Odds and Ends

      116 Comments on Odds and Ends

Odds and Ends from the news and reader emails:

The tube diet

Here’s a novel idea for losing weight rapidly:  drip some protein and fat into your stomach through a tube in your nose.  Apparently this is now popular among brides-to-be who want to walk down the aisle wearing a dress they’ll never fit into again.

The K-E diet, which boasts promises of shedding 20 pounds in 10 days, is an increasingly popular alternative to ordinary calorie-counting programs. The program has dieters inserting a feeding tube into their nose that runs to the stomach. They’re fed a constant slow drip of protein and fat, mixed with water, which contains zero carbohydrates and totals 800 calories a day. Body fat is burned off through a process called ketosis, which leaves muscle intact, Dr. Oliver Di Pietro of Bay Harbor Islands, Fla., said.

“It is a hunger-free, effective way of dieting,” Di Pietro said. “Within a few hours your hunger and appetite go away completely, so patients are actually not hungry at all for the whole 10 days. That’s what is so amazing about this diet.”

I have to admit, I’m curious as to why they’re not hungry on 800 calories per day.  Sure, a ketogenic diet can suppress appetite to an extent, but those are semi-starvation rations.  Is it because they don’t smell or taste the food?  Would they be hungrier if they consumed 800 calories of fried eggs instead?

Di Pietro says patients are under a doctor’s supervision, although they’re not hospitalized during the dieting process. Instead, they carry the food solution with them, in a bag, like a purse, keeping the tube in their nose for 10 days straight. Di Pietro says there are few side effects.

Maybe having a tube up your nose for 10 days is an appetite suppressant.  I’d try some self-experimentation with that, but people at work already think I’m odd because I eat sandwiches with no bread.

“The main side effects are bad breath; there is some constipation because there is no fiber in the food,” he said.

“William, do you take this malodorous, constipated woman to be your bride, to have and to hold her, to love and respect her, forsaking all others, until death do you part?”

“Uhhh …”

“William?  WILLIAM!”

Scientists are freakin’ liars

I occasionally receive emails from people who were offended by the “scientists are freakin’ liars” line in my Science For Smart People speech.  Those emails usually include some variation on Who are you to say scientists are liars?  Huh?  Huh?

I’m a guy who can read, that’s who.  Check out this article from the New York Times:

In the fall of 2010, Dr. Ferric C. Fang made an unsettling discovery. Dr. Fang, who is editor in chief of the journal Infection and Immunity, found that one of his authors had doctored several papers. It was a new experience for him. “Prior to that time,” he said in an interview, “Infection and Immunity had only retracted nine articles over a 40-year period.”

The journal wound up retracting six of the papers from the author, Naoki Mori of the University of the Ryukyus in Japan. And it soon became clear that Infection and Immunity was hardly the only victim of Dr. Mori’s misconduct. Since then, other scientific journals have retracted two dozen of his papers, according to the watchdog blog Retraction Watch.

Oh, well.  Probably just one bad apple.

Dr. Fang became curious how far the rot extended. To find out, he teamed up with a fellow editor at the journal, Dr. Arturo Casadevall of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. And before long they reached a troubling conclusion: not only that retractions were rising at an alarming rate, but that retractions were just a manifestation of a much more profound problem — “a symptom of a dysfunctional scientific climate,” as Dr. Fang put it.

Dr. Casadevall, now editor in chief of the journal mBio, said he feared that science had turned into a winner-take-all game with perverse incentives that lead scientists to cut corners and, in some cases, commit acts of misconduct.

In other words …

No one claims that science was ever free of misconduct or bad research … But critics like Dr. Fang and Dr. Casadevall argue that science has changed in some worrying ways in recent decades — especially biomedical research, which consumes a larger and larger share of government science spending.

In October 2011, for example, the journal Nature reported that published retractions had increased tenfold over the past decade, while the number of published papers had increased by just 44 percent. In 2010 The Journal of Medical Ethics published a study finding the new raft of recent retractions was a mix of misconduct and honest scientific mistakes.

Do we have more  bad scientists now than before?  I don’t think so.  The article gives a possible explanation for the 10-fold rise in retractions that I believe has rather a lot to do with it:

Several factors are at play here, scientists say. One may be that because journals are now online, bad papers are simply reaching a wider audience, making it more likely that errors will be spotted.

Indeed, it’s not just other scientists busting bad science anymore.  The so-called “pajamas media” has gotten involved as well.

But other forces are more pernicious. To survive professionally, scientists feel the need to publish as many papers as possible, and to get them into high-profile journals. And sometimes they cut corners or even commit misconduct to get there.

