He was a 30 year old Ph.D. student who was just three weeks from getting his doctorate in computer science who just wanted some help losing a few extra pounds. He id his research and bought a weight loss supplement online called DNP (dinitrophenol). It’s a benign appearing yellow powder that he was taking for about 2 weeks. At about 2 am after his last dose he started feeling unwell, anxious, jittery, and sweaty. His friends brought him to the ED where he had a high temperature (>101°F) and was tremulous and anxious. The ED doc told his friends that he probably would need a few hours for the effects to wear off and they could come get him in the morning. Little did they know that was the last they would speak to him again. Continue reading
I read the above article and it makes a strong case for rethinking how we approach calorie counting. Calorie counting is something I advocated for in the past (Click here to see my reasons) but have come recently to question the approach. I was given a link to the above article and the author makes a strong case for the weaknesses of calorie counting in general. A link to the article can be found here. You should check it out.
I have a very busy life. I have five children and work (more than ) full time as a physician. Long hours working in the intensive care unit followed by the nightly bedtime battles (my wife and I are outnumbered) make squeezing in trips to the gym not an option. The problem is that middle age is barreling towards me like a freight train and exercise is the only thing that will untie me from the tracks. My metabolism is only getting slower. For that reason, finding a fitness plan that is effective without taking a lot of time is essential. Continue reading
There is a well known phenomenon called the “runner’s high”. Ask any running junkie and they’ll probably tell you more than you ever could have imaged or even wanted to know about how good it feels to be on a long run. You may have found yourself looking at them incredulously as you remember the one time you decided to try jogging. After spending $150 at Dick’s Sporting goods on shoes and various Lycra containing garments (which should only be worn by people who are able to pass a strict fitness test), you hit the streets. You felt pretty good for the first 50 feet but then the pain hit. It was at that point that you experienced a sensation you were pretty sure was a heart attack: chest pain, check; profuse sweating, check; heavy breathing, double check. Needless to say the run did not last long and the Lycra shorts ended up in the back of the closet which is fine because you couldn’t fit into them anyhow. Continue reading
In 1971, a 27-year-old, 456-pound man went to his local university department of medicine to get advice on how to lose weight. Their response was startling but simple: stop eating altogether. While most people would look aghast and think the doctors were nuts, this guy was desperate enough to give it a try. His results over the ensuing weeks were so dramatic that he decided to prolong the fasting deprivation—for more than a year! He ate nothing but vitamins, non-caloric fluids, and yeast for a whopping 382 days. He lost 276 pounds and gained himself a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. What’s more, he did so with no ill health effects. When the doctors checked back in on him five years later, he had gained back only about 15 pounds.
I am often frustrated with all references in the media, popular culture, or personal conversation to metabolism. Most people refer to metabolism in an amorphous way as if it is a magical force that, if properly manipulated, will determine the course of one’s weight loss journey. It’s some energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together. Wait, that’s the force as described by Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars. Regardless most people’s concept of metabolism is just as fantastical and fictional. Continue reading
Full disclosure: I’m a Coke Zero guy. I drink one every day with lunch and am thus biased to some extent. I don’t get money from the industry – although I wouldn’t turn it down (in case the people at Coke are reading this). Even with my biases I think my assessment of the science on the connections between diet soft drinks and weight gain were accurate. It was clear that there was an association between drinking more and weighing more but it was far from clear the Diet Soda was causing weight gain. Overweight people drink more diet soft drinks for clear reasons. They also wear more extra large clothing but that doesn’t mean Joe’s Big and Tall Clothiers causes obesity.