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

Mark's Daily Apple

16 May

A Case of the Clicks

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

The daily clickativity is in!

Skin Deep Gets a Polish

Skin Deep – perhaps the most user-friendly, accurate personal care database on the web – has been revamped and updated. Be sure to check out this excellent resource for information on the safety and ingredients of virtually every cosmetic and personal care product available.

Is Coffee Healthy?

The ongoing java debate gets a fresh take with this helpful, thorough review from Integrative Medicine. It’s the best summary of the pros and cons of coffee consumption that we’ve found yet. Our take: coffee is another one of those “marginal nutrition” issues, like red wine or chocolate. There is likely some benefit, but taken to excess, probably some harm, too. Either way, “marginal nutrition” fads are not going to cure major health issues; nor, sadly, will they prevent bad television. (Or will we have to eat our words?)

coffee 1

This is Gayatri’s Flickr Photo

Trans Fat Ban

Thus far, several major U.S. cities have taken steps to ban trans fat in restaurants. Now, a whole county says no to Frankenfats.


This is Deovolenti’s Flickr Photo. Aptly described as: “Chicken McHeartAttack”!

Web it out:

Guess who needs more estrogen?

Obvious Studies R Us: Congratulations, Decision Analyst, your firm has won a Sherlock Award!


Top 25 Posts Here at Mark’s Daily Apple

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16 May

Top Secret Nutritional Info Released, Award Given

This week’s award goes to Chili’s for something unusual they have included on their menu. We aren’t about to suggest you go out and order their baby back ribs with a side of cheesecake. What we are excited about is that they actually list nutritional information for some of their entrees right on the menu. In the “Guiltless Grill” section they list calories, total carbs, total fat, saturated fat, and fiber for each item. Now if we could only persuade them to make the nutritional facts for the rest of their menu items as accessible. “Fat chance,” you say? Well, we won’t hold our breath, but we would love to see this kind of openness become a trend at all major restaurants. As long as the purveyors of food make it difficult to access nutritional info for their menu items, we can only assume they have something to hide. I don’t know about you, but I’m not too keen on eating food from an establishment that has something to hide.

What do you think?

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16 May

Low-Cal, High-Fiber Pasta: It Exists! And It Is Edible!

Very, very edible.

The folks at Fiber Gourmet recently plied me with a selection of their one-of-a-kind “light” pastas. Hey, I’m not one to turn away free food, so I gave their spinach, tomato and standard pasta noodles a taste try.


The Fiber Gourmet folks say “since fiber has 0 calories, as the fiber goes up the calories go down” – hence the “light” labeling.

As you all know, I’m cautious about the types of carbohydrates I consume. I rely on vegetables for the majority of my carbohydrate intake. I do eat some starchy carbohydrates such as brown rice, legumes, yams, quinoa and sprouted grain bread. But typically I don’t eat more than one starchy serving per day. Pasta, in particular, is hardly one of my favorites because it is refined wheat, making it high in empty carbohydrates that have a rapid, deleterious impact upon blood sugar. This is stressful to the body for a number of reasons, and the scientific evidence is compelling: excessive intake of refined carbohydrates is linked to our skyrocketing rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

And while I understand that “low-carb” pastas like Shirataki can be helpful for jump-starting weight loss, I don’t personally recommend carb substitutes. (Although I am all for the jump start – start somewhere!) My preference against substitutes is not only because I favor whole, unprocessed, fresh foods for both weight loss and health maintenance. I also refuse to eat anything that tastes like cardboard, which seems to be a prevailing problem with light, low-carb and other assorted diet food products. Food will always taste better than a food product. If you can sustain a food product weight loss plan for more than a few months, you’re made of some tough stuff! But seriously, in my opinion, substitutes don’t successfully address the underlying problem with eating unhealthy foods: rather than shifting your cravings to healthier foods, they merely serve as a temporary fix to sate existing unhealthy preferences.

All right, Mark, we get it. What about this pasta? Fiber Gourmet pasta is made just like regular pasta, but contains 40% fewer calories (roughly 130 per 2-ounce serving). Of course, I don’t know anyone who can stop after just 2 ounces of pasta – and that’s the problem with carbs. Refined carbohydrates – sugars – are incredibly addictive.

The total carbohydrates of this product are not low by any stretch – about 43 grams (18 from fiber and 25 from starch). I recommend ruthlessly aiming for fewer than 20 grams of refined carbohydrates in a given day. In fact, I think we’d all be better off if we avoided refined carbohydrates entirely.

