Dangers of the Double-Dip

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courtesy of WSJ

I drive my family crazy during holiday gatherings because I slip into the role of Time-Temperature Abuse Police. “Mom, don’t you think this cheese platter has been out long enough? Did you check the temperature of the meat? Ahem—How long has this sushi been on the counter?” I also obsessively wipe countertops. I know, I know. It’s not totally my fault, though—you take a Microbiology class and then come talk to me.

One holiday health hazard that normal people actually think about, though, is the great double dip debacle. Many people get grossed out by the mere thought of someone dipping a chip, taking a bite, and then dipping it right back in. Others shrug off such germ-phobic disdain and double-dip to their heart’s content.

So is double-dipping that chip in the salsa really so bad?

Apparently, yes.

This video from the Wall Street Journal explains…

Is It True? The dangers of the double-dip

Are you a double-dipper? If not, do you know any double-dip offenders? Any good stories about double-dip-related confrontations? 

Do you think sugars should be regulated?

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Earlier this week, British science journal Nature published a commentary called “The Toxic Truth About Sugar“, in which authors Robert Lustig, Laura Schmidt and Claire Brindis (all researchers at the University of California medical center in San Francisco) argue that “added sweeteners pose dangers to health that justify controlling them like alcohol.”

The paper details some of the specific ways in which increased sugar consumption has been linked to a rise in obesity and related non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. It also goes into the ways in which sugar’s effects on the body can be similar to those of alcohol (by acting on the brain, for example, to encourage further consumption). By using alcohol and tobacco as two other substances that have been linked to disease and are now regulated, the authors make a case for doing the same with sugars. Read the rest of this entry »

Small Pleasures

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Good morning! I don’t know about you, but I’m so happy the weekend is here. For better or worse, I’m a morning person—always have been, always will be (oh, genetics). In the past, this has proved somewhat crazy-making for people I’ve dated, so I’ve added “not worrying about waking up a sleeping boy/man/friend-thing” to the list of why being single is awesome.

oats w/ chia seeds, pear, cottage cheese & Trader Joe's fig butter

One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday morning is to exercise (today included the elliptical machine and some arms & abs work) and then make a nice breakfast. Reading the paper over oatmeal and coffee never gets old for me, especially if Car Talk happens to be on the radio.  I don’t even have a car, but I love this show! I know, I know, but hey, we all have our little quirks…

What are you up to this weekend? Any favorite morning rituals? 

Nix the holiday guilt trip!

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I’ve probably already said it this month, but in case I haven’t…

Holy Sh!t! How did the holidays get here? Seriously. 

In addition to festive coffee drinks, peppermint bark-everything, pretty lights and that pine-tree scent hanging over everything (yes, even in NYC), the media has been crawling with the usual “how to avoid holiday weight gain” tips.

Though I’ve posted about this topic in the past, this year I want to take a step back and say that in a season in which we make tons of time for other people, we need to remember to be nice to ourselves. For many of us, this means nixing the holiday guilt-tripping that involves food.

Check out Katie’s blog for a great post about why we need to have a guilt-free holiday season. Cheers to that! Elise also posted a “by the numbers” guide to “staying on track” during the holidays that cracked me up. Hey, it probably doesn’t hurt to know how many minutes of family flag football you’d need to play to burn off a slice of pie or whatever—just don’t let it run your life.

And um, who actually plays family flag football?

How do you feel about holiday food guilt-trips? 


Pushing Weight Loss to Promote Breastfeeding?

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Oh dear. I’m all for promoting breastfeeding, but this ad, part of a new campaign by the New York State Department of Health to encourage mothers breastfeed, just seems a bit off to me. It kind of reminds me of an ad for Jenny Craig or something, especially when the woman in the ad holds up her old pants and proclaims, “I’m back to a size 8!”

While it’s true that breastfeeding can burn up to 500 calories a day and help new mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight sooner, is weight loss really the way we should be promoting breastfeeding? Are lifelong health benefits and environmental sustainability not enough? And what about all the money you save by not buying formula? Oh and yeah—bonding with your child.

Welcome to the U S of A, where dress size is what matters most…

Slim Shots?

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I get really ticked off when I see advertisements for diet products. So of course I had to snap a photo while waiting for the F train recently.

If Spain is considering banning diet commercials before 10 p.m., why can’t we start taking some measures to lower the number of times a day we’re bombarded by these kinds of images and ideas?

I examined the smaller print on the ad, and of course, it said that most people ate between 12.5 and 30 percent less when they took these “slim shots.” Appetite suppressants and anything that claims to have “all natural” or “safe” ingredients in it freak me out. Their need to state that makes me feel like they’re hiding something.

Let’s take a look at the ingredients. These contain oat oil and palm oil, along with water, “natural and artificial flavors, aspartame, and beta carotene color.” That’s it? I don’t know, something just seems off to me…

So how does it work? Here’s what it says on the website: “SlimShots™ triggers the body’s natural appetite control mechanism, the ileal brake, satisfying users for long periods of time and in turn, allowing them to eat less, without sacrifice and without depriving them of their favorite foods.”

What’s more, I don’t think appetite should be suppressed in the first place. It’s important, instead, to try to understand our appetites—what is our body trying to tell us? How can we give it what it really needs? It exists for a reason! Clearly, attempting to rein our appetites in has gotten our culture nowhere. In fact, you could almost say that as a whole, we’ve become so out of touch with our appetites that it seems to be out of control. Scary stuff.

I wonder what it would take to get people to realize that there is no magic bullet for weight control, and that “weight control” is no way to talk about how you eat. It implies a power struggle—one we don’t need to partake in. Still, I suppose healthy living and conscious eating don’t sell as much ad space.

Annoying Yogurt Commercials

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On the list of reasons I do not own a TV and prefer to download my 30-Rock through Netflix:

*Cable Bills
*Bad Reality TV
*Yogurt Commercials

Many of you who know me in person have heard me rant about how much yogurt commercials annoy me, especially the ones with women in them, which is basically the only kind of yogurt commercial you see anymore…

It’s the way they target women by either exposing or alluding to various insecurities and then shove them this product specifically engineered for them so that they can indulge in their base desires or meet their embarrassing needs while still fitting into the socially-acceptable female behavior mold.

Don’t even get me started on the whole “yogurt is the official food of women” thing. It’s a shame because I love yogurt—the good, plain, real-food version—but it nags at me that there are these big companies out there trying to get me to buy more of it. The fewer calories, the better! Because all women are “supposed” to be on a diet, right?

I know that plain, nonfat or low-fat yogurt you buy in a big container doesn’t sell as well as these cutely packaged, super-sweet weight-management products, but seriously, why can’t we just treat yogurt as what it is—A nutritious food that fits very nicely within a balanced diet?

Here are a few commercials that especially tick me off: