Calculadora de dieta en español
Recientemente leí que los mexicanos han engordando tanto que ahora México esta en segundo lugar mundial en obesidad despues de los Estados Unidos. Esto me ha motivado a traducir mi calculadora de dieta a español.
Espero que esta página web ayude a mis amigos y familiares en México a controlar el sobrepeso, aunque creo que también será útil para mis amigos en España y Sudamérica.
 Mexico now the 2nd fattest country, after U.S.
Machines now compete with humans for foodAutomation has been wonderful for humanity. Many of the things on which we depend are produced by machines at a fraction of what they would cost if they were produced manually. Cheap watches, cheap cars, cheap clothing, cheap computers, everything is cheap, cheap, cheap because it is mass produced using assembly lines with many different types of machines.
In the past, people worried that machines would replace them. Labor unions fought against the adoption of automation that would result in job losses. Eventually, the proponents of automation won because the prices for products could be lowered while production could be increased thus saving the jobs. Our machines are powered by cheap coal and petroleum which originated from the decay of prehistoric plants and animals, but burning coal and petroleum increases the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a "greenhouse gas" that is associated with global warming.
Times have changed. Petroleum is not so cheap anymore. Greater costs provide an incentive to search for new forms of energy. The idea of burning biofuels, i.e, fuels derived from contemporary plant matter rather than from ancient organisms, has a lot of appeal because it provides an alternative to expensive petroleum and limits the increase of greenhouse gases. The carbon dioxide generated when a biofuel is burned, is the same gas that was sequestered from the atmosphere by the plant as it grew. Thus, there is no net increase in carbon dioxide. The use of ethanol from corn has been promoted as a fuel on the basis of this thinking.
However, there is one BIG problem. The World Bank estimates that the grain required to fill a 25-gallon sport-utility vehicle tank with ethanol could feed one person for a year. The United States uses approximately 375 million gallons of fuel per day. It is not possible to quench this tremendous thirst for fuel with all the corn fields of Iowa and Kansas.
In the past, machines used coal and petroleum products that were not suitable for human or animal consumption. Now, humans and farm animals will have to compete with machines for food. The use of human food to power machines seems inhuman, immoral, and short-sighted.
Tyrannosaurus rex is related to birdsIn the late 1860s Thomas Huxley suggested that birds descended from dinosaurs. In 1911, Othenius Abel proposed that birds came first and that dinosaurs are descendants from birds. Skeletons of "transitional" bird forms found in the 1990s strengthened the argument that birds descended from dinosaurs. Recent discovery of well-preserved protein from a Tyrannosaurus rex bone has made it possible to analyze the fragments of collagen proteins and determine that Tyrannosaurus rex was definitely related to birds. A chart presented by the scientists shows Tyrannosaurus and Gallus next to each other, which means that Tyrannosaurus and chickens are related.
There are skeptics who doubt that protein from dinosaurs would have remained unaltered for 65 million years, but the analysis of molecular data from long-extinct organisms may have the potential for resolving relationships in the vertebrate evolutionary tree that have been impossible to determine with current phylogenetic techniques.
Not too many years ago, Michael Crichton wrote the science fiction story "Jurassic Park", where extinct creatures were brought back to life by replicating DNA from fossils. Although Crichton's idea is far-fetched, the idea of cloning a woolly mammoth using DNA from a frozen specimen found in Siberia has received more serious consideration.
 Molecular Phylogenetics of Mastodon and Tyrannosaurus rex, Chris L. Organ, Mary H. Schweitzer, Wenxia Zheng, Lisa M. Freimark, Lewis C. Cantley, and John M. Asara, Science 25 April 2008: 499
Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution Diet
Sweets are not for diabetics
A man recently diagnosed as having Impaired Glucose Tolerance (a precursor to Type II Diabetes) was trying to learn how he could improve his health. He read Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars and commented that he found terribly depressing the types of food that one is restricted to.
Dr. Bernstein's diet is basically a low-carbohydrate diet which is not too different from the Atkins diet. The diet allows you to eat meat, eggs, some dairy, and non-starchy leafy vegetables such as lettuce. Carbohydrates must be limited to less than 40 grams per day. Dr. Bernstein is a diabetic himself, and he developed the diet after being frustrated by the worsening of his condition using the dietary guidelines of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) which recommends diets with a greater proportion of carbohydrates.
One slice of cake with frosting can have 500 calories. Most of these calories come from refined sugars and white flour which cause an overload of blood glucose and stimulate the pancreas to produce extra insulin. Habitual indulgences in sweets result in obesity that can eventually lead to diabetes. If you are a diabetic, you can have your cake, but you cannot eat it.
