Addiction Sameness

Alcohol, Opiates, Fat and Sugar are all Addictive Substances: this blog is about that "addiction sameness".

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bloomberg's Soda Ban And The Epicenter Of The City's Obesity Crisis

Every morning, thousands of trucks roll out of a giant produce market in the Bronx bearing loads of arugula, chicory, escarole, radicchio and just about every other conceivable ingredient needed to make an amazing salad. The New York City Terminal Market is the largest wholesale produce market in the world. It employs more than 10,000 people, brings in around $2 billion a year and supplies nearly 60 percent of the city's shops and restaurants with fruit and vegetables. But if you live in the neighborhood, you might find yourself crossing an eight-lane expressway to get a tomato.

According to the Department of City Planning, the neighborhood, Hunts Point, is a "food desert" -– one of those enclaves of the industrialized world where healthy, affordable food is hard to find. Most of the neighborhood's 11,000 families get their calories from fast-food restaurants and bodegas, said Maryann Hedaa, the managing director of the Hunts Point Alliance For Children.

In Hunts Point, it's still "the Wonder Bread, Spam, and Twinkie era," she said. "Salad, what's that?"

One person who would not have any trouble answering that question is Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who recently incurred the derision of GOP lawmakers and a group called the Center for Consumer Freedom with his proposal to bar New York City's restaurants and movie theaters from selling large sugary drinks. "All across the country, people recognize obesity as a growing, serious problem," he said in an interview with the New York Post.

Nowhere in New York is the obesity problem worse than in the South Bronx. So what do the people of Hunts Point have to say about the mayor's latest attempt to get them to eat better?

"I think it's actually a good thing," said a young woman who'd stopped into a Hunts Point McDonalds -- one of the neighborhood's only sit-down restaurants. Unbelievably, the woman's last name was Sweet. Her first name was Daisy, and said she came to McDonald's after dropping off her five-year-old son at school. She looked healthy, even though she'd just emptied 17 packets of sugar (her count) into her extra-large cup of coffee. She said she tried to cook healthy meals for her son, but doing so required "dedication." There used to be a supermarket a few blocks from where she lives, she said, but it burned down.

"I'm really afraid with this," said Luis Perez, stopping for a brief chat outside a Dunkin Donuts across the street. Perez said he works in the neighborhood as a mechanic, and he, too, tries to keep his junk-food intake to a minimum. "But I'm really crazy with the soda," he admitted.

"I believe it is going to affect the economy worse," said Galo Morales, a construction worker from Ecuador, as he stood in a bodega on Hunts Point Avenue. The bodega's owner, Jamie Ovalles, agreed. Soda sales make up five percent of his income, he said, and he sells more 2-liter bottles than any other size. "When you buy big you pay less," he said. "And you know, the kids like the soda."

Hunts Point is one of the most isolated neighborhoods in the city. Water surrounds it on three sides; the remaining border is marked by the Bruckner Expressway. Together with the other neighborhoods of the South Bronx, it sits in the poorest congressional district in the country. Nearly half of all its children live below the poverty line, and many of them are overweight. At of 2006, the most recent year for which data is available, Hunts Point and the nearby neighborhood of Mott Haven had the city's highest rates of obesity, diabetes and death.

A more recent report found that nearly a third of all children enrolled in the area's Head Start programs were obese. These children and their families have little access to the enormous produce market next door, and many residents have been complaining about this for years. Some hope that the city will take these complaints into account as it negotiates a new contract with the market, which has recently entertained proposals to leave the Bronx for New Jersey.

The market "should be thinking about the residents as potential customers more, and the potential impact that they could have on the health of their community," said Kellie Terry-Sepulveda, the director of The Point, a community organization. Instead, it sits behind a series of concrete barriers that look like the bomb-blast walls seen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Point is part of a growing "food-justice" movement in the neighborhood. It's one of a number of organizations that have tried to improve the food options in poor neighborhoods around the city by enlisting residents to protest, to lobby, to plant gardens in abandoned lots, to turn kids on to the pleasures of carrots and kale. The Point offers cooking classes to families, and a few years ago it invited a gourmet chef to open a cafĂ© in its community center. Terry-Sepulveda said the chef, Kelston Bascom, had opened her eyes to new experiences. "I don't know if I'd ever had a relationship with … Oh my god, what's the odd-looking vegetable that looks like mini-cabbages? Maybe Brussels sprouts?"

