Sometimes I read things or hear things that just seem silly. I am sure you do this as well. It’s all fine and good when it’s our four year old saying them or our four month old doing them. It’s a different story when you read things in newspapers and hear them on NPR. Silly, silly, silly. Silly putty.
Three silly things popped up within a span of five minutes for me today. Two articles in the New York Times that contained interesting quotes and a comment on NPR’s Morning Edition. First, the Times:
In Kenneth Chang’s piece on artificial sweeteners and which one to choose he does a nice job of explaining that you can find studies in support of using artificial sweeteners and studies that suggest they cause cancer, leukemia, and a whole host of maladies. That is to say there is confusion:
“White. Pink. Blue. Yellow. On restaurant tables everywhere, the colors of the sweetener packets instantly identify the contents. Sugar. Saccharin. Aspartame. Sucralose. Reaching for one to pour into a cup of coffee or tea can sometimes feel like sweetener roulette, with the swirl of confusing, conflicting assertions about which are safe and which are not.”
Well put. We are confused and research hasn’t given us a clear answer. Chang goes on:
“The scientific world is also a dichotomy of conclusions. For any of the sweeteners, one can as easily find a study that offers reassuring analysis of safety as one that enumerates potential alarming effects. And it is possible that there could be long-term effects in humans that will become evident only after people have been consuming these sweeteners for decades. Thus hearsay, mythology and whim guide the choices of many people.”
You don’t say? We are guided by mythology? Oh my. All kidding aside, it’s this comment that struck me the most:
“Sugary drinks like soda (fruit juices, too) particularly contribute to weight gain. Usually, if the diet changes, hunger signals adjust to ensure proper nutrition.”
Say what? In the context of an article discussing artificial sweeteners and tangentially how obesity may be increased when consuming “full strength sodas” I find it odd that comment striking. Isn’t that our issue right now? The issue? That in fact when our diet changes our hunger signals are not ensuring proper nutrition? Silly comment to make, Mr. Chang. No wonder we are confused.
Mr. Chang did recover. His conclusion: eat less sweet stuff. As I say to my young daughter after she comes back from an emotional episode, “Excellent recovery.”
Onto Liposuction. Gretchen Reynolds discusses the topic in the Time this morning. I enjoy Ms. Reynolds’ column (Phys. Ed) very much, and the silliness was not hers, but rather the sum of comments made by physicians interviewed for the article. It seems that women who underwent liposuction to remove the “fat marbling of the thighs” (couldn’t they come up with a better term) regain almost all of the removed fat within a year, with on significant change: the fat relocates to their abdomen and causes more health risks than when left alone as marbles in the thighs. ’“The message of our study was that body fat is very well defended,” says Dr. Robert H. Eckel, a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Denver.’ Guess which group of liposucked women didn’t regain the fat? Come on, you can do it. Guess.
Those that exercised. (Jaw dropping).
“Those who had gained fat also had spontaneously, without any intention or desire to do so, decreased their everyday activity levels. They were moving around less than before the surgery, which, the researchers speculate, almost certainly contributed to their visceral fat gain.”
Whoa! You mean if I stop moving I am going to gain weight? But I paid for liposuction! Fat marble removing! Be gone bad fat! I’m expected to exercise to maintain my new liposucked look? Those nasty plastic surgeons, they tricked me.
“Liposuction, the study authors concluded, can potentially “trigger a compensatory increase of visceral fat, which is effectively counteracted by physical activity.”’
You don’t say?
“The lesson is clear. “I believe that if one should choose to undergo liposuction, it is very important, if not essential, that this person exercises after the surgery,” Dr. Benatti says.’
I don’t know Dr. Benatti and I doubt we’ll ever meet, but if we do I will thank him for encouraging those who have undergone liposuction to keep moving. Brilliant!
Silly, silly, silly putty.
And finally, to NPR. On my home from exercising this morning a discussion of Burger King was taking place. Seems they’ve been on a health kick as of late adding smoothies and salads to the Whopper lineup. However, they have also added a bacon sundae. This doesn’t surprise me. Sweet, salt, oh my. The commentator said something along the lines of following:
“Burger King states that the new concoction comes in at only 510 calories.”
As if to suggest that was an underestimation on their part but not notably decadent for those that consume it. And don’t forget in those 510 calories there are 18 grams of fat and 61 grams of sugar. One bacon sundae is more than 25% of the calories the average person needs today. The entire day. Yet if the NPR host doesn’t act surprised by that fact we are back to silly.
We get mixed signals every day. Changes in diet lead to proper nutrition? Acting as if the earth has been moved when we discover that exercise helps people keep weight off even after liposuction? And to suggest that it’s “only” 510 calories when you down that bacon sundae.
Well then, I am going to march down to Burger King and get me a bacon sundae. I hope that equals a change in my diet and leads me to proper nutrition. Any bets?