When Being Healthy Is Unhealthy


Perhaps the biggest flaw—and defining power—of such tag lines as “strong is the new skinny” is that they still put the focus on appearance as opposed to achievement. Research suggests that women are no more satisfied with their bodies today than they were in past decades; meanwhile, a fixation on fitness driven by unachievable standards keeps women trapped in their own dissatisfaction, robbing them of time and energy.

The idea that women are “weak” or “fragile” is deeply rooted in sexism, and while notable feminist writers argue that we should challenge these notions, Martin Ginis says it’s also important to challenge the idea that we’re all supposed to be one thing: some people are fit, some are thin, some are fat—and that’s okay, because strong is not the new skinny. Strength can’t be built by posting an Instagram selfie or by parading around in a T-shirt with a catchy motto.

The complete article

Nicole Schmidt — The Walrus

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American Health Care: Is It Worth It?

As Republicans debate plans to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), it’s useful to look at just what Americans get from their expensive health care system:

Although anecdotal evidence suggests that waiting times are lower in the U.S. than in other countries, true quality indicators are difficult to derive due to measurement errors. So it’s difficult to say definitively that U.S. consumers get better-quality care than people in other industrialized countries, but their care is definitely the most expensive.

San Antonio Review

Image: Healthcare.gov

You Can’t Trust What You Read About Nutrition


Can we really trust the numerous articles on nutrition? This needull tries to find out.

Nearly every nutrient you can think of has been linked to some health outcome in the peer-reviewed scientific literature using tools like the FFQ, said John Ioannidis, an expert on the reliability of research findings at the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford. In a 2013 analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Ioannidis and a colleague selected 50 common ingredients at random from a cookbook and looked for studies evaluating each food’s association to cancer risk. It turned out that studies had found a link between 80 percent of the ingredients — including salt, eggs, butter, lemon, bread and carrots — and cancer. Some of those studies pointed to an increased risk of cancer, others suggested a decreased risk, but the size of the reported effects were “implausibly large,” Ioannidis said, while the evidence was weak.

The complete article

Christie Aschwanden — FiveThirtyEight

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The Wellness Epidemic


How has wellness become such a big industry? Today’s needull looks at the wellness epidemic.

It can be easy to be cynical about wellness, about the $66 jade eggs that Gwyneth Paltrow suggests inserting in your “yoni.” There’s something grotesque about this industry’s emerging at the moment when the most basic health care is still being denied to so many in America and is at risk of being snatched away from millions more. But what’s perhaps most striking about wellness’s ascendancy is that it’s happening because, in our increasingly bifurcated world, even those who do have access to pretty good (and sometimes quite excellent, if quite expensive) traditional health care are left feeling, nonetheless, incredibly unwell.

The complete article

Amy Larocca — The Cut

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Case that changed HIV treatment forever


Today’s needull is an inspirational story of the patient zero of HIV in India – Dominic D’souza.

From being handcuffed and left to rot in an abandoned tuberculosis sanatorium to challenging the Goa Public Health Amendment Act, which called for mandatory isolation of HIV-positive persons, Dominic’s legal, medical and emotional journey irrevocably changed not only his own life but became a rallying cry in the struggle for equal rights to treatment and care for those with HIV in the country.

The complete article

Mohua Das — The Times of India

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Juice It… Down!!

Food fads come and go. Some say carbs are the main villain, some put the blame on the sugar content. While some claim tea to be good for health, some term it as extremely harmful. Some swear by coffee, while for some, red wine is the timeless elixir.

But, today’s Needull, authored by renowned medical researchers and diabetes specialists, does the unthinkable. It targets the most innocuous of drinks, the harmless, the ever-so-colourful – JUICE. The authors argue that “fruit juice, even if it is freshly pressed, 100 percent juice, is little more than sugar water“.

Disclaimer: Needull, or your truly, doesn’t endorse or refute the above. As a matter of fact, I have just now gulped a fresh glass of mandarin juice.

At first glance, it is reasonable to think that juice has health benefits. Whole fruit is healthy, and juice comes from fruit, so it must be healthy, too. But when you make juice, you leave some of the most wholesome parts of the fruit behind. The skin on an apple, the seeds in raspberries and the membranes that hold orange segments together — they are all good for you. That is where most of the fiber, as well as many of the antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals are hiding. Fiber is good for your gut; it fills you up and slows the absorption of the sugars you eat, resulting in smaller spikes in insulin. When your body can no longer keep up with your need for insulin, Type 2 diabetes can develop.

Full Article Here

Washington Post – Heather Ferris, Elvira Isganaitis and Florence Brown

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