Sit Less and Move More.

We sit way too much. Many of us have desk jobs where we sit for 8 to 9 hours a day. After we leave the office, we sit in our car to run errands. We follow that by sitting down to eat dinner. Our day ends by sitting on the couch to unwind by watching some television.

Many of us will be sitting a good 12 to 15 hours each and every day. Unfortunately the research shows that long hours of sitting can lead to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and even early death. Don’t be fooled that your workout is enough movement. You can still be active and sedentary.

How can you add more movement to your day? First, think about all the times you find yourself sitting during the day. Then come up with a creative way that you can get out of the seat and move your feet.

Here are a couple of examples:

Instead of driving everywhere, jump on your bike. The picture above is of the bike I use to go to work or run errands. Bike riding is great exercise, greener transportation and a great stress relief.

We spend a lot of time at work sitting in front of the computer or the phone. Prop your laptop on a bookshelf to create a standing workstation. You can also purchase a sit-stand workstation you can adjust throughout the day. Get a headset and stand during phone calls.

Walk during your lunch break. Walk to the coffee shop, the mailbox, and the dry cleaners. Get your errands done on foot or just enjoy a stroll outside.

Take a movement break every hour. Do some desk push-ups, squats or walk the stairs. Need to communicate with a coworker? Don't email, walk over and talk to them.

Human beings are meant to move, not sit in chairs all day. I want to challenge you to incorporate more movement into your day. I'd love to read your comments how you move more and sit less.

Have You Had Your Prebiotics Today?

Prebiotics and resistant starch may be the missing link to your digestive health. Indigestible fibers that allow healthy bowel flora to proliferate and thrive are often called prebiotics. They are also known as resistant starches, because they are resistant to human digestion. I recently had a client call the addition of resistance starch to her diet, “the missing link my body needed”.

A starch that resists digestion and reaches the large intestine becomes food for the healthy bacteria in the large intestine. These bacteria can break down and “feed on” the resistant starch thus providing the friendly bacteria with the fuel they need to survive.

Imbalance of the quantity and type of bacteria species present in the gut contributes to gastrointestinal illness, blood sugar imbalance, obesity, mood disorders, and immune system challenges.

Green unripe bananas and plantains are one of best sources for prebiotic fiber content with 27 to 30 grams of fiber in one medium banana. Green bananas are essentially inedible. They are most easily incorporated into diet by blending into a smoothie.

One mistake frequently made incorporating prebiotic fibers from bananas is consuming bananas that are too ripe. Once the banana ripens the resistant starch is degraded and become a digestible starch. Thus, no longer a good prebiotic fiber source. In fact, the riper the banana becomes the higher the glycemic (blood sugar) response.

It can be difficult to find bananas that are very green. I made several trips to my local grocery store to find these bowel flora champions. I find it helpful to ask the produce clerk to take a look at the shipment that just arrived, noting the day the shipment arrives, for the best chance to gobble up these green beauties.

In an effort to keep green bananas green I tried a few strategies. One that sounded promising was wrapping the end of the banana to prevent the ethylene gas, which ripens the fruit, from dissipating. You can see from the image this clearly did not work. After a mere two days the green bananas were no longer green. What I found works best is placing the green bananas in the fridge. This halts the ripening process. The skin of the banana will turn brown, which is normal, but the fruit inside is still good. I’ve kept bananas in my fridge for up to 8 days and they hold up well other than the brownish black discoloring that develops on the skin. The banana will be firm and require a knife to cut the skin off the banana.

If you’d like to learn more about prebiotics and strategies to support resolution of common gastrointestinal complaints read the recently release Cureality Guide to Healthy Bowel Flora by Dr. Davis. This guide is one of the many valuable resources available exclusively to members.
---Lisa Grudzielanek, MS, RDN,CD,CDE
Cureality Nutrition Specialist

Something is Better Than Nothing

This past weekend I attended a fitness conference with an amazing lineup of presenters. Even after 11 years in the fitness industry, I love attending these events. I’m a lifetime student always learning more and honing my craft.

I went to a presentation by Al Vermeil about joint mobility, not knowing anything about him. To my surprise, Al was the strength and conditioning coach for the Chicago Bulls and the San Francisco 49ers the years these teams won championships in their respective sports. That’s a pretty impressive resume.

Al was a great presenter, full of fun and practical advice. During his presentation, Al said the following statement:

“Every time you miss a workout, the next one is easier to miss.”

