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Chia Seeds: From Novelty Gift to Nutritional Supplement

(CC BY 2.0) Julie Feinstein/Flickr Chia seeds first entered the American market in 1977 packaged with a novelty terracotta figure of a man’s head.

Making Americans Less Clueless about Calories

(CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Steve Rhodes/Flickr We have a seriously unhealthy national weight problem; everybody knows that by now.

Dr. J’s Primer on How to Apologize: Compassion & Contrition

((CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Don/Flickr Most people apologize right after denying that there is anything for them to apologize for, or right after having been caught lying about what they are apologizing for.

The Last Word in the Carbs-vs.-Fats Debate?

(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) M Kasahara/Flickr Memo to the sugar industry: It’s over. Shut up. For years, health experts have recommended that people adopt low-fat diets that avoid meat and dairy products and instead emphasize grains, starches and other carbohydrates, but a major new study finds that people who do just the opposite, following a diet low in carbohydrates but with no restrictions on simple or saturated fats, actually lose more weight, and are statistically at less risk of developing heart disease.

Rules of Thumb for Portion Control

(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) John C Bullas/Flickr Are you a victim of portion creep? Are your food portions growing?

The Day Dr. J Did Harm: An Anaphylactic Reaction

(CC BY 2.0) Leon Brocard/Flickr The Hippocratic Oath, the original medical maxim, includes the promise “to do no harm.” Unfortunately, there was a day that I broke that promise.

Eat Your Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, Kale, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage

Courtesy National Institutes of Health Most people who have heard of cruciferous vegetables, know that broccoli is one of them, and that’s about it.

The Ebola Scare in Perspective: Mumps and Measles are More Worrisome

Courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Epidemiologists, scientists who specialize in halting the the spread of contagious diseases on a large scale, have a formula for estimating the number of people who will, on average, be infected by one person carrying a given viral disease.

The Soda Tax Wars: Dispatches From the Front

(CC BY-NC 2.0) Dave Nelson/Flickr As with most wars, an early casualty is the truth The latest battle in the ongoing War to Slap a Tax on Sugary Beverages has been joined, and I am, if not precisely at ground zero, close enough to hear and view the hostilities.

Calorie Finance 101: A Complete Syllabus

(CC BY 2.0) simpleinsomnia/Flickr Financial and fitness difficulties have a lot in common. I realized this one day at a friend’s home as she contemplated her next meal.

Apple Cider is Better Than Apple Juice, but Apples are Better Yet

(CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Neesson Marshall/Flickr Here’s a quick quiz: Which is nutritionally better for you: (a) apple juice, or (b) apple cider?

New Diet Pills Combine Risks with Limited Effectiveness

(CC BY 2.0) JoanneQEscober/Flickr We may be expecting too much of our weight-loss drugs “When are they going to come up with a safe and effective diet pill?

BMI and Its Alternatives: Dr. J Reviews the Obesity Indices

(CC BY-ND 2.0) Helga Weber/Flickr A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) seems to favor the use of waist circumference to alert us to the probably obvious fact that we are fat and therefore unhealthy.

Exercise is Good, but for Weight Loss Think “Eat Less Food”

(CC BY-NC 2.0) Presidio of Monterey/Flickr So you’ve been exercising for three months and haven’t lost a pound of excess weight.

The CVS Tobacco Ban: Principled, or Pointless?

(CC BY 2.0) Mike Mozart/Flickr And how much does that even matter? In a recent Lab Notes item, I noted that CVS, the country’s second-largest pharmacy chain, had decided to immediately remove all tobacco products from its nearly 7,700 stores nationwide, a move that it called “the right thing to do for the good of our customers and our company.” The company also announced a corporate name change, to CVS Health.

Too Much TV As a Kid May Lead to a Fatter and Less Healthy Adulthood

(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) per0ni/Flickr Perhaps you have heard the Jesuit maxim, “Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man”: Our early formative years can determine our later lives.

Smoothies can be Diet Food or Diet Busters

(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Miriam/Flickr Smoothies have a healthy reputation because they contain fresh fruit and first came to commercial prominence via health food stores.

Dr. J: Don’t Let a History of Childhood Abuse be an Excuse to Delay a Weight-Loss Program

(CC BY-NC 2.0) Dystopos/Flickr Abuse of children is an egregious act, to whose myriad consequences we can now add a greater risk of adult obesity.

The Sports That Pose the Greatest Injury and Concussion Risk to Your High Schooler

It’s back-to-school time again, which for many high schoolers means back to the football or soccer field or the basketball or tennis court or the gym or baseball diamond.

Dr. J on Joan Rivers: “I’ve Had the Same Procedure, I’ve Treated the Same Emergency”

(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Steve Rhodes/Flickr I was personally deeply saddened by the untimely death of Joan Rivers.