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SportsGeezer's Health and Fitness Blog

timv's picture

I've been noticing lately that a lot of my fitness-related searches return hits on SportsGeezer's blog. In particular, his "Healthy Eating" topic seems to cover a lot of stuff that's been discussed on this site lately. It looks like he mostly blogs on stories appearing in the NY Times and LA Times, but he's a steady poster and adds thoughtful comments, and so I thought it might be a useful reference for our gang.

I impressed that he is quick to notice and point out when recent studies appear to contradict each other, something that the health reporters in the newspapers don't seem to be able to pick up much. Too busy retyping press releases, I suppose.

Incidently, there seems in particular to be a lot of back and forth about the Glycemic Index idea. Any thoughts from folks here about whether there's anything to it or not?



eebee's picture

Sheep Fodder

Great, Tim! Thanks for the link to that site. I'm excited that people are using blogs to challenge the contrived, empty junk that the general media regurgitates merely to fill a space. We, the sheeple, eat it up like it's good for us. This business of XYZ study (paid by ABC company)  to prove an irrelevant point is nothing but glorified advertising, if you ask me. Wine is good for you, ha! Diet Pepsi! You can do it, we can help!

It's the proof of the low-fat pudding, every time: If you hear a health food theory, test it on yourself! If it works for you, excellent! If it doesn't make you attain a healthy, happy weight, or even out your moods, clear up your hives, then it isn't working. Granted, we've all gotta start somewhere, so pick a theory/diet/study finding and try it out!

Here I am, middle-aged, thinking "Who are these idiots that believe all this rubbish about wine, Guinness*, cocoa powder, coffee, low-fat Healthy Choice vanilla cookies, rice cakes, protein powder, the fat gene...?". Well I was, for one, when I was about 18 and clueless. I started out with the Weight Watchers calorie theory, but failed to include exercise & muscle tone, so that just left me tired, crabby and flabby. Then I lucked out and stayed for a year with a family in France, who fed me their diabetic-sympathetic diet with no sugar anywhere in sight, nothing but salads, seafood, whole grains and gourmet everything. I lost weight, rode a bike, ran and emerged much stronger and at peace with myself. Over the years I have tried every bandwagon some publication wanted to fill up space advertising, and some of it worked for me, others were a complete disaster. By the time I've got it all figured out, it'll be time to die :-)

The glycemic index is critical for people with blood sugar issues and diabetes. It helped me before I needed a more urgent reason to change my diet. However, if we, in the so-called civilized nations, refuse to give up our dependence on white, starchy processed foods disguised as 'healthy carbs', then we'd better be paying attention to the glycemic value of the foods we think we're ingesting in the name of health, such as pasta, bread (Subway diet, anyone?), baked corn and potato chips, and rice. May I be so bold to say that if we get back to how our ancestors ate (yeah I know, they usually kicked the bucket at the ripe old age of 20), and a more Paleolithic type diet, there will be no need to give those self-serving studies the time of day.

* = 15 years ago, my then-pregnant sister in law was told by her doctor to drink Guinness to get the iron for the baby. Well, this was in Scotland, after all.

(Climbs down off of soap box)

timv's picture

The Science of the Lambs

Great rant, Elizabeth!


I like your point about trying out health food theories for ourselves and seeing whether they work or not. I'm not a very good test subject for any kind of weight-loss program however. As Oscar Wilde said, I can resist everthing except temptation. Luckily I'm not usually tempted to grossly overeat, but faced with the choice between being hungry and distracted, or eating something and actually getting work done, I'm going for the cookies every time.


There really is a huge amount of variation from one person to the next, and academic studies usually try to report results for a statistical average, which I'm less interested in personally. It does seem though that there might be some reasonably general lessons to be learned, for example about whether a calorie deficit will cause more fat or muscle mass to be lost (or conversely when and why a calorie surplus will increase fat or muscle mass more) and how perceptions of hunger relate to our real caloric needs. Having everything dumbed down to middle-school level for public consumption really doesn't help, and leads to idiotic behavior like people eating entire boxes of Snackwells and thinking it's still dieting because they're fat free.


Regarding the Guinness, my mom's obstetrician told her to have a glass or two of wine to help get to sleep. (This was a lot further back, 40-some years ago, in New York). I understand not taking unnecessary risks but wonder if the current attitude, of alcohol being instant baby poison, might be somewhat overstated. Yeast are everywhere in nature and whenever they eat they make ethanol, so there's some amount of alcohol in all kinds of things.


eebee's picture

Opening a Can of Gummy Worms

Thanks for your gracious reply, Tim. I have been worried for 2 days about that health-food rant of mine, since I was essentially saying 'don't believe all those silly scientific studies, believe silly uneducated me, instead!'.


Something you said sparked an idea for me: and how perceptions of hunger relate to our real caloric needs. Now I could really sink my teeth into that discussion. Hunger perception is most definitely relative. Like Skatey-Mark pointed out when he described his training & weight loss diet for this season, his cravings for sweets and goodies went away after a few weeks of swearing off of them. For some lucky people, swearing off of them is all they need to do not to give in to that particular temptation. For someone like me (a veritable Schwachkopf!) it takes medical emergencies and dire inconvenience to get me to quit the hunger mind-games.


It's hard for me to say whether I have merely changed my perception of hunger now that I have to actively avoid certain, very common foods, or whether the regime itself nipped the cravings in the bud for me. I suspect the former, because if it's the latter I could make myself into a multi-billionaire. Funny thing is, when I tried to 'diet' before, and do as Skatey-Mark does (just ignore phantom chocolate-covered Grahams) I never had the self-discipline or determination to pull it off. I wound up unbelievably grouchy, believing perhaps erroneously that it was because I was 'hungry'.  I never lost any weight! Yet with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet I'm on right now to soothe me achin' belly, I have not once felt like I was grouchy due to hunger. Hunger is hunger and the rest is just plain crabbiness :-) . However, I have lost 10lbs into the bargain , which certainly makes hauling one's bulk uphill on skates a heck of a lot easier.


Oscar Wilde said it all indeed (and in several ways!), like this one from The Picture of Dorian Gray:

"Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul" 

In other words, perhaps your soul needs those cookies!




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