This statement really hit home because I’ve seen this time and time again working in the fitness industry and in my own life. One workout is missed, then an entire week of workouts are missed, then it’s been an entire month of never setting foot back into the gym.

It’s easy to get thrown off your workout routine when life gets busy and days get long. So what do you do? Do you just trash your workout plan?

The all or nothing attitude is common when it comes to making health changes. Either you’re following your plan 100% or you not. I’m here to tell you that doing something is better than nothing. Doing part of your workout or a mini workout is better than missing an entire workout.

The other day I had the choice to do something or nothing. I had a full day of work meetings, video, and family commitments. Here is what happened. I did shorter variation of my joint mobility routine. I followed that with a quick kettlebell circuit of 25 kettlebell swings, 12 kettlebell overhead presses, and 12 kettlebell goblet squats. I did three rounds of this circuit. That’s it! The following day, I got back to my regular exercise routine.

Be consistent with movement and you’ll always see improvements. That’s the magic of exercise. You'll get better if you just do it.

What’s the Problem with My “Healthy” Bowl of Oatmeal?

Food manufacturers have clever ways to market foods to us. Unfortunately, many foods that have a reputation for being healthy are no more than junk food disguised as a healthy food choice. I commonly see people under the influence of a “health halo” effect. This is due to strategic marketing efforts. People overestimate the nutritional value of a food that is labeled “good for you” or they underestimate the negative impact of a food because it contains a healthful ingredient, like flaxseed or fiber. In fact, a recent study from the University of Houston found that terms on food labels such as antioxidants, all-natural, and gluten-free often are used to give an otherwise standard food a "healthy" halo, and influence consumption from the well- intended consumer.

Case in point-- oatmeal. We’ve all heard about the cholesterol lower benefits from soluble fiber contained in oatmeal. It’s blasted all over packages with a paid endorsement from The American Heart Association. However, that’s not the whole story. Most people enjoy a cup of oatmeal with one to two tablespoons of added sugar and fruit such as a ripe, yellow banana. In other words, let’s enjoy a bowl of “send my blood sugar through the roof” high glycemic oatmeal. The glycemic index of oatmeal is 55, and instant oatmeal is 83. Top that with more table sugar, glycemic index 58-65 and better yet top that with a high glycemic, ripe banana with a GI of 62.

Preparing one packet of regular instant oatmeal with one tablespoon of sugar and a medium ripe banana five days per week would result in the sugar equivalent of more than 5 1/2 cups of sugar per month!

Furthermore, the story many Americans are missing is all of that sugar intake, from their so-called “healthy” bowl of oatmeal, actually raises small-dense LDL cholesterol particles, increases blood sugar and contributes to insulin resistance, faulty gut flora, and belly fat.

How do we improve upon our bowl of oatmeal? Enjoy a bowl of hot coconut flaxseed cereal, eggs any variety of ways, or last night’s leftover salmon and vegetables.

The Cureality program provides tools, guidance, and support that does not follow the party line but rather offers nutrition solutions that address the underlying causes for proliferation of many chronic diseases.

Power in Numbers

In his book, The Wisdom of Crowds, author James Surowiecki begins with the story of an ox judging competition in which 800 people—not ox experts nor breeders, just ordinary people attending a county fair—were asked to guess the weight of the ox. The competition was conducted by a scientist, Francis Galton, who held a low opinion of the intelligence of the average person, remarking that “the stupidity and wrong-headedness of many men and women being so great as to be scarcely credible.” He hoped to prove, by examining the various guesses, that the average person had no idea of how to judge the real answer. After all participants casted their written votes, Galton tallied up the total and averaged the result: 1,197 pounds—just one pound off from the real weight of 1,198 pounds. Few individuals actually guessed the correct weight themselves but, when the opinions of many were combined, the result was near-perfect.

Crowds can also be a source of irrational behavior, panic, and stampede. Witness any modern football or soccer game, for instance, in which fights break out over an issue as minor as a disputed call or a heckle. Or go back through history to the countless events when mass hysteria ruled, such as the Salem Witch Trials or Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds radio broadcast.

