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Dr David Katz

Bullet Holes in the Bill of Rights

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 05.17.2014 | Politics
David Katz, M.D.

I find it incredible, and deeply disheartening, that the confirmation of our next U.S. Surgeon General may come undone because Dr. Vivek Murthy has expressed his support for widely favored gun control measures, such as an assault weapons ban.

Drowning in Calories

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 05.13.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

Obesity is, in many ways that matter most, analogous to drowning.Individuals can, and for the most part should, learn to "swim" through our obesogenic culture. But those swimming lessons need to be accessible, affordable, applicable and actionable.

Meat-Eating Humans: Mightier Than Lions, Feebler than Ants

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 05.11.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

It comes down to a pretty basic choice. We can either have a whole lot fewer of us meat-eating Homo sapiens, or we need Homo sapiens to eat a whole lot less meat. The funny thing is, the rate-limiting issue makes the plant vs. animal nutrition debate irrelevant. It's all about water.

Better Food Labels: Have We Hit the Nail on the Head?

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 05.07.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

Improving food labels, as planned by the USFDA and much in the news over the past week or so, is a welcome thing. But I do think we have cause to wonder if all the fanfare and media hype are really warranted. When all is said and done, what improvements are in the works, and how much will they really matter?

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatheads

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 05.05.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

As long we impart to nutrition the mediagenic volatility associated with the weather, we can all but guarantee that our understanding of what is good for us will remain very much clouded over. There will also be a very high chance of us acting like meatheads -- and being fed a steady diet of headlines accordingly.

Childhood Obesity: Have We Turned the Tide?

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 04.30.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

The headline in the New York Times, was: "Obesity Rate for Young Children Plummets 43 Percent in a Decade." This, and similarly effusive headlines reverberating throughout the news media, would seem to invite the question: have we, in fact, turned the tide? Is the mission accomplished?

Mastery, Masturbation and Members of an Angry Mob

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 04.28.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

But of course you see the problem. We are just picking poisons here. If we replace one way of eating badly with another and don't show health gains, does it prove that the first way of eating badly wasn't bad? No, it just shows that we have many flavors of poisons from which to choose.

What's Wrong With Us? Three Names, One Place, a Company and a Substance

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 04.26.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

Instead of the unending beauty pageant, my colleagues could all rally around the fundamentals of healthful eating, which are in fact well-established. But I guess the allure of fame and fortune is just too great.

Gills, Pills and Obesity Genes

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 04.22.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

Human beings don't have gills, and there are genes to blame. But the right response looks like swimming lessons, and lifeguards, and fences around pools -- not studying genes while pushing kids into the surf. Not a new pill to fix an age-old part of who we are that was never really broken.

Can We Unmuddle Mammography?

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 04.22.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

A new study of mammography, showing lack of survival benefit, has once again muddied these waters and muddled the relevant messaging.

To See By Common Light

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 04.20.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

As a scientist, always striving to see outside the tunnel, to apply the proper blend of skepticism and open-mindedness, that I write today to recommend a work of fiction as a source of surprising light.

Sweet Heart, You Suck

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 04.14.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

Just in time for Valentine's Day, epidemiology has given "sweetheart" a whole new meaning with a study demonstrating an association between sugar intake and heart disease.

Diet, Weight and Health: Confused Only If You Want To Be!

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 04.12.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

The New York Times once again allocates some of its rarefied real estate to science writer Gary Taubes, who uses it to do what, in my opinion, he does best: ask the wrong question.

Fortification Follies: Lipstick on a Pig for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 04.09.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

Fortified junk food is still junk food. It isn't only what a food doesn't contain (i.e., those nutrients) that makes it dubious. It's what it does contain. The addition of vitamins and minerals does nothing to exonerate junk foods of their standard provisions of added sugars, added salt, artificial flavorings, artificial colorings, inflammatory fats, high glycemic starches, and willfully irresistible calories.

Baloney, Bushes and the Bird in Hand

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 04.05.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

All of this wonderfully empowering information about diet came along AFTER we already knew how to prevent 80 percent of all chronic disease and obesity with a short list of lifestyle factors, including diet.

Fools, Fanatics and Fat-Free Milk

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 03.31.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

Here's what we actually know. In the U.S., more dairy in the diet -- of whatever variety -- is generally associated with better health and weight outcomes. But that is likely because in the context of our culture, more dairy means less soda. In global context, some of the world's healthiest diets and most convincing intervention trials have de-emphasized, or even excluded dairy.

Choices, Cheese and Sherpas -- Or -- The Role of Personal Responsibility in Health and Weight Control

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 03.26.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

There is a point at which invoking personal responsibility to deal with a contrived array of obstacles is both benighted and callous. Yes, everyone should try to eat well -- but they should not have to overcome the ingenious manipulations of highly paid mercenaries conspiring against them to make it so.

Obesity and Oblivion -- Or -- What I've Learned Under General Anesthesia

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 03.23.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

I consider it a societal travesty that hyperendemic obesity and the metabolic mayhem that often follows in its wake are treated ever more frequently, in ever younger people, under general anesthesia. Our answer to obesity is, it seems, oblivion.

Do We Need to Kill Our Heroes?

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 03.19.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

I am, of course, still a child of love and privilege. But I have at least this claim against naiveté: I have looked into the eyes of someone ready, willing, and eager to kill me. I have at least this notion of what's out there.

On Faith and Data

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 03.15.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

I have clung to the conviction that truth is often immediately furtive, but relentless and ultimately indomitable. Seekers of truth are patient of necessity, obliged to be disciples of time. So far, I have kept the faith that eventually enough data would rally us to common understanding and common cause.

Judging the Judging of Diets

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 03.12.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

I'm not sure that alternative diets with some salient feature to define them need to compete with one another. A second and related concern is that this kind of exercise may tend to foster a preoccupation with labels, rather than compositional details.

Health: Know What, or No How

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 03.09.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

I genuinely believe the luminous prize of vitality -- more years of life, more life in years -- is tantalizingly, almost agonizingly within reach. But until more of us can agree we do know what, there simply is no how.

Please Don't Feed the Morons

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 03.05.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

So here we are -- at the start of a year, reflecting on the long-overdue end of the junk food era. But there's no need to hope or whine or wring our hands. We are in charge. Any time we like we could refuse to eat like morons by deciding not to swallow any more baloney. This could be that year.

Ready-or-Not Resolutions: Let's Focus on the Crocuses!

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 02.26.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

Resolutions, born of a "ready or not, let's go" mentality, invite failure. So reinvent your resolutions and make them more likely to succeed. Resolve to get ready, and go only when you are.

Of Skin and Kin at Christmas

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 02.22.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

How misleading our superficial differences! How right we are to think of a human family, and indeed, an extended family in which all of our planetary cohabitants are cousins, at one remove or another.