The Real Danger of Having a Dad Bod

 These guys are in trouble.


A few years ago, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were examining research on body fat and concluded that being slightly overweight, but not obese, might actually result in a longer life. For the third of Americans who are overweight, that was likely seen as reassuring news. Hell, it even paved the way for the whole “dad bod” phenomenon. But many in the medical community were skeptical, as the findings relied too heavily on Body Mass Index as the sole indicator of health. You see, your BMI is based on only two measurements—weight and height—not more insightful factors, like muscle mass or location of extra fat on the body.

Now, four years later, the latest research, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, reaffirms that skepticism and finds that being slightly overweight may actually decrease a person’s life span, which is more in line with conventional wisdom about the dangers of gaining weight.

“Our findings confirm that there is no benefit of being overweight on risk of death, and indicate that [being] overweight is actually associated with an increased risk of dying,” head demographer Andrew Stokes told NPR this week. His research actually found a six percent increased risk of death for overweight individuals.

And although Stokes says that six percent “is only a modest increase,” it’s still “extremely worrisome” because so many Americans are overweight. It should also be noted that these findings apply only to those who are overweight—10 to 30 pounds heavier than their ideal weight—not to obese people. There is little debate that people who are obese are at increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers and even premature death.

Future research will look at whether overweight people who diet, exercise and lose the excess weight can turn back their risk of disease (and death) to that of an individual who never gained weight in the first place. Here’s hoping, right?


Why So Many Athletes Have Such Terrible Diets

by John McDermott

In 2013, NBA big man Dwight Howard developed a rare nerve disorder called dysesthesia while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. He had tingling in his extremities and was losing motor function, to the point he had difficulty catching passes.

Dysesthesia is common among prediabetics — not men who make a living physically exerting themselves. But Lakers nutritionist Cate Shanahan knew Howard had a “legendary sweet tooth,” and suspected his tingling was due to his sugar intake. Sure enough, Howard revealed to her he had been consuming an unthinkable amount of sugar. According to ESPN:

“Howard had been scarfing down about two dozen chocolate bars’ worth of sugar every single day for years, possibly as long as a decade. “You name it, he ate it,” she says. Skittles, Starbursts, Rolos, Snickers, Mars bars, Twizzlers, Almond Joys, Kit Kats and oh, how he loved Reese’s Pieces.”

Not even the 6-foot-11, 265-pound Howard could metabolize all those carbohydrates and all that fat.

Howard will likely be remembered as a good player who never achieved his physical potential. Made of nothing but lean, fast-twitch muscle, he is one of the most impressive physical specimens to ever play in the NBA. But he’s averaged less than 20 points per game over his career, and critics will always wonder how much better he might have been had he maintained a healthy diet during his prime.

Dwight Howard

Perhaps the most remarkable (or disturbing) part about the Howard story is that it’s not all that uncommon within the realm of men’s professional sports. There are a startling number of high-profile NBA and NFL players who’ve kept objectively terrible diets during their playing days, including:

  • Kwame Brown: Like Howard, Brown was a highly touted prospect who jumped to the NBA right out of high school. He’s also one of the biggest disappointments in NBA history, recording only one double-digit scoring season in his 13 in the league. That may have been due in part to his dreadful diet. Brown ate Popeye’s fried chicken for every meal, even breakfast, when he entered the league.
  • Caron Butler: Butler admitted he was “addicted” to Mountain Dew for much of his 14 years in the NBA, drinking two liters of the stuff a day.
  • Lamar Odom: Long before he was a bit player in the Kardashian universe, Odom was a professional basketball player with a serious candy habit. He ate candy for breakfast before games, saying it helped fuel his performance on the court. Specifically, he ate Twizzler bites, Gummy bears, peach rings and Hershey’s white-chocolate cookies-and-cream bars (his favorite).
  • Derrick Rose: Back when he was an MVP point guard for the Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose admitted to regularly eating McDonald’s, potato chips and, of course, lots of candy. He kept a Skittles vending machine in his home. “Everybody’s got their poison, and mine is sugar,” Rose told ESPN in 2010



Cancer’s Financial Cost is as Agonizing as Cancer Itself

big pharma

The legend of the Legion

Resultado de imagem para images of french legionnaires

image edited by Web Investigator

His cap is bleached as white as the bones of a Saharan camel. Is the romance of the French Foreign Legion a cult of death?

