Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

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Weight Loss: Some Common Sense!!


Weight loss is probably the most discussed nutrition topic in the past decades due to the obesity epidemic that has occurred as part of our food culture.

The solutions are offered from supermarket tabloids, diet books and fad diets that just keep coming as part of the flourishing obesity industry.

The following article offers some common sense advice on how to lose weight.  No gimmicks, fad diets, or starvation here – just plain good advice. The same advice applies aptly to the principles that can enhance the chance that any achieved weight loss will be maintained.

Every weight loss plan should include the information we need to keep our weight steady which is healthier than yo-yo dieting (regain, loss, regain) patterns that unfortunately occurs so often. What is the sense of losing weight when it only comes back?

Making these simple lifestyle changes requires some patience, vigilance, and dedication; however these changes have been substantiated by research and have stood the test of time when it comes to weight loss. That is the most important thing one should remember before any weight loss attempt.  Forget Paleo and Keto extremes and follow a diet you can incorporate into your lifestyle.



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Reading Food Labels 101

The following is the most comprehensive article about food labels that you could possibly want. If you are not a label reader, it may be a good idea to try in the future. You can gain a lot of knowledge about that product to make an informed decision on whether you want to spend your money for economic and/or health reasons.


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FODMAP Revisited ?

Although this blog has discussed the merits and benefits of using the FODMAP DIET, the following article is excellent to explain the details and realities of this type of treatment primarily for people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome or commonly called IBS.   The diet is not for everyone but may be helpful for IBS sufferers. It initially is a restrictive diet and should be tried with help of a trained heath professional like a gastroenterologist or registered dietitian.  So if you do not have these types of disturbances, move on and find something more enjoyable to “digest”.

The article gives us valuable advice about this diet and the proper way to attempt to see if it helps you get your life back from IBS symptoms. Your doctor may or may not be familiar with it, since its existence is relatively recent on the medical nutrition therapy scene. This diet is not a weight loss diet or long term diet.


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Diet and Health: What Can You Believe?

Food, diet and nutrition information is often misleading and some can be fraudulent at its worst. The consumer is already confused due to unending debates about diet and health or industry funding to promote profits, marketing, and/or false advertising.

The following information regarding nutrition misinformation and fraud should serve as a guide, allowing the consumer to sift through nutritional claims in order to make the best decision for his or her personal health. Consumers should be aware of these top ten red flags for misleading claims:

  1. Recommendations that promise a quick fix.
  2. Dire warnings of danger from a single product or regimen.
  3. Claims that sound too good to be true.
  4. Simplistic conclusions drawn from a complex study.
  5. Recommendations based on a single study.
  6. Dramatic statements that are refuted by reputable scientific organizations.
  7. Lists of “good” and “bad” foods.
  8. “Spinning” information from another product to match the producer’s claims.
  9. Stating that research is “currently underway,” indicating that there is no current research.
  10. Non-science based testimonials supporting the product, often from celebrities or highly satisfied customers.

Problems within the industry that aid in the promotion of fraudulent nutrition claims include:

  • Limited enforcement of laws and regulations that prevent a producer from labeling and selling a product under the term “dietary supplement.”
  • Individuals identifying themselves as nutritionists who have dubious credentials from non-accredited schools.
  • Research scientists who go public with their findings before their study has been published in a scientific journal or duplicated, resulting in consumer confusion.

Source: Colorado State University Extension

Authors: L. Bellows and R. Moore, 2013

In an ideal world all qualified health professionals should be encouraged to foster nutrition science and education. The goal is simple: enable people to make their own nutrition decisions with information based on scientific fact, trust,  individuality and common sense.



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Body Weight: Should the topic be discussed?


Many physicians and other health professionals simply avoid the issue of body weight and some even use fat shaming, making the patient feel judged and totally responsible for their body weight.  But how should doctors approach the often sensitive topic of weight loss?   Collaboration with the patients seems like a wonderful approach – i.e., be an understanding partner with the patient who often is in the dark as to why they gained the weight and even more so, why they so often have trouble maintaining any weight loss they may achieve. The issue is very complex and not easily solved by simply telling the patient – “eat less, move more.”   In my opinion, medical practitioners should  have a basic understanding about the physiology of this disease and/or the basic knowledge of body composition. For example, reliance on the Body Mass Index (BMI) alone is not always accurate due to some people (men, athletes) with a healthy muscle mass. So judging a patient simply by the BMI should be used with caution.

Since nutrition is not formally taught in medical schools, doctors admit themselves they know little about nutrition, let alone weight gain/weight loss/weight regain. The same goes for some recent research that suggests that weight loss by diet can prevent diabetes type 2,  lower A!C levels in diagnosed diabetics  or simply reduce insulin doses. These results can often help many patients avoid the drastic recommendations of gastric bypass surgery by their doctor.

So we should keep weighing patients. The use of the BMI should serve as only a screening tool to open the discussion of weight history, both past and present and most obese patients already know they are either overweight or obese. The weight history of patients is an important component of a wellness checkup. If there is unintentional weight loss, it may indicate a more serious disease, eating disorder, or malnutrition. Patients listen to their doctors and if they reject weighing, the subject can be ignored and a cooperative plan is then not  forthcoming.


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Can Foods Affect Chronic Inflammation in the Body?

The following article explains why foods are considered pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory. This is important since current theories link chronic inflammation to the two top killers, namely heart disease and cancer. But just labeling foods pro- or anti- is too simplistic due to the complexities of nutrient and phytochemical interactions involved in the inflammatory process.

These claims are often made about certain foods that may or may not be accurate and misleading. The claims may also be a product of  industry-funding in order to promote the particular food or brand. So learning about what is known about these nutrient associations is necessary for the consumer to make wise dietary decisions.