Ok, Let’s Talk about Food

You know what would be a really good habit for 2015? Eating a better diet. Most of us could stand to do better. Furthermore, the cold hard reality is that 2 out of every 3 Americans need to lose some weight; one out of three needs to lose a lot of weight.

There are a handful of diet and nutrition tips that the overwhelming majority of experts agree on:

  • Fruits and veggies are good for you and most of us could stand to be eating more of them. Deep fried veggies don’t count. Come on, even these guys agree on this much.
  • Water is one of the best things you can possibly drink; green tea comes in second.
  • If you eat more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight (and that’s easy to do).
  • Too much refined sugar is not good for you.
  • Olive oil is pretty good stuff.

I’m going to close with what 2000 calories looks like and what 200 calories looks like. Oh yeah, and these guys may have some useful information (come on, the Food Pyramid was retired quite a while back). Whatever you decide to make for dinner, be safe.

Update! Here’s a “study” showing that fast food portion sizes haven’t actually changed that much between 1996 and 2013. Well, just based on this reporting of the “study”, I see at least two problems. First, much of the portion size creep started long long before 1996. Heck, I remember how the 20 oz. drink at Wendy’s seemed absolutely huge when I was a kid, and now I think they call that size a small. Second, the items that researchers compared included “2 oz. and 4 oz. cheeseburgers.” Well alert the media, 4 ounces is still 4 ounces. Never mind that these days, there may well be a 6 ounce and an 8 ounce burger on the menu! In short, it is possible to eat moderate portion sizes at a fast food restaurant, but you’re going to have to read all those little calorie count numbers carefully.

Big Bad Shorties

It’s the Food: It turns out that people do pay attention to nutrition labels. That’s a good thing, because soon and very soon obesity will overtake tobacco as the #1 killer of Americans. Have some truth in comic form.

Zombies!!: Well sure, they aren’t allowed to try and collect it, but they can still claim you owe it!

Act Two is Coming to Ferguson: The grand jury will speak soon. And it looks like the police are prepared for anything that happens… by which I mean that they are heavily armed in a manner that is itself inflammatory.

On Privacy, not Piracy: Americans are aware of how little privacy they may have.

A few last election items: Yeah, voters are disappointed in Democrats. Yeah Republicans simply “lost less.” And yeah, anybody who wants to win in 2016 better pay attention to how things are going for normal Americans.

And Finally: It would appear that I am the one person in America that does not give a single **** about Kim Kardashian’s ass.

Huh, maybe the old fashioned way that used to work still does work.

The other day, results from a study on diets for diabetics were published. In short, it said that the low fat diets that have been recommended for many years don’t work very well to control diabetes, but the low carbohydrate diets that came before them did:

The authors point to the specific failure of the prevailing low-fat diets to improve obesity, cardiovascular risk or general health, and to the persistent reports of serious side effects of commonly prescribed diabetes medications. By comparison, the authors refer to the continued success of low-carbohydrate diets in the treatment of diabetes and metabolic syndrome without significant side effects.

Diabetes is a disease of carbohydrate intolerance,” said Barbara Gower, Ph.D., professor and vice chair for research in the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences and one of the study authors. “Reducing carbohydrates is the obvious treatment. It was the standard approach before insulin was discovered and is, in fact, practiced with good results in many institutions. The resistance of government and private health agencies is very hard to understand.”

Emphasis added.

This summary goes on to point out not just one or two, but twelve research-backed facts to support their point of view. Go ahead and read them for yourself. Although these points include the fact that dietary intervention doesn’t have side effects the way drugs do, they did not include that food is relatively cheap compared to medicine. Nor did they point out that metabolically, complex carbohydrates are little more than chains of sugars.

 

In closing: NSA, War on the NSA, War on Terror, War on Brown People, War on Schools that Work, War on Marksmanship, War on the Middle Class, War on the Working Class, War on the Palestinians, Here a War, There a War, Everywhere a War on War. Old MacDonald had a War, EIEIO. Cosigning is a bad idea. Kids will eventually eat what they are served. And let’s close with friendly Satanists.

A Weighty Subject

Ok, I know it’s February. Those of you that are sticking to your plans to do something towards making yourself healthier this year, good on you.

Somebody accidentally put The Truth in a research article:

The risk of cardiovascular disease death increases exponentially as you increase your consumption of added sugar.

