Tag Archives: health

Your menu is lying to you

Pax Arcana

I have a bit of news to share this morning, but first I want you to brace yourselves.

You ready?

As it turns out, those nutritional information guides at chain menus are less accurate than Ray Allen in the postseason.

According to a Scripps-Howard investigation, major “casual dining” chains understate the amount of fat and calories in their “health-conscious” menu sections by enough to make your heart explode on contact:

Items were packed in coolers and sent to Analytical Labs in Boise, Idaho. Technicians performed nutritional tests, determining the items’ caloric and fat contents. They did so by breaking the food down in a simulated digestion process.

The lab separated fat and other molecules, then measured them. After determining the amount of fat, protein and carbohydrates in each meal, the lab was able to calculate the overall number of calories.

The Macaroni Grill sample showed the widest variance from the menu’s claims. Its “Pollo Margo Skinny Chicken,” which was supposed to have 500 calories, actually had 1,022, according to the testing. The chicken dinner was supposed to have 6 grams of fat. It had 49.

Right now you’re thinking, “Man, if I’m the owner of some of these chains, I just got busted red-handed. I’d better own up to it.”

That’s why you don’t run a corporate PR consultancy, dumbass.

Quick! To the Douche Cave! We must blame the customer!

A spokesman for the company that owns Macaroni Grill apologized for the incorrect nutritional information.

“On occasion, in restaurant preparation, portion size variances and guest customization of menu items can impact nutritional content,” a company spokesman said in a statement. “To the extent that any of the items were not prepared to our exacting standards, we apologize to our valued guests.”

Your valued guests would accept your apology, but they’re too busy holding down these damn levitating fire hydrants.

Restaurant menu promises buried in calories, fat [Seattle P-I]


Filed under food

The poor are even better at dying than they used to be

Pax Arcana

While overall life expectancy has risen since the 1960s, the Harvard School of Public Health says poor people are even better at dying than they were back when Pappy would set his own broken leg with an ironing board and a rusty bicycle chain:

“There has always been a view in U.S. health policy that inequalities are more tolerable as long as everyone’s health is improving. There is now evidence that there are large parts of the population in the United States whose health has been getting worse for about two decades,” said Majid Ezzati, associate professor of international health at HSPH and lead author of the study.

Fine, but where are these poor people exactly? My guess is they’re concentrated in suburban New Jersey and Massachusetts, with a strong contingent in the Bay Area.

Damn. Guess I was wrong:

The majority of the counties that had the worst downward swings in life expectancy were in the South, along the Mississippi River, and in Appalachia, extending into the southern portion of the Midwest and into Texas.

Public health outreach programs in areas like Appalachia are notoriously difficult to maintain over time, because local coordinators are often “ate.”

Life expectancy worsening or stagnating [Harvard Gazette]

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Your shoes suck

Pax Arcana

By this time next year, expect to see an awful lot of white people walking around gentrifying urban areas totally barefoot.

That’s because, according to this article in New York Magazine, there is a growing body of evidence that shoes — all shoes — are bad for human feet. They’re so bad, in fact, that they’re destroying the perfect human walking mechanism that took millions of years to evolve or something:

“Natural gait is biomechanically impossible for any shoe-wearing person,” wrote Dr. William A. Rossi in a 1999 article in Podiatry Management. “It took 4 million years to develop our unique human foot and our consequent distinctive form of gait, a remarkable feat of bioengineering. Yet, in only a few thousand years, and with one carelessly designed instrument, our shoes, we have warped the pure anatomical form of human gait, obstructing its engineering efficiency, afflicting it with strains and stresses and denying it its natural grace of form and ease of movement head to foot.” In other words: Feet good. Shoes bad.

Pictured: The official Internettin’ shoe of Pax Arcana

Especially high heels, which over time shorten ladies’ tendons, according to the article. Sometimes the tendons get so truncated that women find they can only be comfortable in high heels. Their feet have become too warped to function naturally.

Okay, but what about a good pair of athletic shoes?

Okay, but what about a good pair of athletic shoes? After all, they swaddle your foot in padding to protect you from the unforgiving concrete. But that padding? That’s no good for you either. Consider a paper titled “Athletic Footwear: Unsafe Due to Perceptual Illusions,” published in a 1991 issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. “Wearers of expensive running shoes that are promoted as having additional features that protect (e.g., more cushioning, ‘pronation correction’) are injured significantly more frequently than runners wearing inexpensive shoes (costing less than $40).” According to another study, people in expensive cushioned running shoes were twice as likely to suffer an injury—31.9 injuries per 1,000 kilometers, as compared with 14.3—than were people who went running in hard-soled shoes.

Reporter Adam Sternbergh says few shoe company executives are buying into the biomechanical advantages of bare feet. One who does is Galahad Clark, scion of the C&J Clark shoe company, whom Sternbergh introduces with the following insanely awesome lead-in:

Galahad Clark never intended to get into the shoe business, let alone the anti-shoe business. And he likely never would have, if it weren’t for the Wu-Tang Clan.

