Weight Loss Ticker

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A "Cure" for Obesity?

Fat fish put obesity on the hook They're doing research to see if they can find a link between obesity in fish and obesity in humans. I understand where they're coming from, they need to find another reason for the rising obesity rates over the last few years. The real reason is out there, but corporate America and the food manufacturers don't want to let anyone know the real reason. They'd lose money. The best thing for losing weight? Stay away from overprocessed foods. Nabisco would lose money. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil? Bad for you. High fructose corn syrup? Another we should stay away from. The big corporations are making big bucks with these chemically altered imitation food ingredients. Those same corporations are great about advertising how well they treat their employees. Ask the employees. The most important thing to these corporations is the money they're bringing in making America fat. Making the world fat. It's not just Americans any more, you go on any diet website and you'll find members from Germany, New Zealand, even China. Dieting and weight loss are big business. They get us coming and going. They make the bad food that gets us to gain weight. How many of these same companies turn around and market "diet" meals?

Monday, June 4, 2007

Advertising and Our Weight

It's everywhere you look. You watch prime time TV and you'll see an ad for Burger King and a SpongeBob Squarepants toy, or McDonalds and a Shrek toy. America's children have a growing obesity problem, yet all around us are more ads for junk food. My two year old daughter even understands that. We walked down the cereal aisle, and there's a Playhouse Disney cereal (she pointed at the box and said Mickey). It's no wonder that America is having a problem with obesity and weight. If you sit down and watch tv, how many ads do you see for eating healthy? How many ads do you see for junk? Even the ads that supposedly show something healthy aren't always healthy. I know you've seen it. TV ads for FiberCon (or was it Metamucil?) where you see the woman pulling a cart of broccoli and one of milk? They imply that you can't get your day's serving of vegetables without going overboard. There also used to be an ad where you'd see all of the adults doing nothing but munching on vegetables. Talk about exageration. It's no wonder that Americans think it's too difficult to eat healthy. It's no wonder that the perfectionists among us just give up. After all, if we can't do it right, then why bother? Yea, right. Why bother? We feel much better when we eat like we should. Even the tiniest change makes such a big difference in our energy levels. That's a good reason to bother. As for the best reason... that's asleep in the other room. We need to be there for our children, teach them how they should eat so they can be there for their children. I'm not talking about living forever, or even living on borrowed time. I'm talking being able to go out and play tag with the kids, going camping with them and actually being able to have fun. That's what life is about.

Monday, May 21, 2007

City on a Diet

In Somerville, MA, they did a study for 1 year. They fed the kids healthy foods and educated the parents on healthy meals and snacks. Then they refreshed the crosswalks and encouraged biking and walking. What a novel concept. I mean it's not like we've ever heard that we should have the kids exercise more. No, instead they're pushing the curriculum for the "No Child Left Behind" What a joke. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for making sure our kids are educated, but I honestly feel they are going about it the wrong way. They are taking the arts (including band) and physical education out of the schools, and just pushing the kids to learn. Well, I don't know about anyone else, but when I was in high school, there was no way that I could have kept learning without some sort of exercise to clear my mind of the stress. Now my son doesn't have to take physical education unless he decides to join a sport (he's in football). What else should we expect if we take away the kids playing time, the exercise time, the time to get out and run off all that energy. Instead we tell them to sit and learn. Then we complain that there percentage of obese children is going up. Yet with all the sports that we have our kids in, if we don't teach them the balance of good eating, it's not going to do them any good either. It's time to remember how this goes... we need to eat fruits and vegetables, and we need exercise. That's how to combat obesity. This study only proves what the rest of us know.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Obese Preschoolers in the News