The concept of the food desert has gained prominence in recent years, thanks in part to the advocacy of Michelle Obama. In too many neighborhoods, she said in October, "if people want to buy a head of lettuce or salad or some fruit for their kid's lunch, they have to take two or three buses, maybe pay for a taxicab, in order to do it."

A pair of recent studies has called this wisdom into question. In March, a report published in the journal Social Science and Medicine revealed that poor neighborhoods had more supermarkets and large grocers per square mile than wealthier ones, and a study published in February in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found no relationship between the types of food people eat and the types available within a mile and a half of their homes.

But in Hunts Point, the only vegetables stocked by most of the grocery stores are the starchy ones that keep well -- potatoes, plantains, cassava. And the eight lanes of the Bruckner Expressway make a mile-and-a-half shopping trip feel much longer.

The produce market does grant some access to the public. For three dollars, people can buy a day pass that gets them through the gates -- if they have cars. In any event, Terry-Sepulveda said this wasn't enough. "Three dollars doesn't sound like a lot," she said, "but for immediate residents, that can seem a little excessive, especially considering it's the poorest congressional district in the country."

Those residents have to put up with the unpleasant facts of life near a food-distribution center, she said, like the 15,000 trucks that come and go each day. So it's only fair that the market use its influence to help them, she argued. "We don't have the lobbying power of a huge produce market," she said.

A spokesman for the market said he thought these complaints were unreasonable, and he insisted that the market was open to everyone. Told that a security officer turned away a reporter who tried to enter the market this morning, he declined to provide an explanation.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this articles incorrectly stated that the proposed soda ban wouldn't affect the sale of large bottles of soda in delis.

Bloomberg's Soda Ban And The Epicenter Of The City's Obesity Crisis

Michelle Obama Welcomes Disney's 'Game-Changing' Ban On Junk Food Ads

The Huffington Post UK | By Sarah O'Meara Posted: 06/06/2012 11:29 

In a bid to help improve eating habits among America's children, 

The Walt Disney Company will become the first major media company to ban ads for junk food on its television channels, radio stations and websites, reports the Associated Press.
From 2015, all food and drink products advertised, sponsored, or promoted on Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Radio Disney, and Disney-owned online destinations oriented to families with younger children will be required to meet Disney’s nutrition guidelines.

Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years in America
, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and First Lady Michelle Obama has called the move a "game changer" for the health of US children.

Disney will align their nutrition guidelines to federal standards, which means that banned advertising will go beyond candy bars and fast-food meals.

The Children's Food Campaign is calling for advertising regulation to become more comprehensive, in order to prevent children from seeing adverts for foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar.

At the Disney press conference, Michelle Obama said: "As parents, we know that whatever is on TV is what our kids are going to want. "

The First Lady has championed such healthy-living issues since launching the Let’s Move! initiative and specifically called upon the business community to innovate changes in advertising to marketing healthy foods and habits to children.
Michelle Obama said: "Our kids see an estimated $1.6 billion a year worth of food and beverage marketing, and many of those ads are for foods that are high in calories and sugar but low in nutrition."

Michelle Obama Welcomes Disney's 'Game-Changing' Ban On Junk Food Ads

Are Testosterone Drugs the Next Viagra?

Testosterone replacement has long been prescribed for men who suffer from abnormally low levels of the male sex hormone, but overuse can lead to infertility and can even speed the growth of prostate cancer. That hasn’t stopped Michael Murray, a healthy 43-year-old home stager who works in New York and Chicago, from getting frequent testosterone injections to raise his energy level and give his bodybuilding regime a boost. “Am I making a deal with the devil? A little bit, but I have to think about my quality of life,” Murray explains. “It is like I’m in my 20s again.”

