Author Archives: Colby Vorland

Experimental Biology 2014 Nutrition Poster Data Visualizations

All of the abstracts from Experimental Biology are public, and sortable by society (i.e. nutrition, anatomy, etc). So I wrote a little program* to scrape all 1,402 of the nutrition poster abstracts to try some visualizations using the software Gephi. First, here are the top 20 terms appearing in abstracts and the number of times they occur: effects dietary intake children effect food status 135 116 110 109 98 93 81 study mice nutrition vitamin adult consumption supplementation 79 77 76 72 71 71 70 cells diet women associated weight body 69 69 69 67 67 65 Below Read more [...]

The Underappreciated Role of Intestinal Fat Storage

Could a “fatty intestine” be related to insulin resistance and energy balance? These and other provocative questions were addressed by Dr. Elizabeth Parks last Saturday evening at Experimental Biology in San Diego. Organized by the Energy and Macronutrients Research Interest Section, Dr. Parks gave a seminar titled, “Going with your gut: Individual responses in dietary fat absorption.” Dr. Parks’ research often focuses on the cephalic phase of digestion - or the early physiological response Read more [...]

Addressing the Bias in Nutrition Science

“Nutrition deals with something very close to our hearts but often pretty far from our good judgement,” said LA Times journalist Mary MacVean, shortly after she humorously named 10 fad diet books that she received in the last few weeks. MacVean, who received the Science Media Award from ASN for her work in communicating science, introduced the session “Unscientific Beliefs about Scientific Topics in Nutrition” at Experimental Biology in San Diego on Sunday, chaired by Dr. David Allison. The Read more [...]

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 [...]