To measure this claim, Dr. Fang and Dr. Casadevall looked at the rate of retractions in 17 journals from 2001 to 2010 and compared it with the journals’ “impact factor,” a score based on how often their papers are cited by scientists. The higher a journal’s impact factor, the two editors found, the higher its retraction rate.

So it’s the journals most cited by other scientists that are most likely to publish bad science.  Or it could be that those journals, because they are more prestigious, feel the most pressure to issue a retraction.

Either way, it doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

They’re not fat because they don’t have access to vegetables

One of recommendations listed in the 2010 USDA’s Dietary Goals report was to make fresh fruits and vegetables more available in poor neighborhoods – in other words, they want politicians to take your money and use it to subsidize fresh produce and the people who sell it.  Because ya know, if only we could get more broccoli and carrots into poor neighborhoods, poor people wouldn’t have such high rates of obesity.

Recent studies disagree:

It has become an article of faith among some policy makers and advocates, including Michelle Obama, that poor urban neighborhoods are food deserts, bereft of fresh fruits and vegetables.

But two new studies have found something unexpected. Such neighborhoods not only have more fast food restaurants and convenience stores than more affluent ones, but more grocery stores, supermarkets and full-service restaurants, too. And there is no relationship between the type of food being sold in a neighborhood and obesity among its children and adolescents.

Even if we’re talking about neighborhoods where there truly aren’t as many vegetables being sold, people get the causality backwards.  The local residents aren’t fat because they don’t have access to vegetables.  The vegetables aren’t available because people don’t buy them.

Some experts say these new findings raise questions about the effectiveness of efforts to combat the obesity epidemic simply by improving access to healthy foods. Despite campaigns to get Americans to exercise more and eat healthier foods, obesity rates have not budged over the past decade, according to recently released federal data.

Duh.  That’s largely because the government’s definition of “healthy foods” is all screwed up.  Nothing wrong with fruits and vegetables, of course, but as long as they keep pushing low-fat diets based on breads, cereals and pasta, they can open a subsidized vegetable stand next to every poor person’s residence in the country and it won’t make any difference.

Advocates have long called for more supermarkets in poor neighborhoods and questioned the quality of the food that is available. And Mrs. Obama has made elimination of food deserts an element of her broader campaign against childhood obesity, Let’s Move, winning praise from Democrats and even some Republicans, and denunciations from conservative commentators and bloggers who have cited it as yet another example of the nanny state.

Speaking in October on the South Side of Chicago, she said that in too many neighborhoods “if people want to buy a head of lettuce or salad or some fruit for their kid’s lunch, they have to take two or three buses, maybe pay for a taxicab, in order to do it.”

Here’s what people like Mrs. Obama can’t seem to grasp:  if enough people in those neighborhoods wanted lettuce and fruit in their kids’ lunches, plenty of greedy capitalists would happily move in to sell them.  In a previous post, I wrote about a chain of stores that tried selling 15-cent bags of apple slices in a poor neighborhood.  The apple slices had to be thrown away because they didn’t sell.

Mrs. Obama has also advocated getting schools to serve healthier lunches and communities to build more playgrounds.

Her office referred questions about the food deserts issue to the Department of Agriculture. A spokesman there, Justin DeJong, said by e-mail that fighting obesity requires “a comprehensive response.”

No problem then.  The government’s on the job and planning a comprehensive response.  That of course means a really expensive and ultimately futile response.

Farm News:  Guineas Gone

Well, we knew we’d make a few mistakes when we took up farming.  The result of our first mistake is that our guinea fowl are all gone.

Once they’d grown considerably and seemed determined to fly around the basement, we decided to move them out to chicken coop.  The theory was they’d bond with the chickens for awhile and get to considering the area their home, then we’d let them free-range.

They free-ranged, all right.  On Sunday we took the girls to see a Sondheim musical at a theater in downtown Franklin.  When we returned home, seven of the guineas were already out and about.  The girls tried to chase them down, which of course merely inspired them to flee.  For a couple of days, they hung around our property, usually waddling around in a pack.  They seemed fond of the creek, so we hoped they’d stick around.

Nope.  We haven’t seen them in two days now.  The other three wandered off as well.  The coop has a fence around it and a big net covering the fence so hawks don’t swoop down and fly away with our chickens, but there are gaps large enough for a determined bird to get out.

We’ll try again after making the area more escape-proof.