Let’s put aside examples of mass emotional chaos of the sort that causes crowds to stampede store doors on Black Friday. Let’s focus instead on conscious, considered, thoughtful opinions. We all accept that there are as many opinions on issues as there are people, not uncommonly with widely divergent views. But can we, as Galton’s famous experiment did, combine the opinions of many and come away with some fruitful insight—the correct answer? Just as the people participating in Galton’s experiment were not experts, so Cureality participants—a crowd-sourced collection of opinions—are not experts. If we were to poll everyone to identify their area of expertise or experience, it would likely include finance, the retail industry, raising children, or teaching—but not health. Yes, we have experts curating the direction of content, but we also crowd-source collective opinion.

Right now, Cureality is based on existing science, the philosophy of self-directed health, combined with guidance and community to help the participant along in the sometimes complex world of health questions. But as our processes and procedures improve, can we—like Galton’s ox weight guessers—come away with coalescent wisdom, answers to our health questions, near-perfect solutions to health conditions that have eluded the “experts” for centuries?

I think that we can. No, I know that we can. We enter a new age in information and harness the power of the crowd-sourcing of solutions, even when no single individual has the complete answer herself.

Use This Trick to Boost Exercise Motivation

Are you been struggling to get your workouts in? 

Do you belong to a gym and find that you're not going?

Do you have exercise equipment sitting in your basement collecting dust because you find that you just can’t get yourself down there?

If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions you are not alone. Many people struggle with finding the motivation to exercise.

The problem here is that you have head trash going on. Head trash is that voice inside your head coming up with a million excuses that inhibit you from carving out a bit of time to take care of yourself.

Head trash will tell you that you’re too tired, even though a workout would give you a boost of energy.

Head trash will tell you that you’re too busy, even though you just spent a half hour on Facebook.

Head trash is barking at you to take care of others, even thought you know your health is important for you well being.

Head trash is a real conflict that can get in the way of our health and fitness goals. We start an exercise program with the intentions of a long-term commitment. But after the initial excitement wears off, we find our workouts occurring less frequently. Head trash begins to take over and soon we find ourselves not exercising at all.

Here is my secret for winning the battle over the head trash that keeps getting in way of your workouts. Tell yourself that you are only going to exercise for 10 minutes and evaluate if you want to continue. If you're truly too tired you can stop after 10 minutes. If you're truly too busy you can stop and move onto a task that needs your attention.

Making this deal with your mind that you are only going to exercise for 10 minutes seems reasonable. The head trash will become quite because your mind is convinced it has an out within 10 minutes.

I've used this 10-minute trick myself. I grind through the first few minutes, but then the magic happens. Once you hit the 10-minute mark your body takes over. Exercise feels amazing and your body is energized and enjoying the movement. You have tricked your mind to get over the hurdle of starting and now you’re in the exercise groove.

Try the 10-minute trick next time your head trash is getting in the way of your workout. You'll be amazed how your workout consistency improves.

Are Your Cosmetics Safe?

If you are reading The Cureality blog chances are you care about your health. You care about what you eat. You want to remain healthy, free of disease, feel good and possibly even want to look and feel as vibrant as you were when you were 20. Many of us think of food all day long. Many of us love to eat. We plant gardens so we know our food is free of pesticides and other toxic chemicals. Food can be a cause of disease and it can minimize our chances of disease. We try and take care of our insides but did you ever wonder what in the world you apply to your skin on a daily basis? What do these products contain and are they safe? Why are there more endocrine disorders popping up. Could it be that some of things we apply to our skin every single day may be harmful to our insides?

A portion of the skin health section of Cureality will take a look at skincare products and cosmetics. Are the products we apply to our skin gluten-free, paraben-free and free of other harsh chemicals that can cause skin irritations and possible other unwanted diseases. I came across Mirabella cosmetics and I wanted to learn more about this particular product line so I tracked down John Maly, founder and CEO of Mirabella Cosmetics. Mr. Maly was gracious enough to take time out and answer my questions.This is what Mr. Maly has to say about Mirabella:

DD: Tell us about some key features about Mirabella, gluten-free cosmetics. What made you get started in a gluten-free line?

JM: We didn't start as gluten-free. Over time we have continued to make our line more beautiful AND more healthy for women. First we began with a mineral foundation. Then as we introduced new products, we made sure they were as clean and healthy, while still being fashion forward. We saw the benefits to our clients to take out those ingredients that didn't help them look and feel their best such as glutens, parabens and talcs.

DD: Some cosmetic companies carry partially gluten-free cosmetics. Are all of Mirabella products gluten-free, paraben-free and talc-free?

JM: Everything is paraben-free and talc free. And our brand is all gluten-free except our Skin Tint Creme foundation. That is a product that women love and we just cannot make the formula without a wheat protein to perform as well...yet! We will continue to work on it!

