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We Know Diet Pills Don't Work, But We're Still Buying

Most people realize that if a supplement's claims seem too good to be true, they probably are. "Lose 10 pounds in 2 days!" or "Look like this swimsuit model in less than a week!" are claims that make most of us roll our eyes and shake our heads. But for some reason, companies keep making diet pills and other supplements. What is that reason? Because they still make money. Even though we know they aren't likely to work, a lot of us are still spending big bucks in the hopes that diet pills will help us reach our goals more quickly and easily. Why?
Posted 7/23/2010  6:09:32 AM By: Jen Mueller : 91 comments   19,605 views
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Do Glucosamine and Chondroitin Alleviate Joint Pain?

For many years, people have been searching for ways to alleviate joint pain, especially those who suffer from the painful effects of osteoarthritis. Glucosamine and chondroitin are two naturally occurring substances in your body that help build and repair cartilage. The theory behind using them for joint pain is that more of the cartilage building blocks will be available for cartilage repair. Research has shown that these products are generally safe, but are they effective? Much of the current research says you should save your money.
Posted 7/20/2010  2:14:21 PM By: Jen Mueller : 213 comments   40,884 views
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Insensitive Ad: Am I Overreacting?

I had a rare opportunity to be a total couch potato on Sunday as I was battling a rare summertime cold. My weekends are usually chocked full of activities that I usually do not have the freedom to watch too much TV, but because I have a half-marathon to run in Seattle on Saturday, I needed to make sure I was well on my way to a full recovery even if that meant I did nothing rest.

Well, what I discovered is there is not much to watch on television, especially on a summer Sunday, however I did have the opportunity to view a remake of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific, as well as an episode of Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. I must say both shows were quite entertaining—one allowed me to sing along to one of my all-time favorite musicals and the other, well let’s just say, I had no clue that one could use seaweed and sea salt in a cupcake and still have it taste yummy.

So you may be wondering where I am going with all this. As entertaining as the programs were, the same cannot be said about the advertisements. I was appalled at a commercial from a company that has promoted healthier fast food options for years. That restaurant? Subway.

Posted 6/23/2010  3:05:42 PM By: Nancy Howard : 471 comments   26,703 views
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And the Award for Worst New Food Product of the Year Goes to…

It’s conventional to wait until the end of the year to decide which new food product deserves the award for worst of the year. But once in a while, a product comes along that's such an obvious choice there’s no need to hold off giving the award until all the entries are in.

Next week, KFC is introducing just such a product: their new Double Down sandwich.

It’s not entirely clear how this product actually qualifies as a “sandwich,” since there’s no bread involved. It’s two pieces of bacon and two pieces of cheese served between two pieces of fried chicken. There’s nothing even remotely resembling a vegetable—not even ketchup.

Given all the public concern lately about eating balanced meals and reducing the health risks associated with a high-fat, low fiber diet, you have to wonder: What was KFC thinking? And the answer to that question might just be more disturbing than the Double Down itself.
Posted 4/8/2010  5:53:03 PM By: Dean Anderson : 539 comments   46,798 views
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Are Parents Just Not Getting The Hint?

Food marketers will do just about anything to get our attention- or rather, the attention of our children. That's why it's important for parents to be aware of the tactics used to promote unhealthy foods to their kids. With all of the recent talk about childhood obesity rates and improving kids' health, you'd think that parents would be smarter and learn to make better choices for their kids. But according to new research, that's not the case.
Posted 3/16/2010  6:10:56 AM By: Jen Mueller : 107 comments   14,475 views
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Would taxes on junk food promote healthier eating?

According to a study published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine, when the price of junk food goes up, people eat less of it, their weight goes down, and blood sugar levels improve.

The study, which is described in more detail here, followed over 5,000 people for a period of 20 years, tracking their food consumption, height, weight, and blood sugar levels. Researchers also tracked changes in food prices during this same period, and found that incremental increases in the prices of soda and delivery pizza were associated with incremental decreases in consumption of these items. For every 10% increase in cost, there was a 7% decrease in the number of soda calories consumed, and an 11.5% decrease in pizza calories consumed. Likewise, a one dollar increase in soda cost was associated with a decrease in overall calorie intake of 124 calories per day (on average), and a decrease in body weight (2.2 pounds on average). This was true even though the “real” cost of soda and delivery pizza actually decreased over the 20 year period when prices were adjusted for inflation.

Does this mean that we can (or should) use taxes and/or surcharges on junk food items to encourage people to use less them of them?

Posted 3/11/2010  5:42:53 PM By: Dean Anderson : 300 comments   31,891 views
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Is A Thin Body Celebrated More Than A Fit One?

I'll admit it. I'm an Olympics junkie. I love watching almost any event- luge, snowboarding, aerials- even if I don't understand what's happening. I just enjoy the spirit of the Games and how young men and women are celebrated for their athletic accomplishments. I also admire the bodies of the athletes, so fit and strong. But I notice that many of them (especially women) do not have a body type that would typically be celebrated in the media. Most female Olympic athletes wouldn't grace the cover of a women's magazine or walk the runway at a fashion show. Why? Because even though they have the talent to win a gold medal, they aren't skinny.
Posted 2/23/2010  2:17:39 PM By: Jen Mueller : 265 comments   29,112 views
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Childhood Obesity: Is total TV watching time the problem, or is it the commercials?

It’s been documented for quite a while that there’s a strong link between TV watching and obesity in children. The assumption has usually been that the time a child spends watching TV reduces the time spent on physical activity, but this new research indicates things may not be this simple.

When researchers from UCLA recently studied the TV and video viewing activities of 2000 children, they found that there was no association at all between viewing time and obesity for those children who watched videos or other commercial-free programs. But that picture changed when children were watching programs that included commercials. Researchers found that the more commercials the child was exposed to, the more likely it was that the child would be obese. This was especially true for children under 7.

