Paradise lost, paradise found. A tale of health in the South and North Pacific

Traditional village life still exists somewhere in the world – Anetytum, Vanuatu I’ve been lucky enough to contract to the World Health Organization in the South and North Pacific to take on work in the daunting area of non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc). It’s been a privilege, but a task which has no easy solution.  Here’s a tale of paradise and paradise lost.  The two extremes of what I’ve seen in the Pacific. The happiest place in the world? Aneityum is a small island in Southern Vanuatu. It… Read More

What do I actually eat?

Grant Schofield has a chat to a village pig about the pig’s future. The pig listens carefully. Thanks to everyone who has started following this blog.  Frankly, while I find this stuff interesting and important, I had no idea that it was shared by so many other people.  An academic’s real-life exposure to social media is an eye opener and fun. 3000 hits in a little over a week! So the main question I have had from people so far is “what do you eat?” and “what about kids?” I think I… Read More

Diet wars: Can you really eat fat and get lean?

There’s a food fight cooking… In the red corner, we have the national nutrition guidelines, with its support crew of dietitians and most of the conservative medical and scientific community. They are the reigning public health champions. They are undefeated, but then they haven’t been seriously challenged. Until now.  In the blue corner, we have a new challenger. He’s been around a while but till now he’s just been shadow boxing. For some reason he strikes fear in those around him. I present to you…..Fat. We’ve been told for decades now that saturated… Read More

Why some people stay skinny and others get fat

What I want to put forward today is that there is evidence for two distinct modes of human metabolic state. One is being “fat adapted”. That is, a state where the hormone insulin is well controlled and the body is able to access its stores of fat as a primary source of fuel. This, I contend, is the normal human state. The complex interaction of cells, hormones, enzymes and much much more is in balance.  We homeostatically maintain a desirable body weight by self-regulating inputs and outputs. In this state, if we… Read More

Fat airfares – what’s fair?

OK here it is for real at last. We’ve been talking about it for a long time long. The whole airline business comes down to dollars and sense. It’s competitive, and every extra kilo costs extra fuel and aircraft wear and maintenance. Business is business, someone has to pay, and it really comes down to the customer in the end. If you are fat, you should pay more. You’ve eaten too much and moved too little. You gluttonous sloth, you should have tried harder. Samoa Air now charges by the kilo. You’re… Read More

Be the best you can be

(pic: the entrance to AUT Millenium where I work) I’ve wanted to start a blog for quite some time now. The trick is to get the technical skills together well enough to actually know how to run one and do it regularly. Well, I’m just about there. What will I blog about? I am really interested in the science of how we can be the best we can be. This crosses disciplines such as biology, medicine, pubic health, and productivity management. The cornerstones are nutrition, exercise, sleep, neuroscience, psychology and well-being. I’ll… Read More