The Ace

This has nothing to do with diets, health, fitness or farming, but I feel the need to report it anyway:  I finally got a hole-in-one on my frisbee golf course.  The disc sailed towards the basket about 200 feet away, looked as if it would miss high and to the right, then faded left, hit the chains, and dropped into the basket.  I let out a self-congratulatory war whoop.

Unfortunately, I was out there playing by myself.  You get a hole-in-one, you want a witness.  Since I didn’t have one, I’m telling all of you.


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116 thoughts on “Odds and Ends

  1. James

    Have you considered clipping their wings? My friend had to do it to her ducks so they wouldn’t fly away. (It doesn’t hurt)

    We want guinea fowl who can fly and roost in the trees. The problem was they escaped the coop on the first day, before they bonded with the chickens or associated the coop with home.

  2. Txomin

    On the issue of scientific dishonesty, let us not forget that the “peers” that reviewed those articles were also dishonest as were the editors.

    I would add that (based on my 20 year experienced as author, reviewer, and editor) the problem is the peer-review system itself. It is fundamentally broken. Those interested might also want to know that, in general, dishonesty arises out of incompetence rather than, say, out of evilness.

    I’ve read that peer-review is often based on a buddy system.

  3. Thomas Plummer

    Sadly I have to admit that I understand how a person can bring themselves to try the tube diet. I have been fat for a very long time. Since about the 4th grade in fact. There have been times in my life that I would have done anything to be thin. Even as a fairly intelligent 30 something my mind greedily wraps itself around the tantalizing fantasies of being thin in weeks rather than another year or so of doing it the right way.

    I believe that in the end doing it the right way while it can be tough and requires mountains of patience will not only heal my body for the first time since childhood, but that it will also build character and make me an even stronger person than I was before. 75 pounds of doing it right has all ready changed me forever. I can’t imagine what the last 100 will feel like.

    I wouldn’t want to lose weight on such a drastic diet. The weight would most likely just come back.

  4. Lori

    Probably, some of the same people who want healthier foods available to poor people also oppose WalMart and McDonald’s–two places where you can get fresh fruit and vegetables. Another source that the researchers might not have looked at is street vendors (who’ve been regulated out of business in some places). In parts of Denver in the fall, you can’t go two blocks without passing someone selling roasted chilis. (And tamales year-round. There’s even a muffler shop on Federal Boulevard that offers tamales.) So the fact that nobody’s out there offering broccoli and lettuce suggests there’s not much demand for it.

    Even if you have access to none of this, can’t you ask your mom-and-pop shop to order you a case of green beans?

    Very good points. There was, in fact, a move in Chicago to prevent a Wal-Mart from locating on the South Side. I don’t know if it succeeded.

  5. BruceNZ

    Hi Tom, This is topical and fit into the odds and ends section. As a long time reader and faithful advocate of your work I felt compelled to share this with you. I should warn you that you need to protect your head before reading it in case you feel the desire to bang you head on your desk.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10800154

    Stupidity is a worldwide scourge. You have helped educate the stupidity out of a few of my friends and family and I thank you for it.

    Cheers,
    Bruce

    BANG. BANG. BANG.

    Do people really need to be warned that drinking 10 liters of soda per day is a bad idea?

  6. James

    Have you considered clipping their wings? My friend had to do it to her ducks so they wouldn’t fly away. (It doesn’t hurt)

    We want guinea fowl who can fly and roost in the trees. The problem was they escaped the coop on the first day, before they bonded with the chickens or associated the coop with home.

  7. Txomin

    On the issue of scientific dishonesty, let us not forget that the “peers” that reviewed those articles were also dishonest as were the editors.

    I would add that (based on my 20 year experienced as author, reviewer, and editor) the problem is the peer-review system itself. It is fundamentally broken. Those interested might also want to know that, in general, dishonesty arises out of incompetence rather than, say, out of evilness.

    I’ve read that peer-review is often based on a buddy system.

  8. Txomin

    Sure, there is always the “today for you, tomorrow for me”. In that vein, however, it is much more common to accept/reject according to the status of the author in the community, for let’s be absolutely clear on this, the review system is blind only in name. Anyone that is well-read on the literature of any specialty (presumably anyone with any responsibility in a journal) is aware of who is doing what kind of research as well as, for example, idiosyncratic stylistics and favored background sources. In other words, I can easily tell who authored a paper and, if I can’t, the author can only be a newcomer. Newcomers are generally maltreated independently of the quality of their research.

    While this is a mortal blow in and of itself, it is neither the only one nor the most troublesome.