Concern about Bisphenol A in polycarbonate plastics
Polycarbonate plastics made from Bisphenol A are clear and very tough. Polycarbonate plastics are used for impact resistant glasses, but they are also used in a variety of household products like baby formula bottles, CDs and DVDs, plastic forks, dental sealants, housings for electronics, and resin liners for canned food.
Recently, a report from the National Toxicology Program, an office of the National Institutes of Health, indicated that residual amounts of Bisphenol A in polycarbonate plastics that come in contact with food may pose a health hazard. Bisphenol A, or BPA, has become so common in the United States that it has been detected in the urine of 93 percent of the population over 6 years of age.
Bisphenol A can activate estrogen receptors, leading to physiological effects similar to the body's own estrogens. In essence, Bisphenol A acts like a feminizing hormone. Bisphenol A has been linked in laboratory animals to breast cancer, prostate cancer, and early puberty in females.
Do you remember the now banned insecticide DDT? One of the reasons why it was banned was because it had estrogen-like effects that caused birds to lay eggs with thin shells. The eggs would break before they could hatch. Birds, like the bald eagle, which ate fish contaminated with high quantities of DDT came to the brink of extinction. There have been some studies that concluded that DDT was wrongly blamed for the decline of the eagles because eggshells had been thinning long before DDT was introduced. However, the hormone-mimicking effects of DDT have been substantiated, and it is interesting to note the structural similarity of DDT and Bisphenol A.
DDT and Bisphenol A
You can minimize the quantities of Bisphenol A that you consume by not storing food or drinks in polycarbonate plastic containers. Also, do not heat food in plastic containers, as this may release some of the chemicals from the plastic into the food.
The National Toxicology Program is accepting comments to its draft report. The public comment period closes on May 23, 2008.
1. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) Draft Brief On Bisphenol A (BPA)
2. Questions and Answers about the Draft National Toxicology Program Brief on Bisphenol A
No Artificial Ingredients
Regardless of what a food package says, I always look at the nutrition label and the list of ingredients. I got into this habit trying to avoid products with hydrogenated fats. It is necessary to read the labels to avoid foods with hydrogenated fats and saturated fats that increase cholesterol levels.
In 2006, the FDA required listing the trans fats from hydrogenated oils in nutrition labels because of health concerns. Manufacturers reacted by reducing the trans fats to less than 0.5 grams per serving so that the numbers could be rounded to zero, or by replacing the hydrogenated fats with saturated fats that don't turn rancid, such as palm kernel oil or coconut oil. In some cases, the manufacturers just reduced the serving size without changing the composition of the product to mathematically reduce the amount of trans fat per serving and round to zero.
The problem is that even some "healthy" products can have misleading labels. The Dannon yogurt illustrated here claims to be "All Natural" but contains "high fructose corn syrup".
There are no natural sources of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This syrup is made from corn starch by a complex chemical process. Also, the words "No Artificial Anything" are just a trademark and not a nutritional statement. The trademark is quite misleading because the words imply that a product bearing the trademark is 100% natural.
One of the greatest challenges in today's world is to maintain your weight steady as you age. There is so much food in our modern society that people are dying of obesity instead of hunger like several centuries ago. The famines of today are caused mostly by war, rather than the unavailability of food. In case you did not know, Americans are now the fattest people in the world, and Mexico has become the second fattest nation in the world due to the rising popularity of soft drinks and fast-food restaurants.
The obesity epidemic has been a boon to diet industy firms like Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, and Weight Watchers. These firms assume that you don't know how to eat properly (otherwise you would not be so fat), so they are going to measure the food for you to keep you from overeating. It seems to me that it is not right to abdicate the responsibility of taking care of your own body. We are not children any more. We can be disciplined. We can learn how to take care of ourselves, and we should take care of our own bodies.
It does not take much effort to cook nutritious foods. Two days ago, I baked a delicious salmon fillet. While the fish baked, I steamed some broccoli and carrots. I also boiled some wild rice. In less than half an hour, supper was ready.
 Mexico now the 2nd fattest country, after U.S.
Should you have a Money Manager?
S&P500 for the past 6 months
The economy is taking a dive. Every day you hear negative news. There is a banking crisis fueled by defaults in the repayment of subprime loans. The downturn in the housing market has caused house values to plummet and people who hoped to make a profit from increased real estate values have been disappointed. Increased unemployment has many people scrambling to get any job just to meet living expenses. It is harder to get a loan because of the banking crisis, and as if that were not enough, stock prices are down.
Have you looked at your retirement savings recently? A typical portfolio that invests in the Dow Jones or the Standard and Poor's 500 (S&P 500) Index has decreased in value by 11% in the last six months. Some individual stocks have lost 90% of their value! If you had equity investments of $100,000 in October of 2007, now you have less than $90,000 Dollars. It is at times like these that you start doubting your ability to invest your own money, and money managers come out of the woodwork offering to take charge of your portfolio and make you rich through their sophisticated market research. The problem with money managers is that they are not content to just take a percentage of your profit like the IRS. They want to take a chunk of your principal whether you make money or not.
