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General

Small, Short, Crossover Breakfast Study Says Maybe You Shouldn’t Skip It

Posted September 4, 2018 by Yoni Freedhoff

This was a very small study, but unlike many other “breakfast” studies, it prescribed specific breakfasts, and more to the point, they’re not bowls of ultra-processed carbs, but rather high protein options with a breakdown of 340 calories made up of 30g of protein, 36g of carbohydrates, and 9g fat.

What the authors were interested in were the differences, in the same individuals, of having a high protein breakfast vs. skipping breakfast (first meal at noon), on hunger, fullness, desire to eat, prospective food consumption (PFC) and related hormones, food cue–stimulated functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans, ad libitum evening food intake, sleep quantity and sleep quality.

The participants were healthy young men and women without obesity and each arm of the experiment lasted for 7 days with a 3 day washout period in between.

The results saw breakfast eaters see their hunger, desire to eat, PFC, and ghrelin levels decrease on breakfast days versus skipping days, while their fullness and related hormones increased.

What didn’t differ however was total energy consumed, this despite the fact that when they ate breakfast, participants on average consumed 30% fewer carb based evening snacks. There was also no real impact on sleep or sleep markers.

What was great about this study was that it didn’t just look at next meal consumption, but rather the impact of breakfast on whole days, something my clinical experience has been screaming for years was necessary. That said, at least in this short study, it didn’t seem to matter, at least not to total daily energy intake.

So does this mean you shouldn’t skip breakfast? Not exactly, but it does suggest that eating a high protein breakfast, though it won’t make you eat fewer calories, it may leave you feeling fuller and decrease evening processed food snacking.

And so once again, the answer is personal and not particularly complicated. If breakfast helps you to eat less, eat better, or feel better, then yes, you should eat it, and if it doesn’t, don’t.

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General

Justin Trudeau delivers remarks to supporters in Surrey

Posted September 3, 2018 by Liberal Party of Canada

Surrey, BC – Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, will deliver remarks to supporters at a Liberal fundraising event in Surrey on September 4, 2018. The Liberal Party of Canada has committed to the strongest standards in federal politics for openness and transparency, and is challenging other parties to do the same. […]

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General

Gene editing fixes muscular dystrophy in dogs – and humans could be next

Posted August 31, 2018 by Anonymous

Gene editing breakthrough fixes muscular dystrophy in dogs

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General

Soot and smoke are the secret to predicting how forest fires might behave

Posted August 31, 2018 by Anonymous

We need to fight wildfire with fire – but we need to understand it first

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General

The Zika epidemic ‘vaccinated’ half of Latin America, so it won’t happen again

Posted August 31, 2018 by Anonymous

Zika spread like wildfire and then it fizzled – why?

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General

DNA evidence shows huge cave bears mated with brown bears before they went extinct

Posted August 31, 2018 by Anonymous

Giant prehistoric cave bears mated with brown bears

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General

One of Russia’s missiles is missing – and it could be a secret nuclear disaster

Posted August 31, 2018 by Anonymous

One of Russia’s missiles is missing – is this an undisclosed nuclear disaster?

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General

This online game could be a ‘psychological vaccine’ for fake news

Posted August 31, 2018 by Anonymous

An online game lets you practice generating fake news (repeat)

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General

How does the Earth’s weight change every year?

Posted August 31, 2018 by Anonymous

The Earth actually loses a little weight every year.

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General

Taking Medication For Obesity (Or Anything Else For That Matter) Is Not A Failure

Posted August 30, 2018 by Yoni Freedhoff

The other day a GP tweeted at me that there was “no role for pharmacology” in the treatment of obesity along with an #LCHF hashtag. I can only presume she believes low-carb high-fat diets are the global panacea that everyone needs, and that those not adopting and succeeding with them are personal failures.

And hers isn’t an isolated viewpoint, nor is it one that’s relegated only to the #LCHF crowd as I’ve heard from other non-LCHF hashtagged physicians that forks and feet are what’s required, not medications or surgery.

But those viewpoints tend only to be extended to obesity, not to any of the literally dozens of other chronic, non-communicable diseases, that lifestyle may prevent or treat, and so yes, while useless truisms like eating less and exercising more would help people to lose weight, and while #LCHF would help some too, it’s bias that has obesity as the sole medical condition that people feel comfortable proclaiming that medication (or surgery) has no role in treatment.

Clinically useless truisms aside, obesity is complicated, and moreover we have yet to discover a non-surgical, reproducible, sustainable, and uniformly effective plan for the management of obesity. And while there’s no argument about the fact that in a ideal world everyone would take it upon themselves to live the healthiest lives possible, there are two problems with that argument. Firstly, not everyone is interested or able to change their lifestyles, and secondly, statistically speaking, the majority of even those who are interested and successful with lifestyle change will ultimately regress.