  9. Thomas Plummer

    Sadly I have to admit that I understand how a person can bring themselves to try the tube diet. I have been fat for a very long time. Since about the 4th grade in fact. There have been times in my life that I would have done anything to be thin. Even as a fairly intelligent 30 something my mind greedily wraps itself around the tantalizing fantasies of being thin in weeks rather than another year or so of doing it the right way.

    I believe that in the end doing it the right way while it can be tough and requires mountains of patience will not only heal my body for the first time since childhood, but that it will also build character and make me an even stronger person than I was before. 75 pounds of doing it right has all ready changed me forever. I can’t imagine what the last 100 will feel like.

    I wouldn’t want to lose weight on such a drastic diet. The weight would most likely just come back.

  10. Lori

    Probably, some of the same people who want healthier foods available to poor people also oppose WalMart and McDonald’s–two places where you can get fresh fruit and vegetables. Another source that the researchers might not have looked at is street vendors (who’ve been regulated out of business in some places). In parts of Denver in the fall, you can’t go two blocks without passing someone selling roasted chilis. (And tamales year-round. There’s even a muffler shop on Federal Boulevard that offers tamales.) So the fact that nobody’s out there offering broccoli and lettuce suggests there’s not much demand for it.

    Even if you have access to none of this, can’t you ask your mom-and-pop shop to order you a case of green beans?

    Very good points. There was, in fact, a move in Chicago to prevent a Wal-Mart from locating on the South Side. I don’t know if it succeeded.

  11. BruceNZ

    Hi Tom, This is topical and fit into the odds and ends section. As a long time reader and faithful advocate of your work I felt compelled to share this with you. I should warn you that you need to protect your head before reading it in case you feel the desire to bang you head on your desk.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10800154

    Stupidity is a worldwide scourge. You have helped educate the stupidity out of a few of my friends and family and I thank you for it.

    Cheers,
    Bruce

    BANG. BANG. BANG.

    Do people really need to be warned that drinking 10 liters of soda per day is a bad idea?

  12. Txomin

    Sure, there is always the “today for you, tomorrow for me”. In that vein, however, it is much more common to accept/reject according to the status of the author in the community, for let’s be absolutely clear on this, the review system is blind only in name. Anyone that is well-read on the literature of any specialty (presumably anyone with any responsibility in a journal) is aware of who is doing what kind of research as well as, for example, idiosyncratic stylistics and favored background sources. In other words, I can easily tell who authored a paper and, if I can’t, the author can only be a newcomer. Newcomers are generally maltreated independently of the quality of their research.

    While this is a mortal blow in and of itself, it is neither the only one nor the most troublesome.

  13. Howard

    As a violinist, weddings are my favorite gigs. I enjoy the pervasive atmosphere of unrealistic optimism. Like thinking that a 10-day (bizarre!) “diet” can solve your weight problem. Coincidentally, one of my guest bloggers posted an article about “getting into shape for the Big Day” yesterday (and I posted a similar comment on it, under another ID).

    BTW, while the blog has made some money, I am still disappointed in the quality of the articles there. I’m launching a new blog this weekend. Tell you about it when we meet up again in 2 weeks.

    Just two more weeks until the cruise! I’m excited! I’m looking forward to your celebrity (low-carb?) roast! My wife is well past excited…

    I’m excited about the roast, but also dealing with the problem of trying to write material about people I don’t know.

  14. Richard

    Oh and you know how often people will say “Oh you think you know better than a Ph.D?”

    When anyone with a brain that reads the full paper and the abstract many times is left wondering how they got that abstract from the data.

    Sadily I think the Low-fat diet so many people are on may be causing brain damage and thus they’re no longer able to actually think for themselves (It might be what the Gov wants).

    Why would we need to think for ourselves when the government is so willing to do make our decisions for us?

  15. NM

    More odds-and-ends. You know you’re LCHF when you look at this article and think “Yum – pity about the bun”.

    http://boingboing.net/2012/04/20/tokyo-reporter-orders-2-7kg-ba.html

    Of course, most of the comments on the post actually say things like “heart-attack on a plate” and asking whether it came with “anti-cholesterol medication”.

    An interesting term: “anti-cholesterol medication”. Like cholesterol is this weird external poison against which we can take an antidote.

    Wow, that looks like a bacon volcano erupted.

  16. bigmyc

    I had a libertarian friend once recently chastized the governments efforts to save the American auto manufacturers based particularly upon the fact that “we shouldn’t be telling business how to conduct their affairs.”…foot. planted. firmly. down. (By the way, this is the same guy, who years earlier, demonstratively insisted over beers at the local tavern that English and German were Romance Languages…and he used to teach Elementary History.)