DD: Are there other ingredients in cosmetics that women should be cautious of using if they have skin sensitivities or allergies?

JM: Some women are sensitive to fragrance as well.This is another thing that we avoid with our brand. The biggest ingredients that women find that helps with their skin health is mineral products. They are natural and very breathable on a woman's skin.

DD: I think your velvet lip pencils are by far the most extraordinary lip pencil on the market. What are some of your other standout products your customers love?

JM: Pure Press Mineral Foundation is still our #1product. But the fastest growing product is Magic Marker Eyeliner. It is easy to use, doesn't smudge and lasts all day.

DD: Anything new on the horizon for Mirabella that you can share with us?

JM: In August we launch CC crème. This product has all the good for you ingredients to help with Anti-Aging like avocado oil, argan oil and Acai (Assai) berry. Plus it is a mineral formula, gluten-free, and paraben-free. And it has an SPF of 20. One of the biggest issues that women have with aging is lips. That is why we put Litchi Chinesis Fruit Extract in our Colour Vinyl lipstick. Then in your favorite Velvet Lip Pencil, we put Pomegranate Extract, Vitamin C and E in to assist with in Anti-Aging.

DD: Is Mirabella only sold in the US or do you have international distribution as well.

JM: We are sold in Canada, Australia, Finland and Russia.

DD: Where can we purchase your cosmetics?

JM: Our products are available at and at over 1,500 of the finest salons and spas. Go to our salon locator to find a retailer near you.

Top 5 Tips to Get Ready for Tough Mudder

When it comes to mud runs, Tough Mudder is a big deal.  This event covers ten to twelve miles of muddy running interspersed with challenging obstacles.  Using the word “challenging” when describing the obstacles along the course is an understatement.  Obstacles include getting an electrical shock, running through ice-cold water, jumping over fire, climbing over walls, and things you’ve seen when watching American Ninja Warrior.  Plus these obstacles are all done on a rugged, muddy terrain.  So, maybe the word dirty-insane-challenging would be a better fit to describe the Tough Mudder.

Don’t let this description lead you to think that this is an impossible feat.   The Tough Mudder website states that 1.3 million people have completed this event since it’s inauguration.  If Tough Mudder is on your bucket list, know that if they can do it so can you.  Here are 5 tips to get you ready to tackle the Tough Mudder.

1) Train: This tip seems obvious, but it’s not.  Many people are standing at the start line hoping for the best.  This strategy puts you at high risk for injury and not completing the event.  You need to train anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks for the Tough Mudder.  Use this guideline if you have a regular workout routine established.  If you’re new to exercise or have been on a workout hiatus you may need 4 to 6 months to get ready.  Carve out time in your schedule to train 3 to 5 days a week to prepare for this event.  If you need some guidance, join a training program to provide a road map to Tough Mudder success.

2) Run:  Tough Mudder is like a half-marathon on steroids.  Running is critical component when you find that you’re traveling up to a mile between obstacles.  Incorporate running intervals, hills, and fartleks into your training program.  Start your training off with a new pair of running or minimalist shoes so that by the time your Tough Mudder comes around your shoes are ready to get trashed.

3) Simulate Obstacles:  To feel confident at the start line of Tough Mudder, you need to practice skills that can help you with the obstacles.  This will reduce your risk of obtaining any injuries during the event.  Utilizing stairs, fences, playgrounds, rock climbing walls, football fields, lakes, and beaches are great places to start when looking to simulate obstacles.  Check out the Tough Mudder website to see a list obstacles.  Use your imagination to find ways to incorporate obstacle training in your workouts.   

4) Simulate Terrain: Running covered in mud with wet shoes is much different from running on the treadmill.  Running in the grass, on the sand and through the water is much different from running on asphalt.  Get ready to be a little uncomfortable.  Your shoes will begin to slide around on your feet and your clothes will cling to your body.  Get ready to work a little harder.  Your stride will be affected by the changes in terrain.  Practice running on the grass, in the water, and in the sand.  Make sure you get wet and run with soaked shoes and clothes. You’ll realize what shoes and clothes to wear on race day to be the most comfortable and effective.