In what may become one of the most sought-after lifestyle drugs since the introduction of Pfizer’s (PFE) Viagra 14 years ago, new testosterone drugs from Eli Lilly (LLY), Abbott Laboratories (ABT), and other drugmakers are hot. Prescriptions for testosterone replacement therapies have more than doubled since 2006 to 5.6 million last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sales are expected to triple to $5 billion by 2017, forecasts Global Industry Analysts.

As many as 13.8 million men older than 45 in the U.S. have low levels of testosterone, according to a 2006 study in the International Journal of Clinical Practice. The male sex hormone begins to decline after age 30, and tends to drop about 1 percent each year. Lower-than-normal levels can lead to a loss of libido, a decrease in bone and muscle mass, and depression.

But taking the hormone holds risks. Testosterone can increase the growth of prostate tumors and cause blood clots and liver damage, says Edmund Sabanegh, chairman of urology at the Cleveland Clinic. Sabanegh has seen a rise in patients seeking a prescription for testosterone who don’t need it medically but covet its lifestyle-enhancing effects. Sabanegh also says he sees patients of other doctors taking testosterone to help with erectile dysfunction or low sex drive when they’re trying to conceive a child. Yet testosterone treatments can make men infertile, a side effect doctors sometimes fail to consider, he says. “There are a lot of really bad things that can happen” from misuse of testosterone, Sabanegh says.

Abbott spent $20.8 million on testosterone ads in 2011, according to researcher Nielsen (NLSN). One TV ad opens with a silhouette of a man on the bench as his friends play basketball. The voice-over asks viewers if they have “lost their appetite for romance?” or are “feeling like a shadow of your former self?” The ads direct viewers to a website called On the Abbott-sponsored website is an image of a troubled-looking man sitting on the edge of a bed, his back to a woman.

Abbott subsidizes insurance co-pays of patients who use its AndroGel testosterone drug, letting users pay as little as $10 a month out of pocket. Abbott spokesman Greg Miley says the company only promotes AndroGel for Food and Drug Administration-approved uses in men diagnosed with low levels of the hormone by a doctor. “Low testosterone is a chronic but treatable disease, and our marketing efforts around disease awareness are designed to raise awareness about this,” Miley says.

Lilly began running TV, online, and print ads last year for its testosterone drug Axiron, which was approved by U.S. regulators in 2010 and is applied under the arm through a device similar to a deodorant stick. Lilly is offering a free 30-day supply of Axiron for new users. The ads are intended to “help educate men about low testosterone and encourage them to seek treatment,” says Lilly spokeswoman Teresa Shewman.

While growing, sales of the drugs aren’t on par with those of erectile dysfunction treatments. The U.S. market for testosterone replacement therapies was $1.6 billion in 2011, according to Bloomberg data. Sales of ED drugs were $5.3 billion, says IMS Health. But new testosterone prescriptions are growing fast, and facilities are opening across the U.S. to meet the demand. Johnny Mitias, an orthopedic surgeon in Mississippi, opened Ageless Men’s Health, a chain of testosterone clinics, in 2007. Mitias says he has 5,000 patients, who each pay $250 a month to receive testosterone injections. He now has 15 offices and plans to double the number next year.

The bottom line: Sales of testosterone drugs are booming. Although 13.8 million men suffer from low testosterone, others covet the hormone’s libido lift.

Are Testosterone Drugs the Next Viagra? - Businessweek

Pomegranates May Not Treat Heart Disease, Cancer, and Erectile Dysfunction

The FTC: Actually, Pomegranates May Not Treat Heart Disease, Cancer, and Erectile Dysfunction

By Marion Nestle

May 24 2012, 10:24 AM ET

Even with the best research money could buy, a judge ruled this week that POM had deceptively promoted its products unproven health benefits.

