Very occasional thoughts concentrating on the useful.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Willett's new book

Walter Willett, of Harvard's nutrition and epidemiology departments, author of over 900 publications including a textbook on nutritional epidemiology, has co-authored a new popular book

Eat, Drink, & Weight Less, by Katzen & Willett.

This looks more concise and weight-focused then his previous (but recently updated) best-seller "Eat, Drink, and be Healthy".

Here's his new weight-loss pyramid.

The addition of chocolate as an optional food looks yummy. It is included because (p. 40)

Dark Chocolate, unlike white chocolate, contains compounds called flavonoids that may have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. To test this directly in humans, a group of Italian researchers fed fifteen volunteers either dark chocolate or white chocolate, about 4 ounces ber day, for 15 days. Then they reversed the type of chocolate that was fed to participants. While on dark chocolate, participants' blood pressure was significantly reduced as compaired to the period when they were eating white chocolate. Also, insulin resistance, an indicator of risk for diabetes, was reduced while consuming dark chocolate but not white chocolate. Bear in mind, though that four ounces of chocolate would provide more than 500 calories, so the amount we suggest on a weight control plan would have only modest benefit. Still, knowing that a bit of fine chocolate is nudging you toward better health, rather than in the opposite direction, should be sweet news indeed.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Underwater Hockey

I've been playing underwater hockey lately. The puck goes along the bottom of the pool, the sticks are about 8 inches long, and you wear a mask and fins. The picture is of my teamate Stuart. (Unfortunately, I was floating on the surface at the time.)

Unlike other sports, the goal is NOT to get the puck to the star player so that he can score. You will drown if you insist on monopolizing the puck, so everyone gets to play. (Maybe readers can suggest NBA players who should be required to come out with us.)

It's a pretty good sport, although water polo is much more fun. For some reason little kids know that when you jump in a pool you're supposed to splash around, wrestle, throw balls around, and have fun. I've never understood why grown-ups forget this and submit the the monotony of swimming laps over and over again in a laned-out pool.

The latest bad news about trans-fat

There's more bad news about trans-fat in the New England Journal of Medicine. Check out

"What we risk for taste" by John Fauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentenel, May 14 2006 .