5) Team: Teamwork is what Tough Mudder is about.  Teamwork is what keeps drawing people back to the Tough Mudder venue.  From the start to the finish, it’s about getting everyone across the finish line.  If you’re struggling to get over a wall, a hand is there to help pull you up.  When fatigue is setting in, another person is there to bring up your spirits.  You’re not alone out there.  At other races you find you’re left in the dust.  At Tough Mudder you are overcoming challenges with your muddy buddies. Get together with friends or a training group to form a team bond that will keep you accountable with your training and support you to the finish line.

Want personalized training???  Schedule a virtual appointment with Amber.

Keeping Up with the Kids

On Saturday my husband and I took our niece Anna out her annual birthday date. That date started with a trip to the Humboldt park playground. As with most kids, Anna ran straight to the spider-web jungle gym which I have to admit it looked pretty cool. Just before she began to climb up, she turned to look at me and said “Auntie Amber, climb up too!”

I was not wearing my playground apparel on Saturday. I had a cute pair of pink loafers on, skinny jeans, tank and a jean jacket. But it did look like fun so I decided to climb. No problems yet. I was good to go climbing around on the ropey, spider web apparatus. But of course, just climbing around was not enough. Anna suggested that we should race. Not just to the top, but to the top of the jungle gym over the side, across the rope bridge and down the slide. This is when my skill was put to the test.

As you could have guessed, Anna smoked me during our race. Not only that, but the jean jacket was off and I was working up a sweat. Was I getting a workout from my 9-year-old niece? I think so. But we both were having so much fun. We continued to climb up and down the fake rock wall, monkey bars and run around the playground. It was a blast.

But as I looked around the playground, I was the only adult climbing around the playground and playing. The other adults were sitting on park benches watching. One parent near by had to decline the request of a child they were with to join them on the playground equipment. I felt really good that I could be there with my niece running around, climbing and swinging.

Keeping up with our kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews is really important as we age. Otherwise we sit on the sidelines. How do you train for the playground? Get in the weight room. Lift heavy things, jump, pull yourself up, move side ways, and challenge your body to do movements beside sitting or standing. If it’s been awhile or you’re just not sure where to start then get a trainer and join some group workouts.

It’s time to get moving. Because it starts out at the playground now but soon it will be mud runs, Frisbee, triathlons and weekend football games. You need to keep up!

4 Tips to Boost Kids Veggie Intake

Vegetables are arguably the most important food group, the key to any healthy diet. They are one of the most nutrient dense food groups and serve the foundation to healthy meals and snacks. A frequent comment from people enjoying the Cureality way of eating is, “I am eating more vegetables than I ever have in my life!”

This is great because plentiful consumption is associated with decreased heart disease, reduced weight, lower blood pressure, glowing skin and decreased risk of some cancers. However, perhaps you’re reading this and feeling great that you eat your veggies but struggle to get your kids to do the same. If you are a parent, who is simply trying to provide nutritious options to your kids, give these tips a try.

1. Add cheese or butter to enhance flavor and increase the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Younger kids like to dip foods, so often pairing with a dip, such as hummus, can increase intake.

2. Try the “rule of 15” — putting a food on the table at least 15 times to see if a child will accept it. Don’t give up after a few attempts. This can indeed be frustrating, but have patience and continue to offer a small portion to expose children to veggies without forcing intake. Often parents feel like it’s their job to just make their children eat something. I suspect most children will always select apple pie over an apple. It is important to set the stage, at an early age, with what is offered. In addition, being a good food model is important. You can’t expect your child to try broccoli, if you make negative comments about its taste, texture or smell.

3. Once a food is accepted, parents should use “food bridges,” finding similarly colored or flavored foods to expand the variety of foods a child will eat. If a child likes pumpkin pie, for instance, try mashed sweet potatoes and then mashed carrots. If a child loves corn, try mixing in a few peas or carrots. Even if a child picks them out, the exposure to the new food is what counts.

4. Allow children to engage, as able. When grocery shopping or offering a snack, ask your child which option they would like to eat (e.g. ask which healthy foods they would prefer, blueberries or strawberries, cucumbers or carrots, etc.). When children are included in more food decisions it can decrease resistance. Include children in age appropriate preparation, as well, for example cutting produce, making a vegetable soup, or selecting produce at the grocery store.

Lisa Grudzielanek, MS, RDN, CD, CDE
Cureality Nutrition Coach
Fat Head, Wheat belly, and the Adventures of Ancel Keys

Comments (22) -

  • Jeff

    3/14/2010 2:13:51 PM |

    I assume you don't agree that the cholesterol hypothesis is "wrong," since you recommend reducing LDL to 60.

