In the past 6 weeks, I've been to 2 scientific conferences on nutrition. One was targeted to physicians to get them up to speed on nutrition topics and the other was for Dr. Dorks like myself to present new research. As you can imagine, there is lots of stuff going on in nutrition these days. Here are a few of the learnings from these meetings:
- There is a LOT of concern over people eating too much of specific vitamins and minerals. Bad things could happen....like cancer. It seems that folks get into trouble when they combine highly fortified foods and supplements. For example, eating a bowl of Total cereal, taking a multivitamin and then having a sports bar will exceed the recommended upper limit for many nutrients. It would be wise to just choose one of these. So on the days that you eat a bowl of Total cereal, you may consider skipping the vitamin and sports bar. Teenage boys are notorious for over-eating certain vitamins so if you have one of these creatures living in your home, you may want to mention this.
- Dr. Dorks all agree that it's good to have more healthy bacteria growing in your colon (the good bacteria are called bifidobacteria or lactobacillus). New research suggests that the best way to get more healthy bacteria in there is by eating the bacteria's favorite food....fiber. This is very counter-intuitive right? You would think that eating the good bacteria would be the best way. But alas, it appears that is not true.
- 90% of all male Dr. Dorks wear the same outfit: khaki pants, light blue button-down shirt, navy blue jacket.
- At least 30% of the Dr. Dorks at these meetings were overweight or obese, providing evidence that it is really darn hard to attain and maintain a healthy body weight, even when you know how.
- This should come as no surprise, but people that eat the least amount of processed food are skinnier and healthier. There was much discussion around this with scientists pointing fingers in all directions. Some feel that the obesity epidemic was caused by women going back to work and relying more on processed foods. Others are blaming the previous generation for not properly instructing their offspring on how to cook. And there are still folks blaming air conditioning for the rise in body weights.