Author Archives: Colby Vorland

Population proportion below micronutrient DRIs

For a recent post about multivitamins on the American Society for Nutrition's blog, I used the most recent NHANES data with nutrient data available (2009-2010) along with current Dietary Reference Intake (RDA or AI) values to estimate the proportion of 4 American population groups below the DRI for 21 micronutrients (males and females, age 19-30; males and females, over 70), and the proportion of the groups below if they all took a Centrum Adults multivitamin. Here they are reproduced in a larger Read more [...]

10 reasons to give up Health Magazine for diet soda information

An article titled "10 reasons to give up diet soda" has made its way around the web in the last few months, most recently to CNN this week. Below I reproduce each of their reasons and explain why it is scientifically misleading. It confuses your body Artificial sweeteners have more intense flavor than real sugar, so over time products like diet soda dull our senses to naturally sweet foods like fruit, says Brooke Alpert, author of "The Sugar Detox." Even more troubling, these sugar stand-ins Read more [...]

What to eat according to twitter

This week Dr. Coupland joked that he eats anything he sees recommended on twitter. It occurred to me that I could look at foods talked about on twitter by collecting tweets and matching each word against the list of foods in the USDA Nutrient Database. Challenge accepted! First, I scraped each food (discarding specifics after commas) from the database, which provided 975 foods. Then, I downloaded the last 3200 tweets (or until the start of 2013) from the following groups and performed the word Read more [...]

#FNCE 2013 and 2012 tweet comparison

Last year I collected #FNCE tweets (the annual Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ (AND) Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo) and did some simple analyses. I did the same this year and here are some comparisons. The dataset is available here.   2013 2012 Total tweets 14,795 14,512 Unique tweeters 2,043 1,570 Stats (tweets per person) Mean 7.2 Median 1 SD 18.1 Mean 9.2 Median 2 SD 22.3 Top 10 tweeters (people on both lists underlined) TheScarletRD 236 LeanGrnBeanBlog Read more [...]

Why be on Twitter for Food & Nutrition Professionals

I wrote a blog post for the American Society for Nutrition on how Twitter can be useful to food and nutrition professionals. Because of space constraints, I had to cut down and even remove a few thoughtful quotes that I received from many health and nutrition scientists and professionals when I asked them what they liked about it. So below are the full quotes of the 9 responses I received. Also, if you are just getting started and don’t know who to follow, you might want to have a look through Read more [...]

Artificial Opinions

Note: A shorter version of this post appears on Weighty Matters. An opinion article in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism by Dr. Susan Swithers about artificial sweeteners made for scary articles last week. Here is a small sampling: "Do Diet Drinks Mess Up Metabolisms?" at NPR's The Salt "Diet soda may do more harm than good" at CNN (in which the journalist says Stevia isn't a chemical and Swithers is quoted saying saccharin is a derivative of tar- in fact it was discovered Read more [...]

What’s Bleach Doing in My Fruit?

This article was originally published on Food Product Design. Last month, I came across a blog post at Prevention magazine titled “What’s Anti-Freeze Doing in Fast Food?” [edit: original link is broken- now here as of July], based on a blog post titled “6 Cosmetic Chemicals in Fast Food.” The intent is to frighten people away from fast food by pointing out some scary sounding chemicals used in food production and preservation, like propylene glycol and sodium stearoyl lactylate that happen Read more [...]

Dr. Oz’s not-so-sweet artificial sweetener recommendations

Dr. Oz writes today that artificial sweeteners are "linked to diabetes and some forms of cancers – including cancers of the colon, kidney, and esophagus." The study he links is by Gallus and colleagues (2006), who actually found that artificial sweeteners were NOT linked to any of those cancers. There was a positive association for total artificial sweetener consumption only with laryngeal cancer, but an inverse with breast and ovarian cancer. So do artificial sweeteners prevent cancer too? Read more [...]

Lazy Scholar Chrome Extension

I got tired of highlight title-> ctrl+c -> open Google Scholar -> ctrl+p -> search every time I want to check if Google Scholar has indexed the full text of a scientific abstract that interests me. So I wrote a Chrome Extension to save some clicks. You can get it at the Chrome Web Store. Note: it does a lot more than what is listed below now. To see all features, click through to the Chrome Web Store. It does this so far: Click the icon while browsing an abstract (on pubmed Read more [...]

Experimental Biology tweets #EB2013

As I've done for another conference, I collected tweets for this year's Experimental Biology conference with a Python script that I wrote and played around with them in R. I could not attend but it was great to follow along through twitter. Check out David Despain's roundup post for nutrition coverage. Here is the spreadsheet of 5,455 tweets starting on 4/18 at 4:21PM EST through 4/28 at 6:34PM EST: link. This is obviously more days than the conference, but if anyone wants to do any analysis you Read more [...]