Is it lazy to want to improve your quality and/or quantity of life? Because for many that’s what the treatment of obesity would do, and that’s true for pharmacologically assisted weight loss and surgical weight loss too. And yes, sure, it’d be lovely if everyone had the very real luxuries of possessing the health, time, money, and inclination to regularly and genuinely exercise, cook, and life broadly healthful lives everyday, forevermore, but except in the minds of those filled with dripping I can do it and so should you lifestyle sanctimony, that’s simply not the case for a large percentage of our real life population.

So yes, medications for those who want and need them. Same with surgery. And also varied dietary approaches and behavioural strategies. Because my job as a physician is to provide people with enough information about their options for them to make their own informed decisions, it’s not to be a myopic, biased, patient-blaming, blowhard, dietligious, zealot

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General

Justin Trudeau delivers remarks to supporters in Mississauga

Posted August 29, 2018 by Liberal Party of Canada

Mississauga, ON – Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, will deliver remarks to supporters at a Liberal fundraising event in Mississauga on August 30, 2018. The Liberal Party of Canada has committed to the strongest standards in federal politics for openness and transparency, and is challenging other parties to do the same. […]

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General

Please Stop Judging Other People’s Shopping Carts And Fast Food Orders

Posted August 28, 2018 by Yoni Freedhoff

Ever wonder if you’re biased against people with obesity?

Have you ever stood in line behind someone with obesity at the supermarket and judged them on the basis of the items they were pulling out of their cart? Or behind someone with obesity at a fast food place and judged them on the basis of their order?

Now ask yourself if you have, or would have, similarly judged a thin person pulling out those same items or making that same order.

And it’s worth noting, there’s no good answer here.

If you answered, no, you wouldn’t have judged a thin person similarly, well that reflects weight bias.

And if you answered, yes, you’d be judging them the same way, well that reflects you judging people on the basis of things that are none of your business.

Everyone’s life is complicated, and moreover, food plays roles far beyond fuel and serves as comfort, as celebration, is one of life’s most seminal pleasures, and it’s not for anyone to judge anyone else on the basis of their choices therein.

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General

Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada

Posted August 27, 2018 by Anonymous

Pre-order now from Amazon.ca or Chapters.Indigo.ca or contact your favourite bookseller or educational wholesaler

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General

3-Ingredient Chia and Quinoa Flatbread (vegan)

Posted August 27, 2018 by Angela (Oh She Glows)

Oh boy, allergy elimination diets are a breeze! Said no one ever. It’s been challenging to think of recipes when many of the foods and ingredients I love are also ones I should avoid for a bit before gradually reintroducing. So when I came up with these flatbreads, I was seriously overjoyed! There’s always a […]

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General

Only a Flesh Wound

Posted August 24, 2018 by Balbulican

The Conservatives’ disintegration is, in an odd, backhanded way, a tribute to Stephen Harper. There never really was a united “Conservative Party of Canada”; conceived in exile and consummated in the back room, it was always an uneasy patchwork…

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General

If A Woman With Obesity Is Denied Fertility Treatment, Does She Have Grounds To Sue?

Posted August 22, 2018 by Yoni Freedhoff

It is a fairly common practice for fertility clinics to deny treatments to women with obesity. The rationale presented usually references the increased risks posed to both mom and fetus consequent to mom’s obesity.

And indeed, there are increased risks in pregnancy in women with obesity including of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, prolonged first stage of labour, increased instrumental deliveries, shoulder dystocia, macrosomia (big babies), congenital anomalies, and C-Sections.

But here’s the thing, there are plenty of pre-existing conditions that women seeking fertility treatments have that confer comparably increased risks, and yet those women are not denied access to treatment, instead they are counselled about those risks, informed consent is obtained, and treatment is provided.

Couple the above with the fact that there simply are no gold standard non-surgical means by which women with obesity can ensure they’ll lose weight, and that denying fertility treatment to women has been shown to negatively affect self-esteem, social isolation, anxiety, and depression, and I can’t help but wonder whether there are grounds for a lawsuit? Grounds that have been made that much stronger by the recent publication of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society’s recommendations on obesity and reproduction which spell out all of the above (minus the legal question), and which are well worth a read by women with obesity seeking fertility treatments.

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General

Easy Chocolate Hemp Protein Balls

Posted August 21, 2018 by Angela (Oh She Glows)

It’s okay to give yourself a break. This is something I’ve been reminded of over and over again since the beginning of the year. In a recent newsletter, I shared my struggles with injury and overtraining and opened up about why I decided to take a big old exercise break starting in January 2018. It […]

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General

Two New Studies Pour Cold Water On Water’s Role In Weight Management

Posted August 20, 2018 by Yoni Freedhoff

Two new studies are bound to disappoint those who still want to believe water makes a difference in weight management.

