Thursday, August 7, 2008

What are we really eating?

Not that it's a huge surprise, but there never ceases to be a lack of nutrition and health news...and this week was certainly par for the course. I'll leave you with 2 quick mentions and let you read for yourself. (and no, the New York Times is not my only source of news, they're just always publishing great things to blog about!).

1. "The Overflowing Dinner Plate" -- I found this recent NY Times article and the crazy display of metrics attached to it to be fascinating, go ahead, call me a nerd. The article looks at what (and how much) Americans were in eating in 1970 v. what we eat today. Shocking statistics -- actually, they're really not all that shocking if you think about the obesity epedemic we're dealing with these days. In 1970, we consumed an average of 16.4 pounds of food a week. Today, we're talking 17.8 pounds of food per week. Crazy to think that in 1980, 15% of U.S. citizens were obese according to the CDC. As of 2007 however, that number sky-rocketed to well over 30% of the population -- with over 66% of the population hitting 'overweight' status. Any correlation to a serious increase in portion sizes and a +353% increase in the amount of corn syrup we consume each year? Hmm...could definitely be two of a plate-full of contributing factors. Anyhow, I thought the graphic (below) was pretty interesting. What's on your plate these days?

2. As a follow up to my recent post on the 'latest and greatest diet study,' the diet wars drudge on. Dr. Dean Ornish, a nutrition and diet expert and professor at the University of California, San Fran comments on the recent Israeli study that found an "Atkins-like" diet shed new light on potential cholesterol-lowering capabilities of saturated fat and proved to have benefit for weight loss (remember -- this is the study that had participants eating a vegetarian form of the Atkins diet). Ornish decodes the study and reminds us of the basic tenets of healthy eating -- eating well and keeping the weight OFF. He'll address the scientific validity of the controversial study in weeks to come (don't worry, I'll blog about that too!). One of my favorite quotes from the story:
"What matters most is a person’s overall way of eating and living. If you indulge yourself one day, eat healthier the next. Otherwise, if it’s a diet you go on, it’s a diet you go off. Even more than feeling healthy, most people want to feel free and in control. This also gets away from moral judgments about food. It’s a small step from eating “bad food” to thinking of yourself as a “bad person,” and no one wants that. Food is to be enjoyed. Pleasure is sustainable; feeling deprived and controlled is not."

Next up: I'm going to hear Mr. Michael Pollan, author of The Ominvore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food tomorrow evening. Check out what he's got to say early next week!

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