Indeed, three recent studies from the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University found that putting low-fat labels on snack foods encouraged people to eat up to 50 per cent more than those who were given the exact same food without these labels.
Eric Hites hit rock bottom earlier this year. At age 40, after having worked as a D.J., roadie, telemarketer, pizza delivery man and bartender, he found himself unemployed, and collection agencies were on his tail. His wife, who had left him in July 2014, was living with another man.
His weight reached 567 pounds. He told himself he had a choice: Rot away in Danville, Ind., where he had been living with his parents, or do something drastic to save his life and marriage. He considered a gastric bypass, but while listening to the Proclaimers’ hit “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” he had another idea.
The narrator of that rousing 1988 song vows to walk 500 miles (and 500 more) to prove his devotion to the one he loves. Mr. Hites figured he would not be able to walk such a distance, given that, in addition to carrying so much weight, he was a heavy smoker.
But maybe he could make it that far on a bicycle. Maybe he could even pedal more than 3,000 miles, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. He could see the country, lose some pounds, get a book deal out of it and show the woman he loved that he could change.
In March he created a blog called Fat Guy Across America. He started exercising. He called his estranged wife and told her he was about to do something that would blow her mind. She was skeptical.
He bought a used Mongoose mountain bike from friends in Terre Haute, Ind., for $17. When he took it for a test drive, he was out of breath after 100 yards.
On June 7 he set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for his epic plan. The next week his father drove him east, to the coastal town of Falmouth, Mass., and he wept when he dropped his son off at the side of a road. Mr. Hites had $200. Hitched to the bike was a trailer stocked with a tent and 300 pounds of supplies.
Four months later, having shed about 70 pounds during a zigzag journey that has moved along in fits and starts, Mr. Hites reached New York.
At this point he had roughly 23,000 Facebook followers and numerous online detractors, who traced his slow progress and posted comments suggesting his trip was some kind of elaborate scam. They called him a digital panhandler and worse.
Now he rides in the back of an SUV while his father drives the roads of Rhode Island, looking for someone who can help.
Steven Assanti, 33, said his eating addiction has led him to this place, living in the back of his dad’s SUV with nowhere else to go.
For the past 80 days, Assanti was getting the help he needed in a Rhode Island hospital where he lost 20 pounds. But ordering pizza violated the care plan, and the hospital told him he had to leave.
“I was supposed to stay and lose all my weight, and get down to 550, to get the gastric bypass,” he said. “That was their plan.”
A spokesperson for Rhode Island Hospital said they can’t speak about Assanti or any of their patients’ treatment.
Assanti’s father says taking his son home will be a death sentence, because he’ll just fall back into the habits of lying in bed and eating. So the two men say they will continue to drive around until they can find a place to help.
Americans’ erratic, round-the-clock eating patterns, suggests the new study, have probably contributed to an epidemic of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. But they can be changed, and the restoration of a longer nighttime “fast” shows promise as a means to lower weight and better health, researchers add.
In a study that detailed the consumption patterns of just over 150 nondieting, non-shift-working people in and around San Diego for three weeks, researchers at the Salk Institute in La Jolla found that a majority of people eat for stretches of 15 hours or longer most days — and fast for fewer than nine hours a night.
We snarf a tidbit at a midmorning meeting, nibble for much of the afternoon, knock back a drink or two with dinner and keep noshing till bedtime. Fewer than a quarter of the day’s calories were consumed before noon, they discovered. And more than a third of participants’ average daily calories, the research revealed, were consumed after 6 p.m.
Despite participants’ typical claim to consuming three meals a day, “a breakfast-lunch-dinner temporal pattern was largely absent,” the researchers wrote in an article published Thursday in the journal Cell Metabolism.
Air India last year warned 600 of its 3,500 cabin crew to lose weight within six months or risk being taken off flights and given a job on the ground. The airline now plans to remove about 130 from cabin crew duty because their body mass index (BMI) levels remain above the prescribed limit.
A BMI is a measure of body fat based on a person’s height and weight.
The airline said that the “normal” BMI for an air hostess is between 18 and 22, “overweight” between 22 and 27, and “obese” for a value above 27. For male attendants the brackets were 18 to 25, 25 to 30, and above. The NHS says a “healthy” BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9.
After the state-run airline’s staff were tested last year, the 600 found to be “overweight” or “obese” were declared “temporarily unfit” for flight duties and asked to undergo clinical examinations and lose weight by changing their diet and lifestyle and exercising more, while being monitored by staff.
“About 130 of them failed the reassessment,” an Air India official told The Telegraph in Calcutta. “We are now declaring them permanently unfit for their job as flight attendants.”
“People who are fitter can respond quicker and more efficiently in case of any untoward situation.”
This is not the first time Air India has removed staff from the air for being overweight. In 2009, the airline ground 10 flight attendants who failed to slim down.
In 2013, Air India said that deploying female flight attendants rather than male could save them about £329,000 per year in full costs because they weight on average 33 to 44 pounds lighter.
