Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Batch of links

- I really enjoyed this article by Alex Beggs in Bon Appétit about diet foods (and fads) in America. “Americans continue to expect that food will make us healthier, more virtuous, and thinner.” But it hasn’t worked out that way, and as a matter of fact, obesity has risen since the popularization of diets. 

- I enjoy Virginia Sole-Smith’s articles on our relationship with food, and I particularly liked this one titled The Fallacy of Eating the Way Your Great-Grandmother Ate. Let’s just say that when Michael Pollan popularized this concept, he didn’t say anything about privilege or the unpaid labor of women. 

- While we’re at it, I also *loved* her article about Noom, which is pretty much what I experienced when I tried it for several months. 

- I try to keep my PCOS in mind when I eat, and I liked this recent podcast episode of Hormonally Yours with the Hormone Dietician, about nutrition and PCOS. I especially like how this dietician uses DATA instead of hearsay, so I trust her more than many others out there. In my experience, eating the right foods for PCOS has allowed me to lose weight without being hungry, a first for me, though it’s still a work in progress. 

- I was fascinated by this article by Gary Taubes about obesity science. You see, the central premise of modern obesity science is that obesity is a matter of energy imbalance (i.e., more calories are consumed than are expended). But there’s not-so-new evidence that follows a different model, based on carbohydrates and insulin. Back in 1930, scientists were on to this. “The medical profession in general believes that there are two kinds of obese persons [:] those who have become fat because they over-eat or under-exercise; and those composing a second group whose adiposity is not closely related to diet, but is caused by an endocrine or constitutional disorder.” In essence, some people become overweight not because of how much they eat, and in fact can become overweight even if they under-eat. “To attribute obesity to ‘overeating’ is as meaningful as to account for alcoholism by ascribing it to ‘overdrinking’.” It’s easy to see how, if the central premise of research is flawed, many explanations for and mechanisms of fat metabolism will be completely overlooked!

- I’ve been paying more attention to my health lately, and I’m aware that a lack of sleep affects me negatively in many ways. As tempting as it is, I avoid revenge bedtime procrastination, because it leaves me too tired the next morning. It turns out, though, that the answer isn’t just going to bed early – bedtimes that are either too early or too late have negative effects. For heart health specifically, it looks like the sweet spot is between 10 and 11 pm, so I’m doing fine in that regard!

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