  • Steve L.

    3/14/2010 4:18:40 PM |

    Fat Head has been in the back of my mind for awhile, but you've reminded to to go ahead and order it.  I think it will be great to pass on to friends curious about paleo/low-carb without having their eyes glaze over.  Very jealous of the cruise -- gotta get on it next year.

  • Peter

    3/14/2010 4:44:30 PM |

    Most of the people in extreme high carb cultures are Asians before their food started getting westernized.  And they had very low rates of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity  It's a population of billions, not a study of small group.  

    If carbs are bad for me(and I am more and more thinking they are bad for me) why weren't they bad for them?

    I'm not arguing for any particular diet, I'm trying to figure out what to have for dinner.

  • LiPiderman

    3/14/2010 10:09:25 PM |

    Most folks who bash Ancel Keys haven't actually opened any of his books.  They would be surprised to discover he advocated eating organ meats, wild fish and game, and real food.  One of his books has a chapter on choosing the proper wines for dinner.  He was a fan of espresso coffee about 30 years before we all started going to Starbucks.  His dietary advice was not ultra "low-fat" a la Ornish.  In fact, he mainly recommended substituting unsaturated fats for saturated, which is advice you hear from many contemporary sources, including the first "Paleo" proponents like Lorne Cordain.  It's advice that has appeared from time to time on this very blog!

    Keys undoubtedly got a few things wrong.  All scientists and researchers do.  Their mistakes are corrected by those who follow.  That's the way science works.  To blame him for the obesity crisis, or for the "low-fat" marketing strategy that Food Inc concocted in the 80s and 90s, is silly.  As for the lipid theory itself, the naysayers have their own sorting out to do. Some say it's all bunk, others want to keep bits and pieces of it.   When the science behind one of these camps becomes overwhelming, their view will prevail. This takes a while.  Nutrition is an extremely complex subject!

    As for Keys, he lived to be 100 following the Mediterranean diet he advocated for others.  His wife and co-researcher Margaret died at 97. Call that anecdotal evidence if you want.  I call it having the last laugh your critics.

  • moblogs

    3/14/2010 11:51:59 PM |

    I like this trend of documentaries making it to the cinema, beats the butchered remakes of classic films, and the pomp of it attracts a wider audience.
    Michael Moore seems to have started kick-started it all.

  • Dr. William Davis

    3/15/2010 12:48:14 AM |

    Hi, Steve--

    Not knowing what to expect when Jimmy Moore invited me to join his cruise, I didn't tell everyone about it.

    However, now having had the experience, I can recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone desiring a fun informative experience for the low-carbohydrate eating viewpoint. Jimmy seems to have a talent for appealing to speakers who come from a diverse panel of perspectives, all who contribute something unique to the low-carb conversation.

  • Anonymous

    3/15/2010 1:55:07 AM |

    Too much hype for me, I'm afraid ...
    and the "humor" wears thin pretty quickly. The message is obscurred by
    this guy trying too hard to be folksy.

    What ever happened to the "Keep It
    Simple Stupid" approach to things.

  • sonagi92

    3/15/2010 2:28:28 AM |

    "Most of the people in extreme high carb cultures are Asians before their food started getting westernized. And they had very low rates of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity It's a population of billions, not a study of small group.

    If carbs are bad for me(and I am more and more thinking they are bad for me) why weren't they bad for them?"

    I lived more than a decade in Korea and China and made several visits to Japan and Southeast Asia.  The only high-carb food on the table is a bowl of rice or noodles.  The other dishes contain non-starch veggies, legumes, and some animal protein.  The liquid on the table is water or unsweetened tea.  Traditionally Asians don't snack between meals and rarely eat sweets although young people are picking up these habits and it shows.  Fruit is expensive, consumed only in season.  The SAD probably contains more easily digested carbs than traditional Asian diets.  

    True obesity is rare, but type II diabetes is not, and neither are cardiovascular diseases.  Americans are much more likely to get heart attacks while Asians are more likely to have strokes.

  • Lou

    3/15/2010 2:45:05 AM |


    You'd have to travel to Asian countries to fully understand what their diet is all about. It's not what you think. The BIGGEST problem is that we eat way too much of carbs.

    I just saw documentaries of North Korea and pretty much every single person is skinny. Only the "president" of NK looked to be overweight.

