Diet

Illustration by Adhiti Bandlamudi / WUNC

If you have ever been on a diet, you know the pure vulnerability of getting weighed at the doctor’s office. Standing on an old metal scale with your shoes off, you might avert your eyes, as if that would prevent the nurse from saying the number out loud as they write it down. But what if weight did not play such an active role in how you understood your health?

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Hippocrates, the Greek father of medicine, wrote “all diseases begin in the gut.” He continued the line with the famous advice: “let medicine be thy food and food thy medicine.” New research confirms Hippocrates’ thinking, showing the human gut does much more than just process food.

Courtesy of Dan Ariely

Summer is filled with temptation. We know that fresh fruit is a healthier choice than ice cream. A ripe watermelon can be just as sweet, but often times we pass it by for a double scoop in a waffle cone. The barrage of pool parties and cookouts combined with summer vacation may leave many struggling to make and keep health commitments.

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In literature, film and popular culture, vegans have long been mocked and dismissed as naive, privileged white women who allow emotion to guide their lifestyles. Food choices are indeed shaped by class and race, but using a “vegan lens” to analyze what people see and read may allow them to better recognize these “enmeshed oppressions,” according to Western Carolina University English Professor Laura Wright. She’s the editor of “Through a Vegan Studies Lens: Textual Ethics and Lived Activism” (University of Nevada Press/2019). 

Ragen Chastain is doing a split
Courtesy of Ragen Chastain

More than 90 million American adults are obese. Research shows that excess weight can increase your risk of certain health conditions, like heart disease and diabetes. But being overweight affects more than your health. Studies show obese people have a harder time finding a job and are paid less than thinner people.

A Triangle live-in diet program once endorsed by celebrities and others seeking weight-loss results appears to be permanently closed.   The Rice Diet Center was once affiliated with Duke University before striking out on its own 11 years ago. 

Hollywood stars have been among those who traveled to Durham to embrace eating meals of mainly white rice and fruit in an effort to slim down. As more diet plans gained recognition, the Rice Diet lost favor and followers.  The center's current owner, Dr. Robert Rosati, was forced to close the program after 70 years.

Contrary to what doctors have believed for decades, a high-fiber diet may not stave off one intestinal disease. That's the conclusion of a study from UNC-Chapel Hill. It found no correlation between a lack of fiber and a higher incidence of diverticulosis. Anne Peery is the study's lead researcher.

Anne Peery: It's too early to tell patients what to do differently, but these results are really exciting for researchers. It gives us the opportunity to look at a disease process in new ways and to really rethink why people develop asymptomatic diverticulosis.