Saturday, January 29, 2011

Do you need to eat breakfast?

If you aren’t hungry in the morning, is there a reason to force yourself to eat breakfast? I don’t think so.

It’s never a good idea to eat when you aren’t hungry- first because you would be teaching your body to ignore your natural instincts telling you when you need to eat, and second, because you are taking in calories that you may not need.

There is a catch. You don’t want to end up so hungry at 10 or 11 a.m. that you go for the doughnuts in the conference room or justify to yourself that it’s okay to eat a huge lunch.

The solution is to stop in the kitchen long enough to grab something to take with you and here are some suggestions for a snack that will get you to lunch time without becoming ravenous-
- a hard boiled egg and an apple
- a handful of almonds and a banana
- 3 huge Medjool dates and a handful of walnuts
- a handful of roasted peanuts and an orange
- a small peanut butter sandwich

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Can you tell how healthy someone is from just looking at them?

“People should be healthy and fit at whatever size they are”- a quote from Dr. Regina Benjamin, the U.S. surgeon general, who is shown in the NY Times Magazine* looking radiant and strong, and not looking skinny.*

As she no doubt knows, the health risks of being overweight have been greatly exaggerated. Much better measures of good health are cardiovascular fitness, blood pressure and blood sugar.

Instead of making a quick judgment about people’s health status based on their size, we need to take some time, give them a treadmill test, and do some blood work. If they don’t measure up, prescribe exercise and healthy foods instead of just prescribing “weight loss”.

* p. 14, 1/9/11

Monday, January 10, 2011

Should medical doctors be prescribing wine?

I was disturbed to read these comments from M.D.s in the Stanford Medical Center magazine for alumni- “Too little wine is more harmful than just the right amount..” and “Wine should be considered…a health food in liquid form” (autumn 2010, p.7).

Sure, there is all sorts of indirect evidence suggesting that wine (and other alcoholic drinks) may have benefits, but we’ve seen how lots of indirect evidence doesn’t mean much. Remember being told that hormone replacement therapy was a good idea after menopause? When a double-blinded, placebo-controlled study was finally carried out, surprise, taking hormones turned out to be bad for you!

Let’s hope this won’t be the case for wine, but for now we don’t know. Health practitioners should practice saying “I don’t know- drink a little if you like and don’t drink if you don’t like to”.