Link Land: Nutrition and Health

Sending you across the web to nutrition and health stories in the news.


Today’s links include the topics: “The Fat Trap,” Exercise and autophagy, Vitamin D, Inflammation and Nutrition, Fructose, Brown Fat and Recipes.

The Fat Trap

The Fat Trap | Tara Parker-Pope | New York Times Magazine | January 1, 2012

“For me, understanding the science of weight loss has helped make sense of my own struggles to lose weight, as well as my mother’s endless cycle of dieting, weight gain and despair.”

Letter To The Editor | The Fat Trap | New York Times | January 20, 2012

“In ‘The Fat Trap’ (Jan. 1), Tara Parker-Pope implied that obesity is virtually incurable based on the observation that eating calorie-restricted diets (less than 1,200 or 1,500 calories a day) doesn’t cure it. . . . Maybe this treatment doesn’t work, though, because it’s the wrong treatment. Fat accumulation in the human body is regulated primarily by the hormone insulin; we secrete insulin primarily in response to the carbohydrates we consume. These facts support an endocrinological view of obesity as a hormonal disorder caused by carbohydrate-rich foods, particularly refined grains and sugars, elevating insulin levels.”

Gary Taubes has written an online petition that has been signed by more than 250 Ph.Ds and MDs (as of January 21, 2012).

“We tried to get it signed by as many MDs and PhDs as possible, to make the case to the editors at the Times and to Tara herself that a significant number of medical professionals and researchers take the alternative hypothesis of obesity seriously and so should they.”

From Taubes’s blog: “‘The Fat Trap’ made the point that obesity is effectively incurable. The letter argues that it only appears to be incurable because the wrong treatment is being used, and the wrong treatment is being used because the people studying the disorder don’t understand what causes it in the first place  – like trying to treat a bacterial infection with an anti-viral medication and then throwing up your hands and saying it’s hopeless when the treatment doesn’t work. Should they ever get the cause right, then the correct treatment becomes obvious.”

Exercise and Autophagy

How Exercise Might Help Our Cells Help Us | Scientific American Blog | January 18, 2012

Researchers find that exercise is an inducer of autophagy: “a series of actions in which cells recycle internal bits and that, in turn, helps to keep cells agile and able to adjust to changes in energy requirements and nutritional conditions.”

In other words, activity might make us more healthy at the cellular level.

Vitamin D

New study: Vitamin D levels of the Maasai and Hadzabe of Africa | Dr. John Cannell | January 25, 2012

Traditionally-living Maasai and Hadzabe tribespeople – who spend plenty of time in the sun but avoid the hottest times – have average vitamin D levels of between 40 and 50 ng/mL.

For a wonderful article on The Hadza, check out this piece published in the December 2009 National Geographic.

“The Hadza: They grow no food, raise no livestock, and live without rules or calendars. They are living a hunter-gatherer existence that is little changed from 10,000 years ago. What do they know that we've forgotten?”

Inflammation and Nutrition

My Top 6 Anti-Inflammatory Foods | Mark Sisson | January 25, 2012

“Eating high glycemic foods, namely refined carbohydrates that digest quickly and represent a big, instantly-available caloric load, tends to raise inflammatory markers in the short term. . . . what follows is a list (plus scientific references where applicable) of foods I’ve personally found to be anti-inflammatory. Since I don’t carry around a CRP-ometer, I’ve tried to include references if available.”

For a brief explanation of inflammation, and how our diet plays a role, check out this four-minute video by Peter Attia, MD.

“As a general rule, I go out of my way to avoid eating any omega-6 fats. And it’s hard to do that in North America, to be completely honest with you. It’s virtually in every food we consume. And I do go out of my way to consume as much omega-3 as I can.”


High Levels of Fructose Consumption by Adolescents May Put Them at Cardiovascular Risk, Evidence Suggests | Science Daily | January 24, 2012

“An analysis of 559 adolescents age 14-18 correlated high-fructose diets with higher blood pressure, fasting glucose, insulin resistance and inflammatory factors that contribute to heart and vascular disease.”

It is always important to remember that correlation does not imply causation. However, when the observations, mechanisms of action, and clinical trials support the assertion, it makes the claim more valid.

Check out Sugar: The Bitter Truth by Robert Lustig, MD for more on the above.

Brown Fat

Brown Fat, Triggered by Cold or Exercise, May Yield a Key to Weight Control | New York Times | January 24, 2012

“It is brown fat, actually brown in color, and its great appeal is that it burns calories like a furnace. A new study finds that one form of it, which is turned on when people get cold, sucks fat out of the rest of the body to fuel itself. Another new study finds that a second form of brown fat can be created from ordinary white fat by exercise.”

Irisin: The Magic Exercise Hormone? | Peter Attia, MD | The War On  Insulin | January 26, 2012

The author’s two cents (which is worth its weight): “let’s work harder on changing what we eat, rather than hoping for designer drugs, to fix the epidemics of obesity and diabetes that are hurting so many Americans.  It’s cheaper and will work a whole lot sooner.”


Chorizo Mini Meatloaves | Food Renegade

Green Sliders (Spinach, Mushroom, and Beef Mini Burgers) | Nom Nom Paleo


Bob Kaplan holds advance degrees in exercise physiology and business, an undergraduate degree in nutrition, is a nationally certified personal trainer, and owns six Get In Shape For Women locations in Bedford, Wayland, Wellesley, Westford, Weston, and Winchester.

For more information about Kaplan's services at Get in Shape For Women in Wellesley, please call 781-237-7752 or visit at 259 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA, 02481, or online at www.getinshapeforwomen.com for a free week trial. Call or visit to schedule a Resolution Accountability Consultation where we will hold you accountable to your 2012 resolutions.

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