food to any person who is obese.
food establishment that repeatedly violates the provisions of this 30 section. 31 SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from 32 and after July 1, 2008.


April 23, 2009

Taubes at the Stevens Institute of Technology

Following up to Lana's post: Here's video of Taubes presenting at the Stevens Institute of Technology.

Taubes on Larry King...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoQGRJqGQTs

EC

anecdotal (adjective): based on or consisting of reports or observations of usually unscientific observers
(http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anecdotal)

"His evidence that you can lose weight without reducing calories is 'anecdotal'" (Bray 259).

During high school my research papers contained anecdotal evidence because I didn’t have high-quality research methods.

April 20, 2009

Curing Diabetes as a Challenge to Taubes?

Here's an article on "curing" diabetes. It's notable for its emphasis on "willpower" and this line:

"There is no special diet. You've got to eat fewer calories than your body burns," said Dr. Robert Rizza, a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and former president of the American Diabetes Association.

Obviously something changes for these people: they lose weight, they exercise, they change their diet, and their diabetes goes away. Doesn't it seem odd, however, that the things that Taubes discusses don't even come up here? No mention of eating sugar and refined grains, no mention of a possible metabolic problem, and no mention of the role of insulin. It's articles like these that make me want an actual scientific description of why diabetes occurs. I see that they challenge Taubes's hypothesis, but they do so with arguments that Taubes, I think, demonstrates as facile and trite. I want and expect more.

April 19, 2009

Very Convincing

I think chapter 20, Unconventional Diets has been the most convincing chapter yet. The result form studies on different diets were shocking to me. I was really surprised that people lost much more weight eating 3000 calories a day of meat, vegetables, and very little carbohydrates than people who were eating a well-balanced calorie restricted diet. I was also surprised that people who were on the starvation diets did not feel hungry when they broke the diet by eating protein or fat, but suffered the symptoms of food deprivation if they broke the diet by eating carbohydrates. If anybody does not believe that the kind of calories a person eats matters, I do not know how they would argue against it after reading this chapter. I used to think that people on the Atkins diet or other low carb. diets were just falling into a fad diet because I always learned in nutrition classes that diets which restricted certain food groups were ineffective. I always thought that a well-balanced diet was always the best way to maintain one’s weight. However, after reading this chapter I do not believe that. I also found it very convincing that people who ate mainly fat and protein were able to stick to the diet because they felt satisfied and were not constantly aware that they were hungry, but people who ate 10,000 calories a day in carbohydrates were still unsatisfied. However when I thought about my eating habits, it made sense. When I eat something like a doughnut for breakfast, I am hungry an hour later. So far this has been the most interesting and convincing chapter to me.

April 16, 2009

Stress

In chapter 17, Taubes brought up a very interesting point about how our behavior is in response to our physiological needs. He gives the example of how depressed patients are totally inactive, which is their body’s effort to conserve enough energy to maintain a constant internal balance. This made me think about how people react to stress. People’s weight tends to fluctuate when they are really stressed. Some people have no appetite when they are stressed, and as a result they lose weight. Other people eat excessively as a response to stress and gain weight. I wonder what causes these different responses to the same emotion. I would think that the overeating would be a response to needing more energy to maintain a constant internal balance. As a result people have food cravings. Possibly for people who lose weight, it could be a flight-or-fight response, making food unappealing to them.

April 15, 2009

Candy or Carrots??...

In chapter 17, Taubes brings up an interesting point in the Luxuskonsumption hypothesis. It states that overeating gives someone the desire to exercise because they have more energy to expend. On the other hand, when someone doesn’t eat they become tired, decreasing their yearning to exercise. An important aspect that Taubes could have expanded on is the type of foods you eat. In my own experience, overeating sugary foods like candy, pop, chips, and cookies turns me into a couch potato. I don’t have the desire or right kind of energy to motivate me to exercise. However, when I eat foods that keep my blood sugars at a more constant level I have the tendency to want to work out. Maybe this is just me, but I am a firm believer that your physical active level depends heavily on the foods you chose to eat. In high school my track coach always enforced to stay away from pop, candy, and chips before a meet. Foods that cause a sudden increase in blood glucose levels will have a nasty outcome. Over indulging is not always a good thing, but maybe when it’s the right kind of food it will have benefits??!