Robert Twigger is a British poet, writer and explorer. His latest book is White Mountain: Real and Imagined Journeys in the Himalayas (2016), and he divides his time between the UK and Egypt.

What comes to mind when you think of the French Foreign Legion? Most likely men struggling through the desert in heavy blue coats and white peaked caps. Men who joined up after a lifetime of crime, fighting valiantly, then leaving the Legion to become tough, faceless mercenaries trading on their background, or else dying in the mud of Dien Bien Phu as the last choppers leave for La Belle France.

The reality is different. In its first version, the Legion was seen as a rough mercenary force that guaranteed immunity from criminal prosecution, as well as a new life and French citizenship. In its second incarnation, the Legion became a sort of substitute family. Now in its third, the official image of the Legion is of an elite fighting force, to be compared with the British SAS or the US Navy Seals. Today, legionnaires are much more than a band of mere ‘expendables’.

The modern Legion still has a few things in common with its previous incarnations. There remains an emphasis on marching (to enter, you have to complete several hikes in full kit, ranging from 50 to 120km) and the men who join are still keen to fight. The wages, though, are now quite good, especially if you see duty in a combat zone. Even the most basic pay of a recruit is €1,205 a month, which, considering there are no bills or food costs, is nothing like the five centimes a day it was in the 19th century. Then, a legionnaire could afford wine or tobacco, not both, and certainly no other luxuries.

Young men still queue to join up in great numbers. Several thousand apply per year, and some 80 per cent are rejected – the Legion doesn’t accept anyone wanted by the police or with a serious criminal record, though misdemeanours and petty crimes are still acceptable. The modern Legion is around 8,000-strong and needs only 1,000 new recruits each year to replenish the ranks. The average recruitment age is 23. In recent times, 42 per cent of recruits come from eastern and central Europe, 14 per cent from western Europe and the US, and around 10 per cent from France. Around 10 per cent come from Latin America and 10 per cent from Asia. These young, rootless men swear their allegiance not to France, but to the Legion itself. It is their only loyalty.

The Legion is composed of several branches: engineers, paras, armoured cavalry, infantry, and pioneers. The paras are based in Calvi on the island of Corsica (they are still not trusted to be on mainland France after a coup attempt in 1961). Other arms are garrisoned in French Guiana and the United Arab Emirates. The Legion saw service most recently in Mali, where they helped restore the government against insurgent Al-Qaeda forces.

Recruits must present themselves at one of several centres in France. If this pre-selection goes well, it’s on to Aubagne, a small town about 20km inland from Marseilles on the Mediterranean. There follows one to two weeks of selection where numerous mental and physical tests are taken. The minimum age is 17.5, the maximum 39.5. There are no educational requirements.

Exhausted legionnaires in a truck following a night of training and only three hours sleep. Nimes, France, August 2015. Photo by Edouard Elias.

Once they make it through selection, recruits sign a five-year contract and are then shipped to ‘the farm’ in the Pyrenees for six weeks of hellish training which further weeds out the unsuitable. Though probably not as tough as SAS selection in the UK, it certainly involves more cleaning, marching, singing and discipline – much more. It is accepted that hard discipline is the only way to weld men from such disparate origins into a single fighting unit. The Legion allows officers to strike the men in a routine manner. The method is age-old and simple: break the man, remove his old allegiances, then give him a new family.

In this new family, recruits are also allowed to choose a new name – the name by which they will be known ever after. And so, by the end, they have become someone new, with a new country and a new identity. Indeed, this is the most obvious pull the Legion has for men: a new life. This life, however, is wrapped up in a world that honours death…