    What else... oh yeah, Asian people tend to eat rice, not wheat/corn starch/fructose. Probably not as much rice as you'd think. American people consume unbelievable amount of wheat/cornstarch/fructose. They are everywhere in USA. 95% of food at stores are from them...

  • Matt Stone

    3/15/2010 1:39:07 PM |

    Ancel Keys dazzled me as well when I actually took the time to review his work.  Reading his 1385 page The Biology of Human Starvation was quite an enlightening experience, and highlighted the integrity of Keys as a laboratory scientist.  Sure, he rushed to conclusions with the lipid hypothesis, but can you blame him?  I'm sure it seemed obvious and irrefutable at the time that he noticed cholesterol in the arteries of heart attack victims while noticing that fat tended to raise cholesterol levels.

    But it wasn't any more flawed than blaming carbohydrates for all of mankind's problems either, as the biggest carb-eaters on earth remain the healthiest and longest-lived peoples, and high-carb/low-fat diets continue to drop fasting insulin and glucose levels in clinical study.    

    And Keys lived the good life until the ripe age of 100. It's unlikely that any low-carb author/blogger will live more quality years than Keys.

  • Anonymous

    3/15/2010 4:19:59 PM |

    There were several things I liked about the Fathead documentary. It pointed out the weaknesses of Supersize Me, it outlined many of the problems of the lipid hypothesis, it presented a clear explanation of why low-carb can be effective for both weight loss and cardiovascular health.

    Things I didn't like? Fathead had a clear agenda - to promote Libertarian politics and ways of thinking. As such, Naughton was obligated to place primary blame for all problems on government. Sure, government has a role to play. But if the scientific community had it's act together, government would follow. If we talk about other public health issues (smallpox, tuberculosis, goiter), then we must acknowledge that government can do things right sometimes.  

    Also, there was a disconnect between the 'common sense' of the people and the scientific explanation that was offered. Sure, people know that fast food meal has more calories than a carrot. So what?  If people have that common sense, why is obesity, diabetes, and heart disease so prevalent? I don't think he really answers that. Does common sense tell people that a large plate of pasta is equivalent to eating a cup or two of sugar? Does 'common sense' also tell them that saturated fat is bad, or that to lose weight, they simply need to eat less and exercise more?

  • Anonymous

    3/15/2010 6:13:34 PM |

    This may be a simplification for why Asians may have less heart disease, but it simply could be because of the use of red yeast rice in many of their foods?

  • sonagi92

    3/15/2010 9:20:23 PM |

    Curcumin is a component of turmeric.  Koreans and Japanese don't consume it, except in fast-food type curry dishes.  Most of China's major cuisines do not use the spice either.  It is South and Southeast Asians who use it, and Indians have notoriously high rates of heart disease and diabetes.

    As for North Korea, the semi-starving country dependent on foreign aid isn't exactly representative of Asia.  Prosperous neighbors Japan and South Korea have the lowest obesity rates in the OECD.

  • Neonomide

    3/17/2010 1:09:32 AM |

    Very fascinating info on raising Vitamin D status and CAD below. People who had their 25(OH)D up to 30 ng/ml from 19 ng/ml got the benefits and in the other study 43 ng/ml level seemed optimal yet extra benefits were not seen in, say, 60 gn/ml:

  • moblogs

    3/17/2010 10:54:35 AM |

    There was, perhaps, a misunderstanding on Ted's part. We're from England where we term Asian as Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi and call the Japanese, Chinese and Koreans individually.

    The core reason of increased heart disease in South Asians probably is partly vitamin D deficiency caused by a conservative dress sense in a sunny climate. India also has a lot of air pollution.

    Many Asian foods (and I mean all of Asia now) use similar ingredients; in fact one Japanese dessert looks and tastes exactly like a Indian/Pakistani one (how that came to be - I don't know). South Asians though eat chapattis (wheat) quite commonly, and from what I gather there isn't a large wheat consumption in East Asians.

  • Anonymous

    3/17/2010 3:26:35 PM |

    Yes, as Anonymous above mentions, Naughton's political ideology  
    distorts his views. That actually seems more important to him than the issue of diet in Fat Head, which is why he expends so much effort defending Fast Food companies. Witness the part where he holds a huge bucket of French fries
    (think about how many carbs are in that!) and rants something to the effect of:
    "If they want to sell me a huge bucket of fries for 50 cents, and I want to buy it, it's no one's business to tell
    us we shouldn't."
    I'd imagine most readers of this blog are interested in diet and health, not political ideology, so overall Fat Head will probably not appeal to them.