April 14, 2009

Is luxuskonsumption real?

In my high school biology class, my teacher talked about diets. After discussing the Atkins and other diets, the message he passed on to us was this: if you take in fewer calories than your body needs to sustain its weight, you’ll lose weight.
Reading chapter 17 reminded me of this statement. Taubes goes against this traditional belief and makes a case that the body’s metabolism is designed to resist changes in energy reserves, and that the body will vary its activity level so it can keep fat deposits constant. I understand Taubes’ point about how eating less can make you feel tired and lethargic. I experience this when I oversleep and have to skip breakfast to get to my classes on time. But Taubes’ Luxuskonsumption hypothesis suggests that I should be more physically active after I’ve overeaten, and I’m not. I feel lethargic when I eat too much (as I do on Thanksgiving, Easter, and lots of other days throughout the year). It’s common for people to eat a big meal and then take a nap. Napping burns calories more slowly than regular activities; a lot of animals hibernate to slow down their metabolism so they can survive without food. This contradicts Luxuskonsumption, because a human napping after eating a huge meal is not burning the extra calories. Maybe I’m going to be gaining weight, because I don’t seem to be more active after I overeat.
On the other hand, maybe Luxuskonsumption is applicable to humans, just more long-term. That could be why athletes carbo-load the night before their events. The excess energy from pasta is stored in the muscles, not fat, and encourages physical activity the next day.

No More Discrimination

Even though I have found this book rather dull, being a fat person myself I actually appreciated this chapter. I don’t consider myself especially lazy, (a procrastinator yes, but not lazy) I believe that I overeat, and I do visit the rec center twice a week. At one point in my life I was on traveling basketball team and we practiced hard 3 times a week and then had tournaments almost every weekend but I was still heavier than all my friends. While it’s true that without all that intense exercise I’ve put on more weight, even when I had the same intense exercise and eating habits as my skinny friends I was still fat. For all those who think that all fat people are just lazy bums please think again. While it’s true that I could exercise more and curb my diet even more, I’m not fat because I’m a couch potato gorging myself on Little Debbies, most definitely not. After living with that being other people’s view of me, it’s really disheartening. This chapter was telling all that there are some complicated and underlying problems to being fat that aren’t necessarily the individual’s fault. So even though I really don’t like your book, thank you Taubes for that.

A Calorie is a Calorie

Taubes quotes John Taggart on the “first law of thermodynamics,” on page 293, which states “a calorie is a calorie and calories in equals calories out.” I believe that Taubes covers this argument fairly well but I don’t think he covers how a calorie is packaged enough. A calorie is a unit of energy and what some foods are made of make a calorie harder to release. The most usable form of energy in the human body is glucose, which is a simple carbohydrate. It is relatively easy to convert from a more complex carbohydrate down to glucose whereas trying to convert a protein into glucose is much harder. Also, some foods contain a lot of fibers that the body cannot break down causing the body to work extremely hard to extract calories but doesn’t get a lot in return. An example of that is celery. So, while it's true that “a calorie is a calorie” it's an over simplification. Our bodies are complex chemistry sets that can perform many amazing functions but some functions are done better than others. That is why our bodies first break down carbs first and then other molecules for energy after the carbs are used up. I’m not sure why he doesn’t get into this argument very much because it supports his argument but I wish he would have.

April 13, 2009

We are but Simple Folk

To me, one of the most interesting parts of chapter 17-Conservation of Energy-was a look at peoples’ ability and willingness to oversimplify what one would think would be a very complicated process. It begs the question: Why are we so willing to believe that something as complex as the human body can be reduced to a simple machine that merely takes in energy and expends it? With all that people go through in attempts to lose weight, how could it not be a more complicated process?! The discussion of this oversimplified understanding of weight gain and obesity also raises questions as to the effect such an assumption has had on our society. The obese are looked at as fat, lazy people who would lose weight if only they would take a walk once in a while and laid-off the Twinkies! This assumption is not only wrong, according to Taubes, but it can also be very damaging to a portion of our society that has a legitimate disability or ailment.
Taubes leaves us with the idea that obesity may be the cause of malfunctioning cells or processes in our body; this seems to sets the reader up for the question: What can be done about it?