Eurofruit, Asiafruit & Americafruit/Flickr

I've been following the legal battles between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the makers of POM juice and other pomegranate juice products with avid interest, mainly because they deal with the credibility of sponsored scientific research.
This week, an administrative law judge ruled that POM violated federal law when it deceptively advertised its products as able to "treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction."
The judge ruled that reasonable consumers would interpret the ads as making such claims but that the company had not produced convincing evidence to support them.

The judge's decision makes entertaining reading for someone like me who enjoys debates about whether sponsorship of scientific studies influences results and interpretation--as evidence shows they most definitely do.

POM has invested more than $35 million in research to prove that pomegranate juice has health benefits. 

It has sponsored about 100 studies at 44 different institutions. At least 70 of these studies were published in peer-reviewed journals.

It is not difficult to design research studies to give sponsors the answers they want and to make sure they are conducted well. 

POM is getting the best research that money can buy.

One such study, of the effects of drinking pomegranate juice on myocardial perfusion (MP, blood flow to the heart), was conducted by Dr. Dean Ornish, who runs a preventive medicine institute in California (the quotes come from pages 268-269 of the decision).

The Ornish MP study was originally designed to last 12 months, with measurements at baseline, 3 months, and 12 months. [The FTC] charges that the study was cut short when the three-month data came in favorably and Dr. Ornish faced cost overruns.

Dr. [Frank] Sacks [expert witness for the FTC] opined that the shortened study period and failure to report the planned duration are inconsistent with widely accepted standards for conduct of clinical trials and undermine any confidence in the findings.

Dr. Ornish testified that the Ornish MP Study was terminated after three months only because the Resnicks did not provide the funding that they had previously committed to this study....[he said the study]constitutes credible and reliable science showing that pomegranate juice lessens the risk of cardiovascular problems.

The judge found evidence on this study and many others conflicting. He ruled that this level of disagreement about the quality of the research means that the scientific evidence is not good enough to substantiate the claims.

I was interviewed for a story in Business Week about this decision.

This makes it clear why everyone should be suspicious of the results of sponsored studies...POM-sponsored studies produce results favorable to POM.

POM's owners have their own spin on the decision.

It says the ALJ's ruling affirms the scientific validity behind the general health benefits of pomegranates and "completely exonerates" POM regarding its claims in broadcast or print interviews.

Let's be clear what's at stake here. 

According to the decision document, the owners of POM control 18,000 acres of pomegranate orchards.

From September 2002 through November 2010, sales of POM juice alone totaled nearly $248 million
(the supplements and other products add more).

The owners must believe that nobody will buy pomegranate juice and supplements for any reason other than health benefits.

Health claims are about marketing, not health.

Let's hope the FTC can make the decision stick.


Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. She also holds appointments as Professor of Sociology at NYU and Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell.

She is the author of three prize-winning books: 

Food Politics: How the Food Industry 

Influences Nutrition and Health (revised edition, 2007),

 Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety (2003), and

What to Eat (2006).

Her most recent book is
Feed Your Pet Right: The Authoritative Guide to Feeding Your Dog and Cat.

She writes the Food Matters column for The San Francisco Chronicle and blogs almost daily at Food Politics.


  Health - Marion Nestle - The FTC: Actually, Pomegranates May Not Treat Heart Disease, Cancer, and Erectile Dysfunction - The Atlantic

Bill Clinton: A vegan diet helped me lose 24 pounds & saved my life


Former president Bill Clinton feels healthier than ever since switching to a vegan diet.

"I like the vegetables, the fruits, the beans, the stuff I eat now," Clinton, 65, told CNN in a TV special set to air Aug. 21, 2011.

The 6'2" Bill, who has been overweight all his life, no longer eats meat, dairy, eggs or oil, claiming the changes have made a marked difference in his health.

"All my blood tests are good, and my vital signs are good, and I feel good. I also have more energy," says Clinton, whose goal now is to slim down to 185 pounds -- his weight at age 13!

Clinton underwent a quadruple heart bypass surgery in 2004, and in 2010 had two stents placed in his coronary artery, so a diet overhaul was a necessity, given his family history of heart disease.

