March 31, 2009

Exercise cannot turn the obesity tide

I lost 90 pounds without exercising.

I'm not saying that works for everyone, but I know exercise alone is not the panacea for the obesity crisis in America.

In fact you can exercise and not lose any weight. But it's extremely difficult to not to lose weight if you simply cut down on the number of calories you eat (no matter what the kind).

I lost 90 pounds by cutting my calories in half. In the process I learned to eat more healthy foods (because they are lower in calories). I stopped going to any fast food restaurants because I realized the hamburgers and fried foods were killing me. I realized over-sized portions were wrong, not only for my wallet but where I keep my wallet.

The TV reality show, "The Biggest Loser", shows an unsustainable amount of exercise. What they rarely show is the gigantic change in eating habits in order to lose hundreds of pounds.

To stop childhood obesity, we can't completely rely on exercise as reports:
Physical fitness programs in schools improve many aspects of children's health, but they don't appear to combat obesity, a new study in the Canadian medical publication CMAJ shows.

Improvements in blood pressure, muscle mass, bone mineral density, lung capacity and flexibility were some of the benefits experienced by the more than 18,000 students participating in "physical activity interventions" at their schools; however, the program's did not noticeably lower the children's body-mass index (BMI) -- a common measurement of obesity.

March 30, 2009

Most people can't find calorie information

Do you want calorie information at your fast-food restaurant? Most people couldn't or wouldn't find it.

This from the Washington Post:

Researchers from the psychology department at Yale University hung out in a handful of fast-food eateries (McDonald's, Burger King, Au Bon Pain and Starbucks) in Manhattan's Upper West Side; New Haven, Conn.; and Connecticut suburbs of New York City, keeping an eye on customers' behavior. Of 4,311 people they observed, only six looked at the nutrition information provided by the restaurant, whether it appeared on a poster, in a pamphlet or on a special touch-screen computer.

The authors of the study, which appears in the April issue of the American Journal of Public Health, say their findings suggest that nutrition information needs to be made more prominent, even added to menu boards. Moves are afoot in Maryland and several other states to require chain restaurants to provide nutrition data; restaurants argue that that information is already available by request at restaurants and on their Web sites. More...

March 27, 2009

NYC restaurants can't be trusted

You knew this was the case!

In NYC, you picked up a breakfast tart -- which Starbucks says is a healthy 120 calories -- and as you ate it you knew that wasn't right. We all can taste 300 calories of sugar and flour.

Well, you know you were right. That tart wasn't 120 calories...and that muffin wasn't 420 calories. They are much more!

You can't trust restaurants to ever tell you the truth. So the new law in NYC that calories must be displayed doesn't stop restaurants from still hiding the truth about unhealthy food from you.

This story from

Just when you thought you could trust your food, you can't.

Remember when food was actually food? Remember when it wasn't packed with excess dyes, sugars and calories? Hmmm, probably not. And guess what? Food is even sneakier then we originally thought. Well, packaged food is anyway. That's right America, nutrition labels are lying to us. They're lying to us and they're getting away with it.

Are you mad? You should be.

Recently, reporters from New York City's WCBS-TV sent snacks such as, muffins, scones and sandwiches to a calorie lab for testing. Not surprisingly, the real amount of calories didn't match the label.

For example, Dunkin' Donuts' turkey, cheddar, and bacon sandwich masqueraded around as 360 calories but tested at 460. A Starbucks blueberry muffin, labeled 420 calories, came back as 580. And its peachy apple tart, disguised as a 120 calorie delight, actually weighed in at 280.

March 26, 2009

Toxic food assets

Two years ago I told you fast-food and chain restaurants were in trouble.

The portions were too big, too over priced, and too unhealthy.

Those restaurants are just like Wall Street. Their excesses were disguised for only so long. Now with a contraction in the economy, the emperor is exposed. Those restaurants cannot increase sales by opening another 1,000 stores next to schools and in the inner city.

