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

Mark's Daily Apple

1 Feb

Hoodia: So Much More Than Latin for ‘Hoodie’

The claims about hoodia are about as accurate as that headline.

Don’t get hoodiawinked. Here’s the truth about this alleged weight-loss miracle cactus (Latin for…well, cactus).

Does Hoodia Work?

In a word, no. There’s no proof that hoodia works to help you lose weight – not even a little. Myths, legends, stories and anecdotes are convincing because they resonate with emotional desires (which is why any profitable scam manages to make money). Hoodia is no exception – this new fat-reduction fad product has no scientific evidence to support the claims. Do a little digging around, and you’ll learn that the hoodia being sold is not even the real thing anyway.

Hoodia is a cactus from South Africa. There are 20 types, but gordonii is the only one that actually quells hunger. Here’s the catch: this version of hoodia is endangered and therefore protected by law. It’s not allowed to be harvested and can only be exported to botanists for study.

Now, the chow-suppressing molecule in gordonii hoodia is called P57. Right now, a company called Phytofarm owns it, and you won’t be getting your hands on it anytime soon. Unilever and Pfizer both paid big sums to Phytopharm to toy with hoodia over the last three years, to no avail. Why? Because it doesn’t work for weight loss.

Hoodia products on the market are not real hoodia (and there have been a flurry of government cease-and-desist orders in attempts to stop this scam). Even real hoodia doesn’t work when it’s powdered, processed or the P57 molecule is extracted. You have to eat actual pieces of the plant. Moreover, hoodia does not burn fat – its function is to slow the metabolism, which often has the reverse desired effect. Your body thinks it’s starving, so it hangs on to fat stores even more aggressively.

hoodiacactus

Web it out:

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1 Feb

The Sisson Spoof

Jabba the Hut returns? Another Jurassic Park sequel? Or simply a science experiment gone very wrong?

cheeseball

None of the above. This festering ball of lard is just the Cheesecake Factory’s macaroni and cheese appetizer. I didn’t think you could find anything worse, nutritionally speaking, than a donut, which is literally deep-fried sugar and fat. I was wrong.

As if bleached flour smothered in liquid processed cheese “food” wasn’t destructive enough, now it’s breaded and fried. Oh – and served atop a creamy sauce. Score another one for the obesity epidemic.

The Cheesecake Factory doesn’t reveal calorie or nutrition information. According to them, they just change their menu items so darned often, they couldn’t possibly keep up with publishing information! Sure.

I’m continually stunned at the way businesses like Cheesequake blatantly insult and mock their customers with such disingenuous excuses – as if hiring an intern, giving the kid a calculator and asking said intern to make a website update is such a challenging innovation to adopt. (Reminds me of Paging Dr. Luddite.)

And I’m equally saddened by people’s willingness to be abused – if that’s not addictive dependency, what is?

Soon enough, food producers are going to have to accept the fact that lying to consumers is not a good long-term business strategy – because the world is changing, and consumers have two very important things:

1) Access to information like never before, if you don’t mind taking 5 seconds to look for it, and

2) Near-unlimited choice.

Also, it’s not a good idea to slowly kill off your customers. This will affect profits at some point.

31 Jan

Blog Is the New Health

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

Or should that be…health is the new blog? And have you noticed the constant “this is the new that” slogans everybody likes to come up with? (Just Google: sugar is the new trans fat, brown is the new black, adults are the new kids.) How about a new turn of phrase device? Like…”couplets are the new turn of phrase device”. Oh, wait, that’s just the new thing again. Nevermind.

Here’s your piping hot batch of health news!

1) No More Wining

All the benefits of wine, none of the headache-inducing tannins and brain toxins. Just make sure you pick 100% real juice, and don’t drink too much of it (because…yes…sugar is the new trans fat). Or just eat grapes. The beneficial antioxidants everyone is in a big stomp about (like resveratrol) are found in the skins of the grapes.

grapes

2) Unexpected Mad Cow News

Here is some unexpected mad cow news. We’ll keep you posted as research develops. You might want to consider going organic in the meantime.

calmcow

3) Will it make a difference?

The Faster Death Agency Food and Drug Administration has come under furious scrutiny over all manner of corruption and shenanigans (Vioxx, politicizing Plan B, Prempro and numerous other drug scandals). A recent independent investigation found that the FDA errs – big surprise here – on the side of approval even when new drugs have not had extensive testing. Essentially, the FDA gives drug companies a hall pass. In so many words, the FDA says “Hey, Big Pharma, you’re gonna make sure your product is safe, right? Cool. Sally, did you find my iPod yet? I have to make my private jet to Telluride in, like, 30 minutes!”

The actual wording is convoluted legalese, but that’s pretty much what it boils down to.

In light of the fact that a post at the FDA is a cushy chill-out job for stressed former Pharma execs, this news fills us with hope. We’ll keep an eye on whether or not it actually makes a difference. Check the press release (link below), and you’ll see that the official spin is maddeningly glib: the FDA is changing because it’s simply time to update processes in light of new scientific methods. Gosh, is that it? How fun. Translation: the FDA is changing because, oops, we need to stop approving needless deaths by instituting standards that have already been around for two hundred years.

In the meantime, be careful about trying new drugs or multiple prescriptions without first doing a little research – and always get a second or third opinion (fortunately, real research is now easy to find at places like Pubmed, Vitasearch and even the FDA’s own website).

And let’s just remember, the FDA is the fine organization that brings us this inflamed nubbin:

labelman

4) Finally!

New York has taken steps to ban trans fat. So we knew L.A. would catch up sooner or later. It just needed time to come up with a subtle little “Um, we’re already so much healthier than NYC!” jab, and here it is:

“I haven’t received one call from a restaurant saying it doesn’t want to make a change. I get more phone calls a day from restaurants that say they’ve never used it.”

We don’t care, as long as more cities jump out of the fryer, too.

palmtree

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31 Jan

Health for the Masses, by the Masses

“Let’s share our health experiences. Together we can help others. Together we can help ourselves.” This is the motto and philosophy of the new social-networking website OrganizedWisdom.

OrganizedWisdom is user-generated advice, experience, insights, and knowledge compiled and sorted to help people track down answers to their health-related questions.

Looking for a way to get rid of a headache? Check out what other people do to relieve this annoying ailment. Do you have a personal account of how you handled sleep apnea, GERD, or some other condition? Share your experiences and help others on their path to recovery.

The people behind OrganizedWisdom know that, being human, we all have tales of illness, and that collaboration is a great way to help solve health problems. Join this community to help yourself and others collectively achieve health and well-being.

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