April 10, 2009

Cancer and Other Diseases

I found the studies on American Indians in chapter 5 very interesting. How when populations were exposed to “American diets" of sugar, white flour and white rice, diseases appeared. Prior to this diet, Indians did not have cancer or it was incredibly rare. I would think that Native Americans would have had higher rates or cancer because of other lifestyle factors such as smoking tobacco or exposure to the sun. Even cooking and smoking foods can causes cancer. This evidence could support the hypothesis that refined carbohydrates, starches and sugars are bad for your health, or could it just be that the doctors did not have adequate tools to identify cancer? Even if they did not have adequate equipment to identify cancer, the rate of other diseases greatly increased. For me, this evidence was very strong in convincing me to eat sugars, refined carbohydrates, and starches sparingly.

April 7, 2009

Not All of Us Have the Same Percentage of Body Fat

It amazes me how much the government affects our nation’s views of dieting, especially since only an adequate amount of information is needed before most people simply follow what the government says to do. In the beginning of chapter four, Taubes points out that the controversy over dietary fat has ceased ever since the government took control of providing information to the public. This simply proves that the nation tends to follow the government’s control. Does this mean everything they say is 100% true? Most certainly not. When research is done on a group of subjects, many factors contribute to a person’s overall health, such as their heredity, method of exercise (if any), viewpoint on eating healthy or not, past relationships with food (psychological), and way more than I could fit in this blog. For example, I’m comparing myself with a 300 lb person. Who would be more apt to significantly reduce their cholesterol? The percentage of body fat would be a huge factor in deciding this answer. The subject with less body fat will be able to adjust their body with every refinement in their diet, whereas a person with a higher percent of body fat will need to make a very significant change in their diet in order to attain some type of change. With so many factors, the government should address this information to a wider audience, which would make their information seem more legit than simply stating, “Reduce your fat intake.” Taubes includes that many citizens are not buying the governments facts until further research is done to further prove their information. I agree, and until then, I won’t change my diet until extensive research has been done. Relying on the government may not always be the best choice, but most still think they are right every time.

Unity, Unity Unityy!!

In the theory of the paragraph there are five general laws that include unity, selection, proportion, sequence, and variety. These are all extremely important in order to construct a solid paragraph. Being able to write a good paragraph is the foundation for writing a sound paper. In Gary Taube’s book, “Good Calories, Bad Calories,” he presents his reader with numerous paragraphs that clearly have the five general laws intertwined into them. Taubes does an excellent job on page 67 paragraph number two in presenting unity throughout. He starts his paragraph by stating, “And thus the dilemma: ‘People will not be motivated to any great extent to take our advice because there is little in it for each of them, particularly in the short and medium term’” (Taubes 67). The following sentences then go on to suggest solutions to fix this problem. The sentences all relate to his topic sentence making the paragraph easy to understand and link its significance to the surrounding paragraphs.

A New Nutrition Debate

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/07/science/07tier.html

I read this in the New York Times and double-checked to make sure it wasn’t written by Taubes. If you replace “salt” in this article with “fat,” and “blood pressure” with “cholesterol,” you’ll have Taubes’ argument through Chapter 4.

The article also discusses the role of government in public health. I think that government must draft guidelines regarding nutrition and health, as long as the recommendations are based on sound science. Americans want to stay healthy, and it’s unlikely that they can get unbiased information from agribusiness and other industries with a product to sell. However, scientific consensus is absent in both the cholesterol and hypertension debates, so government should not make it appear as if one exists.

At no point should government force consumers’ decisions about what to eat, because everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion about which foods are healthy or desirable. NYC shouldn’t mandate salt reductions, but they should educate consumers and promote healthy eating.

Am I Completely Disconnected with Reality?!

