March 07, 2007
The largest and longest-running comparison of diet plans found the low-carbohydrate Atkins regimen produced greater weight loss than three other popular programs the Zone, the Ornish and the U.S. nutritional guidelines.
The average weight reduction was small, and participants started regaining pounds by the end of the one-year study, according to the report in todays Journal of the American Medical Assn. Still, Atkins dieters who consume prodigious amounts of long-demonized saturated fats but shun carbs, such as pasta and breads experienced significant drops in blood pressure and cholesterol.
The finding showed that even a small weight reduction can improve overall health, researchers said.
Atkins dieters lost an average of 10.4 pounds after one year, according to the report, compared with 5.7 pounds for those on a traditional balanced diet based on federal nutritional guidelines, 4.8 pounds for the high-carbohydrate Ornish diet and 3.5 pounds for the Zone diet, which calls for a set ratio of carbohydrate, protein and fat.
Let me state for the record my experience with the Atkins diet. About 12 years ago, I had stopped exercising and put on some extra pounds. I'd had tried going lo-cal, but my body absolutely hoards its fat reserves in the absence of heavy duty exercise. I stumbled across a copy of Atkins Diet Revolution book and decided to give it a try. Here's a brief synopsis:
1) I love meat in all its forms, except for haggis, although technically that contains meat the way Vienna Sausage contains "meat". Anyway, eating lots of high protein foods sounded great to me.
2) I also love baked potatoes, rice, pasta and bread, all of which were a complete no-no on the diet. That part sucked. A lot.
3) I learned to make sandwiches thusly: piles of meat stuck between two slices of cheese, slathered with mustard. A poor substitute for a great big hoagy, but it was better than nothing.
4) My kidneys worked overtime, nights and weekends, too. Since I don't add salt to my food, I became washed out due to the seemingly incessant stream of fluid being emitted by my body. Eventually, I started sprinkling a bit of salt onto my meals; I felt much better.
5) I lost a lot of weight, around 35 pounds or so. I lost 4-5 inches off of my waistline. I then started exercising and eating better because, let's face it, a diet low in fruits and vegetables just isn't healthy.
Anyway, I've read many articles from people, who should really know better, that Atkins doesn't work, that all of the weight lost is simply water weight. I read just such an article in Runner's World, which is a fine magazine, but was completely wrong in this case. Willful ignorance and self-delusion aren't pretty, especially when actual, you know, facts contradict you. Because Atkins works. You will lose weight, and quite rapidly I might add. But it's a sucky diet, especially for someone like me who likes to run long distances. Carbohydrates are fuel for the body, and a diet lacking carbohydrates is lacking in fuel.
For the record, I will state that a fruit, vegetable and pasta filled diet is the ideal, especially when combined with some vigorous exercise. But if you simply want to lose weight, Atkins will get you there. Anyone who claims otherwise is either ignorant or lying.
Update: I had forgotten that Ace was a proponent. He makes a pretty good point about the whole diet thingy:
Diet gurus similarly criticize the study as subjects seem to have cheated on their diets, too, and thus didn't really follow "their diets." But the piece notes that, in practical terms, a diet is not merely a plan, but rather a plan plus the most likely realistic implementation of that plan. And in that sense, Atkins seems to win -- it's simple, it's more livable than other plans (though pretty damn annoying), and easier to avoid cheating on.
Annoying yes, but effective.
It would make sense if you'd seen the show. In any event, here's a clip to whet your appetite for all things Blue:
March 06, 2007
And when I say scary, I mean scary for Annie. She should see it as a sign of the end times that she and I have the same thought running through our brains. However, since I can only hold one thought at a time in my pea-sized brain, eventually everyone will think like me, if only for an instant.
Seriously though, I've left comments at multiple blogs that McCain will not receive my vote for any reason. If the Democrat nominee is Beelzebub, I might write-in Mickey Mouse. Heck, I think that I'll write in my name. Anyone else want to join in the Physics Geek for President campaign? Unlike Chevy Chase, I'm okay with math questions being asked.
No beefcake, though. Sorry, Val.
Anyhoo, I was bumbling around IMDB to get some background on the new series that Nathan Fillion, captain of the long-lamented cancelled series Firefly, will be starring in on Fox.
Umm, after the way that Fox screwed the pooch with Firefly, I'm not certain how gung ho I'd be about signing onto another TV deal with them.
Where was I? Oh yeah: Drive, the series. Anyway, I checked out the cast and saw that Amy Acker had a part that, based on the last name of her characters, is probably the wife of the main character, played by Fillion. I clicked on Amy's link and saw some quite fetching photos of our beloved Winifred, which whet my appetite for some more Acker shots. My internet search engine immediately returned some even more appealing photos of Amy in a somewhat less covered state. Turns out that Ms. Acker appeared in FHM. Now I don't actually read FHM(not for the articles, anyway) on a regular basis, but I do occassionally check out the magazine rack while standing in line at the local 7-11, just to see who might be gracing the cover. I have no idea how I managed to miss Fred's issue, but I've decided that, as penance, I will post some pictures here.
Back to your regularly scheduled geeky posts soon.
March 01, 2007
Perhaps most exciting could be Firefox's ability to support writing an e-mail in, for example, Gmail while offline, with the data sent later when a user is connected to the Internet again. Ultimately, Mozilla engineers are aiming for an integration between the browser and Web-based services that is as smooth running as a desktop application, Schroepfer said.
So far, engineers have made Firefox work with Zimbra, an open-source e-mail, messaging and VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) application. With a bit of code from Google and Microsoft, it would be possible to integrate with Gmail and Hotmail and other e-mail services.
To do offline support, engineers have overcome the hurdle of how to store data locally on the computer, Schroepfer said. The feature will make it into Firefox 3.0, although the user interface is still under development, he said.
I, for one, welcome our new Mozilla overlords.
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