Monday, August 27, 2007

S.B. 1082 - Consumer protection or Drug Industry hat-tip?

Mike Adams has done a lot of heavy lifting on the pros (and cons) of S.B. 1082 regarding the future of Dietary supplements....

The present concern is that the bill will pass with ambiguous language that could allow its regulatory powers to threaten free access to dietary supplements and functional foods. While the bill's supporters claim there is no such language contained in the bill that would subject foods and supplements to new FDA regulations, they nonetheless refuse to support the food and supplement protection amendments authored by Jonathan Emord (a high-profile attorney specializing in FDA regulatory law) and generally supported by the health freedom movement.

While S.1082 contains some useful provisions that limit advertising for new drugs, it could also ultimately be misused to threaten consumer health freedoms. Furthermore, the bill deepens the financial ties between Big Pharma and the FDA while doing nothing of substance to end corruption at the FDA or to halt Big Pharma's monopolistic trade practices in the United States. Thus, the bill is widely viewed by most people in the health freedom movement as a net loss to consumer safety, which is why grassroots opposition to S.1082 has steadily grown.

What's clear from the Senate's action on the bill is that consumers are not in any meaningful way represented by lawmakers. Rather than fighting to protect consumers' health and hard-earned dollars, the majority of senators have voted in accordance with the wishes of their corporate sponsors -- the drug companies themselves. Thus, the imminent passage of S.1082 is viewed by many as yet one more Senate sellout of the American public to the financial interests of powerful pharmaceutical companies.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Weighing on the Chron's mind.

Good to see that Houston's lone major daily is concerned about Houston's bulging waist-line is it not?

Here's some wit from one of the two Lisas on Houston's "fat":

(from Lisa Gray of the Chron)

Why are Houstonians heftier than people in other cities? A few years ago the culprit seemed obvious. Urban sprawl, the argument went, packed on our pounds.

Several much-quoted studies found a correlation between obesity and spread-out, car-loving cities like ours. People who live in tight-packed metropolises tended to be thinner than people like us, whose suburban-style lives involve freeways and parking lots.

Researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Rand Corporation argued that living in a car-hostile city where walking is part of daily life naturally keeps people lean.

The difference between living in Manhattan or a spread-out, car-dependent suburb of Cleveland? For an average adult, it's six pounds, according to the University of Maryland's National Center for Smart Growth.

Sprawl was blamed for Americans' soaring obesity rates. And it seemed only natural that Houston, one of the most car-besotted places in the universe, was also one of the country's fattest. Here, only the intrepid dare to journey on foot to the corner store. In a loose-packed city like ours, places of interest often lie miles apart. Our streets, designed for drivers, leave pedestrians with daunting choices: slog across muddy sidewalk-less private yards or dodge SUVs in the road. It seemed no wonder that roughly two-thirds of Houstonians are either overweight or obese.

The researchers' arguments made intuitive sense, and the message seemed obvious. To avoid becoming XXXL tubs o' lard, we'd better move to Manhattan. Or make Houston more like it.


Lately, a new round of research has raised objections to the original sprawl-makes-you-fat studies. Suburban sprawl, they point out, was around for decades before the obesity epidemic started. But in the '50s, '60s and '70s, Americans were much thinner than we are now.

Some academics say that the sprawl researchers' methods were flawed, that it makes little sense, for example, to compare whole counties to one another.

The University of Illinois' more specific ZIP-code analysis of Chicago found that race, education and income had much more to do with obesity than a neighborhood's density. In fact, that study found, the leanest Chicagoans lived in the city's near-in suburbs — places where residents tended to be white, wealthy and well-educated.

In typical Chron fashion Ms. Gray touches lightly on the corners of the obesity issue, flanks it, and then oversimplifies it.

She does get ONE thing right however and deserves kudos for that:

Matthew Turner, one of those researchers, argues that it's not where you live, it's who you are. A fit person who likes to walk naturally gravitates toward places where walking is a pleasant part of daily life — but will tend to exercise anyway, even if it's inconvenient.

