Sunday, December 16, 2007

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

The fecking feckless Daily Mail. Again. To be honest, it's getting a bit repetitive; boring even. And yet, by some god/allah/visnu-awful twist of fate/luck/karma I keep getting exposed to the utterly, irredeemably and continuously nonsensical tosh that appears in the 'Health' pages of this miserable waste of paper, and each time the result is the same - incandescent rage, tempered (or encouraged) by some Highland Park.

Now, the ScienceMangle™ seems to be a bit rusty, as the Daily Wail are allowing other people to do their 'Science' writing - namely, the people who are trying to flog some fad nonsense.

Laydeez and gentermen, I present to you the Lemon Juice Diet. Lemon Juice! Of course! Why hadn't some clever person thought of this before? Lemon JUICE! It's so simple when you think about it.

Opening lines:

Hoping to lose a few pounds before Christmas but gloomy about your chances of success with conventional diets? Then lemons could be the answer.

No. Keeping calories in less than calories out will do that. Lemons may well be part of that; but really, honestly, they aren't necessary. As has been bleated by any boffin with an ounce of knowledge, plenty of veg, some meat, not too much alcohol, a bit of exercise, not too much sugar, salt and fat and pretty much everything will be OK.

Not so the advice from Theresa Cheung, author of the Lemon Juice diet. Or erm, actually, yes, erm, this IS the advice of Theresa Cheung author of the Lemon Juice diet. It seems that Theresa Cheung also believes that lemons aren't necessary. But then, how is she going to flog a miserable book as a stocking filler to fat women (that's an educated guess) before Christmas.

Let's have a look and see what this wizardina of nutrition has to say about how lemons will thinify us all. Like every good, hollow, empty, self-promoting, miserable, fad rubbish that the Daily Mail likes to lavish on its unintelligent readers, it has Seven Principles. Everybody knows 7 is good. (In ad-land anyway).

1. Drink lemon juice with warm water every morning. Starting the day with the juice of a lemon in a glass of warm water will stimulate your digestive system.

Water is also crucial to weight loss. Water aids healthy digestion and the elimination of waste, so make sure you drink six to eight glasses a day. Alcohol should be limited to one small glass of wine a day, and keep coffee and tea to a minimum. Avoid fizzy drinks and sweetened fruit juices.

Ah yes, the old 6 glasses of water a day chestnut. A staple diet of the rubbish fad dieter. Good to get that digestive system stimulated. Apparently that helps lose weight.

2. Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. All vegetables and most fruits are low-calorie nutritional powerhouses, rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and nutrients that can boost immunity, balance hormones, calm the nervous system, aid digestion and help weight loss.

This is not anything to with lemons. In fact, it's government guidelines. What is it about rubbish fad diets that always need things to 'aid digestion' and 'boost immunity'?

3. Balance your blood sugar levels. Irritability, poor concentration, fatigue and headaches are all symptoms of fluctuating blood sugar levels, which can make you crave sweet and fattening foods. When blood sugar levels swing too high, so does insulin. This hormone helps shuttle blood sugar (glucose) into your cells to be used as energy. In other words, it promotes fat storage.

Eat protein with each meal, as it steadies your blood sugar by delaying the absorption of carbohydrates and fats. Eating five or six times a day will combat food cravings.

Again, not a whole load about lemons.

4. Cut down on sugar-rich foods. This give you a brief high followed by a big slump, and leave you feeling edgy and tired. Refined foods - such as white bread , white rice, instant potatoes and cornflakes - can act like sugar in your system, and end up being stored as fat. Instead, stick to whole grain, fruit, vegetables and protein.

Natural sugars in fruit can hit your bloodstream fast, so don't eat a piece of fruit without a handful of nuts or seeds to slow the impact. Beware of artificial sweeteners as they can increase sugar cravings.


5. Forgot low fat - your body needs some fat to lose weight. Unsaturated fats can help with weight loss by delaying the passage of carbohydrates into your bloodstream, keeping blood sugar levels stable and insulin down.

Avoid saturated fats - found in red meat, cakes and pastries - and trans-fatty acids in processed foods. These are low in nutrients and can increase your risk of heart disease and obesity.

Increase your consumption of omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids found in nuts, seeds and oily fish, and unsaturated fat found in extra virgin olive oil.


6. Eat lots of fresh whole foods. Switch from processed to whole foods to boost your intake of the nutrients your body needs for weight loss. Whole foods such as beans, pulses and lentils also contain fibre, which stimulates the digestive system and can slow down the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose.