    Now, I might agree with the absolute idea of lesser government role in business..but that is not what he was selling. He conveniently had no input on whether or not it was prudent to keep the car dieties afloat but when it came to the notion that government was telling them exactly how to spend that money he was all in. You know, call me Fidel Tse Lenin if you like, but, if I’m going to give my money, for compassion’s sake, to somebody who’s shown to be incompetent with their own, I’m gonna take a vested interest in how they spend that money. It’s the least that I could do for such a rudderless outfit that probably has thousands of families dependent upon it’s judgement.

    I suppose the point that I am trying to make is that the government is already taking our money (lots of it) and putting it toward their own contrived interests. By most standards, some of those interests are reasonable, many are not…if you are gonna have agricultural subsidies, why not for local produce? Why not for less advantaged areas? Hell, sure would beat the lectin out of wheat, corn and soy subsidies…not that they’ll ever be replaced anytime soon. Certainly, most could agree that there would be and have been worse “government funded” programs. This one is actually going in the right direction..despite the disputed logic that it seems associated with. As far as I’m concerned, the promotion of local produce is not exactly the most wasteful endeavor.

    I agree that if private companies take government money, the government can tell them how to spend it. But of course I’d back up a step first and ask whether the government has any business taxing away our incomes to give it to private companies. The answer is absolutely not, in my opinion.

    Lots of wasteful programs are justified by pointing out that it’s not really that much money, there are more wasteful programs out there, etc. I don’t believe one wasteful program justifies another. Every time we waste federal dollars, we go deeper into debt.

  17. Mark Jacobs

    A wise man who was in sales once told me something I will never forget, “People buy the shine”. This is the only thing that explains why a bride to be would stick a feeding tube down their nose.

    Amazing what people will do to lose weight quickly. That being said, the low carb diet is quick enough, I have dropped 21 pounds in a little over a month. I do have another 30 to go which I know will take longer.

    The “Dr.” in this article is a marketing genius because he knows that “People buy the shine”. He however is a discredit to the medical community in my opinion.

    Now I know how to book more speaking gigs: I’m going to make myself shiny. (Well, I’ve already accomplished that with my head …)

  18. tess

    contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need fibre to poop. the penultimate example is a breastfed infant — there’s no fibre in their source of nourishment, and poo they do. check out gutsense.org….

  19. Cor Aquilonis

    I think there may be some other factors that may be part of why, generally, poorer people avoid fresh fruits and veg:

    *Never developed the taste for it.
    *Don’t know how to prepare it.
    *Perceive it as a bad value, dollars per calorie wise.
    *Don’t have the energy to prepare it, then clean up.
    *Eating fruit and veg may not be socially acceptable.
    *Lots of waste.
    *Don’t have the utensils/equipment to prepare it.

    I mean, compare a microwave meal with fresh fruit and veg! Microwave meal costs $2-3, takes about 5 minutes of waiting to prepare, only requires a microwave and a fork, takes about a second to clean up, and it fills you up. Fresh fruit and veg cost $5-10 for a dinner, takes about 10-30 minutes of chopping and cutting to prepare, usually requires a lot of specialized utensils, requires extensive clean up, and (if you don’t add protein and fat) doesn’t really fill you up.

    Given the comparison, it would amaze me that working poor person would eat fresh fruit or veg at all!

    It seems the powers that be are trying to take an intellectually lazy way out. “Why don’t people eat veg? Because it’s not available.” I suspect that there are lots of good and bad reasons for poor people not eating fruits and veg, and I doubt a public policy change would be effective in this case.

    Also, congrats on your hole-in-one, and sorry to hear about the guineas!

    What we’re seeing here is the usual urge by government officials to DO SOMETHING about every problem — many of which can’t be solved by government. As the old saying goes, when you’re holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Their hammer is spending and regulation.

  20. Drew @ Willpower Is For Fat Pe

    If the numbers are right, 800 calories per day would not be starvation level, if they are also losing 20 pounds in 10 days. That would mean their body is consuming 2 pounds per day of body fat in addition to the 800 calories consumed orally.

    If they’re capable of releasing fatty acids at that rate, you’re correct. I suspect some aren’t and are losing muscle mass as a result.

  21. Howard

    As a violinist, weddings are my favorite gigs. I enjoy the pervasive atmosphere of unrealistic optimism. Like thinking that a 10-day (bizarre!) “diet” can solve your weight problem. Coincidentally, one of my guest bloggers posted an article about “getting into shape for the Big Day” yesterday (and I posted a similar comment on it, under another ID).