The first of these studies, Increasing water intake influences hunger and food preference, but does not reliably suppress energy intake in adults, asked participants to drink 500, 1000, 1500, or 2000ml of water in the morning before an all you can eat lunch buffet to see if doing so reduced how much people ate. The researchers found that even drinking 2L of water before lunch didn’t reduce how many calories were consumed at the buffet.

The second, Complementary and compensatory dietary changes associated with consumption or omission of plain water by US adults, compared the self-reported dietary intake patterns (which you should know aren’t generally thought to be be reliable) of individuals who had days recorded with and without water intake to see if there were a difference in calories reportedly consumed. There wasn’t.

As to how pervasive the belief that water is a key player in weight management, you might be surprised by how many people I meet in my office who believe water drinking makes or breaks an effort, though when you consider the fact that 63.4% of adults in a recent US survey of weight loss practices cited water drinking as one of theirs, maybe it shouldn’t be all that shocking.

In my mind the only thing that’s surprising is that I would have thought it to be fairly self-evident, that water drinking was an incredibly minor player at best, because if drinking 8 or more glasses of water a day contributed even moderately to successful weight management, we’d see a great many more success stories walking around.

[That said, if you replace all your regularly consumed caloric beverages with water, well that might lend a hand.]

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General

Back Writing Again

Posted August 19, 2018 by Polar Bear

I have not written a post for many months as I have been on quite an adventure. I would like to share the details of that adventure with family and friends. Many of my posts will be personal and reveal some secrets. Stay tuned. Just wanted you to know …

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General

Canada bans neonic pesticides implicated in bee declines

Posted August 17, 2018 by Anonymous

Health Canada’s latest neonic ban is good news for insects, says ecologist

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General

Tracking animals from space could provide early warning of natural disasters

Posted August 17, 2018 by Anonymous

Tracking wide scale animal migrations from space

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General

Elephants have a zombie gene that comes back to life to fight cancer

Posted August 17, 2018 by Anonymous

Zombie gene in elephants comes back to life to kill cancer cells

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General

How do you discourage a pesky elephant? Use bee smells as a repellent

Posted August 17, 2018 by Anonymous

Bee pheromones may be useful as an elephant repellant

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General

We can’t grow enough food to feed the world according to the Food Guide

Posted August 17, 2018 by Anonymous

Earth simply cannot make enough food to feed everyone a North American diet

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General

If the moon had oceans what would its tides be like?

Posted August 17, 2018 by Anonymous

Moon’s orbit around the Earth would change its hypothetical tides

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General

Corbella Column Pulled

Posted August 14, 2018 by bigcitylib

This morning The Calgary Herald published a column by  Licia Corbella, entitled “Family of jailed Saudi blogger angry over Trudeau”.  In it Corbella criticized government’s twitter diplomacy efforts in the Raif Badawi case, directly quoting members of the man’s family.  As you will note by clicking through the link above, that column is now gone.  Mr. Badawi’s wife, in  a series of tweets early this afternoon, called the story “fake news”.  Those tweets are also gone, as is all reference to the story in Ms. Corbella’s twitter feed.  I contacted The Herald and asked if they had yanked the piece, and they responded as below:

The column has been removed at the request of Ensaf Haidar (wife of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi) due to the sensitive nature of the family’s situation.

— Calgary Herald (@calgaryherald) August 14, 2018

So there appears to have been a severe cock-up on the journalism front by Ms. Corbella, the precise details of which remain obscure.  It wouldn’t be the first time.

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Children

Study Finds Giving Prebiotics To Kids Doesn’t Change Their Energy Intake And Ups A Major Hunger Hormone Yet Still Concludes Prebiotics Have Potential To Help With Childhood Obesity?

Posted August 14, 2018 by Yoni Freedhoff

Today will be discussing a study that had kids randomly assigned to taking either 8g oligofructose enriched inulin (prebiotic) per day or placebo (maltodextrin) for 16 weeks.

The study’s pre-registered primary outcome measure, as recorded in ClinicalTrials.gov, was change in baseline fat mass at 16 weeks.

Secondary outcome measures (as recorded) were changes in baseline appetite at 16 weeks (assessed with visual analog scales and an eating behavior questionnaire), and objective appetite measures including a weighed breakfast buffet, weighted 3-day food records, and serum satiety hormone levels.

(Not preregistered as an outcome of interest? Body weight change or BMIz score.)