Clark — along with Wu-Tang — is among the forefathers of a new movement to create shoes with almost no padding on the soles, to force your feet back into doing what they were meant to do. By extension, he is also nothing to fuck with.

You Walk Wrong [New York Magazine]


Filed under science

The epileptics wish you would stop stuffing things in their mouths

Pax Arcana

If this blog is about anything, it’s saving lives.

First we taught you how to motorboat that collapsed fatty back to life. Now we bring you the following important message:

Swallowing your own tongue is pretty much impossible, so epileptic people kindly ask that you stop shoving things in their mouths during seizures.

From the Times:

Ryan Brett, the director of education for the Epilepsy Institute in New York, said people who witness a seizure often reach for a wallet, a spoon, or a dirty object to stick in the person’s mouth, much to the chagrin of epilepsy patients. He said he frequently conducted first-aid workshops in which he had to disabuse people of the myth.

“The only thing that happens when something is put in the mouth is you end up cutting someone’s gums or injuring the teeth,” he said. “We get complaints all the time.”

I imagine the only thing worse than having a seizure is having a seizure while some old guy at the park shoves his glasses case in your mouth. So next time you see someone having a seizure, just move along and pretend nothing is happening. Ooh look! They have a Cinnabon here now?

The Claim: During a Seizure, You Can Swallow Your Tongue [New York Times]

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Old Ad Wednesday

Pax Arcana

Because no single blog on the bloggernet is better than us at creating recurring blog features that we never fall through with (RIP “Pax Gastronomica,” “Tuesday Tubby Tearfest,” and “Ask Fidel”), I proudly present a new segment called Old Ad Wednesday.

In the first installment of Old Ad Wednesday, we bring you this cheerful indoctrination into the magical world of childhood diabetes — sponsored by the hilariously-named Soda Pop Board of America. We picture a bunch of old men in red striped suits and bow ties, taking breaks between board meetings to refill their root beer floats.

The text of the ad is as follows:

How soon is too soon?

Not soon enough. Laboratory tests over the last few years have proven that babies who start drinking soda during that early formative period have a much higher chance of gaining acceptance and “fitting in” during those awkward pre-teen and teen years. So, do yourself a favor. Do your child a favor. Start them on a strict regimen of sodas and other sugary carbonated beverages right now, for a lifetime of guaranteed happiness.

What’s crazy isn’t that the Soda Pop Board’s laboratories were so sophisticated. What’s crazy is that their plan worked, and the people of America gained self-esteem beyond the limits of the imagination.

The King has found himself a worthy Queen

Well done, America. Well done, Soda Pop Board.

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Get your mouth off that corpse already

Pax Arcana

cpr1.gifHere’s a bit of service journalism for your Tuesday morning: The American Heart Association now says you should not blow awkwardly into the mouth of the corpulent bastard that collapsed in front of you at Wendy’s. Instead you should go right for the boobies and motorboat those sons of bitches. With rapid-fire chest compressions, that is:

Hands-only CPR calls for uninterrupted chest presses — 100 a minute — until paramedics take over or an automated external defibrillator is available to restore a normal heart rhythm. This action should be taken only for adults who unexpectedly collapse, stop breathing and are unresponsive. The odds are that the person is having cardiac arrest — the heart suddenly stops — which can occur after a heart attack or be caused by other heart problems.

But what about the old way of doing things? When Pax Arcana was a lifeguard (1992 – 1994), I was taught to alternate 15 compressions and two breaths into the lungs of the unresponsive victim. As it turns out, the idea of getting that intimate with a soon-to-be-dead person kind of skeeves people out:

Anonymous surveys show that people are reluctant to do mouth-to-mouth, Ewy said, partly because of fear of infections.

“When people are honest, they’re not going to do it,” he said. “It’s not only the yuck factor.”

It’s about time someone in the medical community came forward and told the truth about this. Giving people mouth-to-mouth is gross if they’re not hot girls with minty-fresh breath. I remember when Mrs. Krauss collapsed during adult swim. We got her out of the pool OK, but the idea of giving her mouth-to-mouth was off-putting to say the least. Yuck.

Everything turned out OK, though, because apparently Mrs. Krauss liked to keep dozens of those little airplane bottles of vodka in her pool bag. Score!

In memory of Edna Krauss, 1928 – 1994.

Experts now recommend hands-only CPR [AP]


Filed under health

Silly yogic snot pots are all the rage

Today’s Times has an article on the Neti Pot, the goofy ceramic contraption your turquoise-bedazzled holistic healing aunt sticks in her nose, sending a tide of salty booger water out the other nostril. Like this:


Pax Arcana is typically dismissive of faddish voodoo magic cures like ginseng, echinacea, and dentistry. However, there seems to be something to this Neti Pot business, and it’s not just annoying Whole Foods denizens saying so.

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