Monthly Archives: March 2012

In defense of the attack on red meat

IMG_9815Earlier this week, results from a study looking at the correlation of red meat consumption and mortality was released, and then we saw a bunch of articles being like “omg red meat kills you”:

All red meat is risky, a study finds

Study: Too much red meat may shorten lifespan

The Silent Killer: New Study Suggests Eating Red Meat Poses Serious Health Risks

and then of course, whenever anyone attacks red meat, butt-hole Cross Fitters feel the need to defend it with snarky articles like Will Eating Red Meat Kill You? where the main argument is “u guys r so stupid this is a correlation study that doesn’t prove causation and the study’s not perfect.”

Or you’ll just get a Facebook post from Martin Berkhan that looks like this:

Go look up the meaning of “correlation does not imply causation” before asking me to debunk the latest red meat scaremongering BS.

But can we all take a step back for a second and look at what we’re talking about? The study was led by guys like Dr. Frank Hu. I never personally met the guy, but from his picture, he looks halfway nice, and he does things like try to help people with diseases like heart disease and obesity… disease. They got a giant sample of people and noticed that there was a link between mortality and eating red meat. This is probably pretty important for people that look like this (probably also their main audience):

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Then, a bunch of people that look like this were all like, “what? I eat red meat all the time, I never got mortality! You’re a charlatan!”

dallas

Look at them! They’re laughing when they deadlift! Do you have any idea how much weight that is??? One does not laugh when one lifts that much weight!

Yes, if you look like that and have that much weight on a barbell, you can probably eat red meat. Sorry if the honor of your meat choice was somehow sullied.

In defense of the study though – they weren’t trying to trick you. They did even say:

Men and women with higher intake of red meat were less likely to be physically active and were more likely to be current smokers, to drink alcohol, and to have a higher body mass index. In addition, a higher red meat intake was associated with a higher intake of total energy but lower intakes of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

They explain that other variables are in play here, and they are not implying that red meat alone is killing people. They’re just saying that if you look like this, then you may want to reconsider some things:

mikefat

A few last notes: I like Mark’s Daily Apple and Martin Berkhan, and I am a big fan of red meat, which I’ve been eating almost on a daily basis since my last asshole doctor told me it was bad for me. I also am a big fan of writing snarky responses to things, but since people beat me to the punch to write an article about how the news seems to be overreacting to it (which is way better than a blog post that I would’ve written), I had to write a snarky blog post about how people are overreacting to the news overreacting about it.

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The air squat challenge

I saw this photo on pinterest and loved it so much that I thought I should share it:

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What a great photo! It’s another great image from site “Lose Weight Safe” which has nothing to do with the article it’s posted for (the article was actually on building arm strength). I especially like the squat form. Let’s talk about it:

What’s good about her form

  • Keeps her knees back behind her toes (and thus extends her posterior back to engage glutes/hamstrings)
  • Maintains a slight arch in the lower back
  • Good head position keeping the cervical spine in a neutral-ish position

What can be improved

  • She can probably go a bit lower to further engage the hams/glutes and take some load off the knees.
  • She should keep her center of gravity over her heels and not half a foot behind them so as to not require the hand of God to hold her up

But other than it being physically impossible to maintain, lookin’ good! Keep it up!

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Why would anyone ever eat Good Friends?

51QKZ0Y0ZVL__SL500_AA300_ special buddies

Kashi Good Friends Cereal

Rob & Big’s Special Buddies Cereal

In 2007, I bought a box of Kashi Good Friends cereal thinking that it would be “healthy,” and it was one of the most awful experiences of my life. It didn’t taste like anything, and it was really crunchy and weird. I felt like I was being punished for something. The question I’d like to investigate in this blog post is: why would anyone subject themselves to that? And is there something better they can do? Let’s take a look at the nutrition facts!

nutritionfacts_goodfriends

I pulled the nutrition facts from Kashi’s website. A serving has ~160 calories, 5g of protein, and 42g of carbs (12 of which are from fiber). This means that if you’re eating Kashi, you’re probably doing it for one (or a combination of) the following reasons:

  1. You’re looking for a good source of fiber.
  2. You’re looking for a source of carbs (and you didn’t know that you could get this practically anywhere).
  3. You’re looking for a source of protein (and you just happened to choose a pretty crappy one).
  4. You don’t know anything about nutrition and you just kinda thought that anything Kashi makes is healthy.
  5. You’re a masochist.

