I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday! This week is flying by. I have been struggling to remember to photograph my eats lately, but yesterday I tried extra hard. I still forgot to snap a picture of my dinner… so you can pretend there is a picture of chicken, asparagus, broccoli, and a handful of grapes.
Breakfast never changes- it’s literally always oatmeal with some slight variation in the fruit toppings. Sometimes I stir in so many blueberries it turns dark blue like this bowl. Sometimes I stir in cocoa powder. As long as I have my morning oatmeal, I know everything will be okay.
Lunch yesterday was incredible. I seriously never eat red meat. Probably 4 times a year max, I will have a steak or a burger. This week I decided to buy some filet mignon; the nice guy working at the counter sliced each filet into 4oz portions which made them pretty thin. I threw the steak into a pan with a little pepper and turned it one time to brown on each side. That was it! That steak on top of a bed of sauteed purple cabbage and mushrooms… perfection. The meat was tender and cut without a knife- so good! Sometimes a girl just needs some read meat- what can I say?
Another oddity (besides the steak) I’ve been enjoying recently is grapefruit. I really thought I hated grapefruit but my mom made one the other day and I was in love. She cute all the little sections perfectly and topped each half with some splenda (I know splenda is bad but one isn’t going to kill me). After that day I had Kyle go to the store and buy 5 more grapefruits. I’ve found my new favorite snack.
As soon as I leave work, I head straight to the gym. I’m always pretty hungry but I don’t want to eat something huge before a workout. So I’ve just been packing some protein powder to down in my car on the way. I feel like such a meathead.
After my workout I came home and devoured some chicken and veggies. You aren’t missing much of a photograph there.
Okay- now to the intellectual part of this post. (You mean recapping every last thing I ate yesterday isn’t mind-blowing and inspiring?)
There are quite a few articles in the New England Journal of Medicine this week discussing obesity, sugary beverages, genetic risks for obesity, and what we can do about all this.
As am sure you know, I am extremely interested in obesity; I think it is the biggest health problem our generation is facing. I think it contributes to the rising costs of healthcare more than we realize. It decreases peoples’ quality of life, I could go on and on.
I will summarize these articles:
Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Genetic Risk of Obesity
Qibin Qi, Ph.D., Audrey Y. Chu, Ph.D., Jae H. Kang, Sc.D., Majken K. Jensen, Ph.D., Gary C. Curhan, Sc.D., Louis R. Pasquale, M.D., Paul M. Ridker, M.D., M.P.H., David J. Hunter, M.B., B.S., Sc.D., Walter C. Willett, M.D., Dr.P.H., Eric B. Rimm, Sc.D., Daniel I. Chasman, Ph.D., Frank B. Hu, M.D., Ph.D., and Lu Qi, M.D., Ph.D.
N Engl J Med 2012; 367:1387-1396October 11, 2012DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1203039
This study wanted to look at the relationship between increase intake of sugary beverages and the genetic risk of obesity. The study found that the more sugary drinks you had each week increased your relative risk for obesity (duh). But it also found that the genetic predisposition to obesity is more pronounced in those with greater intake of these beverages.
Seems pretty obvious- if you’re genetically inclined to be obese, drinking more soda is going to increase your risk even more.
A Trial of Sugar-free or Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Body Weight in Children
Janne C. de Ruyter, M.Sc., Margreet R. Olthof, Ph.D., Jacob C. Seidell, Ph.D., and Martijn B. Katan, Ph.D.
N Engl J Med 2012; 367:1397-1406October 11, 2012DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa12030
We know that drinking sugary drinks increases body weight in children “possibly because liquid sugars do not lead to a sense of satiety, so the consumption of other foods is not reduced.” But until now it wasn’t known whether replacing those drinks with artifically sweetened drinks would reduce weight gain.
The study found that by replacing drinks with sugar-free types, fat accumulation was reduced. The numbers didn’t look too impressive to me, but there was a slight difference in weight gain. I think a problem with this study is the fact that the sugar group only got 1 8oz drink with 104 calories. The sugar-free group got the same drink daily but with artificial sugar making it zero calories. Maybe I’m making a huge generalization but I think most people who drink sugary drinks are getting way more than 100 extra calories a day. Some kids are having 4 or 5 glasses of juice a day. Perhaps if the caloric intake had been more exaggerated, the study would have seen a bigger difference in weight gain among the two groups.
The next article is an opinion piece which I find very interesting. I will just include the beginning and end- the main points:
Candy at the Cash Register — A Risk Factor for Obesity and Chronic Disease
Deborah A. Cohen, M.D., M.P.H., and Susan H. Babey, Ph.D.
N Engl J Med 2012; 367:1381-1383October 11, 2012DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1209443
A basic misconception has stymied our response to the obesity epidemic: the belief that food-related decisions are consciously and deliberately made. Our reluctance to interfere with or regulate the food environment is a direct consequence of the belief that people’s food choices reflect their true desires. However, given the large proportion of people who claim that they want to lose weight and the small proportion who are actually able to do so, we must concede that human behavior doesn’t always conform with professed goals.
The reality is that food choices are often automatic and made without full conscious awareness. In many cases, they may even be the opposite of what the person deciding would consciously prefer. What and how much people eat are highly influenced by contextual factors that they may not recognize and therefore cannot easily resist. A clear example of this influence is the placement of candy at the cash register, which is widely acknowledged to be a promotional strategy called “impulse marketing.” Impulse marketing encourages spur-of-the-moment, emotion-related purchases that are triggered by seeing the product or a related message.
With strong empirical research, it should be possible to identify which marketing strategies place people at risk or undermine their health, as well as to quantify the magnitude of risk. This kind of knowledge should be applied in informing regulations that could govern the design and placement of foods in retail outlets to protect consumers.
We need to test new approaches to risk reduction that do not place additional cognitive demands on the population, such as limiting the types of foods that can be displayed in prominent end-of-aisle locations and restricting foods associated with chronic diseases to locations that require a deliberate search to find. Harnessing marketing research to control obesity could help millions of people who desperately want to reduce their risks of chronic diseases.
Pretty intense right? Do you think we should start to regulate things like that?
Portion Sizes and Beyond — Government’s Legal Authority to Regulate Food-Industry Practices
Jennifer L. Pomeranz, J.D., M.P.H., and Kelly D. Brownell, Ph.D.
N Engl J Med 2012; 367:1383-1385October 11, 2012DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1208167
Governments are now considering a number of actions regarding business practices related to food — for example, prohibiting the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages in municipal buildings by cities such as Boston, stopping the sales of sugar-sweetened beverages and low-nutrition snack foods by schools, taxing sugar-sweetened beverages, and imposing New York’s portion-size initiative. Governments have the authority to act in this arena, and though industry may launch legal challenges, there does not appear to be a sound basis for that opposition to prevail.
City and state governments, generally through health departments, have clear authority over matters concerning the short-term consequences of food intake. Mechanisms are in place for preventing or swiftly containing problems regarding food safety. Of more recent concern are the long-term consequences of food intake related to chronic health problems such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Beginning with the ban on trans fats in restaurants in New York City and the requirement that chain restaurants post calorie counts for their menu items, cities and states have taken to considering the food environment as a chief way of protecting the long-term health of citizens.
Okay, that was a lot- sorry. But now you are so informed!! And I want to know what you think??? Do you think the government can regulate this kind of stuff?
If you want to read more, you can find all these articles on NEJM.ORG
Have a great day!!