An obese person, for whom walking is miserable, will prefer life with an SUV — but is unlikely to grow much thinner even if having to sometimes schlep groceries from the corner store.

Being fit and healthy are personal choices. They take effort and sacrifice like the young lady attending fat camp is being conditioned to make:

Isabel woke before counselors began their round of knocks on campers' doors.

"This is going to be a heck of a day," she thought, her feet sliding to the tile floor of the dorm room. Her sleeping roommate, a shy teenager from Wharton, had hung posters of boy bands next to her bed. Beside Isabel's, a Tinkerbell nightlight glowed.

It was the first full day at weight-loss camp.

"All right, do we have those pedos everybody? — Pedos?" counselor Katie Barthelmes asked before the morning stretch. "Great, you don't want to miss these steps. Trust me."

The campers stretched in brand-new sneakers and sagging backpacks, their pedometers — or pedos — clipped to belts or shoes. Filtering onto the trail, they formed a straggling line on their nearly 3-mile walk, soon to be one of many routines of their summer days.

Isabel caught up with two girls, Riley Bird and Alicia Stone, from her assigned team, "Blanco," a group of 10 teenage girls. The day before, counselors had weighed and measured each of them. Isabel logged in at 179 pounds and 5-foot-1.

There's no amount of development (smart or otherwise), Government intervention or planning that's going to change this.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Everything that's wrong with the Supplement Industry today

Summed up in one nice, neat package...

(from Danny Robbins of The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

Even after five years, Loretta Lewis vividly recalls the day she visited the home of her daughter, Angel Montgomery, to hear a talk by Max Brache, a sales associate for Mannatech Inc.

Much of Brache's presentation was focused on Montgomery, who only months earlier had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

And, in Lewis' view, much of it was frightening, making the case that her daughter could conquer her illness by stopping her chemotherapy and taking Mannatech's dietary supplements instead.

"The thing that still galls me is how you can look somebody that sick in the eye and give them that kind of hope," she said.

For Lewis and others close to Montgomery, who died in November at 31, old emotions have been stirred by the lawsuit Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed against Mannatech last month.

Montgomery's experience with Brache is among the incidents cited in the suit, which accuses Mannatech, a Coppell-based multilevel marketer, of allowing its supplements to be sold as cures for cancer and other diseases.

I've seen Mannatech at various bodybuilding competitions in Texas, and they've always seemed to be responsible there, so I think that this story illustrates how one bad apple can spoil the entire barrell.

If supplements are to remain legally available then the industry is going to have to get serious about policing itself and making sure that they aren't allowing hucksters to give the entire industry a bad name.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fat is communicable?

A new study says that this may be the case...

(From Alicia Chang of the AP via

If your friends and family get fat, chances are you will too, researchers report in a startling new study that suggests obesity is "socially contagious" and can spread easily from person to person.

The large, federally funded study found that to be true even if your loved ones lived far away. Social ties seemed to play a surprisingly strong role, even more than genes are known to do.

"We were stunned to find that friends who are hundreds of miles away have just as much impact on a person's weight status as friends who are right next door," said co-author James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego.


Obesity is a global public health problem. About 1.5 billion adults worldwide are overweight, including more than 400 million who are obese. Two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese.

Of course, maybe the population is biased towards obese individuals because the silly BMI index has convinced us that we're all obese?

So what say you? Are you friends with people who share your body composition? Or no?

Welcome back

to 3CB.

If you're here for the first time then you probably won't remember (or dislike) 3CB for what 3rd Coast Bodybuilding wasn't. Third Coast was SUPPOSED to be a blog dedicated to bodybuilding, fitness, etc. What it turned out to be was a pain in the butt to update with reliable information. As a result of this I've rebranded and am starting up 3CB which will be much more Texas related in its focus and will delve into issues surrounding fitness in Texas, and dabble occasionally into the world of bodybuilding.

Pleae enjoy.