"I was lucky I did not die of a heart attack [in 2004]," says Clinton. After his first surgery, the former president cut back on calories and reduced his dietary cholesterol intake but continued to eat the hamburgers, steaks, chicken enchiladas, barbecue and french fries he so loved.

After his 2010 angioplasty, Clinton switched to a plant-based diet on the advice of coronary disease specialist, Dr. Dean Ornish.

"I shared with him that because of his genetics, moderate changes in diet and lifestyle weren't enough to keep his disease from progressing," Ornish, 57, recounts.

"Our research showed that more intensive changes can actually reverse progression of heart disease in most people."

After adopting a plant-based diet, Clinton lost 24 pounds and says his health has improved drastically.

"I went on essentially a plant-based diet," says Clinton. "I live on beans, legumes, vegetables, fruits. I drink a protein supplement every morning. No dairy. I drink almond milk mixed in with fruit and a protein powder, so I get the protein for the day when I start the day out."

The former president, who's now trying to help promote exercise and offer better lunches to children through his Clinton Foundation, realizes now how destructive his old diet was to his health. "I essentially concluded that I had played Russian roulette," says Clinton.

"Because even though I had changed my diet some and cut down on the caloric total of my ingestion and cut back on much of the cholesterol in the food I was eating, I still -- without any scientific basis to support what I did -- was taking in a lot of extra cholesterol without knowing if my body would produce enough of the enzyme to support it, and clearly it didn't or I wouldn't have had that blockage.

"So that's when I made a decision to really change. It's turning a ship around before it hits the iceberg, but I think we're beginning to turn it around."

Bill Clinton: A vegan diet helped me lose 24 pounds & saved my life - National Celebrity Fitness and Health |

Bill Clinton supports Michael Bloomberg's soda ban, gushes about vegan diet - National Celebrity Fitness and Health |

Former President Bill Clinton, who recently lost 24 pounds on a vegan diet, fully supports New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to ban the sale of super-sized sugary soft drinks, citing alarming national diabetes and obesity statistics.

"I think he's doing the right thing," Clinton said on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight on May 31, 2012. "And let me explain why: We worked in 14,000 schools, trying to help improve the school lunch offerings and what's in the vending machines.

"We got a voluntary agreement from all the soft-drinks people to [pull full-calorie soft drinks from schools in 2006]. It has reduced by 88%, the total calories going to kids in vending machines and cafeterias."

[Editor's note: Clinton was referring to a joint program launched in 2006 by the American Heart Association, the William J. Clinton Foundation and the American Beverage Association to pull full-calorie soft drinks from school vending machines.]

Clinton, 65, stressed that Americans must scale back on the consumption of sugar and other unhealthy foods to prevent the epidemic of diabetes and obesity in the United States, especially among children.

"We've got this explosion of diabetes in America among young people," says Clinton. "For the first time, Type II diabetes is showing up in 9-year-olds and among the Baby Boomers who are retiring. And together, these things are going to bankrupt us. It's a terrible human tragedy, and it's basically too much sugar going into the body, we can't process it all.

"So if you get rid of these giant, full-of-sugar, drinks and make people have smaller portions, it will help. I know a lot of people think, 'Well, this is a nanny state and [Bloomberg is] interfering.' But these are very serious problems. It's like shortening your life and undermining the quality of your life and exploding the cost of our healthcare system."

Clinton, who was overweight his entire life, switched to a plant-based vegan diet in 2011 and lost 24 pounds after undergoing a quadruple heart-bypass surgery in 2004, and getting two stents placed in his coronary artery in 2010.
Bill, a longtime lover of hamburgers and other fast food, says he needed to make the dietary change given his family history of heart disease.
"When I had my second heart incident [in 2010] and I had the stents put in, I had passed all my physicals, I was doing great, but I was still building up plaque in my arteries," he recounted. "So I decided that I wanted to see if I could live to be a grandfather, so I just went all the way.

"Now, I try to eat some salmon once a week, but I don't miss any of that. Getting rid of the dairy was great, getting rid of the meat was -- I just don't miss it. Not everybody is as vulnerable to [heart disease] as I am.