It's not surprising Americans have stopped going to the over-fried, over-red meat, over-portioned fast-food restaurants. It's too expensive for your wallet and for your health.

Two stories this week have come together for me: 1) a study that links eating red and processed meat with increasing your risk of dying prematurely, and 2) restaurant chains are struggling so they have lowered the price on a couple their entrees.

Why over-pay at a chain restaurant and eat unhealthy food? Many Americans are choosing to say no.

The industry must expunge those toxic food assets, just as Wall Street needed to.

March 21, 2009

Obama's first small step against obesity

The Obamas have started to lead the charge against obesity.
From First lady Michelle Obama helped break ground on a new White House "kitchen garden" Friday. It will be the first working garden at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue since Eleanor Roosevelt planted a so-called "victory garden" at the height of World War II.

This time, however, the enemy is obesity. The first family is hoping to send a clear message to a fast food-driven nation that often seems to be losing the battle of the bulge.

"We're just hoping that a lot of families look at us and say this is something that they can do and talk to their own kids about and think a little bit critically about the food choices that they make," presidential mother-in-law Marian Robinson said

March 7, 2009

Don't look at this food (# 1)

Applebee's will not publish its nutritional information.

Now you know why.

Did you think that the Chicken Wings could possibly be 1,545 calories?

But that's not the worst. The Chicken Broccoli Pasta Alfredo Bowl (for god's sake, it's broccoli) is 1,644 calories with 84 grams of fat.

But wait, there's more. The Boneless Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing tops out at 1,724 calories and a whopping 132 grams of fat.

You'd have to walk the dog for six hours to burn off those wings.

Applebee's, officially, has the worst food of the day.

March 6, 2009

Fast food salads to make you fat!

The Today show along with "Eat This, Not That" took a look at salads. You have to watch this video to see one salad which is the caloric equivalent of eating an entire pizza, and another salad that has the same calories as eight donuts.

March 5, 2009

Fast food near a school means fatter students

Sara Mead of The Internet Food Association reports that a McDonald's close to schools means fatter kids.

A new study by economists from Berkeley and Columbia University finds that 9th graders who attend schools within a tenth of a mile of a fast food restaurant are 5.2 percent more likely to be obese. Such students consume 30 to 100 more calories a day than their peers.

The good news: Having a fast food restaurant a quarter to a half mile away from the school doesn’t increase students’ risk of obesity, nor does having non-fast food restaurants in close proximity to a school. Proximity to fast food restaurants also seems to have greater impacts on youngsters’ consumption and risk of obesity than it does for adults. More...

March 1, 2009

Indiana trails in everything

Nobody has ever accused Indiana of being on the forefront of anything. That now includes children's health.

State Rep. Charlie Brown of the Indiana General Assembly tried to follow New York City's lead and have fast-food restaurant display calorie counts. But the lobbyists made sure the proposal would not get out of committee. And what's the rationale?

The yellow legislators said the federal government might pass a national law soon, and Indiana should wait rather than lead.

It seems the entire nation has past by Indiana...and Notre Dame football, and Indiana basketball.

If a bill to force fast food restaurants to prominently display the nutritional value and calories of their menu items isn't dead this year in the General Assembly, it's definitely on life support.

No word on whether the proposal suffered a heart attack due to morbid obesity and calcification of the arteries.

State Rep. Charlie Brown of Gary had hoped showing Hoosiers some of the nasty stuff they eat would move them to eat less of it.

He predicted children and teens would lead the way, convincing their parents to stay away from the more nutritionally reprehensible products on the menu.

But opponents argued restaurant owners would face unreasonable costs to comply.

They also pointed out a federal statute governing fast food nutritional information could soon become standard across the country, and said Indiana should wait rather than putting its restauranteurs at a disadvantage.

The bill languished on the House agenda for weeks, as Brown tried to privately drum up support.

When he finally called it to the floor, Brown's proposal failed on a tie vote, 48-48.

He hopes to introduce the bill again, and find the votes necessary to get it passed.