Archive for the ‘Food Truths, Food Lies’ Category

Made from Pure Sunshine!

In Food and Health, Food Truths, Food Lies, Mindful Eating on April 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm
Chemistry Lab on doctorfoodtruth

Reading labels is a must-do for anyone interested in eating healthier. Unfortunately, the labels are designed by food company pet lawyers (or so it seems) and can be a little hard to decipher. Food Truths, Food Lies has an extensive section on “learning your food” – the first few lines of this all-important section are reprinted here:

A big part of being a family doctor is paying attention to the little things. I do that pretty well. If you ask my wife she might tell you I pay a little too much attention to detail sometimes. When it comes to food, though, this is a good habit to get into.

Thirty years ago, we had no way of really knowing what we were putting into our bodies. More recently, the federal government has started paying attention to how heavy we are all getting and made rules about labeling food that are at least a step in the right direction. You may have seen this labeling, though you have to be looking for it to find it. The front of the package you see in the grocery is fair game for advertising and may say almost anything.

“Zero grams trans-fat” “Whole grains for your heart” “Now 30% leaner” “Lose weight and feel great”

You know what those labels say. The shelves are packed, there are little coupon dispensers and sale cards and bright lights everywhere, you’re tired and hungry and just want to get some groceries and get home to dinner. The last thing most people do is turn over the colorful, pretty package and look at the scientific stuff on the back.

Problem is, that’s what I plan to teach you to do. The way the laws are made, this is about the only part of the package that has to tell you the truth. Unfortunately even here the food companies have figured out ways to lie and mislead. We’ll talk about those ways a little later. For right now, the most important thing is remembering to turn the package over and look at the Nutrition Label.

The law that makes food companies do this also says what has to be shown and where. That at least makes our learning a little easier, since once you learn where to find the information on one package, you can be sure that the next package will have (almost) the same information .

Go to your cupboard or pantry and pick up some packaged grocery item. Fresh foods generally don’t have to list this, so a banana won’t tell you what you want to know, but the banana pudding next to it will. Some practice will make this label reading seem easier and easier until it’s second nature for you like it is for me. Now is when we have to start looking for the lies I talked about earlier, though.

Some law made the food companies tell you how many calories, carbohydrate and fat grams they used. What that law didn’t do was make them list the quality or the quantity of the ingredients they used. The simple test for the quality of ingredients used by a food company actually requires two steps.

Step one, do you recognize the words in the list of ingredients? If not, do you really want someone doing a chemistry experiment in your intestines? Step two is then deciding if you really want those ingredients to be what you are made of. Remember Truth Four: You are becoming what you eat.

There you have it, another taste of Food Truths, Food Lies!

Change Your Food, Change Your Life!


Fighting the Good Fight

In Diet and Weight, Family Doctor, Food and Health, Food Truths, Food Lies on March 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I just saw Lois yesterday. I have to admit, I was surprised to find her smiling when I walked in the room – coming to see me doesn’t usually put a smile on her face.

The fact the scale showed 40 pounds off in the last 4 months may have something to do with her smile. Her diabetes had really gotten out of control, needing over 150 units of insulin a day to keep her sugars from being sky-high.

Now? She’s cut her own dose back to 30 units and I told her to cut it back even more. I think she’ll be able to stop the insulin altogether soon!

When I started her on the insulin shots a couple of years ago I promised her she could fix this and come off it if she changed her habits. I can’t say I really had much hope she would, but wow has she proved me wrong.

She finally joined Weight Watchers (the only diet program I ever recommend since it’s the only one that is a forever life change and not just a quick fix.) Her daughter is doing it with her and has lost even more weight, probably preventing diabetes completely for herself.

It turns out that reading and re-reading my book is what spurred her to make the change.

She said, “When I read that thing it’s just like you’re sitting there beside me, telling me how it needs to be, nagging me to do better!”

“Perfect!” was my response. That is exactly what I want my book to be, an extra-long, face-to-face conversation with me about food choices and health.

For Lois, it looks like that “long conversation” is working – way to go!!

By Way of Introduction (exerpt)

In Diet and Weight, Food and Health, Food Truths, Food Lies on February 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm
front cover of Food Truths, Food Lies for doctorfoodtruth

I want to get into food in a way I’ve never seen another author do it.  I want to help teach people to know their food.  I want choosing the right foods to be as natural as choosing the right outfit.  If I had my way, this teaching would be done and learned by the time a kid was about a third grader. Everyone would know their food like they know their alphabet and multiplication tables.

Nutrition education, deeply known and acted on, would solve many of our problems with weight (and maybe bankrupt McDonald’s and a few other deserving companies along the way.)