Posted 2/11/2010  5:23:17 AM By: Dean Anderson : 113 comments   16,044 views
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What's the Deal with Taco Bell's Drive-Thru Diet?

A decade ago, Jared Fogle lost 245 pounds eating two Subway sandwiches a day and the Subway diet was born. Today, Subway has capitalized on his publicized success by focusing their marketing and menu on healthier eating alternatives for those dining away from home.

A decade later, Christine has lost 54 pounds with the Taco Bell Drive-Thru Diet. Is this fast food diet your key to success?

Posted 1/7/2010  5:55:23 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 211 comments   32,590 views
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I'm Not Raising My Hand for Chocolate Milk

I'm not a big fan of the taste of milk, but I drink it because I think it's good for you. Add some chocolate syrup to it, and of course I like it even more. But at that point, is the milk becoming more like a dessert? A new campaign is trying to keep chocolate milk as a choice in school cafeterias, saying that taking it away will do more harm than good.
Posted 11/27/2009  6:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 252 comments   22,466 views
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Spending Big Dollars to Market Cocoa Puffs to Kids

Growing up, the two cereal choices in our house were Cheerios and Rice Krispies. The only time I got to try the cereals I saw advertised on Saturday morning cartoons was when I spent the night at a friend's house. I always dreamed about what Cookie Crisp and Cocoa Puffs might taste like, and to this day, I've still never tried them (although I don't think I'm missing much anymore).

My parents had a rule in our house: No sugar cereals. I guess my sister and I were already full of energy as the day began, and they didn't want the extra sugar to get us even more wired. That was a wise decision. You'd think that these days, the cereal commercials directed toward children would have a healthier spin. But a new study shows that's not the case.
Posted 11/6/2009  6:08:30 PM By: Jen Mueller : 121 comments   15,537 views
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Froot Loops Qualify for the new “Smart Choices” Label (?!)

You’ve probably seen those new green checkmark labels that are starting to show up on lots of packaged food products in your grocery store. The label is intended to be a guide for consumers who want to make healthier choices when shopping for groceries. It’s part of a new program called “Smart Choices” that’s sponsored by a group of 10 major food producers, including Kellogg’s, General Mills, ConAgra Foods, Tyson Foods, and PepsiCo.

In order to display the Smart Choice label, a product must meet nutritional guidelines established by the program, which set limits on the amount of sugar, salt, and fat a product can contain, and specify that it should have a certain amount of desired nutrients like fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Sounds pretty good, right? Many people don’t pay much attention to the food labels on these same products, so having a simple label prominently displayed on the front of the package could be a good way to let people know which products are more nutritionally sound than others.

But as usual, the devil is in the details—in this case, the details of the program’s nutritional guidelines. It seems that both Froot Loops and Cocoa Crispies are eligible for the Smart Choice label, as are both lite and regular mayonnaise, and any frozen or packaged meals with up to 600 milligrams of sodium in them (25% of the recommended maximum intake).

What’s going on here?
Posted 9/10/2009  5:23:48 PM By: Dean Anderson : 261 comments   24,408 views
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Update: PETA Pulls Controversial Billboard!

We have a saying in the south, "you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar." If you haven't heard, there is a beef taking place in Jacksonville, Florida with PETA and their current billboard campaign promoting vegetarianism. The billboard features an illustration of an overweight woman in a bikini with the phrase "Save The Whales, Lose The Blubber: Go Vegetarian." If this is PETA's attempt at getting people to move away from an animal-based diet, I think they may want to re-think their strategy.

When I first heard this story on the news Tuesday morning, I was shocked and appalled to see the actual billboard. I do not understand why PETA would go to such measures to demean women, no matter what their size. I find this stepped way over the line of integrity and humanity.

Being overweight or obese is difficult enough, but to be the target of such malicious intent is even more frustrating and very sad to me. Why is it that there are those in our society who feel it is OK to humiliate those who don't quite fit the norm, whatever the norm is?
Posted 8/22/2009  9:22:28 AM By: Nancy Howard : 521 comments   23,175 views
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Children's T.V. Choices Could Affect How Much They Eat

I'll admit it: I'm a snacker. For as long as I can remember, I'm someone who doesn't go more than a few hours without eating. I can't imagine eating breakfast at 6 a.m., and then waiting until 11 or 12 to eat again. I think my body would go into shock or blow up or something. As my daughter gets older, she's becoming just like me. "Mama, let's have a snack," she'll say, right around the time I'm thinking "Geez, I'm hungry. I wonder what I could have to eat."

I try to make our snacks as healthy as possible (fruit, veggies, granola bars, yogurt, etc.) Although I don't have to worry because my daughter doesn't watch T.V. yet, a new study shows a link between what kids are seeing on T.V. and how much they eat. So if you've got a young snacker at home who likes to watch T.V., or a child who eats meals in front of the tube, you'll want to keep a close eye on just how much they are consuming.
Posted 7/31/2009  6:07:49 AM By: Jen Mueller : 68 comments   11,996 views
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Kim Kardashian Admits She Has Cellulite

Pick up the latest issue of any women's magazine and you'll likely see a beautiful model or celebrity on the cover. They all have smooth and flawless skin, polished teeth and perfect curves. It's easy to look at those images and become discouraged because you feel like you'll never live up to that standard. But are those images real? Is that how this person would look if you saw them at Starbucks or working out at the gym? Probably not. It's called the magic of "Photoshopping," and one celebrity recently spoke out about what she really looks like.
Posted 4/24/2009  2:03:38 PM By: Jen Mueller : 169 comments   13,476 views
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