Naturopathic distraction

This morning I saw a press release that said "Treatment by naturopathic doctors shows reduction in cardiovascular risk factors" based on a Canadian study. The skeptical bells went off in my head as I read it: this sure seems like a study designed to legitimize naturopathy by focusing on non-controversial practices. To add, 10 of 14 of the authors are from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. The full text is freely available here. As a short summary of the study, Canada Post employees Read more [...]

When gadgets go beyond the data: HAPIfork

A vibrating fork called the "HAPIfork" got a lot of buzz (sorry) last week with promises to help you lose weight, enhance digestion, and improve overall feeling by letting you know when you are eating too fast and thus slowing you down. I was surprised at these claims, given that I have read some of the research on eating speed and weight and found it mixed, and overall unconvincing. My post on that is here. The research spans back to the 1960s, but curiously, the company only cites research Read more [...]

2012: A year of nutrition according to twitter

In the past I've done a favorites list at the end of each year, but I've been enjoying using Python to download tweets, so I decided to try something new. I downloaded the last year's worth of tweets from people who in my opinion consistently link to good sources and combined them all to see what links were most popular. I used a number of people from the list that I maintain here. Obviously my focus was nutrition, but the people I chose represent a broad survey of food, nutrition, biotech, and other Read more [...]

An analysis of Prop37 (GMO) twitter activism

The election this November had an important topic on California ballots: Proposition 37, which would require the labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients. It ended up failing by just under 3% margin. While I didn't support the initiative (though I don't live in California), it was fascinating to observe both sides of the campaigns and activists on Twitter leading up to and after the election. This was an opportune time to get a glimpse at GMO activism, so I collected tweets Read more [...]

Analysis of #FNCE tweets

The annual Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' (AND) Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) is a huge conference with an estimated 10,000+ in attendance, and there were many people people tweeting about it under the hashtag #FNCE. So I thought collecting the tweets & running some basic analyses might reveal some interesting things. If others want to poke around, I uploaded the dataset I collected here. Methods Unfortunately, I didn't have the foresight to write a script to grab Read more [...]

Member attitudes toward corporate sponsorship of AND

I've written several posts critical of the companies allowed to become partners with/sponsors of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND or formerly the American Dietetics Association or ADA). Companies like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Hershey, etc seem like odd choices to give positive press messages or lead moderation campaigns using RD credentials to sell product, as just a couple examples. Especially when the scientific evidence supporting the link between some of their products and negative health Read more [...]

Update to @ScholarlyBot: Push Papers to Mendeley

Last month I posted about @ScholarlyBot, a bot I wrote that checks for full texts on Google Scholar through twitter. If you use Mendeley, thanks to their great example client, I was able to add the ability to push papers from links to your Mendeley library. This can make for a nice to-read list in Mendeley, or enable you add things if you don't have Mendeley installed. To do so, first you must authorize @ScholarlyBot to access your library. Follow these steps (you only need to do this once): Follow Read more [...]

Scrambled messages about eggs

Headlines plastered across the web in the last couple days said that eating eggs is almost as bad for your heart as smoking: "No yolk: eating the whole egg as dangerous as smoking?" writes the LA Times "Eggs found to be as dangerous for the heart as smoking, new study suggests" says the Global Post "Eggs move back to the naughty list" notes The Globe and Mail Along with many more These were prompted by a press release from The University of Western Ontario titled "Research finds egg Read more [...]

A twitter bot to monitor for pubmed links and check for full papers: @ScholarlyBot

I am trying to improve my coding skills, so I pieced together a python script that sarcastically replied to people to wrote "Dr Oz" and "great" in a tweet. That account was quickly suspended, so I made something a little more useful- one that checks for full texts of research papers indexed by Google Scholar using twitter as the interaction medium, through the account @ScholarlyBot. It does 2 3 4 5 things: You can @ it a Google Scholar query and it will check if the first result has an Read more [...]

Westerner energy expenditure compared to a hunter-gatherer population is equivalent

Last year I wrote of a meta-analysis on energy expenditure in industrialized countries vs developing countries, that counter-intuitively found that it was on average not different. Today a study by Herman Pontzer and colleagues published in PLOS ONE adds to this debate on whether food or being sedentary is primarily fueling societal obesity, by comparing a Western population with a modern hunter-gatherer population, the Hadza. And again the results are unexpected. Here is a summary of the study Read more [...]