Unfortunately, if you’re old enough to drive to the bookstore and browse this introduction, you’re probably past the point where it’s easy to learn new habits – what we often call “adulthood.”  Now, don’t get me wrong.  There are lots of good things about being an adult besides having a driver’s license and a credit card, and adults are absolutely capable of learning new habits.

It’s just not easy.  It’s not.  Simply put, adults learn facts much more easily than children but learn behaviors much less easily than when they were children.  That makes a book like this so important.  The facts need to be learn-able and the reasons to learn them plain and the motivation to change obvious.
I’ve talked to thousands of folks that want to lose weight and learned some things from them and about them along the way.

First, change only happens when someone wants to change.  Whether it’s quitting cigarettes or Burger King or excess TV, “it’s a free country” as I remind my patients and myself every day.  I have never and will never make someone lose weight and probably can’t even make them want to lose weight.  The best I can do is coax, teach, encourage, inform, and support.

That’s the best this book can do too.  If there is no “want to” in you right now, please look elsewhere for it.  These pages will not make you do anything.  What I hope I can do for you and with you is to open your eyes to habits, wrong information, and bad thinking about our bodies and the food we need to keep them in good working order….

From the Introduction of Food Truths, Food LiesOrder here from Amazon to read on!


In Diet and Weight, Family Doctor, Food Diary, Food Truths, Food Lies, Junk Food, Mindful Eating, Self Image on January 5, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Scale on doctorfoodtruth

One was almost angry, the other almost completely resigned.  Two still-young women in my office in back-to-back appointments recently, both with one thought on their mind: “That scale can’t be right!”

Both are busy moms with teens at home, days filled with errands, work, worry and everyone’s needs but theirs. These ladies are why I (usually) love being a family doctor and get excited about helping people.  These ladies are why I (sometimes) loathe being a family doctor and feel exhausted at the end of the day.  See, frustration all around.

Both Sara and Tara (not their real names) are here to see me about their weight.  These women aren’t asking me for a way to lose ten pounds either.  Both are about 100 pounds away from being healthy and they know it… and they hate it.

Sara really just wants Adipex.  Tara tried reading Food Truths, Food Lies but got discouraged by the challenge and quit.  Sara tried an app to count calories and is sure she doesn’t eat more than 1,500 a day but still gains weight.  Tara struggles with her normal-sized husband bringing home chips, cookies and other bad snacks even when she asks him not to.

See? Frustration.  How do I help them?  I’m not sure.

Sara hasn’t read my book yet, hasn’t yet found out all the ways her food habits are making her feel sick and gain weight.  I don’t prescribe Adipex (ever!) for a whole bunch of reasons but I did agree to check her thyroid along with some other hormone and vitamin levels.  I asked her to read my book — she really has a lot to learn about diet and nutrition.  I’ll see her again in a few weeks, we’ll go over her lab tests and I’ll start trying to help her change 30+ years of eating habits that are making her sick.

Tara is easier to talk to but harder to help.  I’m afraid she has given up on herself and is just calmly waiting for me to tell her she’s got diabetes, bad cholesterol, or whatever else will eventually go wrong.  Which brings me to the real source of our frustration.  I can’t make anybody want to change.  I just can’t.

The good news is that Sara can absolutely lose weight and take control of her health without ever taking Adipex.  Tara can absolutely find new hope and energy in little changes like eating a high-protein breakfast and skipping the orange juice and soda pop.  All of us can always change, improve, and renovate our health with two little words: “I will.”

Change Your Food, Change Your Life!


In Food Truths, Food Lies on December 20, 2011 at 11:59 am
Food Truth Food Lies book by doctorfoodtruth

I am almost speechless right now.  I just got a heads-up email from a blogger-friend over at SweetFatLies.

Danielle is an insightful blogger I’ve enjoyed reading for some time now.

She decided to read and dissect my book Food Truths, Food Lies which made me a little nervous, I have to admit.  From what I’ve seen she doesn’t pull her punches.

Well, she just posted her review and  – wow!  She cut right to the core of my thoughts on food and wrote a great ‘Cliff Notes’ version of the book.

First, I think her site is a great add to your RSS feed, so add her.  Second, once you’re there, read her review.  Her opening sentence shows her laser focus on truth about food, diet, and weight:

I recently came across a Midwestern family physician who calls himself “Dr. Food Truth”  who offers up an often  funny, sometimes in-your-face look at the typical American diet and what it really means to your health.

Thanks Danielle!  Keep writing and teaching the “food truth” –  it can be hard to find out there…

Write it Down

In Diet and Weight, Excercise, Food Truths, Food Lies on December 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm

running on doctorfoodtruth

I was right!!

My wife Dr. Mary likes to keep track of those other times, of course.

But this time, I was right.

Just today a study hit the news that telling teens how many calories a soda had was useless. Telling them how many calories that soda was as a percent of their total for the day wasn’t much better.

But telling them how many minutes of running it would take to get rid of the calories? That worked!