Here’s the abstract; here’s related commentary. Among the findings are that 71% of American adults get more than 10% of their calories from added sugars and about 10% of American adults get 25% of their calories from added sugars — not naturally occurring sugars like you’d find in a wide variety of foods, but added sugar that is only there because somebody put it there. All this sugar “has been linked to the development of high blood pressure, increased triglycerides (blood fats), low HDL (good) cholesterol, fatty liver problems, as well as making insulin less effective in lowering blood sugar.” Further, in the words of one of the authors, “Added sugars do one of two things — they either displace nutritious foods in the diet or add empty calories.”

Now what is that thing I’ve said before? Oh yes: “every weight loss diet that works demands that you sharply limit — if not completely eliminate — added sugars from your diet.”

Gee, do you suppose this could at least partly explain the obesity epidemic?

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only weighty research that’s come out this week. It turns out that many parents don’t see overweight children for what they are! In fact, some of them think their normal weight boys are too skinny! This is actually a “review article“, which means they looked at the results of a whole bunch of other research studies (69 of them, in this case). It doesn’t take yet one more study to show that if Mom and Dad don’t see Junior’s weight as a problem, they aren’t going to do anything about it.

Cut the sugar: don’t even buy candy, cookies, cake, or sugary sodas. Take a realistic look at your kids, and then yourself. Maybe it’s time for more veggies and less of everything else.

In Closing: Affordable Care Act; Plague; your dose of NSA, privacy, spying, Snowden, and related links; Stray Dog Strut; $0.77; I think they like the status quo of cheap exploitable workers who will never be able to vote against them; poverty; and preventing unwanted pregnancy prevents abortions. Who knew!

Creative Accounting, or GO REBELS!

So Jeff Skilling got a new sentence handed down for his role in the financial shenanigans at Enron. Actually, it’s a reduction of the sentence he was given back in 2006 for stuff that happened throughout the 90s and caused the company’s collapse in 2004. In case you’ve forgotten:

Enron’s collapse put more than 5,000 people out of work, wiped out more than $2 billion in employee pensions and rendered worthless $60 billion in Enron stock. Its aftershocks were felt across the city and the U.S. energy industry.

That’s over and above defrauding local power companies and gouging “Grandma Millie.”

For years, Enron was able to make people think things were much better than they were. They were able to make people believe they were making money.

Which brings me to this item from ThinkProgress:

America’s colleges and universities used more than $2 billion in student fees — an average of more than $500 per student — to subsidize rapidly growing university athletic budgets, as Ohio University professor Richard Vedder wrote at BloombergView today. Those fees can top $1,000 a year at some schools, and as Vedder writes, reliance on them ends up making college more expensive for students and often places the burden on the poorest students. And most of the time, students don’t even know they’re paying the fees.

In addition to student fees, athletic programs are relying more on money from general university budgets, so taxpayers are also spending millions of dollars a year to cover shortfalls as athletic budgets continue to grow faster than academic budgets.

Now, I have long thought that the accepted wisdom of “sports brings in money and students so we have to fund it” was flawed. If sports are really profitable, why are students and taxpayers paying so much money to support them? I have suspected that the “accounting” used to make sports profitable would have made Jeff Skilling drool. How did they pay for the stadium? It would never have been built without wealthy donors who like having their names on buildings. What about the maintenance for that stadium? Oh, that’s a different budget. What about the scholarships for athletes? Another budget. The coaches? Oh, they’re faculty so that’s yet another budget. Security, ticket sales, advertising the big game? Three different budgets. So most of the expenses of a good athletic program are offloaded onto other areas, leaving only the juicy profits and the bragging rights.

The idea that the money for sports is — really, truly — being paid for by students rips back the curtain on the Great Oz. In an age where the cost of college is rising much faster than either inflation or the wages they can expect to earn, where a student loan crisis is on the horizon, how can any college justify these costs?

No wonder so many young adults don’t know how to handle money. Where would they have learned?

In case you didn’t get the title, University of Nevada Las Vegas’s sports teams are the Rebels. Enjoy this unintentionally hilarious radio ad. 

In Closing: a few items on the NSA, FBI, and the government spying on us including a petition you can sign; some stuff on food, obesity, additives, and whatnot; about time somebody used some freaking common sense; assorted nonsense about the latest attempt to make abortion so hard to get that it might as well be illegal; and corporate America running amok or returning from insanity.

Medical Problem: the Law of Supply and Demand is Still in Effect

As we all know, all too soon we Americans will be required to purchase health insurance from the highly profitable corporations that got us into the health insurance “reform” debacle. Even people who should know better think we just have to have mandatory insurance to abolish pre-existing conditions because after all “people would buy insurance on the way to the hospital!” Clearly people who can say this with a straight face have never attempted to purchase health insurance.