    BTW, while the blog has made some money, I am still disappointed in the quality of the articles there. I’m launching a new blog this weekend. Tell you about it when we meet up again in 2 weeks.

    Just two more weeks until the cruise! I’m excited! I’m looking forward to your celebrity (low-carb?) roast! My wife is well past excited…

    I’m excited about the roast, but also dealing with the problem of trying to write material about people I don’t know.

  22. Jennifer Snow

    I suspect that constantly having small amounts of food in your stomach may help suppress hunger. Granted, since I quit carbs I don’t get hungry much, and I eat only once or twice a day. Generally, I notice being hungry because I feel tired and loggy, not because I’m feeling hungry.

    Also, if the person going on this tube-feeding previously had a high-carb diet, most of that weight loss may be water and not fat or muscle. Carbohydrates make me, at least, retain *enormous* amounts of water, and the first week or so of low-carbing I felt positively shriveled. I actually went into salt deprivation due to all the peeing, and felt terrible until I started snorking down salty food.

    I felt bad for my kidneys, because I imagined they were sitting there going WTF IS GOING ON HERE?!?!?

    With zero carbs and so few calories, much of the weight loss would indeed likely be water.

  23. Richard

    Oh and you know how often people will say “Oh you think you know better than a Ph.D?”

    When anyone with a brain that reads the full paper and the abstract many times is left wondering how they got that abstract from the data.

    Sadily I think the Low-fat diet so many people are on may be causing brain damage and thus they’re no longer able to actually think for themselves (It might be what the Gov wants).

    Why would we need to think for ourselves when the government is so willing to do make our decisions for us?

  24. NM

    More odds-and-ends. You know you’re LCHF when you look at this article and think “Yum – pity about the bun”.

    http://boingboing.net/2012/04/20/tokyo-reporter-orders-2-7kg-ba.html

    Of course, most of the comments on the post actually say things like “heart-attack on a plate” and asking whether it came with “anti-cholesterol medication”.

    An interesting term: “anti-cholesterol medication”. Like cholesterol is this weird external poison against which we can take an antidote.

    Wow, that looks like a bacon volcano erupted.

  25. bigmyc

    I wonder about the credibility of that story as it seems a little fishy. I noticed that it was distributed by that Al Jazeera guy from the Middle East. Isn’t he the guy who purveys radical Islamic thinking and it’s moral impositions including those of that other guy, Al Queda?

    There could be an odor of propaganda here..well, at least until the video is watched, anyway.

    For the record and at any rate, I do agree that billions of gallons of crude in the Gulf of Mexico is not a positive thing.

  26. bigmyc

    I had a libertarian friend once recently chastized the governments efforts to save the American auto manufacturers based particularly upon the fact that “we shouldn’t be telling business how to conduct their affairs.”…foot. planted. firmly. down. (By the way, this is the same guy, who years earlier, demonstratively insisted over beers at the local tavern that English and German were Romance Languages…and he used to teach Elementary History.)

    Now, I might agree with the absolute idea of lesser government role in business..but that is not what he was selling. He conveniently had no input on whether or not it was prudent to keep the car dieties afloat but when it came to the notion that government was telling them exactly how to spend that money he was all in. You know, call me Fidel Tse Lenin if you like, but, if I’m going to give my money, for compassion’s sake, to somebody who’s shown to be incompetent with their own, I’m gonna take a vested interest in how they spend that money. It’s the least that I could do for such a rudderless outfit that probably has thousands of families dependent upon it’s judgement.

    I suppose the point that I am trying to make is that the government is already taking our money (lots of it) and putting it toward their own contrived interests. By most standards, some of those interests are reasonable, many are not…if you are gonna have agricultural subsidies, why not for local produce? Why not for less advantaged areas? Hell, sure would beat the lectin out of wheat, corn and soy subsidies…not that they’ll ever be replaced anytime soon. Certainly, most could agree that there would be and have been worse “government funded” programs. This one is actually going in the right direction..despite the disputed logic that it seems associated with. As far as I’m concerned, the promotion of local produce is not exactly the most wasteful endeavor.

    I agree that if private companies take government money, the government can tell them how to spend it. But of course I’d back up a step first and ask whether the government has any business taxing away our incomes to give it to private companies. The answer is absolutely not, in my opinion.

    Lots of wasteful programs are justified by pointing out that it’s not really that much money, there are more wasteful programs out there, etc. I don’t believe one wasteful program justifies another. Every time we waste federal dollars, we go deeper into debt.

