• CNN – What you thought about obesity is wrong

    Remember that great obesity mythbusting piece I loved in the NEJM? Well, I wrote more about it over at CNN.com.

    Go read it, share it, tweet it, etc!


    • Wow, it looks like every other bland pro-weight-loss editorial ever.

    • The authors of this study have so many conflicts of interest that I would discount the entire thing:
      From the NEJM:

      Dr. Astrup reports receiving payment for board membership from the Global Dairy Platform, Kraft Foods, Knowledge Institute for Beer, McDonald’s Global Advisory Council, Arena Pharmaceuticals, Basic Research, Novo Nordisk, Pathway Genomics, Jenny Craig, and Vivus; receiving lecture fees from the Global Dairy Platform, Novo Nordisk, Danish Brewers Association, GlaxoSmithKline, Danish Dairy Association, International Dairy Foundation, European Dairy Foundation, and AstraZeneca; owning stock in Mobile Fitness; holding patents regarding the use of flaxseed mucilage or its active component for suppression of hunger and reduction of prospective consumption (patents EP1744772, WO2009033483-A1, EP2190303-A1, US2010261661-A1, and priority applications DK001319, DK001320, S971798P, and US971827P); holding patents regarding the use of an alginate for the preparation of an aqueous dietary product for the treatment or prevention of overweight and obesity (patent WO2011063809-A1 and priority application DK070227); and holding a patent regarding a method for regulating energy balance for body-weight management (patent WO2007062663-A1 and priority application DK001710). Drs. Brown and Bohan Brown report receiving grant support from the Coca-Cola Foundation through their institution. Dr. Mehta reports receiving grant support from Kraft Foods. Dr. Newby reports receiving grant support from General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition. Dr. Pate reports receiving consulting fees from Kraft Foods. Dr. Rolls reports having a licensing agreement for the Volumetrics trademark with Jenny Craig. Dr. Thomas reports receiving consulting fees from Jenny Craig. Dr. Allison reports serving as an unpaid board member for the International Life Sciences Institute of North America; receiving payment for board membership from Kraft Foods; receiving consulting fees from Vivus, Ulmer and Berne, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, Garrison, Chandler Chicco, Arena Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, National Cattlemen’s Association, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Frontiers Foundation, Orexigen Therapeutics, and Jason Pharmaceuticals; receiving lecture fees from Porter Novelli and the Almond Board of California; receiving payment for manuscript preparation from Vivus; receiving travel reimbursement from International Life Sciences Institute of North America; receiving other support from the United Soybean Board and the Northarvest Bean Growers Association; receiving grant support through his institution from Wrigley, Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola, Vivus, Jason Pharmaceuticals, Aetna Foundation, and McNeil Nutritionals; and receiving other funding through his institution from the Coca-Cola Foundation, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Red Bull, World Sugar Research Organisation, Archer Daniels Midland, Mars, Eli Lilly and Company, and Merck. No other potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.

      • That’s… an odd thing to say.

        We should applaud the thorough vetting of conflicts of interest. Moreover, there are many authors here.

        But just because there are potential conflicts of interest doesn’t meant that the results can’t be valid. Especially when this wasn’t a secret study, but a collection of publicly available results.

        Besides, please explain to me how the foood and beverage industry would benefit from these findings!

    • I don’t have access to the article, but apparently nowhere do the authors consider the role of sugar or sugared soft drinks in the development of obesity. It’s hard to believe that the authors’ ties with Coca-Cola and the “World Sugar Research Organization” has nothing to do with that curious omission.

      The NEJM is a peer-reviewed publication, and I’m sure the results are accurate, as far as they go. But sometimes the stuff that’s left out is more interesting than the stuff that gets in.

      • This isn’t a piece about how people gain weight. It’s a piece about how people lose weight.

        So why would you expect them to focus on the former? And they do – explicitly – say that severe calor restriction can work and isn’t harmful. You don’t get that without giving up sugared soft drinks!

        • I agree that the easiest way to restrict your calories is to restrict your sugar intake. But to some people a “restricted calorie” diet is a few dougnuts, frozen shrimp, and 5 or 6 cans of diet soda a day.

          Did the study look at the efficacy of different kinds of restricted calorie diets in reducing weight? Or did it just assume that “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie”?