Best of all, whole foods are free of hidden sugar and chemicals that overload your liver, making it hard for your body to digest food and burn fat. Choose brown pasta, wholegrain bread and cereals, vegetables, fruit, fresh soups, smoothies and juices (not from concentrate), and eat a salad with every meal


7. Slow things down. Eat slowly and chew properly. Chewing relaxes the lower stomach muscle and triggers nerve messages that activate the digestive process. If food is not properly chewed, nutrients remain locked in and undigested.

Keep portions moderate, and eat at regular times. If you find you're still hungry, wait 20 minutes for your brain to catch up with your stomach and recognise that you are full.

Your stomach and intestines are sensitive to stress. When you feel anxious, digestion will shut down, leaving food partially digested. So finding ways to manage stress is not only important for your emotional health, but your digestive health, too.

And at the risk of sounding repetitive, em, lemons?

Now. The final bit,

If you combine these seven principles with an exercise regime involving 30 minutes of aerobic activity five or six days a week, within just a week you should start feeling healthier and your clothes will be looser. By week two, you will be dropping pounds.

What the hell/purgatory/limbo is this all about? Here is a 'diet' based on the wonderment of lemon juice, which doesn't involve lemons, and says "do this alongside 30 mins excercise most days". I reckon most people could continue their diet EXACTLY as is, but if they did 30 mins of aerobic activity five or six days a week, they wouldn't be needing to increase the import of lemons.

Don't get me wrong, there is some good advice here, but you will appreciate that there is nothing new or rocket-sciencey in it. Or, surprisingly, much about lemons.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Not big and not clever.

Am crazy busy, so will just put the nub of the heart of the gist up, without my usual wibblings.

Equazen Eye Q (TM) adverts have been given a roasting by the Advertising Standards Agency here:

The final paragraph says it all:

We told Equazen to remove the claims "... may help maintain concentration levels and healthy brain development", "the Clever Capsule"Scientifically tested in schools", "proven in schools" and "proven by Science" from future advertising for eye q. We also told them to avoid implying in future that the advertised product could benefit the general population or that a trials results related to a product with exactly the same composition and dosage as the advertised product if that was not the case

The Durham Fish Oil 'trials' were a joke and the company is the leading the PseudoScientific charge. Not very clever.

EDIT: Should say, as sadly often is the case, that pesky duck has blogged this more eruditely and fully than I ever could here :)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Indulge me, please.....

Pope offers reduced Purgatory TimeShare

Here is Dr* T's one-sided view of life-after-death as seen by Roman Catholics.

Once upon a time, a man said "Follow me, so that when you die you will live forever and not fry". Pretty straight forward. Then some other chap piped up and said "Now, how's about someone does that, and then just before carking it, tells a white lie or steals or goat or something - those are unrepentant sins and so they'll fry, yah?". Much stroking of beards.

"Aha! Perhaps there is a different place in between heaven and hell where people can have a little bit of eternal punishment which will clean their filthy wretched souls and make them suitable for pearly gatedom", said a different chap followed by "and a donation to the church would help shuffle them through".

What a wheeze! People pay money to the church to help loved ones pass quickly through the little bit of eternal torment. There wasn't a strict tarriff neither was there a letter confirming when the said soul had been purified. Best to keep paying. And all this long before labour party peerages.

You can get the official version here.

Luckily, whilst on earth you can open a credit account, where the currency is The Indulgence (I$). You can be awarded indulgences which will limit the amount of time you need to stay in purgatory - although the Church is at pains to point out that it

does not claim to know anything about how long or short purgatory is in general, much less in a specific person's case

Now for most people, indulgences and purgatory are 'old skool'. A bit medieval.

Nonetheless, everyone's favourite German Pope has decided (in his infallible wisdom) that anyone visiting Lourdes in the year starting Dec 8 can have an indulgence, which will the reduce the (undefined) time spent in (undefined place) purgatory.

Lourdes remember was the place where Mary (virginal single mum) appeared as an apparition in 1858 to a 14-year-old girl. So as not to have people believe that the girl was just ADHD, The Good Lady had the decency to appear another 17 times. (Unlike the last Pope who appeared a paltry once, and even then for a split second in a bonfire. No real style.)

Only a twisted cynic would point out that 5 million visitors now come to Lourdes to see and give money to the Church there, so perhaps El Papa is showing his business sense in telling people that in this bonus year, you can reduce your time in the fires. I do hope The Sun runs this story with the headline "Herr-ching".

In the event of death (and subsequent breach of contract), I reckon you'd be hard pushed to get your money back. It's probably in the smallprint.