Here's a shocker. Children of obese parents are twice as likely to be overweight themselves, even while preschool age. Not only that, but children of low income families tend to be obese. Ok, let me see if I get this right. Children of low income families tend to be obese. The study results showed that about 33% of the children of low income black and white families tend to be obese, but 44% of the children of latino families tend to be obese. Umm my first question is if this is counting illegal aliens. They take the lowest paying jobs, the ones that require the least amount of training and education. I believe there needs to be more help with learning nutrition, planning meals and all that. Low income families that are on WIC (Women, Infants and Children) get free food... however the choices leave much to be desired. When I was getting cereal while I was pregnant and while I was nursing my daughter, the choices were limited. Most of the cereals you can get have less than 3 grams of fiber per serving and were filled with wonderful cooked up additives like high fructose corn syrup. Yum, nice unnatural sugar additive. So healthy. Honestly, it's only since we started using high fructose corn syrup in everything that obesity levels started going up. Can we see a pattern here people? Though I know that it's highly doubtful that it's low income families on there, I've been a member of eDiets for over 6 years now, and I've seen numerous posts about how expensive it is to eat healthy. That's from those who have menus to print out and follow. What about those without menus? What do they eat? Hamburger Helper? Blech, salt and fat. Mac & cheese? Same thing. Frozen pizza? cardboard mixed with fat, yum (NOT!) I've noticed that if you walk into the stereotypical low income store -- Wal-Mart, the number of people shopping there tend to be obese, or at least overweight. Not only that, how healthy do they look? I'm not talking about the overweight part, I'm talking about how their skin looks from eating all the crap. Yet walk into the store, and the healthy foods do tend to be more expensive. You have to know how to shop to be able to afford to eat healthy food on a low income. It's not something they teach anywhere, it's something that you have to learn hit or miss... The food manufacturers don't care, all they worry about is taste. If it tastes good, then it'll sell. I've learned that one inside and out from where I work. Granted, we don't deal with FDA, but there's not all that much difference between the two regulatory departments. Oh wait, there is, USDA isn't going to endorse anything that means we buy less meat. Nevermind that vegetables fall under the Department of Agriculture also. Meat is the big business. Guess I'm getting a bit jaded about the situation. Look at the USDA's website, and rather than putting money toward anything important, USDA is trying to convince Japan to buy US beef. Umm yea, at the same time, they're trying to allow imports of beef from Canada, after all it's hurting US businesses not being able to buy Canandian beef. Nevermind the new cases of BSE that keep cropping up. Mad Cow Disease is gone in Canada. I personally think they need to prove it by going a year without a new case of BSE diagnosed before we open the borders to imports from Canada. Imagine instead of putting all this money into talks with Japan, the USDA started educating people on good nutrition. After all, they supposedly know something about it with being involved in the School Lunch Program. Something to think about.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Obesity in the News Again

http://foodconsumer.org/7777/8888/B_ody_W_eight_32/041406412007_Gene_found_responsible_for_obesity.shtml I'm sorry, I just have to gripe about this. I'll admit flat out, I'm obese. I have more than 100 lbs to lose. I know what I need to do to lose this weight, but I don't always do what I should. That said, I get so irritated with all these research results that you read about in the news... That obesity is caused by a bacteria in the stomach, that it's caused by genetics. We who are heavy are always looking for a magic pill. You know what I mean -- if you do this, you'll lose all your weight then you can go on doing exactly what you've been doing all along. That's the whole theory behind weight loss surgery. They even offer WLS for teens now. True weight loss requires giving up certain things, but the food industry doesn't want us to stop eating these things. For example, true weight loss means that we need to stop eating cookies so often. However, when we cut back on the amount of cookies we buy, Nabisco and other big companies don't earn so much money because they're not selling as many cookies. So instead, they pay for scientists to find other reasons for our weight gain. It's not the cookies after all, it's that we can't help it, we have a gene that is causing us to be obese. Umm no, that's not it at all. There is no magic pill to lose weight. Weight loss takes a lot of work, we need to eat healthy, preferrably lots of fruits and veggies. We need to exercise, get our bodies moving and our muscles strong. We need to drink water... I've seen research saying that we need 64 oz, but we can count the water in our food. Umm what? Try this instead. At least 64 oz, preferrably 80 or 100 oz, and don't count on getting water in our food. 100 oz of water is not going to cause us to die from too much water unless we try to drink it all in the same hour. Spread it out, so you are drinking 32 oz every 3 hours for 9 hours, and you've gotten in 96 oz of water. That's just a bit more than 10 oz in an hour. We drink more than that of soda... how many times have you finished a 32 oz cup of soda from a convenience store within an hour? Of course, drinking that much water means you won't be thirsty for as much soda... that'll hurt the soda industry. After all, if you buy less, they make less money too. Hmm it looks like the main people who benefit from America's obesity are the food industry. McDonalds burgers and fries notwithstanding, even Subway makes money off America's obesity. They advertise all of these healthy choices, but if you walk in there, the healthy choices are only a portion of their menu. Cheese, meatball sandwiches, all the mayonnaise... these are not healthy choices. We as Americans need to insist that companies offer healthy choices. An occasional treat is not going to hurt us, but we need to eat healthy 95% of the time. That's actually not bad if you think about it. If you don't get too carried away, one meal out of 20 can have a treat. That means one meal a week. So if you can control yourself, you can have dessert after your Friday night meal... Now if I could only follow my own advice. Personally, I let stress win instead of trying to beat stress with exercise. That's the best stress relief of all.