"All of us produce a certain amount of enzymes that destroys our own bad cholesterol. However much extra we produce determines how much we can ingest. And unfortunately, we can't measure it. So I just said, 'I don't want to take any chances,' and I feel great, lost a bunch of weight."

But Clinton underscored that overhauling our diets on a national scale is not only good for our health, but makes good fiscal sense.

"If you look at the American healthcare system, spending almost 18% of income on healthcare, that's a big reason people don't get pay raises," says Clinton. "Small businesses want to give their employees pay raises, but they have to spend it on the health premiums instead. It's killing them.

"Of the trillion dollars [Americans spend on healthcare], I would say about $200 billion of it is completely related to diabetes and its dependent consequences, which is a function of how we eat."

Bill Clinton supports Michael Bloomberg's soda ban, gushes about vegan diet - National Celebrity Fitness and Health |


“One bad sunburn before you turn 18 doubles your chances of developing melanoma…” ... apply (and re-apply frequently) at least SPF 30 sunscreen.

 Recently, the CBC reported that:
  • “Half of U.S. adults under 30 say they have had a sunburn at least once in the previous year — about the same as a decade ago”
  • “Women in their 20s are going to tanning salons almost twice a month on average”
Now, those are some scary statistics, especially since we now know very well how bad tanning salons are for you. 

The World Health Organization classifies tanning beds, which are UV-emitting devices, as a known carcinogen. 

Canadian provinces are starting to ban under 18s from using tanning beds. 

British Columbia and Nova Scotia both have a ban in place and Saskatchewan is trying to do the same.

Aleksandra Sagan | Freelance writer, avid traveler, and health and education buff.

NYC’s Trans Fat Ban Worked: Fast-Food Diners Are Eating Healthier | Healthland |

A study of restaurant diners in New York shows that the city’s ban on trans fats improved its residents’ diet: fast-food customers chose healthier options and cut their trans-fat consumption after the ban.

It’s promising evidence that such changes on a local level can make a meaningful difference in people’s consumption — without even requiring them to change behavior significantly on their own.

The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, also shows that people reduced artery-clogging trans-fat intake after the ban, without replacing it with another type of fat.

The study by researchers in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene compared the lunchtime meals of people eating at fast-food chains around the city in 2007 and 2009 — before and after the trans-fat ban went into effect.

In 2009, the average diner’s fast-food meal contained about 2.4 g less trans fats, down to about half a gram of trans fat per meal. More people also bought menu items with 0% trans fat after the restriction went into place, representing an 86% increase in these healthier options over a two-year period.

Trans fats are known to be particularly dangerous for heart health. 

Some trans fats occur naturally in dairy products and meat, but the majority of these fats in the average American diet come from the partially hydrogenated oils used widely in the preparation of prepackaged foods and restaurant fare, such as commercially baked goods and fried foods like French fries.

In 2006, the federal government began requiring packaged food makers to list the amount of trans fat contained per serving, which was helpful for grocery-store shoppers comparing the relative heart-healthiness of processed foods. But the federal rule had no bearing on restaurant meals, which accounts for about a third of the total calories Americans consume each day.

New York City was the first in the nation to pass a ban against the use of artificial trans fats in restaurants, requiring food preparers to reformulate recipes or eliminate certain ingredients, so that their fare contained no more than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.

That’s why the current study’s results are so encouraging, says co-author Christine Curtis, director of nutrition strategy programs in the New York City Department of Health, especially in light of another proposed citywide ban against large-sized sugary sodas.

“We hope this makes it clear that there is an opportunity for local jurisdictions to protect the health of their consumers,” she says.

The researchers studied fast-food diners in both high-income and low-income neighborhoods, but found no difference in the pattern of purchases made in either location. 

That suggests that it may be health concerns, more so than financial ones, that influence certain eating decisions even in lower-income areas, an encouraging sign for the implementation of public policy approaches to improving health.

