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

Mark's Daily Apple

1 Feb

Juicy Picks

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

All the news, none of the partially-hydrogenated soybean oil!

1) Every name under the sun…

These guys have a great piece on shedding pounds by becoming aware of “liquid candy”. You’ll want to check it out – you’d be surprised at what can sabotage your weight-loss goals!

Crush the habit.

2) All y’all can stop worrying about Nicole Richie

Because this is far more of a health problem. Disturbing. But with things like fried cheese balls being offered at major restaurant chains, are we really surprised?

People actually pay to eat this.

3) Breaking girls’ hearts…sort of

Women’s heart health is rather overlooked, although the recent PR campaign to raise awareness has helped offset that somewhat. Women are at equal risk for heart disease, stroke and heart attacks – so take care of yourself, ladies! You can’t always trust a doctor to think about your heart, evidently.
Kind of a no-brainer, isn’t it? Plant some trees.

Hysteria? Nerves? Is this a joke? Doctors revert to 19th century views on women’s health.

Women's hearts need love too

4) Another great plan from Uncle Sam

This time, on a potential flu epidemic. We hope it includes a color-coded bar alert. No, seriously, we do. We’re rooting for turquoise and magenta. (Dissenter: Elliott votes for taupe.)

Great, who's gonna put them back in the box?

Be sure to stop in tomorrow, when Mark will be posting his easy (almost brainless, really), healthy-yet-still-not-embarrassing-for-the-guys Superbowl food tips.

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.

Just another day in the hoodia

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?

Is it an alien? Thanks, branflakez!

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.

You can also take an antioxidant multivitamin

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.

What if I don't want to be your burger?

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:

Your tax dollars at work!

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.

It was this or the beach

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