Strangely, the more I read Taube's book, Good Calories, Bad Calories the more I feel like as if I were lost in time or disconnected with the rest of the world especially, while reading chapter four. I don't know about any other of Taube’s readers but it is odd too me how Taube’s can provide so much evidence to support his claim but make them seem like as if they were a huge issue or controversy going on at that time that nobody could have missed such debates occurring over the years. When Taubes mentions arguments such as, the less fat women reported eating the more susceptible they were to cancer or the controversy over an appropriate cholesterol level, all I could think about was, “where was I when most of this was going on?” Granted, I wasn't even born or old enough to comprehend the situations for some of the debates. But, that is beside the point. It just seems as though most of this information was kept from the public and people were never really given a chance to evaluate the information for themselves. Nor were they notified about the level of uncertainty in the situations with evidence that was being presented to those in the medical professions. It is apparent to me that although controversial evidence was being published such as in the case of NCI’s study involving the correlation between fat and breast cancer, it went unnoticed not because people did not want “to hear the message of that a promising avenue of research was turning was turning into a blind alley,” but because of the biases in which Taubes mentioned in chapter three (Taubes 74). It is possible that although these cases were published, they were not fully published or made available to the public. Evidently, the information was probably only published and made accessible to professionals and not to the general public. Instead, the information appeared to be limited to the general public rather than the public being ignorant or irresponsible in evaluating new information that was supposedly given to them.

Fat and the Body

Chapter 4 in Good Calories, Bad Calories helps to clear up skepticism by the reader about Taubes’ argument by showing examples that support his claim and by demonstrating the importance of listening to your body. In this chapter, it is suggested by several researchers that humans are genetically adapted to eat diets higher in fat because Paleolithic diets consisted of about 28-58% fat (Eaton, Speth and Cordain). This could be why humans have a taste for foods higher in fat, such as fatty meats and cheese. Also why people feel tired and weak when they consume low fat diets. This is the same as how you feel thirsty when your body needs water. A low fat diet could do more harm than good which is your body‘s way of showing that it is not right. Low fat diets correlated with more tumors and high fat diets correlated with less cancer, strokes, and have no change in heart disease rates (Taubes). This evidence shows the importance of the kind of calories that a person puts into their body, which helps to prove the argument that Taubes it making in this book. As a skeptical reader, I believe in Taubes’s argument the more I hear examples, studies and evidence that support his claim.

April 4, 2009

Skeptical

I really liked the information in part one of chapter 3, about how twenty million tons of soy and vegetable protein are needed to produce 2 million tons of beef. I never though of what is considered nutritional based on values instead of science and I found this very interesting. This could be the reason why organic and all natural foods are becoming so popular for their health benefits. With the green movement people are trying to be more conscious of the environment, therefore not wanting to put pesticides and other chemicals into the environment. Companies such as 7 Up are advertising their foods as “all natural” to appeal to consumers. It appeals to customers because they think it is healthier, yet the term “all natural” in foods is meaningless. Scientists are not even sure if pesticides are harmful to people, yet organic food and co-ops continue to become more and more popular. This makes me very skeptical of other things that are promoted for their health benefits. Pomegranate and acai are also really popular right now because they are full of antioxidants. However do antioxidants even really have any health benefits, or is it just a good way to promote the fruits to make money?

April 1, 2009

The Inadequacy of Lesser Evidence

Gary Taubes is obviously a very thorough researcher. However, during this chapter I often found myself very bored reading through all of the different studies that were done. Taubes analyzes the biases in the studies very well, and once finished reading through the explanation of what had transpired in the studies it was nice to have a recap of the conclusions and the assumptions made by the researchers.

It's very interesting to observe the type of bias that the study directors and the media that portray these types of studies have against certain diets. I believe, as was stated in class on Monday, that because some researchers, namely Keys, had and continue to have such time and effort invested in their research regarding health that they are polarized in their direction and refuse to consider the fact that their hypothesis and findings may be incorrect. The disturbing fact is that the media that continues to promote these types of dietary habits also refuses to heed the warnings of others as well. The American Heart Association is treated like an omnipotent being by the media and they blindly follow their words like scripture. Yet another reason to distrust the media and do your own research. Taubes does a good job exposing the fallacies that exist in this line of work, but I'm sure he would be an advocate of self-research, rather than just trusting everything he has written.