Monday, April 9, 2007

rBGH Book Review

http://foodconsumer.org:80/7777/8888/C_onsumer_A_ffair_26/040810362007_Book_review_What_s_In_Your_Milk.shtml Years ago, when they first approved the rBGH (Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) for use in cows, Ben & Jerry's ice cream company made a big stir. They refused to use milk from any cows that were treated with this hormone. As I was living in Vermont at the time, I heard all sorts of information about it. Many people were upset, saying that there was absolutely no difference in the milk. They felt that Ben & Jerry's was causing controversy for no reason. That there really was no difference and that the company was going to decrease consumer confidence in our milk supply. Instead, after years of the use of rBGH in our milk supply the truth is coming out in this new book out by Samuel S Epstein, MD. According to his research, even though Monsanto and the FDA still insist that rBGH is safe, there are many independant studies that show some very disturbing results. First, rBGH causes cows to get sick, including getting mastitis. This is now a warning on the label for the drug. Second, the pus from the mastitis gets into rBGH milk, not to mention the antibiotic used to treat the cows getting into the milk. Third, rBGH milk is nutritionally different than non-rBGH milk. Fourth, rBGH milk is contaminated with the hormone. So we are actually drinking a hormone that causes all of this in cows. How safe is it for us? You can read the full article above, it gives a disturbing glimpse of how our country's health is put at risk just so a company could make money. It's sick to know what tactics this company is willing to take just to hide the truth.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Health Inspections In Our Schools

Ok, I know originally this was supposed to be health news, but it's so hard to leave this alone. When we go to a restaurant, we rely on the the restaurant having been inspected by the local health inspectors. We expect that they can pass these health inspections. We expect that the food will be cooked to the correct temperature and that we won't get sick from the food that we eat there. Generally health inspections are done on a twice yearly basis. At the end of last month, there was a news report about a person working for a catering company that was diagnosed with Hepatitis A after working for several celebrity parties. At the end of last year, there was an E Coli outbreak at Taco Bell restaurants around the nation. We as a nation are worried about food safety and the possibility of getting food poisoning. Yet a new report out by the Department of Agriculture shows that only about 10% of our nations school cafeterias have even one health inspection done each year. That's 1 in 10 school cafeterias that have health inspections at all! If less than 1 in 10 of our nations restaurants were getting health inspections, there would be a major public outcry. Yet the cafeterias where our kids eat their school lunches aren't getting inspected. The findings on those that are getting inspected are quite scary. The milk isn't staying cold, the food isn't staying hot. If you read the Safe Handling Instructions on a food container, it says keep raw meats and vegetables separate from cooked food. Yet this isn't happening in some schools either. Floors are filthy and need repair or handwashing stations are either not there or are not what is needed. All of these things leave the possibility of the food going bad, and our kids to get sick. Possibly very sick. According to the article on MSN (here) the number of inspections varies by state. Granted, 61% of school cafeterias got at least 2 health inspections, in New Mexico, there were no school cafeterias that went through any health inspections at all. In many states, it's not that there is no interest in doing a health inspection in the school cafeterias. There isn't enough money in the budget for the inspections to take place. Congress passed a bill requiring more health inspections, but the state budgets weren't increased to compensate. Now, school cafeteria workers are better trained than say your local McDonalds worker, but that's not to say that no one gets sick from eating at a school cafeteria. With how finances are in most states, I can understand why the needed changes haven't been made. We seem to have a recession coming, and a lot of states are running short in their budgets. However, we need to do something to make sure our kids are safe. Our kids are more vulnerable to getting seriously ill from food poisoning.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Nutrition in School

