Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.

Mark's Daily Apple

30 Nov

Looky Loo!

looIt’s not just gas stations that are increasingly difficult to find in urban areas. Bathrooms have also become a hot commodity requiring all manner of quarters, tokens, and nervous breakdowns. We’ve got the CIA, the IRS, the FBI, and your friendly neighborhood traffic cop ever at the ready to fine you $168 for daring to turn right on a green light going five miles an hour in Santa Monica (hypothetical, clearly), but heaven forbid we have access to urinary relief. It would seem municipalities are on a mission to ensure widespread micro-discomfort. Because when you’ve got a populace in need of a piss, you’ve got ‘em by the…well, you get it.

Enter innovation. Civil engineers, governments and retail outfits may not find your bladder to be of any pressing matter, but the geeks are ever sensitive to room for innovation. Following that, room for a relaxed gait.

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29 Nov

The Fountain of Youth, Coming to a Drug Near You

grapes 1The anti-aging drug movement is upon us.

News reports out today inform us that Sirtris, a drug based upon the antioxidant resveratrol (found in red wine), will enter human drug trials as soon as next year. Aging – and so-called diseases of aging – is thought to be caused by cellular breakdown. And fundamental to the proper operation of a cell are the mitochondria. These “engines” of our cells are the key to disease prevention and longevity. From the article – which brings out the glamorous “Lance Armstrong has more powerful cells” example, naturally – we learn about the future of aging pharmaceuticals:

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28 Nov

New Nutrition Labeling System Still Has Flaws

catNew nutrition labels are in the works for a 2008 unveiling. There are some terrific improvements over the current labels. A particular problem I’ve long had with the existing labels is that the numbers are based upon the assumption that you’re following a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet. That’s too much for many women, not enough for many men, and irrelevant for many growing kids. And yet nearly every food and food product in America is measured and judged as if we were all virtually identical and weighing in at 150 pounds. Who actually takes time to adjust the nutritional values for their particular weight, BMI, and body fat percentage? Moreover, how many Americans are even aware that when they see “15% fat” on a label, the food carrying this label is not 15% fat? It seems, in fact, to be the perfect recipe for ambiguity – and obesity. If I wanted to obscure accurate nutrition information – because why would we ever want to present what’s inside on the outside – I’d come up with some imaginary standard and convoluted comparisons, too.

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27 Nov

How Safe Is Our Food?

eggBig Agra has gotten us into an interesting (and sickening) predicament. In light of a solid year of squeamish food poisoning issues, there are clearly some chinks in the armor of food safety. But is it really the government’s role to step in and regulate food safety further? Unfortunately, regulation tends to harm the good guys – raw almonds today, organic spinach yesterday, dairy for far too long now – and effectively underwrite large corporate agricultural interests. And yet. And yet. Currently, testing outfits that monitor food safety so our beef, lettuce, eggs and chicken are ostensibly edible are paid for by the very agricultural interests they test. In other words, it’s a recipe for corruption. While labs may be impartial, the results they gather when testing at-risk foods (such as meat and imported goods) are given over to the company and it’s on the company to report anything to the FDA. That is, the labs don’t have a way to send results directly to a presumably – and I realize the generosity of this idea – impartial guardian of public health. If one lab doesn’t “find” the “right” results, it’s fairly easy for the food company to find another, more affable laboratory. Still, I’m not sure that introducing increased FDA regulation or oversight is the solution here. But since I can’t even keep up with all the burgers that have been recalled since the summer, I feel compelled to ask you:

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