Podcast placeholder #2 leading up to September
Though there are certainly some celebrity quacktacular physicians I would like to see eat crap, but what I wouldn’t be able to tell them is that doing so would likely have a beneficial impact on their weights.
A recent small study, Effects of Fecal Microbiota Transplantation With Oral Capsules in Obese Patients, found results that to me at least, seemed wholly unsurprising. 22 patients with obesity were randomly assigned to receive either a “fecal microbiota transplantation” from a donor whose BMI was 17.5 or a placebo and to take them for 3 months (and for those curious, the induction dose was 30 capsules).
The transplants were successful in changing the microbiome of the recipients, but alas, did not affect their weights.
Perhaps the only thing surprising about all of this is that there are people out there who strongly believe that a microbiome transplant stands a chance against thousands of genes, dozens of hormones, and a Willy Wonkian food environment all of which being coupled with millions of years of an evolutionary crucible of extreme dietary insecurity.
Ariel Sobel, with a great piece in Jewish Journal, on how fighting anti-semitism with racism doesn’t actually fight racism but rather hijacks real concerns about anti-Semitism to promote other prejudices and in so doing, destroys Jewish credibility
Serena Williams, in Harpers, with just a fabulous first person essay on why she’ll never stop speaking up in the face of injustice.
David Corn, in Mother Jones, on the unique burden of being a climate scientist.
Photo By Edwin Martinez – https://www.flickr.com/photos/rhythmstrip/9630755847/, CC BY 2.0, Link
50 years ago we walked on the moon, and it transformed life on Earth
Walking school buses for kids are often promoted on the basis that if more kids were involved with them, their weights, fitness, and maybe even learning would improve.
Wouldn’t that be great? After all, it’s a relatively inexpensive intervention and one it seems everyone can at least theoretically get behind.
But does it work?
This is definitely not a good news story, nor frankly is it all that surprising, but here it is – recently the MOVI‐KIDS Study set out to explore whether or not there was an association between active transport in 4-7 year olds and their weights, fitness, and cognition.
The study involved 1,159 children in Spain and they were categorized on the basis of whether the active components of their school commutes totalled more or less than 15 minutes and then tested and measured to explore walking to school’s possible impact. Heights and weight were measured, a validated cardiorespiratory fitness test was administered, as were multiple batteries of validated cognitive tests. Efforts were also made to control for familial socio-economic status, as well as of course the children’s ages and sexes.
As you might have gathered, the walkers were found to be no better off on any studied variable with the authors very plainly concluding,
“Walking to school had no positive impact on adiposity, physical fitness, and cognition in 4‐ to 7‐year‐old children.”
Too bad. Truly.
I have to say too, I did scratch my head reading the next bit of their conclusion though,
“it would be of interest for future studies to examine the intensity and duration of ACS necessary to provide meaningful benefits for health and cognitive performance.”
I can’t say I agree with them here as I’m not sure lengthy, intense, daily school commutes for 4 year olds is something we need to explore regardless of their impact on anything. Moreover, I don’t need to see “meaningful benefits” to want to continue promoting more movement and play in our children, and if we buy into the need for same, we’ll risk the cessation of programs that don’t prove themselves to provide perhaps broader reaching or more dramatic outcomes than could ever be fairly expected of them.
Olga Khazan, in The Atlantic, with further evidence that education alone is insufficient for behaviour change with her stories on her physicians make for terrible patients.
Will Higgins, in The Indy Star, with the story of perhaps the only such letter in existence, written by Vilma Grunwald while in line to be murdered in Auschwitz’ gas chambers, and given by her to a guard who amazingly hand delivered it to her husband who was also in Auschwitz. May her memory be a blessing.
Rebecca Robbins, in STAT, with the story of billionaire Sean Parker and the incredible impact he’s having on cancer research.
You might think that having a heart attack would be motivating when it came to behaviour change, and that taking medications is a very straightforward behaviour.
The Post-Myocardial Infarction Free Rx Event and Economic Evaluation (MI FREEE) trial set out to study whether or not cost had a role to play in why so many patients, even post heart attack, don’t take the medications prescribed to them in the hopes of preventing another one by freely providing them with those medications.
Results wise, though the group receiving free preventive medications were taking more of them than the group that did not, at the end 1.5 years, only 41% of those receiving all their medications for free, medications prescribed to them after they had an actual heart attack, were taking them.
So file these results under human beings, even when faced with knowledge, and in this case knowledge coupled with a very real glimpse at mortality, struggle to maintain even the easiest of behaviour changes, and consider that in the context of the trope of education and personal responsibility as the sole means to target diet and weight related diseases. If we want to see population level changes, we’re going to need to change the food environment.
Geoff Manaugh, in The Atlantic, on Law and Order: Mars.
Aaron Ross Coleman, in Buzzfeed, on fast food, blood pressure, and black Americans.
Pam Belluck, in The New York Times, on a scientist who solves her daughter’s rare medical mystery.
[And if you’ve the time and inclination, I really enjoyed speaking with the Balance365 podcast on healthy attitudes regarding weight management]
According to Cancer Research UK’s new public advertisements, obesity is apparently the new smoking.
What that means of course is that by formally adopting, amplifying, and promoting the message that obesity, like smoking, is a choice people make, Cancer Research UK fuels hateful weight based stigma.
More amazing perhaps is that the aim of the campaign is to apparently target the environment with their ads steering people, in the small print that people will likely miss and certainly can’t click on in train stations, to their web page calling for an end to junk food advertising to kids.
Obesity is the normal consequence of normal people living in abnormal, obesigenic, environments. Obesity often has hugely negative impacts upon health and quality of life (especially at its extremes), fuelled in no small part by the never ending blame, shame, and scorn heaped upon those who have obesity by society, and yet here is Cancer Research UK’s campaign to further justify that weight hate.