March 31, 2009

Shortsightedness

I’m most surprised about how Keys and his supporters perceive healthiness. It seems that, in nearly all of the diet-health studies, Keys forgets about longevity and focuses only on cholesterol. To them, any reduction in cholesterol (seen in a saturated-fat reduction study) proves that saturated fats are unhealthy, regardless of whether or not cholesterol has any impact on overall health. Even the link between saturated fat and high cholesterol was unproven (the Minnesota Coronary Survey contradicted the Helsinki Study).

Taubes says that the blame for the widespread belief that saturated fat causes heart disease should partially rest with the media, because they took an easy way to get readers’ attention. The saturated-fat-causes-disease believers had a simple message, and they were able to get powerful results. Why didn’t the carbohydrates-cause-disease believers speak out? They could have made good points about diabetes and overall health, and shown that the saturated fat-disease link was tenuous.

Personally, I find it disappointing that the Minnesota Coronary Survey, the Framingham Heart Study, and other studies that contradicted Keys’ logic were not published until long after they were concluded. It seems that politics got in the way of science in these instances. Researchers such as Keys could have built ethos by recognizing contradictory evidence, but instead they tried to hide it. This shouldn’t happen, especially when people’s health and lives are at stake.

Who’s Taking Responsibility?

One of the big questions this chapter raised for me was: Who is taking responsibility for the public’s misconception of weight loss? On page 23, paragraph three, Taubes writes “The proponents of Key’s hypothesis agreed in principle, but felt they had an obligation to provide their patients with the latest medical wisdom.” But, is having access to the latest medical knowledge healthy; and who should regulate research findings? In a culture obsessed with weight loss and the latest and greatest diet, should doctors be taking extra steps in the protection of research from the media that is only based on hypotheses? We have seen throughout time that the media’s understanding of research has great influence over the masses ; therefore, should we not take additional steps to hold the media accountable for their interpretations of medical research? Also, is there a better way for researchers to broadcast their findings in a way that is easier to understand and in less danger of being misinterpreted or blown out of proportion by the media? I believe these are really important questions to ask as we continue to read Taubes’ book because it may shed additional light on some of the issues surrounding the misconceptions of dieting.

March 29, 2009

Any person's diet

Reading the prologue of Good Calories, Bad calories made me think of my husband and why the Atkins diet worked for him. I had mentioned this a bit in class and that I was not willing to know anything about it or even consider trying it. He had suggested the diet of no sugar and no carbs for 2 weeks and limiting the amounts afterwards. It consisted of a high protein diet and seemed detailed about what you can and can’t eat and a sort of timeline to go by. I didn't take to this very quick and I put the diet in the trash and never considered it. So, in reading good calories, bad calories I thought cutting carbs might be a start. In the past my diets would consist of the 4 major food groups and exercise. Lots of exercise! I thought that plain was better and I would not add the dressings, salts, butter, and oils. I never took anything else into consideration and I think this book will give a better understanding of the food around me. While I will not dive right into the Atkins diet, I would like to know why that diet works for some and not others. I would like to know about any diet and why they work for certain people. I would also like to know how people with certain diseases could benefit from certain diets. I also would like to know how people with a certain lifestyle can become healthier. I this book will give me some insight about others and a diet that would be beneficial for them, just to know.

March 25, 2009

I like this

The rest of these blog posts cover the content Taubes' prologue in detail. That horse is dead, and doesn't need to be beaten anymore.