If you fall in groups 4 or 5, then it sounds like your execution plan aligns well with your goals, so keep fighting the good fight.

If you fall under groups 1 or 3, I feel like there are things you can do that are less unpleasant than eating Good Friends. For example:

Quest Protein Bars

I’ve personally never tried them, but my roommate has, and he describes them as probably having crack in them because they’re so addicting. They also apparently have ridiculous macros.

nutrition_questbar

If you fall under group 2 and are just looking for carbs, everything’s got carbs and is less disgusting than Good Friends. For example:

  • Bread
  • Rice
  • Cake
  • Other cereal that isn’t as awful as Good Friends
  • Twinlab Ultrafuel – I used this when I was carb loading. It tastes like a chalky fruit punch, which I eventually learned to like, but even before that, it was significantly less foul than Good Friends.

So there you have it. No one has any reasons for eating Good Friends anymore.

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5 more Reasons to drink lemon water

Here’s another wonderful tumblr post that made its way onto pinterest:

5 Reasons to Drink Lemon Water

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Quoth the raven:

Balance pH, keep skin clear and glowing, kick start the digestive system, lose weight, control the coffee habit

The following are the sources cited:

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The following are 5 equally valid, equally scientifically supported reasons to drink lemon water:

  1. Keeps bears away. They smell the citrus in your pheromones from miles away.
  2. Provides electrolytes to your distilled water!
  3. Reduces flatulence. Lemon mixes with methane to produce sunshine and daisy smells.
  4. Detoxes your body by secreting enzymes that absorb impurities in your blood!
  5. Tones your muscles without bulking you up!

What I really mean: Drink all the lemon water you want as it’s probably fine, but don’t be under the illusion that it any way balances any pH, keeps your skin clear, affects your digestive system, helps you lose weight, or controls your coffee habit.

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A stupid article about calories

There’s an awful article about calories and weightloss that keeps getting pinned to Pinterest under “fitness.” In case you’re not familiar with Pinterest, it’s where the fitness cognoscenti go to compare notes. You can read the article here:

Calorie Definition and Weight Loss

It makes me angry for the following reasons:

  1. It shows this picture of delicious cookies but doesn’t actually talk about the cookies. I was hoping there’d be a recipe or something. LIES ALL LIES.cookie
  2. Its long detailed explanation of what calories really are is completely irrelevant to weight loss.

Yeah, sure, often we say “calories” when we mean “kilocalories,” and sure, in doing so, we lose sight of how it represents energy and how the energy is actually calculated, but unless you’re analyzing the energy content of your own food using your own home-made bomb calorimeter, none of this actually matters in terms of fitness. The calories listed on the “Nutrition Facts” on the back of food is the same unit of measure of the number on the display of your treadmill. If your treadmill is being sneaky and giving you “calories” and not “kilocalories” to make you feel better about your workout and you don’t notice it, it’s really your fault because you’re off by a factor of a thousand.

In case you don’t realize how ridiculous it is to be off by a factor of a thousand, here are some statements that are off by a factor of a thousand:

  • The United States consists of 50,000 states.
  • My commute to work in Seattle took me about 10,000 minutes, door-to-door.
  • There are 6.02 x 1026 molecules in a mole.

See? Ridiculous! Now can somebody tell me how to make those cookies????

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wtf COME ON–detox smoothie

Just saw this on pinterest under “fitness”:

detox-smoothie-ingredients3

Come on, wtf? Is the logic here that if you put in something Asian, some leafy greens, and a bunch of vitamin C in anything, it becomes detoxifying? Because I’m just going to throw this out there: one of these is a cup of pineapple juice, and one of these is a can of Coca Cola.

nutritionfacts cocacola nutritionfacts pineapple juice

I also take issue with the idea of calling this concoction a “smoothie.” I don’t know exactly how to define a smoothie, but I’d imagine that some juice with a bunch of spinach in it does not a smoothie make. Don’t you at least need some ice for viscosity or something? COME ON.

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