Shame on them. They absolutely should have known better.
Many years ago, I was reading a blog post by a blogger I’d been following for a while. She wrote about a recent struggle with depression and her honest words made such an impact on me. I remember thinking how brave it was for her to tell her story. While I hated that she was […]
William Langewiesche, in The Atlantic, with just incredible reporting on what we do and don’t know about the final flight of Malaysia Airlines MH370.
Andre Picard, in The Globe and Mail (but via his Tumblr), on how we’ve forgotten that vaccination isn’t just for children.
Ed Caesar, in The New York Times, on the epic hunt for a lost WWII aircraft carrier.
Podcast placeholder leading up to July 20
Today’s guest post comes from Dylan MacKay. Dylan is a nutritional biochemist who has type 1 diabetes and when I saw RD Marie Spano’s Instagram post, I knew he would have both personal and professional thoughts to share and so I invited him to do so.
I don’t know what it is with grapes but they always seem to be raisin my ire…
I mean as a person with type 1 diabetes, a PhD in Human Nutritional Science, and who does diabetes research and occasionally clinical trials looking at glucose response, maybe I’m not the one to talk about this, but I just can’t not.
Recently a Welch’s (*cough* big grape juice) “nutrition advisor” posted the above nutrition translation travesty on Instagram.
This is really kind of surprised me because when I have low blood sugar I often drink grape juice, How am I still alive? I mean I can honestly say there are times grape juice may have saved my life (by raising my blood sugar). Yet you could potentially look at this Instagram post and fairly think
“drinking 100% juice made from polyphenol-rich fruit juice does not raise your blood sugar”
unlike apparently that bad candy or pop that raises your blood sugar.
That would be of course 100% wrong.
Polyphenols are not magic sugar blockers, otherwise we would be using them to treat diabetes and you would get serious gastrointestinal upset from eating berries and grapes. I feel like you don’t even really need to be an RD to see this messaging is bad (Seriously, Welch’s advisors, how much do you get paid for your credibility?). Especially on a social media platform, where someone might not scroll to the end of the associated comment and look at the “reference” provided.
Speaking of the reference used for this knowledge translation crime, it is for a review article called Impact of Dietary Polyphenols on Carbohydrate Metabolism and having reviewed it I can say it does not in support the claim in that post. Most of the article talks about animal or cell culture results that show polyphenols may impact glucose digestion or absorption, but there’s nothing in the article showing it stops it. It even concludes that
“To confirm the implications of polyphenol consumption for prevention of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and eventually type 2 diabetes, human trials with well-defined diets, controlled study designs and clinically relevant endpoints… are needed.”
The closest thing in the article supporting the Instagram post is
“The shape of the plasma glucose curve with reduced concentrations in the early phase and a slightly elevated concentration in the later phase indicates delayed response due to berry consumption”
about a study done with 12 healthy participants looking at berry puree (rich in polyphenols). The polyphenols (or something else in the berries) changed the timing of the blood sugar elevation.
I suppose the Welch’s RD nutrition advisor might say
“well actually Dylan, changing the shape of the blood sugar elevation means it doesn’t actually raise blood sugar like candy”
and we could get into a long argument of how you define “like”. When people are arguing over minutia or semantics big food companies have won.
This type of nutrition misinformation advertising works because ultimately it is designed to ruin peoples’ trust in nutritional science and nutrition experts (especially RDs). If consumers are confused and can’t trust anything in nutrition, they are ripe for the next trend or fad or advertising claim. That is a good thing for companies, but a bad thing for people.
If you like grape juice, drink it, I sometimes do when I have low blood sugar (I have chugged maple syrup for that too so…), but know that grape juice will raise your blood sugar, and liquid calories, like those found from the 9 teaspoons of sugar per glass of grape juice, are an easy way to go over on your energy intake. Most of us are trying to avoid excess energy intake, so for that, in my opinion, you can’t beat water.
Dylan MacKay PhD is a nutritional biochemist and an Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. He is also a Clinical Trialist at the George and Fay Yee Center for Healthcare Innovation. Dylan has a special interest in human clinical trials related to lifestyle and diabetes. He is originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland where he started his graduate studies at Memorial University.
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Following every natural disaster, we see television news and online videos of destruction. Images of destroyed homes, cars and trucks flipped over, and boats well inland instead of in the water, show us the massive damage nature can cause. But for the thousands who are living through the seemingly unprecedented number of tornadoes, serious storms, and flooding, it’s not a video. It’s very real. The disasters are leaving thousands of families uprooted, with some losing loved ones.
But after the storms have passed over and the waters have receded, after the news cameras leave and people stop taking videos, the residents are left with not only putting their lives back together, but with the potential of serious illness or injury, after the fact.
While the emergency is occurring, the most important issue is survival. This means taking cover or evacuating. But once the imminent threat has left, other dangers may lurk. From broken water and sewage systems to terrified wild animals, survivors may be exposed to dangers they’ve never faced before.
Infection following a natural disaster is common in many areas. Infections can spread quickly in crowded shelters. People who walk around the disaster area can injure themselves by tripping on debris. They can cut themselves while trying to move things or be hit by material that may still be falling. Frightened pets and wild animals may be driven into unfamiliar territory and may bite.
With so many tornadoes touching down in North America this spring, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss the topic. A while ago, I wrote about the connection between national disasters for Sepsis Alliance, an organization I work with. If you would like to read more about the types of infections that could follow a natural disaster, visit Sepsis and Natural Disasters, found on the Sepsis Alliance website.
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