Walk through the grocery store and you see foods with all sorts of additives like high fructose corn syrup, and partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Even the peanut butter has partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in it to keep it mixed. We've gotten so used to the sugar in our food that when it's not there, we miss it. Though we choose these foods, the special interest groups are trying to pass a law keeping these foods from our schools. It seems like the government is trying to step in and decide what we can and cannot eat. New York passes a trans fat ban, and several other cities are moving to follow suit. Now they want to control what the kids can get for food outside of the school lunch program. In theory it sounds like a great idea. However, the parents are the ones who should be deciding what their kids are eating. Because of the special interest groups lobbying congress, we haven't been given a decent directive on how to eat healthy. Too many companies are worried about their bottom line for us to get anything other than the opinions you will find if you walk into a bookstore. What is truly ironic about the whole bill to control what goes in the vending machines is that the school lunch program isn't exactly healthy. Take the meat portion, let's use 'beef fries' as an example. These items are marked as the beef must be no more than 30% fat at the most. Then other ingredients are added, the mix is formed into stick shapes, battered and breaded, then deep fried at least long enough to set the breading. By the time the finished product comes out, 62% of the calories come from fat. Another example, let's try a fully cooked burger. That winds up being 70% of the calories coming from fat. Granted, growing kids need fat, but if we are trying to make the schools more healthy, we should start with something that all of the kids and most of the teachers eat, except for those who are smart enough to bring their own lunches. Let's not even get into Lunchables. Yes, there are guidelines set by the USDA school nutrition program. These guidelines are strict and all companies who sell to the schools must follow this program. However, the guidelines simply do not go far enough for the nutrition. They just keep track of the number of servings of meat (or meat alternates such as soy), bread, fruit and vegetables that are served at lunch. They do not figure out the number of calories served to these kids. Figures keep coming out saying that America's kids are getting fatter. We need to take a real honest look at how we're feeding our kids and contributing to their growing problem.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The American Diet

NY Times Story -- Unhappy Meals Many years ago, well not many, just in the 1970's, there was research done into the food groups and how we should eat. Their results were quite simple. We need to eat less red meat and dairy products. Unfortunately, nothing in politics is that simple. The dairy and meat lobbyists found out about this research and the results. They put pressure on the senators to keep this information from being released. They couldn't tell the American public to eat less red meat or dairy products. So instead we were told to eat more fruits and vegetables. No problem. Americans increased the amount of vegetables on their plate, but increased the amount of meat and dairy to compensate. Instead of just eating more vegetables, we just ate more. And the country got fatter. Now we get so much conflicting information that it's difficult to know what we are supposed to eat. Our food is stripped of its nutrients, processed and then they add nutrients back in. We have bleached enriched wheat flour, which has no fiber in it. We have white rice that is so processed that there is no nutrient value in it. Our best bet for a healthy diet is the simplest. Fruits and vegetables, fresh or frozen. Whole grains, complex carbohydrates. You know, the kind that actually has fiber in it. We see the ads on tv for fiber supplements. You know the one I'm talking about, there's one that has a woman walking by with a cart full of milk and a cart full of broccoli. There's another with people constantly munching on vegetables throughout the day. It doesn't have to work that way. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains makes it easy to get the amount of fiber we're supposed to get. One small apple has 3 grams of fiber. A cup of raw chopped broccoli (half cup cooked) also has 3 grams of fiber. One potato about the size of your fist has 5 grams of fiber. The food companies would love for us to believe the latest hype about whatever they're marketing this week. Don't believe it, stick to whole foods and you'll be feeling better all the time.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Gardasil and You

With all the furor over Merck's new HPV vaccine, several things seem to have been totally forgotten. Many people are in favor of this vaccine as it is supposed to protect against cervical cancer. At least that's what they're saying. That's not quite true. This vaccine is supposed to protect against 4 out of 100 types of HPV. These 4 types of HPV are supposed to cause 70% of the cervical cancer outbreaks in the US. So, Merck found a way to protect against these 4 types of HPV, then they pressure the lawmakers to mandate that all girls entering the 6th grade need to have this vaccine. Wait a minute here. This vaccine hasn't even had long term trials yet. But, they want us to make it mandatory for our young girls to have this vaccine? What happens if in 10 years, they find out that there are some rather dramatic side effects of this vaccine? What do we tell the girls that got this 'mandatory' vaccine? That we're sorry we let the drug company do their testing on them? In the US, they suggest yearly checkups once a woman becomes sexually active. With these checkups, not only do they do a pap smear, which is still the best way to detect abnormalities and precancerous cells (remember that other 30%?), but they can do testing for other STD's. Now, if you are not having unprotected sex, you are not exposing yourself to STD's, but you are also not exposing yourself to these 100 types of HPV. It seems to have drawn a line in the US. The religious groups feel that having mandatory HPV vaccinations send our kids the wrong message. That we are telling them they can have unprotected sex as much as they want since they won't end up with cervical cancer from it. Many who don't follow that thinking seem to think that the vaccine is a good idea. My vote, keep pushing the abstinence, but tell Merck that they need to go back to clinical trials until they know what the long term effects of their vaccine are. The last thing we need is another drug like Vioxx. They may feel it's worth the risk of having to pay a class action lawsuit down the road with what they earn right now with this drug, but I don't feel that our kids should have to pay the price. If adults choose to do so, that's their choice.