  • Anonymous

    3/17/2010 10:49:21 PM |

    "I'd imagine most readers of this blog are interested in diet and health, not political ideology" ~ Anonymous above

    I used to be uninterested in anything political until I got interested in diet and health care.  The idea that a nanny government could dictate what I can and cannot eat is quite frightening, especially when you consider what the establishment thinks is healthy.  I personally do not want to eat french fries but if we don't object to the government making french fries illegal, who is going to stop the government from banning "artery clogging" coconut oil or outlawing meat?

  • Anonymous

    3/19/2010 12:47:40 PM |

    >> who is going to stop the government from banning "artery clogging" coconut oil or outlawing meat?

    Yeah, that is the paranoia talking. After 40+ years of research showing the dangers of smoking, tobacco is still legal. Government is not going to outlaw meat, and I question the good judgment of anyone who suggests that they might.

  • buy jeans

    11/3/2010 10:29:32 PM |

    I lived more than a decade in Korea and China and made several visits to Japan and Southeast Asia. The only high-carb food on the table is a bowl of rice or noodles. The other dishes contain non-starch veggies, legumes, and some animal protein. The liquid on the table is water or unsweetened tea. Traditionally Asians don't snack between meals and rarely eat sweets although young people are picking up these habits and it shows. Fruit is expensive, consumed only in season. The SAD probably contains more easily digested carbs than traditional Asian diets.

  • Carl

    3/6/2011 6:45:10 PM |

    I lean heavily toward low carb/paleo and think the "conventional wisdom" is full of holes, but I don't think "Fat Head" does a good job (at all) of advancing the argument to the uninitiated.

    The attack on Morgan Spurlock is misguided, and Naughton's counter-experiment proves nothing.  Spurlock went on an extreme binge which everyone, including Spurlock, expected in advance to cause weight gain and other negative effects ("duh"), which he wanted to document on film.  It was more of an exercise in "performance art" than in science, and meant to simply to provoke the viewer into the thinking a bit about the possible consequences of regularly ingesting the same kind of food over a lifetime.

    Naughton, on the other hand, takes in an actual caloric deficit, with restricted carbs, and regular exercise, and then experiences a weight loss.  How does Naughton's experiment in any way "rebut" Spurlock's?  And, given the fact that Naughton goes on to argue that restricting carbs is more important than lowering calorie intake, his own experiment is useless to prove either strategy, since he cut intake of both calories AND carbs.

    The film is poorly organized and produced, and is undermined at every turn by the injection of sophomoric humor.  In a typically tedious sequence, the snarky Naughton asks people on the street if they have ever collapsed with a heart attack immediately after eating fettuccine alfredo.  Tres dumb.  Especially when you consider that a plate-full of pasta smothered in cream, butter, and cheese is a food that both low carb and low fat eaters would want to avoid eating often.  In one of his failed attempts at humor (in a scene showing his own wife in bed), she asks if he is a moron, and in that moment she seems to speak on behalf of the viewer.

    Worst of all is the ongoing anti-government Libertarian ideology that underscores Naughton's narrative.  He argues that anyone "with a functioning brain" can make proper food choices, but at the same time argues that the public has been deluged with mountains of false information and bad advice for decades.  The film is littered with such logical inconsistencies.  Naughton's gratuitous political agenda shows up in some bizarre assertions, like when he argues that higher tendency toward obesity among the poor is merely the result of a predisposition among non-whites toward "thicker" bodies, and the assertion that court-mandated busing to achieve racial desegregation contributed to overweight school children.  These theories simply detract from the credibility of the diet and health science he eventually discusses.  Naughton is entitled to whatever political views he wishes, but injecting them into a documentary about nutrition and health does nothing to advance an essentially purely scientific subject.

    At his blog and in interviews like the one above, Naughton comes off considerably better than in the amateurish film that he actually made.  If you know anyone "with a functioning brain" that is still clinging to the conventional wisdom that you'd like to convert, showing them "Fat Head" may not be the best way to get them to become more open-minded, thanks to the many mis-guided and unhelpful aspects of the film.

  • Be

    8/4/2011 11:59:09 AM |

    But they are trying to shut down raw milk, continue to protect Monsanto and not include GMO in nutrition labeling, and continue to put up barriers and regulations that effectively hurt small local and sustainable food producers.  The result is that soon all food will be GMO/CAFO!