In 1997, the FDA approved a daily appetite suppressant pill called Meridia. Unfortunately, a new study of nearly 10,000 people taking the pills found that the medication increased risk of nonfatal heart attacks by 28 percent and nonfatal strokes by 36 percent compared to a placebo. Granted, these were individuals already at high risk for cardiovascular trouble, but those numbers are still pretty bad. The editors of the New England Journal of Medicine, which published the study, are calling for Meridia to be pulled from the market. Just one more reason I won't be the first one signing up for the new get-you-out-of-your-chair pill.
Yesterday, in a 10-6 vote, the FDA's expert advisory panel voted not to approve Qnexa, a new weight loss drug. Even though 10-6 sounds like a landslide for no, many of the "no" doctors said it was a tough call. In trials, Qnexa has proven more effective than any weight loss drug currently on the market. As one trial participant testified, "I weighed 200 pounds. After 15 months on Qnexa I weighed 143, and went from a size 20 to a size 10. My brain quit nagging me about food. I immediately became a person who quit snacking and ate healthy meals." But that's the pro side. On the con side...More...
If you aren’t paying attention, sometimes you don’t notice a recall of a vastly used food product. Like the recall of all Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein Products manufactured by Basic Food Flavors, which happened on March 4th, but which I didn't notice till, like, today.More...
- Just in case you were guzzling juice boxes and figuring they were health food, you should know the Food and Drug Administration has written a strongly worded letter to Nestle re: Juicy Juice. Juicy Juice isn't 100% juice, the FDA letter says, so Nestle better stop saying it is or they'll be in trouble.
- Unsurprising finding of the day: People who think in the long term (as opposed to those who focus on the short term) eat better, drink less, wear sunscreen, and make better health decisions in general. If you're a short-term thinker, perhaps best to focus on immediate benefits. Forget about living longer, blah blah blah. Let us remind you, working out makes you feel instantly better.
- People with smaller fingers have a finer sense of touch. Not exactly fitness related, but an interesting thing to know about the human body, eh?
- Remember that FDA crackdown on dubious nutrition labeling we were telling you about? Well, the food industry's big new labeling program, Smart Choices, has folded under the pressure. No more green check marks telling you Froot Loops is a healthy option.
- American Tim O'Donnell won the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships this weekend. You. Ess. Ay!
- New, and unsurprising, study: Women who look at models focus on the dissimilarities. In general, this is bad news for their self-esteem.
- Another new study shows people are fairer and more generous when in clean-smelling environments. Wow. Hello lemon fresh smell.
- Also new in research: Being the boss is bad for your health.
- Lame Halloween costume ideas: Fitness.com thinks you should dress up like Rocky, Richard Simmons, or a variety of other fitness greats, and they have a guide to help you pull together your outfit.
- Don't be a tough guy in the steam room. Three people died at a "Spiritual Warrior Retreat" held by New Age self-help guru James Arthur Ray. Yesterday, the first retreat participant to speak publicly told the AP that Ray chided those who wanted to leave, calling them spiritually weak.
- The First Lady hula-hooped and did double dutch with school children on the White House Lawn yesterday as part of a "healthy kids fair." Apparently she was crap at double-dutch, but rocked the hula hoop.
- Meanwhile, NPR says Obama's health-conscious FDA is getting serious about putting legit nutritional guidance on food packaging. We sort of thought the industry's Smart Choices scheme was lacking in teeth.
- Not that the Cookie Diet isn't gaining popularity. The Times reports CookieDiet.com made $12 million in 2008. That's a lot of people paying $56/week for diet cookies.
- Also in the Times also: Ultramarathoners are getting their toenails surgically removed.
- And doctors have successfully carried out womb transplants in rabbits. Human womb transplants coming soon.
- For a healthy gut, nutrition researchers say supplements aren't as good as real vitamins from food. So eat.
- Calling all lifeguards. Gizmodo reports that lifeguard towers have taken a turn to the swanky.
In the last month you may have noticed little green check marks showing up on the front of certain boxes at the grocery store. Hello "Smart Choices," a simple new program to help consumers make healthy eating choices. One nice green check mark is all you need, across food brands, across food products or categories. Thank you ConAgra. And Kraft, and General Mills, and PepsiCo.
No, this is not a government program, it's put together by a consortium of the big food companies with the help of The American Society for Nutrition. To get a green check mark, food must not, for example, have any Trans Fats, or more than 25% "added sugars," and the cholesterol content must be less than or equal to 60 miligams per serving. Seems smart enough, but suffice to say the standards haven't impressed everyone. Christopher Wanjek, author of Food at Work and Bad Medicine, says "Any consumer relying solely on Smart Choices checkmarks will surely be diabetic, obese or even dead within a few years." It does seem kind of hard to justifty the inclusion of Fruit Loops, for example, or Teddy Grahams, or all the different brands of microwave popcorn.More...
Is there anything more gross than a velvety, squishy, jellyfish-like layer of cellulite covering your innocent and unknowing flesh? I think not. According to CNN, doctors say that the best way to judge how much cellulite you’ll develop as you get older is to look at your mother’s thighs.As horrifying as that sounds, there are some preventive measures one can take to curb the development of gnarly, unwanted cellulite—mainly quitting smoking, exercising, eating healthy foods, and, getting the FDA approved treatment of massage and laser treatments— but it’s super expensive. Bottom line? Cellulite is revolting and it sucks. Do what you can now to stop the madness. Or else invest in some really flattering jeans.
You pad to the refrigerator late at night wearing a sweaty nightshirt hoping to sneak just a smidge of your favorite naughty snack— raw, prepackaged chocolate-chip cookie dough, oh so hyperpalatable, reminds you oh-so-much of your youth. Dude, step away from the fridge. A mega batch of Toll House cookie dough tested positive in June for E.coli, and Nestlé USA has recalled about 300,000 cases of the stuff. (BUT MAYBE YOUR TUBE WAS THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY!) Fact: The CDC is checking out whether the dough is behind 69 reports across the nation of ugly E.coli poisoning. Whatevs, you say? Fear mongering fitness blog panders to hysterical mass market food panic? Fair enough, but THAT TUBE OF NESTLE COULD TAKE OUT YOUR KIDNEYS, KIDDO! All we're saying is how about the carrots in the back of the fridge? Well rinsed, cut into sticks? Equally nostalgic, better for you....
Term of the day: "Hyperpalatable." Think airport Cinnabon, microwave popcorn or other impossible to ignore food that is scientifically engineered to "go down easy" and to take you to your "bliss point." Credit the term to Dr. David A. Kessler, longtime head of the FDA, who's new book The End of Overeating is currently 18 on the relevant New York Times Bestseller list. "When it comes to stimulating our brains," Dr. Kessler writes, "individual ingredients aren’t particularly potent. But by combining fats, sugar and salt in innumerable ways, food makers have essentially tapped into the brain’s reward system, creating a feedback loop that stimulates our desire to eat and leaves us wanting more and more even when we’re full." Sounds promising: Crusading Fed doctor with chocolate chip cookie fetish explains the impressive science behind Taco Bell. Tara Parker-Pope has a nice, long review at The Well. Here's the plan: See Food, Inc., read Kessler, then join your local veggie food coop.