A pushy stock broker called me recently. I had not heard of him or of his firm before. He was a really good and convincing salesman. I refused him because I was concerned that the call might be a scam, and because I thought that the fees were high. Also, other than his promises of high returns, there was no guarantee that I would make money. He had one hot stock tip. An executive of some energy company had bought a large number of shares in the open market. Since this executive was an insider, he obviously knew that there would be a large payoff. I should also jump in to take advantage of this rare opportunity. I hung up on the guy when he did not take "no" for an answer. His partner called me a few minutes later. He was equally pushy and I also hung up on him.
I had to ask a lot of questions to find out how much this company charged, but basically, these money managers wanted 1% of the principal when you deposited your money, and they wanted another 2% when you withdrew your money. In addition, they would charge over $100 per stock transaction. I figured that if I let them manage $100,000, they would take $3,000 off the top, and then they would take at least another $1,000 per year on 10 brokerage transactions needed to buy and sell stocks to implement their investment strategy. That is 4% in fees! Assuming average returns of 7% in the market, it would have been hard to keep ahead of inflation with bloodsuckers like these.
Belly fat increases the risk of dementia
Sagittal Abdominal Diameter
Here is another reason to get rid of that pot belly. It turns out that belly fat, the "apple" body shape, increases the risk of dementia. Dr. Rachel Whitmer, an epidemiologist working for Kaiser Permanente, has found strong association between obesity in middle age and future risk of Alzheimer disease, dementia, and cognitive impairment. Obese people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher had a 74% increased risk of dementia.
Although BMI has been used as a measure of corpulence, BMI reflects only the ratio of body weight to the square of the height, so it does not take into consideration the distribution of the weight. It is well known that bodybuilders with massive chest muscles and small waists have BMIs over 30 which is the range for obesity. Similarly, persons with skinny legs and fat abdomens have BMIs in the normal range. Increasingly, BMI is being displaced or supplemented by other measures that more accurately reflect the degree of abdominal adiposity, such as the Waist-to-Height ratio and the Sagittal Abdominal Diameter.
The Sagittal Abdominal Diameter, normally measured with a caliper, is the distance from the back to the upper abdomen midway between the top of the pelvis and the bottom of the ribs. This is basically the distance between the belly button and the back, as illustrated above. The Sagittal Abdominal Diameter closely correlates with the amount of belly fat and has become a good predictor of risk of sudden death from cardiovascular disease and of insulin resistance.
 Whitmer RA, et al., Obesity in middle age and future risk of dementia: a 27 year longitudinal population based study, BMJ (British Medical Journal) 2005 Jun 11;330(7504):1360. Epub 2005 Apr 29. PMID: 15863436
 J.P. Empana, et al., Sagittal Abdominal Diameter and Risk of Sudden Death in Asymptomatic Middle-Aged Men. The Paris Prospective Study I, Circulation, 2004;110:2781-2785.
 Ulf Risérus, et al., Sagittal Abdominal Diameter Is a Strong Anthropometric Marker of Insulin Resistance and Hyperproinsulinemia in Obese Men, Diabetes Care, 27:2041-2046, 2004.
March Madness, Spring Training, and Easter
Forsythia in Bloom
March is the month when the Northern Hemisphere starts to come out of hibernation. The trees are starting to show some buds, crocuses and daffodils are in full bloom, and forsythias are showing their yellow splendor. March is also the time when the basketball season ends with a frenzy of championship games. Sports fans go crazy as the indoor game season ends and baseball and other outdoor sports start a new season.
Easter is celebrated with eggs to symbolize new life and resurrection. The date for Easter is based the cycle of the moon. Easter is the first Sunday after the first Full Moon which occurs after the vernal equinox; it falls between late March and late April each year. This year, Easter falls on the 23rd of March. Since spring usually starts around the 21st of March, this is about as early as Easter can happen. The U.S. Naval observatory has an explanation of how the date of Easter may be different in some parts of the world as a consequence of the International Date Line conventions.
On the topic of Spring Training, one of my neighbors is training for a marathon. Not too long ago, his cholesterol was 204. He improved his diet and started to use grape seed oil, an oil high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, in his salad dressings. His cholesterol level is now 140. It is good to see that dietary interventions can make a big difference in the biomarkers for health. Every time that I see one of those TV commercials where an actor says "I exercise and watch my diet, but it is not enough." and concludes that he still needs some statin to lower his cholesterol, I keep thinking: "NO! NO! NO! You cannot just WATCH your diet, you have to eat foods with the right fatty acid balance, you have to eat less, and you have to exercise." It is actually very simple. Diet is a major factor.
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