Now to the taste factor:

The Fiber Gourmet pastas tasted good – exactly like “real” pasta. Texture was not gritty, gummy or weak. The exception was the spinach pasta, which didn’t hold up well with the olive oil and sea salt I doused it with. The flavor was pleasant enough, but an actual spinach salad would have had better peppery bite and a much more satisfying, chewy texture. And, of course, fewer refined carbohydrates. The tomato and regular pastas were just as chewy and substantial as regular pasta.

Bottom line: I’m really not a pasta guy. I just don’t “do” refined carbohydrates. I genuinely prefer vegetables and more natural, flavorful sources of starchy calories such as yams and brown rice, both for taste preference and health reasons. If you are trying to lose weight and gotta have the pasta, you might want to give those slippery Shirataki noodles a try to get started (good luck!). If you are maintaining your weight successfully and really love pasta, then I think Fiber Gourmet is a smart replacement for standard pasta. In fact, I really wouldn’t consider it as a substitute food product, because it’s virtually identical in taste and texture to regular pasta. It’s really more like an improved food product.

Still, my health philosophy remains fundamentally the same: there’s food, and then there are food products. We can substitute and switch and modify to our hearts’ content, but ultimately, I believe that optimal health comes from fresh, whole, natural foods.

Now I’m off to enjoy my daily salad. What are your thoughts?

- Do you think that improving existing popular foods will be effective for addressing our country’s health and weight concerns, or do you think we need to take a more radical approach by shifting our food habits altogether?

- What are your views on carbohydrates?

I’d love to get your point of view and hear what works to keep you lean and healthy.

More Product & Site Reviews from the Bees

Best of MDA

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15 May

Sweetened Straws & Treadmill Desks (You Can Stop Holding Your Breath Now)

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

The latest in health news, plus some very odd new products.

Life Causes Breast Cancer

Great. Just being alive and kicking puts you at risk for breast cancer death (particularly if you are a woman in your forties). We are including this news because there is a silver lining to the polluted cloud we ingest and refer to as air. Here are tips to minimize the potential physical damage from air (and building) contaminants:

- Live as far as possible from freeways and major roads (even 100 feet is great).

- Live in either a really old building or a fairly new one.

- Don’t smoke.

- Eat at least 6 servings of vegetables daily, especially greens and colorful veggies.

- Exercise 3 times a week.

- Plant some trees in your yard if possible; and keep some plants in your pad.

- Consider an antioxidant supplement.

- If possible, shorten your commute so you aren’t sitting in car exhaust cocktails every day.

Introducing the Treadmill Desk

Finally, life is complete! The newest exercise machine features a built-in computer desk. That’s right: multi-tasking is no longer sufficient; it’s all about omnipo-tasking. (We’re holding out for the Blackberry that you can graft to your head with a glittery adhesive strip. Preferably strawberry-scented and available in your choice of five juicy colors.)

Do Not Tell the Fuming Fuji About This One!

Another amazing product to undermine the health of the little seedlings: now milk comes with “sipahh straws” that are artificially pre-sweetened thanks to a lovely candy coating. Have any of you heard about this? They’re being used in McDonald’s Happy Meals. This way, kids will drink their milk!

Web it out:

Grocery store discovers double-shelled egg

15 May

The Fuming Fuji Says No to Chicken Fries!


The Fuming Fuji is outraged at the marketing of toxic food, especially when it is aimed at the small fry. This week, the Fuming Fuji has decided to have a serious problem with Burger King’s Chicken Fries.

But, Fuming Fuji, you say, kids need protein!

The Fuming Fuji says no!

The claim: Fuji, I just read Mark’s post about protein. He says chicken is healthy. Okay, so it’s not organic and there is a little bit of breading, but isn’t chicken better for kids than a burger?

The catch: If you want to eat food that looks like deep-friend fingers, be Fuji’s guest. But deep-fried reconstituted chicken mixture is not fit for seedling consumption. Who thought of this disturbing meat french fry “food”? Fuji would not even feed it to sworn enemies such as evil Eggo C.E.O. David Mackay, and trust me that is really saying something.

The comeback: Well, I don’t know about your beef, but I know kids love chicken. And finger foods are a smart, convenient idea. The cup fits right in my car’s cup holders and there’s even a little sauce dipper! Besides, I’d rather have my kids eat chicken fries than french fries or candy bars.

The conclusion: That entire statement is just fumable. Chicken fries are no different from french fries, unless you count the rotting dirty modified carcass part! A box of chicken fries has a lot more calories, sugar and fat than a candy bar, so do not fool yourself, finger fan. See for yourself with this chart if you do not believe the Fuji.

The catchphrase: When you find yourself feeding seedlings fried meat sticks from a cup holder, you may have bigger issues to deal with.

Disclaimer: Mark Sisson and the Worker Bees do not necessarily endorse the views of the Fuming Fuji.

More Fuming Fuji

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