The scientists also found that nutritionists’ worries that the trans-fat ban would just lead restaurants to swap trans fats for other unhealthy fats were unfounded; although consumption of saturated fat increased slightly, people ended up eating less combined trans and saturated fat after the policy went into effect.

That means that people were eating less fat overall, and therefore consuming potentially healthier options.

Further, the findings proved that the reduction in trans fat consumption wasn’t simply resulting from smaller portion sizes. The ban allowed restaurants to come up with different ways to meet the 0.5 g-per-serving limit, including reducing portion sizes. But some restaurants reformulated their menu items to contain less trans fat, while others discontinued trans-fat-laden items altogether and replaced them with healthier products.

The biggest drop in average trans fat consumption occurred in burger chains, thanks to a combination of reformulated menus and changes in cooking practices, such as trading partially hydrogenated oils for trans-fat-free oils when frying. After hamburger chains, Mexican-food and fried-chicken chains saw the biggest drops in customers’ trans-fat consumption.

The study did not track diners long enough to see if their lower-fat choices translated to actual health gains, such as a drop in heart disease or obesity, but other studies show that such benefits are possible.

Previous trials have linked even a 40-calorie-per-day increase in trans fat intake to a 23% higher risk of heart disease. 

And based on the data collected in the current study, Curtis says the average diner was eating about 20 calories less per day in trans fats. 

“That gives you an idea of the potentially big impact this policy can have on heart disease,” she says.

The American Heart Association recommends that people limit trans fat to less than 2 g a day, while the latest government dietary guidelines advise people to eat as little trans fat as possible.

New York City’s local ban has led to some wider benefits, since national chains like McDonald’s ended up reducing trans fats system wide. 

So far, 15 other jurisdictions have taken New York’s lead and restricted trans fats as well, but Curtis hopes her study’s results will inform yet more legislatures about how powerful such policies can be.

Alice Park is a writer at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @aliceparkny. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

NYC’s Trans Fat Ban Worked: Fast-Food Diners Are Eating Healthier | Healthland |

Derek Boogaard’s Parents Sue N.H.L. Players’ Association

September 22, 2012

Boogaard’s Parents File Lawsuit Against the N.H.L. Players’ Association

The parents of Derek Boogaard, the N.H.L. enforcer who died in May 2011 of an accidental overdose of prescription painkillers and alcohol, have sued the N.H.L. Players’ Association.

Boogaard was 28 when he died with three years remaining on a four-year, $6.5 million contract with the Rangers. The suit seeks the $4.8 million in salary he was scheduled to make and $5 million in punitive damages.

His parents say the union, after initial discussions with them after Boogaard’s death, did not meet a deadline to file a grievance seeking the final three years of his Rangers salary.

Len Boogaard, Derek’s father, confirmed that a lawsuit was filed Friday in Los Angeles but declined further comment. News of the lawsuit was first reported by TMZ.

“It is irrational for this union to believe that a grievance should not be filed over the nonpayment of the balance to one of its members’ S.P.C. when the union is aware that a team or teams bears responsibility for the player’s death,” part of the lawsuit reads. S.P.C. refers to a standard player contract.

The players association said it had not seen a copy of the suit.

“We are saddened to read reports that the parents of the late Derek Boogaard have filed a lawsuit against the N.H.L.P.A.,” the spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon said in a statement. 

“We have not been served with or seen a copy of the complaint, but we are confident that there is no meritorious claim that can be made against the N.H.L.P.A. in regard to Derek’s tragic death. It is not appropriate to comment further at this time.”

Len Boogaard, a longtime member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, spent more than a year piecing together the final months and years of his son’s life. He gathered thousands of pages of documents — including drug tests, team medical records, phone records and prescriptions — raising questions about the care Boogaard received from team doctors and substance-abuse counselors provided by the N.H.L. and the union.

The evidence Len Boogaard compiled was described in a New York Times article in June.

“Derek was an addict,” Len Boogaard said last spring. “But why was he an addict? Everyone said he had ‘off-ice’ issues. No, it was hockey.”

Derek Boogaard’s Parents Sue N.H.L. Players’ Association -