Cutting fat makes you... fat!?

Glass of fresh milk isolated on a white backgroundIn a recent paper in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Healthcare, "middle-aged men who consumed high-fat milk, butter and cream were significantly less likely to become obese over a period of 12 years compared to men who never or rarely ate high-fat dairy." It seems that the skim-milk-is-better mantra no longer is true, although no one's certain why. Perhaps it's because full-fat milk makes us fuller quicker. Perhaps it's because there are substances in full-fat milk that help our metabolism.

It's rare that a health study gives a result that you actually want to hear. Of course, if you need to cut down on cholesterol, you're not allowed to take advantage of this good news. Barring that, however, it's looking like you can (and should) indulge a little more when it comes to dairy.

Nanny Bloomberg

Bloomberg is at it again. He is hellbent on making New Yorkers healthier, first by going after smoking and then after trans fats. (He even tried to go after salt in restaurants. Much to the relief of city chefs, he was unsuccessful.) Now large sugary drinks are in the crosshairs. In particular, he wants to make it illegal for food establishments to serve drinks larger than 16 ounces.

Needless to say, the soft drink industry is none too pleased. To quote an ad they placed in the New York Times, "Nanny Bloomberg has taken his strange obsession with what you eat one step further.... What’s next? Limits on the width of a pizza slice, size of a hamburger or amount of cream cheese on your bagel?"

In Bloomberg's defense, you can still order 32 ounces of soda at a restaurant. You just have to order two 16 ounce drinks. (The hope is that by doing so, people will better realize just how much they are consuming.)

Diet drinks not so diet-y after all

The jury's still out on exactly how bad artificial sweeteners are for your overall health. Ignoring any of these adverse effects and focusing solely on weight loss, you would think that a zero- or low-calorie soda would at least have little to no effect on your waistline.

Not so. But how on Earth can someone put on weight when no calories are ingested? The best guess is that artificial sweeteners influence people's appetites, making them more prone to eat unhealthy foods afterwards.

And if you think going to the gym reduces this effect, guess again. Diet drinks apparently warp your appetite regardless of how much you exercise.

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Fries are the devil

It should come as no surprise that recent studies at Harvard have targeted french fries and potato chips as fattening foods. The numbers, however, are a bit sobering. A serving of potato chips every day for four years will add over 1.5 pounds to your waistline. Do the same with french fries, and you've gained an extra three pounds. (This bit of news in particular makes me want to cry.) Meanwhile, whole grains, fruit, nuts, and yogurt will all help you lose weight.

More so than ever, it appears that what happens in the kitchen has more impact than what happens in the gym. "Diet and exercise are important for preventing weight gain, but diet clearly plays a bigger role," said one of the leaders of the study.

Other factors that were found to contribute to weight gain: watching TV, sleeping too much, sleeping too little, and booze (woe is me!).

Thanks to Dave for the heads-up.

R.I.P. Blair River

"The Heart Attack Grill diet is not for everyone. Side effects may include sudden weight gain, repeated increase of wardrobe size, back pain, male breast growth, loss of sexual partners, lung cancer, tooth decay, liver sclerosis, stroke, and an inability to see your penis. In some cases, mild death may occur."

Ho, ho! That is funny stuff!!

I've already mentioned the Heart Attack Grill in a previous post. Why mention it again now? Blair River, the man in this video, passed away earlier this month. He was 575 pounds and 29 years old.

From Jon Basso, the restaurant's founder and the jackass dressed as a doctor in the commercial: "Cynical people might think this (River's death) is funny."

Jon Basso, on the other hand, takes morbid obesity very seriously.

Step a "calorie-burning workout"

According to Shine (a magazine run by Yahoo!), step aerobics is one of "The Top 6 Calorie-Burning Workouts." Here is the list, in order of calories burnt per hour: Kickboxing - 800 Jumping Rope - 780 Biking - 700 Running - 650 Step - 600 Zumba - 500

I wouldn't take this list too seriously, since there are so many factors that go into determining the effectiveness of a workout. I'm just excited that step is enough on the radar to even be considered!

Oh yeah, and we beat Zumba.

Thanks, Nonie, for the link.

Treat yourself to anything but this

You’ve been good. You’ve gone to the gym regularly and have been watching what you eat. It’s time to give yourself a little treat. How about indulging in a Cold Stone PB&C shake? It’s what Men’s Health calls “The Worst Beverage in America.” If you choose to inhale one of these, get ready for a day’s worth of calories, over three times the daily recommended allowance of saturated fat, and an amount of sugar equivalent to that found in 30 Chewy Chips Ahoy Cookies… all in one giant cup.

Thanks to Dave for the reference.

Would you pay to see this man?

People 100 years ago did, because someone this large back then was considered an oddity.

Meet the late Chauncy Morlan, a circus "fat man." Had Chauncy lived today, he certainly wouldn't have had the same shock value. In fact, he probably wouldn't even be noticed.

Very telling of how our impression of a healthy body weight has changed over the past century.