Dumbest Headline Today

Science Daily
Too Much Protein, Eaten Along With Fat, May Lead To Insulin Resistance

I’d love to know who funds this stuff. Turns out that while you thought the insulin response was a reaction to carbohydrates, the real culprits are fat & protein.


Fat Fine

Well intentioned but seriously misguided…

Alabama To Charge Obese Workers $25 Monthly
The state has given its 37,527 employees a year to start getting fit or they’ll pay $25 a month for insurance that otherwise is free. The board will apply the obesity charge to anyone with a body mass index of 35 or higher who is not making progress.

If the screenings turn up serious problems with blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose or obesity, employees will have a year to see a doctor at no cost, enroll in a wellness program or take steps on their own to improve their health. If they show progress in a follow-up screening, they won’t be charged. But if they don’t, they must pay starting in January 2011.

Via Neatorama

Obesity and Oil Prices

Reducing Global Demand For Food And Fuel By Reducing Obesity

If fat people would eat less and walk more instead of driving, the world problems of high food and oil prices could be alleviated.

Sadly this naive conclusion is not the product of some troll on a random internet forum but is in fact the summary of correspondence published in The Lancet.

It is also argued that since the mass of the obese population is greater than a normal population, more transportation fuel energy is required to transport the obese. This is only likely to worsen since obese people will choose to walk less and drive more in response to their increased body mass.

There is little point in addressing such a proposal which is essentially the application bad medicine to a misunderstood matter of economics. The authors betray both a lack of insight into the nature of obesity as well as global market forces.

The greatest gains, they say, would not be through a general decline in car use, but through a reduction in the excess food and car use demands that come from the obese portion of the population.

Without really wanting to “go there” it might be worth pointing these people to studies which suggest that it takes far more food calories than petro-carbon calories to move a body… so the economies they are expecting might just not work out.

But that’s not really in the spirit of what they are saying… which is effecitvely “these people are getting more than their fair share of food and oil to haul their fat asses about. If only we could trim them down then the world is saved.”

The obese population, therefore, requires more than 18% more food energy than a normal population.

The sad part is that this kind of thinking is mainstream and it’s what many people face when they go to their doctor for advice on weight management.

Start walking and don’t eat so damn much. And by the way, your fat is making it rather expensive to run the Benz.



Psst. Perhaps fat people are responsible for global warming too… it’s those thighs… and all that friction.

Strangest Thing I’ve Eaten Lately: Soft Chicken Bones

I had Japanese Yakitori for dinner last night and one of the menu options was “Soft Chicken Bones” (“kappa”). So I thought – sign me up.

It took ages to prepare but eventually a plate with two skewers arrived. Each had five pieces of slighly charred cartilage from a chicken’s breast bone.

It was almost tasteless and had a slight crunchy texture – like dried out rubber. It took a while to chew through and then I spent much of the rest of the evening picking what felt like very small pieces of plastic out of my teeth.

In summary – good for the omnivore cred but otherwise not worth recommending. I think this is a shrewd way to get people to pay for something the restaurant would otherwise throw out.

Too much of a good thing

Coming back to the issue of the food crisis, The Economist asks what can be done? The new face of hunger

It’s interesting to read the comments after the article. Most people seem to think that the ultimate good is to maximize food production through better land use and/or universal adoption of a vegetarian diet.

As it is, many of the world’s poor have been forced to the latter because of prohibitive cost.

For those on $2 a day, it means cutting out meat and taking the children out of school. For those on $1 a day, it means cutting out meat and vegetables and eating only cereals. And for those on 50 cents a day, it means total disaster.

Of course universal vegetarianism will never happen. So leaders will look to maximize land efficiency in order to facilitate stuffing the planet to the brim with as many humans as possible.

But this doesn’t solve the problem, it just pushes it back to the point where there is absolutely no flexibility because the planet’s resources have been maxed out. Population control is the only feasible long term solution.

Declining birth rates in the west mean that in the most affluent societies, there is already an element of population control at play. But in many countries were consumption is increasing rapidly – India and China of course being our favourite subjects – population growth is still strong and shows little evidence of levelling off.

World Mapper – Total Births
Total Births

Gapminder – Population

The problem is that humans are very poor at valuing quality and therefore set their benchmarks of performance in terms of quantity.

It may prove to be a fatal flaw.



Industrialised nations are not immune:
Japan runs out of butter

Japan, its leading food importers say, will inevitably take a step backwards in the food it eats. “The time will come,” says Akio Shibata, the director of the Marubeni Institute and one of Japan’s foremost experts on food supply, “when the Japanese people will realise that they will not have the quality, taste and prices of food they are used to.”

Affluent but isolated countries such as Japan and Singapore will be the first industrialised nations to suffer the effects of food shortages. How will their experience influence international efforts to address the crisis?

I find myself seriously considering a move to New Zealand given the obvious risks of living in Singapore in the face of long term food shortages.

The Politics of Food Choice

According to an article in the New York Times, the contents of your shopping cart may predict who you support for the presidency.

My own selections marked *

You Might Be a Clinton Supporter if …

  • Your exercise regimen involves an elliptical trainer.*
  • You like Boca burgers.
  • You use honey as a sweetener.
  • Your favorite supermarket cookie is a Fig Newton.
  • Your fast food restaurant of choice is Church’s Fried Chicken.
  • You shop at Whole Foods.
  • Your shopping cart includes the following products:
      • Kashi GoLean cereal
      • Luna Bar energy bars
      • Butter*
      • Odwalla Super Protein drinks
      • Amy’s Whole Wheat frozen pizza
      • Newman’s Own Pretzels


You Might Be an Obama Supporter if …

  • Your exercise regimen involves trail running.
  • You like burgers made from grass-fed local beef.*
  • You use Sugar in the Raw as a sweetener.
  • Your favorite supermarket cookie is a soft chocolate chip.
  • Your fast food restaurant of choice is Panera Bread.
  • You shop at your local farmers’ market.*
  • Your shopping cart includes the following products:
      • Bear Naked Granola
      • Lara Bar energy bars
      • Olive Oil*
      • IZZE Sparkling Juice drinks
      • Wolfgang Puck All Natural frozen pizza
      • Kettle Chips


You Might Be a McCain Supporter if …

  • Your exercise regimen involves fishing.
  • You like corn-fed beef burgers.
  • You use Splenda as a sweetener.
  • Your favorite supermarket cookie is a crunchy chocolate chip.
  • Your fast food restaurant of choice is Hardee’s.
  • You shop at Safeway.
  • Your shopping cart includes the following products:
      • Fiber One cereal
      • PowerBar energy bars
      • Margarine
      • SoBe Energy drinks
      • DiGiorno’s Stuffed Crust pizza
      • Sun Chips


The only clearcut conclusion from this is that my ideal candidate is probably too much of a wing nut to get elected.

Random Web Weirdness

They are downsizing around here… and I don’t mean dress size.
This day needs a little pick me up.

Running For Donuts
Don’t worry about missing the donut run because there’s another one.

Sugar Can Help Prevent Overeating
Circa 1971 and it was all downhill from there.

Low Carb Bra – It’s Bacon (potentially NSFW)

Low Carb Water – It’s Pork… (Via)

The other white meat
Christopher Walken called.
He said “I didn’t know it was a burrito. I’m strictly low-carb.
Baby Burrito

Carl Warner’s Food Art
Food Art

The way to a man’s hiccups…

Perhaps some of the finest moments in hiccup medicine have come from the small but determined literature on the use of digital rectal massage…