  27. Mark Jacobs

    A wise man who was in sales once told me something I will never forget, “People buy the shine”. This is the only thing that explains why a bride to be would stick a feeding tube down their nose.

    Amazing what people will do to lose weight quickly. That being said, the low carb diet is quick enough, I have dropped 21 pounds in a little over a month. I do have another 30 to go which I know will take longer.

    The “Dr.” in this article is a marketing genius because he knows that “People buy the shine”. He however is a discredit to the medical community in my opinion.

    Now I know how to book more speaking gigs: I’m going to make myself shiny. (Well, I’ve already accomplished that with my head …)

  28. junebug

    The weird thing about the pre-nup tube feeding is that the women they showed in the article aren’t particularily overweight. They said part of the problem is that wedding gowns are sized small and women freak out when the gown they order is a few sizes larger than their normal size. Some of the women even admitted that one ‘benefit’ of the tube was that when they go out in public people thought they had cancer and so gave them preferential treatment. As they say–“That girl ain’t right.”

    Yeesh, that definitely ain’t right.

  29. tess

    contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need fibre to poop. the penultimate example is a breastfed infant — there’s no fibre in their source of nourishment, and poo they do. check out gutsense.org….

  30. Cor Aquilonis

    I think there may be some other factors that may be part of why, generally, poorer people avoid fresh fruits and veg:

    *Never developed the taste for it.
    *Don’t know how to prepare it.
    *Perceive it as a bad value, dollars per calorie wise.
    *Don’t have the energy to prepare it, then clean up.
    *Eating fruit and veg may not be socially acceptable.
    *Lots of waste.
    *Don’t have the utensils/equipment to prepare it.

    I mean, compare a microwave meal with fresh fruit and veg! Microwave meal costs $2-3, takes about 5 minutes of waiting to prepare, only requires a microwave and a fork, takes about a second to clean up, and it fills you up. Fresh fruit and veg cost $5-10 for a dinner, takes about 10-30 minutes of chopping and cutting to prepare, usually requires a lot of specialized utensils, requires extensive clean up, and (if you don’t add protein and fat) doesn’t really fill you up.

    Given the comparison, it would amaze me that working poor person would eat fresh fruit or veg at all!

    It seems the powers that be are trying to take an intellectually lazy way out. “Why don’t people eat veg? Because it’s not available.” I suspect that there are lots of good and bad reasons for poor people not eating fruits and veg, and I doubt a public policy change would be effective in this case.

    Also, congrats on your hole-in-one, and sorry to hear about the guineas!

    What we’re seeing here is the usual urge by government officials to DO SOMETHING about every problem — many of which can’t be solved by government. As the old saying goes, when you’re holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Their hammer is spending and regulation.

  31. Drew @ Willpower Is For Fat People

    If the numbers are right, 800 calories per day would not be starvation level, if they are also losing 20 pounds in 10 days. That would mean their body is consuming 2 pounds per day of body fat in addition to the 800 calories consumed orally.

    If they’re capable of releasing fatty acids at that rate, you’re correct. I suspect some aren’t and are losing muscle mass as a result.

  32. Erik

    The reason the women aren’t reporting that they’re hungry, is if they admitted it to anyone, that person would say “of course you are. Now get that silly tube out of your nose and eat some real food.”

  33. shums

    I know someone who has the same constipation issue on low carb. It isn’t that they have nothing to poop. It is just that it is dry and hard. Sorry to have to explain that but I wanted to just say that constipation isn’t lack of. It is lack of being able to move it. I know the response will be that there must be something else going on there and I/they would agree. The question is what is it? Do some people get this and how do they solve it?

    I’ve heard various suggestions:

    Eat more green vegetables.
    Eat almonds (high in fiber).
    Eat raspberries, blackberries or strawberries (ditto).
    Eat some coconut oil or MTC oil.
    Take a magnesium supplement before bed.

  34. johnny

    Are the tube brides feeding constantly; through rehearsals, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, bridal gown fittings? Would it not be awkward to taste the wedding menu while feeding with the tube?

    I agree poor people should eat more vegetables and should be nudged towards them. I propose substituting food stamps with cans of vegetables.

    I think that will turn into a case of you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

  35. Jenny

    Dysfunctional scientific climate — do they make a pill for that yet?

    They will soon enough.

  36. Peter

    Will NYTimes trumpet K-E feeding tube as standard cure for obesity instead of bariatric surgery (stomach stapling)? K-E has no mortality risk, cheaper( $1.5K vs $15-$25K for surgery), and is reversible.

