Nutrition

Nutritional Geometry- the new math?

Published 4.28.2017
Nutritional geometry (NG)? A new “buzz word” is born? New to me at least, as I only learned of the concept in the past two weeks. The coiners of the term tout is as a radical rethinking. It sounds to be like they believe protein is satiating, and that people shouldn’t eliminate any one macronutrient. How is that radical?

Most people don’t eliminate an entire macronutrient— at least not for any length of time (most people also follow a fad diet or two in their lifetimes).

'Nutritional geometry' considers how mixtures of nutrients and other dietary components influence health and disease, rather than focusing on any one nutrient in isolation. It is hoped this new model will assist health professionals, dietitians and researchers to better understand and manage the complexities of obesity.

"Our framework throws down the gauntlet to the whole field of human nutrition. It shows that the prevailing focus on single nutrients is not able to help us understand complex chronic diseases, and that an approach based on nutrient balance can help solve the problem," said Professor Stephen Simpson, Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre.

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Parenting

Momnesia isn't a thing and there's no need to "eat for two"

Published 4.28.2017
So having begun to opine on parenting, I've decided I will periodically continue to do so.

How many articles have you read about "mom brain" or "momnesia"? Doesn't matter how many you've read, none of it is real.

Recent evidence suggests that pregnancy induces changes in the human brain, too. In a study published a few months ago in the journal Nature Neuroscience, Elseline Hoekzema of Leiden University in the Netherlands and colleagues scanned the brains of about 80 women and men, half of them hoping to become parents. The couples who wanted to have a baby were scanned before pregnancy, then again if they got pregnant, after the baby was born and when the baby turned 2.

Women who became pregnant between the scanning sessions showed neural changes so distinct that a computer could distinguish between pregnant and nonpregnant women based on their brain scans alone. The heightened estrogen and progesterone hormones of pregnancy trimmed back some “gray matter”—the cell branches that connect neurons to each other-—which has the effect of sharpening, not diminishing, mental capacities. The neural pathways that remain are streamlined and strengthened in the process.

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Education

A common history to solve it all?

Published 4.2672017
Beginning in 2017, I have begun to share my thoughts on education and education reform.

Nationalism is in the news often these days, this is very long piece that opines that schools are not nationalistic enough. However, for me, the underlying message was that kids simply don’t read enough. Lin-Manual Miranda is one person he holds up as an example of a good outcome of public education.

If Lin-Manual Miranda came through public education with the skills needed, then others have as well, which has always been the case. Schools never reached all kids. As I’ve noted previously, I do not think that individualizing the manner of teaching for kids is a bad idea. Otherwise, what you’re arguing is that you are happy with winners and losers.
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Heart health

Are you ready for a computerized cardiologist?

Published 4.19.2017
Machines with artificial intelligence (AI, or in other words, a complicated software program) can "teach" themselves how to diagnose illnesses including heart disease. However, humans do not understand how they do this. That’s great so long as the outcome is positive, not so great when (not if) mistakes or misdiagnoses result.

Basically, they feed a ton of data into the machine, then tell it to look for associations. The historical data includes whatever disease or affliction the patient developed in the end. Then using those associations, newer data with no end point is fed in and the software is asked to predict who is going to have a heart attack or stroke (or other dread affliction).

Because the machines can consider many more associations than human doctors can, they can be more accurate at predicting outcomes. The machines are not limited to the associations that human doctors use, which is both an advantage and a risk factor.
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Exercise

Moving is essential

Published 3.27.2017
I'm still messing around with how my writing here will be organized, and I think that exercise or movement is important enough to warrant its own heading.

I've written previously about why it's a good idea to stay away from doctors who discount the importance of movement. Well, here are a few more reasons that exercise is important.

Please note: I'm using the word exercise, but what I really mean is movement. If you walk regularly that is movement, and it's essential for health. If walking isn't possible for you, then whatever means of moving your body you can do can fit the bill. Regular movement is essential to health.
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Diabetes

Insulin sensitivity vs insulin resistance?

Published 4.17.2017
I've been thinking about diabetes a lot recently. Fortunately, I am not so afflicted, but people near and dear to me are. Several near and dear to me are on the path to diabetes, as they are losing insulin sensitivity, which is another way to say they are becoming insulin resistant.

A lot of the talk about diabetes in the low carb world centers around insulin resistance, but little is said about insulin sensitivity. I realize some will read that sentence and be perplexed. Talking about insulin resistance is talking about insulin sensitivity because the two are the inverse of the other.

And of course that’s true, but the focus is too often on controlling or reacting to insulin resistance rather than reversing it and increasing insulin sensitivity. I think that if gaining insulin sensitivity were the focus, the conversation would be different. If you have insulin sensitive, then the level of insulin in your blood after eating is less important. Instead, the whole issue becomes keeping the level of blood insulin as low as possible.
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Osteoporosis

Nothing is a panacea, not even vitamin D

Published 4.12.2017
Gina Kolata of the New York Times has a new hobby horse to flog: vitamin D.

Disclosure: I’ve written this before, but it's always good to note biases: I have idiopathic osteoporosis, thus my vitamin D levels are measured routinely. I get my calcium from food, but I take 4000 IUs of vitamin D daily. I was told to take a D supplement because my levels fell by 50% when I stopped taking my Ca/D combo vitamin. I started at 2000 IUs daily (because that’s the pill that we had). The nurse practitioner had offered me a 50,000 IU pill to pop once a week, but the D pills are small, and I don’t mind taking a pill daily so long as it’s not horse pill size (as Ca supplements are).

I upped the dosage to 4000 IUs after learning of research about the optimal (not sufficient, but optimal) level of vitamin D for humans. Shortly after I did so, I noticed a significant improvement in the strength of my finger nails. The last time my D levels were checked they were in normal range, but higher than simply sufficient. I briefly cut back on my daily D intake to 2000 IUs, but saw my nail strength suffer, as measured by the frequency of broken nails. Thus I returned to 4000 IUs daily.
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Reviews

BBC's Clean Eating— The Dirty Truth

Published 3.24.2017
On most Fridays, I offer a review of a book or movie that I've read or watched, or sometimes both. This Friday I am actually giving my thoughts on a BBC television show that included an interview with T Colin Campbell.

Campbell feels hard done by the BBC. He was interviewed by Giles Yeo, a biochemist with a Ph.D., for BBC's Horizon series, which typically investigates (looking to debunk) popular health and fitness claims. The subject of this investigation was "Clean Eating," a category to which many whole foods, plant based (vegan) eaters claim membership.

The intent of the show was to highlight and "test" (though there was actually little testing in the end) the extreme diets that gurus tout (not just vegans) and the bad health effect that they can have on followers. The title of the show, which can be viewed at the link, is “Clean Eating — The Dirty Truth.”
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Food

A brief break

Published 4.6.2017
All sections relating to food on this site are currently being revamped, including the Leftovers-ture section, which used to be linked at the top of the site.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet, hence the very broad category name, "Food." Dishes made with leftovers can't really be called recipes— at least in my opinion, but other dishes I've created can be.

The bottom line: Until I figure out what I want to do with all the content I have for this section and how I want to present it, I've pulled the links to it off the front page. Note: it's still on the server at this point, so it could be searched for using the form at the bottom of the page is a reader was truly motivated to find it.
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