Taubes is a very engaging writer, and I blasted through the prologue and first chapter without setting down my book. Partly, this is because I love non-fiction science writing. That is an important reason why I took this class, and why I enjoy it. But Taubes manages to avoid many of the pitfalls that lesser writers stumble into. In a nutshell, it's fun to read. More specifically: I enjoyed how the anecdotes were told, the research was tight and comprehensive, and he avoided the cardinal sin of "dry technical writing". I am also glad that he refrains from sensationalism. His thesis is a bold one, but it is presented in a very thoughtful manner. Example: In the first chapter (yes, I know I'm skipping ahead here), he presents a very good anecdote about President Eisenhower's health troubles. Immediately afterward, however, he presents a caveat to the reader: a single anecdote should never be evidence onto itself. Taubes thoroughly presents not only evidence to support his thesis, but reasons why his evidence supports it. More importantly than that, he actively dismisses evidence that would otherwise support his position, but which he does not consider credible. I admire this method of presenting your argument. It serves to further educate the reader about the nuance of the issues.

March 24, 2009

What Should We Believe?

After reading the prologue to Taubes' "Good Calories, Bad Calories," all that I came away with is not knowing what to believe. It was very surprising that this controversy on what diet is the best has been going on since the early 1800's, but it is also a little disheartening to know that this controversy hasn't been solved. Banting's idea of eating a diet consisting strictly of meat and cutting out carbohydrates was for a long time the most widely accepted and was viewed as the healthiest diet. However after the fat hypothesis was introduced in the 1970's that said saturated fat, the fat in meat and animal products, put people at a higher risk of developing heart disease, a diet that consisted of a large portion of carbohydrates became viewed as the healthier diet. This information leaves me with one simple question; what should we believe? It is frustrating to me and surely many others knowing that there is not a right or healthy diet, and I am hoping that Taubes will do a good job explaining the benefits and downfalls of the specific diets, and I am looking forward to what he has to say.

Who's right, fat or carbs?!!

I am extremely excited to read this book because nutrition is intriguing to me. It is interesting to hear about all the different weight loss methods and the strategies they offer. Losing weight is hard. It takes dedication, self control, and a positive outlook. It’s tough to say what diets work the best because everyone is different. I believe that maintaining a healthy weight is really just a science. You have to experiment and observe what works with your body. Knowing what foods make you gain weight and the amount of calories you need to maintain a healthy weight are important factors to consider. However, I do think that eating a diet with lean meats, fiber, lots of vegetables, and a low intake of processed foods, sugar, and refined carbohydrates is extremely helpful in dropping those extra pounds. Carbohydrates are not bad, it’s just knowing what kinds to eat. Losing weighting should not involve a diet but a life style change. Once you lose the weight, going back to your old eating habits will not keep the weight off. Taubes seems like he has done his research and I am ready to hear what he has to say about eating habits and diets.

Nutrisystem? No Way, the Food Looks Fake.

This book will be very interesting for me, especially since obesity has taken over a few of my family members. In the beginning of the prologue, Taubes begins addressing different approaches to dieting and reasons why or why not each one of them actually works. Knowing the positive and negative effects of the hypotheses presented in this book will definitely encourage me to spread the facts to my family.

Diets involving calorie counting, carbohydrate counting, and other typical methods are legitimate ways of controlling one’s weight. I feel all of them will work, but they won’t be ideal for everybody. Stating this, the one strategy I think will work with anyone is simply portion control and exercising, whether it’s yoga, walking, pilates, weight lifting, and so forth.

Diets involving weight loss pills (or what I call hocus pocus pills) are the worst ways to attempt losing weight. If these pills truly reduced body weight without dieting or exercise, everyone would be skinny. Obviously, they don’t work, and I hate watching the commercials. Same goes for Nutrisystem. If it worked so well, nobody would be overweight. Even if it did work, you couldn’t eat it for the rest of your life, so the weight would pile back on as soon as you stopped consuming the Nutrisystem foods. There is no way Marie Osmond eats boxed, fake looking food everyday without feeling nauseated.

Why do we believe everything to be true even if it is a primary resource?