Here’s the problem, as Massachusetts has already found out. All those newly insured people? They are going to want value for their money! They are going to want to see a doctor! We already have a physician shortage — which is being made worse by Baby Boomer retirements. Nevada has had a shortage for a decade, and it’s not getting better (don’t get me started).

Now there is news that — officially — it’s not going to get better for at least 4 years. It seems that even though medical schools are churning out doctors, those newly degreed docs with six figures of student loan debt sometimes can’t find residency programs! No residency, no full license, no insurance reimbursement, no job as a doctor. What a waste. Gee, your doc doesn’t seem so greedy now that you know what bills he’s facing, does he?

Want to bring down medical costs?  You’d better find a way to make more doctors, more ways to train them, and better ways to pay for their education.

In Closing: a couple comics; the cat film festival will return for a second year; oh well then I’ll just try not to look like a dissident; if anybody finds any follow-up on FPS Russia, please let me know; oh the things musicians will argue about; and duh.

Do you think these two things might be related?

Fact one: Home prices are up nationwide. By how much depends on which index you like to use.

Fact two: The number of available existing homes listed is down. Not down a little bit, but down about 17% in 146 metro areas (I think that qualifies as “nationwide”) and down over 25% in a couple dozen places.

Looks like the law of supply and demand is still in play. Keep this in mind if you think this is a great time to buy.

In Closing: Harvard points out the obvious; about a quarter of Americans have more credit card debt than money in the bank — not total debt, just credit card debt; the truth about low capital gains taxes; signs of autism can be found at birth (that’s long before anybody can get vaccinated, for those keeping score); strategy; and surely I am not the only person who thinks the timing here is odd. Do you really believe that the Pope mulled his decision to resign for health reasons for quite a while before suddenly making an announcement, then realizing too late that it’s the middle of Lent and somebody has to do his job?

Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Shorties

I haven’t been as posty as I’d like lately. As some of you know, I have recently gone back to school. That means I have a lot of reading, and a bit of getting used to classmates who occasionally make me feel like this:

misc-jackie-chan-l

I remind myself that I am old enough to be mommies to some of them. So without further ago, shorties.

Social Media: It’s embarrassing that social media is now little more than yet another way to send me ads.

Social Security: There’s only a crisis if you want there to be one.

Too much Social, too little work: Up to 80% of a worker’s internet time might be spend “cyberloafing.” It’s easier to hide that you’re doing nothing at the computer than at the water cooler.

Bad Association: Turns out that Countrywide kept doing “business as usual” after B of A took over. I hope this surprises none of you.

Social Promotions for Educational Reforms?: I still like Kevin Drum.

Social Studies: The Avengers and The Breakfast Club.

Fitting in to Society: On immigration reform.

Vegas: Visitors are at a record high despite reduced convention traffic.

Reducing the deficit without slashing our own throats: From the progressives. But it won’t happen because the conservatives really want to make the majority of us into modern serfs by slashing the safety net instead.

Speaking of modern serfs: A third of student loans are subprime. They can’t be discharged through bankruptcy. They are creating a generation that may always be in debt.

Obesity is bad for you: even if you are the Governor.

On Republicans: From a Republican woman (endangered species, I know).

Gee, you don’t say!: Global climate change might adversely effect agriculture. Who knew?!?

What?

Well, I had no idea that my lunchbox could impact the taste of my lunch. Any readers want a taste that doesn’t make sense? Anybody?

This Japanese food transport system was found in my local Asian grocer. I have no idea what the original brand name was, since Japanese doesn’t have an L sound. Gurit and Burirria? Sounds awkward.

In Closing: turns out Anderson knows that the CBO is something called “non-partisan”; let’s confuse everybody some more!; War on Drugs turns into War on Perfectly Legal Pain Medications that Some People Desperately Need; I think I’d rather have the stack of iPads; fat kids can’t do math?; duh; related; I wish I thought he was right; and part of me wishes this were a real audiobook.

So glad somebody told me what it was…

Enlightening.

In closing: Sears; Fat costs us all; Japan has cute technology so powerful that even the Emperor and his wife are cute; Lululemon; Jobs report stinks; maybe we could fix that with some infrastructure building; silly USA Today thinking facts matter; novel; it’s privacy week; yeah, because making sure all high school graduates can read is a vast conspiracy; and Mark Twain.