Outcome wise, here’s a snapshot of the study’s abstract:

Reading through the study, here’s what I found as outcomes:

  • According to their 3 day food diaries (but be aware, food diaries are notoriously inaccurate), there was no difference in 3 day energy intake between the prebiotic and placebo arms.
  • When all ages were included in the analysis, there was no difference in all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet energy intake between the probiotic and placebo arms, BUT, by dividing the kids into those between the ages of 7-10 and 11-12, suddenly, but only in the older group, kids ate less breakfast in the prebiotic arm, while in the younger group, they ate more.
  • The hunger hormone ghrelin was found to be significantly elevated in those taking the prebiotic (an increase of 28%) from baseline, whereas placebo was not demonstrably different from baseline (an increase of 8%).
  • There was no difference reported in subjective post-breakfast buffet hunger in either group
  • There was no difference reported in subjective eating behavior questionnaires between groups, but parents reported improvements in fullness, but equally in both prebiotic and placebo groups.
  • The primary outcome of change in baseline fat mass was not mentioned anywhere in the study.

The authors’ conclusions about a prebiotic supplement that was shown to markedly increase hunger hormone levels, that didn’t decrease 3 day food diary energy intake, that didn’t change all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet energy intake (unless you arbitrarily after the fact divided up the kids into those aged 7-10 and 11-12), and where the study’s registered primary outcome wasn’t mentioned in the study itself sure look differently than what you might expect, with their concluding sentence being,

This simple dietary change has the potential to help with appetite regulation in children with obesity

I also found it surprising that the study was free to read, and given the incredibly unexciting findings, it’s more difficult to imagine the authors paying for its open access. Easier to imagine the company that makes the prebiotic that a randomized controlled trial published in an impactful journal explicitly concluded, “has the potential to help with appetite regulation in children with obesity” (even though it didn’t), paying the extra fees as open access articles generally gather more citations.

As to what Beneo, the manufacturer of the prebiotic used in this study had to say, I found these quotes in an article published on the trade-zine Nutraingredients at the time of the study’s publication,

Beneo regards this research of highest importance“,

and despite the study not even remotely coming to this conclusion also added,

The intake of 8g of prebiotic inulin (Orafti Synergy 1) in a glass of water prior to dinner is a simple dietary intervention that supports children in their weight management efforts. The results show that they were naturally eating less (YF: no they didn’t) than the control group having maltodextrin

Beneo also put out an excited press release to publicize the study.

And you can bet your bottom dollar, it’s studies and conclusions like this one that supplement companies use to suggest great benefits to their products, and it’s also studies like this one where I wish the journal employed open peer review as I can’t fathom how this one got through as is.

Lastly, while the authors didn’t report any conflicts of interest with this particular study, the supplements and placebos were provided by Beneo, and it was noted that one of the authors had previously enjoyed funding from Beneo. Unfortunately there is no mention as to who paid for this study’s open access.

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General

But…history!

Posted August 13, 2018 by Anonymous

[Dear remaining readers: apologies for neglecting this blog of late—pressing assignments, alas. Stay tuned for more in a while. Until then, join me in abominating this dreadful spectacle of politically-correct historical erasure. Down the memory hole. Right out of…

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General

Why does eating beets make my urine pink?

Posted August 10, 2018 by Anonymous

Red or bright pink urine after eating beets may occur in people with low stomach acid, according to renal dietician Tanya Choy. But rest assured, it’s harmless.

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General

Why the airline industry might want to lower cockpit CO2 levels

Posted August 10, 2018 by Anonymous

Pilots are much more likely to pass flight maneuvers when carbon dioxide concentrations are low.

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General

A baby’s cries can predict the sound of their adult voice Deck

Posted August 10, 2018 by Anonymous

Children with finger lengths signalling they were exposed to higher levels of testosterone in the womb showed lower voice pitches in infancy as well as adulthood.

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General

Island birds would likely beat their mainland relatives in a battle of wits

Posted August 10, 2018 by Anonymous

Birds often evolve larger brains on they reach islands, scientists confirm.

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General

Do lobsters feel pain when we boil them alive?

Posted August 10, 2018 by Anonymous

The Swiss government passed a law stating people can no longer boil a lobster alive. Here’s the science behind how the crustaceans may feel pain.

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General

‘Climate change is here’ – but is it to blame for the extreme weather this summer?

Posted August 10, 2018 by Anonymous

Wildfires, record heat, droughts – scientists are parsing through the extreme weather events to determine what exactly is caused by climate change.

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General

Do fireflies glow just at night or do they glow during the day too?

Posted August 3, 2018 by Anonymous

Fireflies mostly only glow at night because that’s when the males are trying to get the attention of female fireflies, according to entomologist Dr. Sandy Smith.

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General

Arctic spiders spinning new food web as climate warms – and that’s a good thing

Posted August 3, 2018 by Anonymous

Facing warmer temperatures, wolf spiders are changing up what’s for dinner, and in doing so, lessening the effects of climate change in their ecosystem.

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