    Sure, I’d take it over surgery anytime.

  37. Jennifer Snow

    I suspect that constantly having small amounts of food in your stomach may help suppress hunger. Granted, since I quit carbs I don’t get hungry much, and I eat only once or twice a day. Generally, I notice being hungry because I feel tired and loggy, not because I’m feeling hungry.

    Also, if the person going on this tube-feeding previously had a high-carb diet, most of that weight loss may be water and not fat or muscle. Carbohydrates make me, at least, retain *enormous* amounts of water, and the first week or so of low-carbing I felt positively shriveled. I actually went into salt deprivation due to all the peeing, and felt terrible until I started snorking down salty food.

    I felt bad for my kidneys, because I imagined they were sitting there going WTF IS GOING ON HERE?!?!?

    With zero carbs and so few calories, much of the weight loss would indeed likely be water.

  38. bigmyc

    I wonder about the credibility of that story as it seems a little fishy. I noticed that it was distributed by that Al Jazeera guy from the Middle East. Isn’t he the guy who purveys radical Islamic thinking and it’s moral impositions including those of that other guy, Al Queda?

    There could be an odor of propaganda here..well, at least until the video is watched, anyway.

    For the record and at any rate, I do agree that billions of gallons of crude in the Gulf of Mexico is not a positive thing.

  39. Marilyn

    You have to admit — the tube diet is a lot less damaging than bariatric surgery, though the whole idea is incredibly gross.

  40. Janknitz

    I think it is hard for people of low income to access fresh fruits and vegetables. When you can get an entire meal at McDonalds for what a head of lettuce costs, guess what happens?

    That said, I have to agree that subsidizing fruits and vegetables to make them more available won’t necessarily work. We live in a bubble. We make a meal from scratch and sit down with our children EVERY NIGHT for dinner. My eldest, in one of her teenaged rants, even had the gall to complain about how horrible we were making her life by making her sit down and eat dinner with us every night when all her friends got to eat fast food or takeout pizza instead.

    I think that this generation of people (we’re considerably older than the parents of most of our kids’ friends) doesn’t really cook. They get take out. Maybe they cook on holidays, but judging from the sales of “pre-fab” meals at grocery stores, I doubt that, too. It’s so cheap and easy to take out. Nothing to clean up (if you don’t count the mountain of waste that puts in our landfills).

    So the veggies and fruit could be dirt cheap in the stores, and I doubt people would buy it anyway.

    We used to eat out once or twice a month–at a sit down restuarant (like Applebees). But our dining budget was slashed with the economy, and I’m glad of it–that wasn’t healthy food. I feel proud when we put a meal on the table that we’ve made ourselves–at one point I even baked all of our family’s bread (another rant my daughter had!). It feels good to put healthy and frugal food on the table, and despite my daughter’s rants, I think we have a pretty strong family because of it.

    We’re down to eating out once per week. That usually becomes my high-calorie, higher-carb meal for the week as well.

  41. Jenny

    Hey, Tom…. raise your baby guineas WITH your baby chicks in the chicken coop. Otherwise, the guineas will never bond with chickens. I love my guineas…they eat ticks!

    Too late, unfortunately. The chickens are already getting pretty big.

  42. Galina L.

    When I just came to live in the USA, I worked for a while in a department store in order to became more fluent in English. My working place was in an underwear department as a bra-fitter. I saw many ladies with hard to solve problems, some unusual cases. One of saddest ones was the bride who came to buy a lingerie for her honeymoon. She had just lost 20 lb on a crash diet and her breasts became completely flat and floppy like deflated balloons. It looked like there were very little tissue inside the skin, it hang till her waist and no available tricks to deal with body imperfections could hide such condition. Not a happy bride!

    Sounds as if she lost weight in the wrong areas.

    If I pretend to be an immigrant, can I get one of those bra-fitter jobs?

  43. junebug

    The weird thing about the pre-nup tube feeding is that the women they showed in the article aren’t particularily overweight. They said part of the problem is that wedding gowns are sized small and women freak out when the gown they order is a few sizes larger than their normal size. Some of the women even admitted that one ‘benefit’ of the tube was that when they go out in public people thought they had cancer and so gave them preferential treatment. As they say–“That girl ain’t right.”

    Yeesh, that definitely ain’t right.

  44. Erik

    The reason the women aren’t reporting that they’re hungry, is if they admitted it to anyone, that person would say “of course you are. Now get that silly tube out of your nose and eat some real food.”

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