In Food Truths, Food Lies I write about why exercise alone usually won’t lead to weight loss:

“Most people take 30 minutes of fast, sweaty walking to burn off one can of Coke…. Want to burn off a pound worth of calories? Better pack a lunch (which just puts you further behind) because that will take 10 hours on the treadmill!”

The moral of this story? Think about it before it gets swallowed. Once it’s down the hatch, it can take a very long time to get burned off again.

Change Your Food, Change Your Life!

Some Good Pub

In Family Doctor, Food and Health, Food Truths, Food Lies on September 2, 2011 at 12:28 pm
Picture of a coca cola collection on doctorfoodtruth

While not all publicity is good publicity (in my opinion at least), I’ve been fortunate enough to get some good pub for my book (see sidebar) here lately.  The most recent is from our local hospital, Riverview.  I was interviewed recently by Jennifer Atkinson who made my ramblings sound good 🙂

Here it is, sans pictures.  For the original, you’ll need an iPhone or iPad and go to

Eat Healthfully, Live Fully Healthy

(re-published from hospital quarterly, Riverviews)

Eat healthfully, live fully healthy is the mantra of Riverview physician, Dr. Eric Marcotte.  While most of us know that choosing the right foods are important for good health and weight-loss we still continue to struggle with these choices.

As more people struggled with the health and weight-loss battle, he found it important to spread the knowledge he had collected that had helped his patients succeed.

“I was inspired to write the book Food Truths, Food Lies by my patients,” explained Dr. Marcotte. “Years of watching people struggle with their weight and health led to my research. I looked at why Americans are overweight and what could be done about it. What I found is terrible: the average American eats almost 600 more calories every day now than we did 40 years ago. Combine this with less activity caused by television and computer time and you have our country’s current obesity epidemic.”

His research also found that two out of three adults are at least 30 pounds overweight while one in three adult Americans is at least 60 pounds overweight. “We eat so many more [calories] because our food has changed but we have not. Fast food was a treat, a novelty 40 years ago and now it’s a normal part of most people’s lives. Soda pop was served at a fountain or in tiny 8-ounce glass bottles then and now we have self-serve, free refills, and machines filled with 20-ounce bottles.”

What is the most important key to changing the way we eat? Dr. Marcotte says it is to think before you eat. “Once people start to realize what they eat and think about whether this or that is a good choice, then change can happen,” explains Dr. Marcotte. “If I know deep down that the food I put in my mouth actually becomes part of me by tomorrow and stays for years, I’ll start thinking about my food and choose to make a change for health.”

Being aware of what is added to the food we eat is vital to our health. Keep in mind, you have to eat better to feel better. Even if that means spending a bit more on organics or purchasing less processed food; the benefits that you reap will be exponential in the end.

Tooting my Horn

In Food Truths, Food Lies on July 14, 2011 at 12:37 pm

My first review!

One of my fellow health bloggers, Drkaylosesweight, just posted a review of my book Food Truths, Food Lies. I found out that she had read it and liked it, so I asked her if she would review it for her readers. As a pediatrician, she has huge influence in her patients’ lives with her diet and health advice.  If I can help her even a little with that, great!

Knowing that she likes my stuff is a big boost too, let me tell you!
Here’s the link to her post

You should stick around and check out her other stuff. She is a pretty amazing lady from what I see: mom, doctor, karate fiend. She’s working on her black belt which is completely amazing and makes me feel like a wimp, you know?

Anyway, just wanted to brag a little about my first ever publicity for Food Truths!

Thanks, Drkay!

Un-Learning (exerpt)

In Food Truths, Food Lies on July 6, 2011 at 12:25 am

Our parents are our first teachers about food and everything else. Some of the things you know about food and nutrition was learned before you could crawl. Eating made you happy and you eating made your parents happy. Eating was a game and a fun one for most babies and toddlers. What, when, and why we eat gets programmed in our high chair, all while smearing and throwing baby food everywhere.

Playmates, teachers and television all have a lot of power over what kids learn too. All of this education in nutrition comes way before we learn algebra and is ingrained much deeper than any multiplication table ever could be.

That makes our job with this book tougher but also more important. Tougher because many of the things I want to teach you may at first seem wrong and you may not even know why. The why could be because you learned it when you were still chewing on your blocks instead of stacking them. It’s hard to fight against stuff we learned so early, but we have to. We have to if we want to be different and if we want our children and their children to have it easier than we have. If you learned this stuff with a bib on, so are your children. If you know better, they can know better and your grandchildren might not even have to unlearn the wrong stuff.

But it has to start somewhere and I dare you to start it now. Learn, change, make the first step to a new way of thinking, eating, and weighing start now. Read on.

From the Introduction of Food Truths, Food Lies. Order here from Amazon to read on!