The way in which Taube chooses to analyze the proposed effects of different dieting methods by examining contradictory views of each method is bold. While reading his arguments, Taube stressed one point that I agree with which was that although research is regarded as a primary source, this doesn’t mean that it the research is always reliable or trustworthy because there can be misconceptions in science. Every time someone mentions that “research shows this….or that” I personally do not put full faith into what is being proposed especially, if what is being addressed is fairly new. Some people put such full faith into science without thinking of the implications of what is actually being said or argued. There is also the fact that so much trust is bestowed on technology and in science that people fail to investigate further for evidence regarding the subject at hand or even if there is a sufficient amount of historical evidence to support the claims being made. We see this happening everyday in medicine for example where people are often misdiagnosed especially when it comes to cancer since it is a relatively new concept to most of us. I can think of at least two people that I indirectly know that went to see a doctor due to certain medical troubles they were having. In both cases patients asked the doctor if there would be a possibility that these issues they were experiencing were related to cancer and the doctor told them no. Both patients and the parties that were with them failed to question further the authority of the doctors’ diagnostic advise or at least demand that testing be done as evidence to confirm otherwise. The doctors assumed based on their previous cases and observations that there would be absolutely no chances of the persons having cancer. the issue is how did they know for certain that was the case especially since cancer is such a mysterious and relatively new ordeal to us? As a result, both patients were correct from the beginning in their speculation of whether or not their causation to their problems are a result of cancer because further down the road both were diagnosed with cancer. The doctor failed to catch the early stage of the cancer that it developed into a much more serious stage. Thus, this goes to show that since doctors were seen as a primary source that could never be wrong, they actually were. There scientific background had misconceptions at the matter in hand so it carried a bias. They never opened up the opportunity to consider cancer as a possibility from the beginning but used it as a last resort. Thus the doctors were misconceived about cancer and the patients were mislead by the credibility that they fully bestowed in each doctor’s diagnosis.

To eat or not to eat?

I think Taubes presents a very interesting prologue. It really makes you think back to all the different diets that have come, gone, and are still around. Not only that, but I also was reminded of all the different diet suggestions that plague the news. A glass or a cup of this today will cure X and Y, but in a few months it might be bad for you. I guess I never really knew that this sort of tug-of-war between fat and carbohydrates had existed for so long. To me it seemed like a relatively new topic of research, but as Taubes pointed out it has been going on for hundreds of years. I am eager to read what Taubes presents to us, and see what kind of information he presents. I would like to know how he can scientifically (if that is the route he is going) can show that carbs are bad and that the common notion of fat being unwanted in a diet is incorrect considering all the scientific backing for it. Especially considering that Taubes said that people who promoted fat heavy diets primarily did so through anecdotes and personal testimonies. In any case I am looking foreword to what lies ahead.

Dieting 101

Diets have been around for a while and a few of them, like the Atkins diet or the South Beach diet, were extremely popular with a lot of people because they seemed to work. In my opinion each person is unique and not every diet plan will work for them. I believe smaller balanced portions and more exercise should do the trick for most, but that's usually not what people want to hear. Most want the easy way out, like taking a pill to lose the weight. Just about everyone knows someone who has been on a "yo-yo diet" - that is reach their goal and start eating the way they used to and gain all of it, and sometimes more, back again. Hard work and dedication to your diet is essential and you can't just quit once you reach your goal. It's something that must continue indefinitely in order not to gain the weight back. This will make for a very interesting read.

A Comical Look at Dieting History

I found this article online and thought it was a great look at how ridiculous diet fads have been in the past. God only knows what new fads we will come up with in the near to distant future.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29795998/

Somewhat Skeptical

After reading the Prologue to “Good Calories, Bad Calories”, I am interested to read the rest of the book. Nutrition is something I am very interested in and I like to hear other people’s perspectives on what is healthy. I like that Taubes uses science and case studies to back up his ideas because there are so many different opinions out there for what constitutes a healthy diet. However In my nutrition class we learned that a low fat diet that balances all of the food groups is healthy. Also that the best way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. This is completely different from Taubes’ argument that exercise and a low fat diet are not necessarily the keys to weight loss. His argument makes sense because he says that eating less fat just causes people to eat more of other things such as sugars and starches to satisfy their cravings. It is healthier to maintain ones weight to prevent diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. I am interested to see more of the evidence that he gives to prove that it does not matter how much you eat, but what you eat that will make you unhealthy or fat. It is hard to believe that this is true. I would think that eating excess calories of just about anything other than vegetables would make you fat.