A member of the All India Cabin Crew Association said the grounding of 130 staff was “ridiculous”, according to The Telegraph.
“Any industry insider would vouch that Air India flight attendants are the best, mainly because of their long experience. So, this guideline and the management’s decision to follow it to the letter is unacceptable.”
The airline has had a difficult year, with a special recruitment day in March welcoming zero attendees. It has also suffered from financial difficulties in recent years, with a government bailout necessary to keep the carrier afloat in 2012.
In the controversial video, Arbour says, “Fat shaming is not a thing. Fat people made that up. That’s the race card, with no race.” She goes on to justify her point in the spirited, six-minute video.
In the YouTube community, where acceptance has flourished and users are prompted to share their own stories (including the high-profile, celebrity-driven “It Gets Better” campaign), the video’s backlash was not unexpected.
Whitney Way Thore, star of TLC’s My Big Fat Fabulous Life, took issue with the video and posted a response of her own, which has gained about 50,000 views. The response was first spotted by CNN.”Fat shaming is a thing. It’s a really big thing, no pun intended. It is the really nasty spawn of a larger parent problem called body shaming, which I’m fairly certain everybody on the planet, especially women, have experienced,” Thore says.
The devastating cost of carrying excess pounds in middle age has been highlighted in a new study which shows every extra point of BMI speeds up the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by nearly seven months.
Although previous studies have suggested that a healthy diet and exercise can ward off dementia, it is the first time that the impact of poor lifestyle has been quantified so starkly.
The obesity epidemic has risen alongside the increase in dementia, and scientists have long suspected a link.
Now US researchers from the government-affiliated National Institute on Ageing have found that even having a BMI (Body Mass Index) just one point over a safe level, speeds up the onset of dementia for people aged 50 or over. For people who are seriously obese, they could develop neurodegenerative disease years a decade before they would have if they were a healthy weight.
“We think these findings are important because they add to a substantial amount of knowledge about how obesity affects Alzheimer’s disease,” said lead author Dr Madhav Thambisetty.
“But more importantly, it indicates if we can maintain a healthy body mass index even as early as midlife, it might have longlasting protective effects towards delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease decades later.”
Kermit the Frog has been spotted out and about with a new lady, Denise, after splitting with his ex-girlfriend Miss Piggy last month.
In typical fashion, people on Twitter had a lot to say about Kermit’s new lady and, while he denies speculation they are romantically linked, the pictures appear to tell another story.
Many have expressed dismay that Kermit the Frog ditched the feminist and fuller-figured Miss Piggy for a younger, skinnier model, who has not yet expressed opinions on the works of Germaine Greer or bell hooks.
Scientists are getting closer to understanding why people indulge after dark and to determining whether those nighttime calories wreak more havoc — whether they drive up the risk of weight gain and of chronic diseases such diabetes — than ones consumed earlier in the day.
“For years, we said a calorie is a calorie no matter when you consume it,” says dietitian Joy Dubost, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “I don’t know if we can say that anymore, based on the emerging research. The timing of a meal may potentially have an impact.”
Most of the major studies on late-night eating have been conducted with animals,night-shift workers and people who, due to a disorder called night eating syndrome, consume at least 25 percent of their daily calories after supper or who wake up to eat at least twice a week.
Studies tend to show that when food is consumed late at night — anywhere from after dinner to outside a person’s typical sleep/wake cycle — the body is more likely to store those calories as fat and gain weight rather than burn it as energy, says Kelly Allison of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine’s Center for Weight and Eating Disorders.
Some animal studies have shown that food is processed differently at different times of day. This could be due to fluctuations in body temperature, biochemical reactions, hormone levels, physical activity and absorption and digestion of food, says Steven Shea, director of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at Oregon Health & Science University.
“The studies suggest that eating out of our normal rhythm, like late at night, may prompt weight gain” and higher levels of blood sugar, which can raise the risk of chronic disease, Allison says.
Coca-Cola, the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages, is backing a new “science-based” solution to the obesity crisis: To maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories.
The beverage giant has teamed up with influential scientists who are advancing this message in medical journals, at conferences and through social media. To help the scientists get the word out, Coke has provided financial and logistical support to a new nonprofit organization called the Global Energy Balance Network, which promotes the argument that weight-conscious Americans are overly fixated on how much they eat and drink while not paying enough attention to exercise.
“Most of the focus in the popular media and in the scientific press is, ‘Oh they’re eating too much, eating too much, eating too much’ — blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks and so on,” the group’s vice president, Steven N. Blair, an exercise scientist, says in a recent video announcing the new organization. “And there’s really virtually no compelling evidence that that, in fact, is the cause.”
Health experts say this message is misleading and part of an effort by Coke to deflect criticism about the role sugary drinks have played in the spread of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. They contend that the company is using the new group to convince the public that physical activity can offset a bad diet despite evidence that exercise has only minimal impact on weight compared with what people consume.