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The Brown Fat Takeaway TIME Magazine Missed

scientist

Full confession: I love to read about brown fat, a relatively newly discovered form of fat that burns calories directly. Brown fat might be the key to weight loss, writes Alice Park, who covers breaking health news for TIME magazine. Last week, she published, Why Brown Fat May Be the Key to Weight Loss. Kudos to TIME for covering valuable research (when others did not.) But there’s a lot more to add. First, some words about brown fat.

The body makes two kinds of fat: white fat, familiar to all, the storage form of energy, and brown fat that is not stored but burned directly as fuel. When triggered by exposure to the cold, brown fat generates heat (white fat just sits there). Hibernating animals produce brown fat to stay warm during the winter. Newborn babies have lots of brown fat, their own little furnaces, to protect against the cold. We used to think that adults could not make brown fat, but now we know everyone can turn white fat into brown when there is need.
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Dr. Oz Calls Organic Eaters “Elite” and Promotes Canned Vegetables

Oh, Dr. Oz what have you done now? Just this week an article titled “What to Eat Now: The Anti-Food-Snob Diet” was released in Time Magazine. Dr. Oz wrote lengthy reasons as to why frozen and canned foods were just as healthy as organic products. A man’s entitled to his opinion, right? So what’s the big deal? Well, the organic community is up in arms because the good doctor used to be on their side promoting organic food as the safest, most healthy option. And when they say “used to be,” they mean like two months ago. It seems the famous doctor has got some explaining to do.

In the Time article Dr. Oz says there is very little difference between the produce at the farmers market and the products in the freezer section or canned food aisle.

Dr. Oz said, “After several years of research and experience, I have come to an encouraging conclusion: the American food supply is abundant, nutritionally sound, affordable and, with a few simple considerations, comparable to the most elite organic diets.”

Many people did not take kindly to being called “elite” because they have chosen to heed the advice of many experts and shop organic. Dr. Oz also referred to those who purchase organics as the 1%.

“Save the cash: the 99% diet can be good for you,” he wrote.

Interestingly though, writer and editor of NaturalNews.com, Mike Adams, pulled out one of Dr. Oz’s quotes from just two months ago. In October 2012, Dr. Oz stated, “so you’re being told organic food is no more nutritious than conventional and it’s not worth your extra money. Well I’m here to say that it is worth the investment. Why do I say that? Pesticides.”
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Time Magazine Confuses Healthy Stress with Anxiety

The TIME Magazine cover article from December 5, 2011, by Alice Park titled The Two Faces of Anxiety has raised a bit of a ruckus online. Mostly, bloggers have questioned the choice to make Why Anxiety Is Good For You the cover art in the United States, while a graphic image of the Egyptian revolution was published in Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific editions. It has been questioned whether TIME believes Americans do not care about world events or are simply that self-focused. It seems to me that the editors of TIME simply believe “anxiety” is a buzzword that will sell in America, and apparently more than an uprising in Egypt. This seemed even more likely after watching the interview the senior editor of TIME did with CNN to discuss the problem of anxiety that they claim 18 percent of American adults suffer from.


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Time’s Take on Organics: Too Much Compromise

Oranic Food in TImeFor veterans of the organic food debate, the cover story of Time Magazine offers few new insights into the question of eating cleanly and sustainably. Any general discussion of the food industry in America is rife with rhetorical potholes, and the debate is as massive and complex as our food production systems themselves.

The Time article, written by Jefferey Kluger, makes a judicious attempt at outlining some of the biggest points of contention in the great food debate: cost, nutritional value of organics vs. conventional food, treatment of livestock, fertilizers and pesticides. He also oddly tries to extricate himself from the debate in which he is participating, referring to “food purists” and “the shouting of the food partisans.” If Kluger is trying to mount a non-partisan argument, he ends by leap-frogging from issue to issue without settling for a conclusion. While Kluger ultimately appears to be in support of organic food and the consumption of less meat, he seems dismissive of the practicality of feeding the nation with organic food.
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Protect Your Health for Your Great Grandchildren

generationsNature v. nurture is an important debate in both psychology and adoption, my two careers. I think it can be pretty big in discussing weight gain and weight loss as well. Is our body shape pre-determined by our genes or a result of the environment in which we are raised? I have generally taken the stance that we have certain genetic pre-dispositions; however, those can be altered through our behavior and environment. Apparently the relationship between genetics and environment is even more complicated than that.
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