If you’re like many people, there’s a good chance that your weight and calorie considerations play a big role in food decisions. Intuitive eating, an Internet-famous movement all about healing people’s relationships with food, says it shouldn’t be that way. The final episode of “Losing It” explores what it means to eat intuitively, and asks the question: Does it work?
There are things that pretty much everyone will agree is true. The earth is round. The sky is blue. And finally: weighing more is bad for you. But what if we’ve gotten it wrong? What if the dangers of being heavy have been overstated, or misrepresented? A small but vocal contingent of experts and advocates say just that, arguing that our weight bias has led us astray, focusing on the scale too much and not enough on healthy behaviors. A higher body-mass index, or BMI, is associated with greater risk of many diseases, from high blood pressure and diabetes to stroke and different kinds of cancer. But this is an example of correlation being conflated with causation, a classic statistical error, said Traci Mann, a psychologist who runs a health and eating lab at the University of Minnesota. In a new episode Bloomberg’s podcast series “Losing It,” we explore the relationship between health and weight, including other factors that could explain the link between higher weights and health risks. One of them? Yo-yo dieting, or when people repeatedly lose and gain weight. “This is the problem that we have in America,” said Glenn Gaesser, a professor of exercise physiology at Arizona State University. “We think weight is the big issue when it's really not.”
Companies like WW, formerly Weight Watchers, and Noom, which makes a buzzy weight-loss app, have a new pitch for would-be members: They can lose weight without dieting. Sort of. Call it a holistic lifestyle approach. People used to be willing to do “draconian, onerous things” to shed pounds, said Gary Foster, the chief scientific officer for WW. But it’s no longer all about weight anymore; it’s also about health. They are now saying “‘no longer am I willing to eat in wacky ways. I want to come out of this program, eating more healthy, not less healthy,’” he said. WW pivoted in 2018, debuting a program more focused on overall health alongside the new, abbreviated name. More recent entrant Noom, meanwhile, emphasizes psychology as a means to changing one’s lifestyle and habits. Noom charges about $60 a month for a program that incorporates daily lessons, calorie counting, activity tracking and coaching. The company describes itself as “more than a diet.” Its advertisements promise people they can “stop the yo-yo dieting,” or tell them to “stop dieting. Get life-long results.” Whether these new and still-evolving approaches will relieve weight anxieties still remains to be seen. In this new episode of the Bloomberg podcast “Losing It,” we explore why the backlash against dieting is happening, how companies are getting in on the action, and whether we’re actually over losing weight...or maybe just over the word “diet.”
We all think we know the basics of weight loss. It is all about consuming fewer calories than you burn. Eat less, move more. Calories in, calories out. But there’s much more to it than these simple equations, as a trip to the enormous Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana - a hub of such research - shows. In this episode of “Losing It,” we break down the science of why it’s so hard to lose weight, and look at what the kinds of stories heralded as a weight-loss success really look like in practice.
Virus hunters from around the globe are already bracing for the next contagion which they fear could prove even more destructive than Covid. These scientists and doctors, drawing from hard-learned lessons from the past, are determined to stop future pandemics even as the current one continues to rage.
On the outside, city hospitals look just as they always have: big glass and steel buildings, an ER entrance with ambulances coming and going. But on the inside, Covid has completely transformed the hospital experience for patients, their families -- and for doctors and hospital staff. Once held in high esteem as the place where doctors performed miracles, hospitals have become more sombre places under the staggering weight of illness and death even as communities increasingly view them through the lens of vaccine misinformation and mistrust.