This week: FODMAPs, fluoridation, Fitbits, food safety, and more!

A few months ago, I spoke at a conference attended mostly by fitness trainers and enthusiasts, and I noticed that about 75% of them were wearing activity monitors on their wrists or clipped to their clothing. To be honest, it seemed sort of strange and obsessive, but–hey–everyone needs a hobby.  So I feel a little sheepish about admitting to the fact that I am now the proud owner of a Fitbit One and am obsessively watching my daily step count and analyzing my sleep patterns! And I have to say, having an objective way to measure my level of activity really has made a positive difference. If I’ve  failed to crack 10,000 steps by 8pm, I’ll go out for a walk instead of sitting down at my computer or popping in a DVD.  For more on how “self-quantifiers” are using technology to monitor and improve their health, see this article I wrote for Intel iQ.

Once you start down the self-quantification path, it can be a slippery slope. My Fitbit One can be set up to coordinate with a number of popular online diet trackers, such as My Fitness Pal.  But if you’re using one of these to log your calorie or nutrient intake, keep an eye out for this common hazard.

Last week’s podcast delved into a somewhat lower technology solution to persistent digestive problems. Read more about the FODMAP diet and whether it might be the solution to your tummy troubles. Sometimes, of course, tummy troubles are actually caused by food poisoning–but is there any way to know which food was the culprit? More info on that here.

Finally, fluoridation is a controversial topic that’s being debated in communities around the U.S.  This week’s podcast reviews the main arguments for and against adding fluoride to the public water supply, along with some thoughts on the so-called “precautionary principle.”

For more food and nutrition hijinks, join me (and a few thousand other food- and nutrition-obsessed folks) on Facebook or Twitter.


8 thoughts on “This week: FODMAPs, fluoridation, Fitbits, food safety, and more!

  1. Hey, Monica,
    How accurate are the calorie counts on those FitBit devices? Can we take those as a pretty good measurement (even if they’re not 100% accurate) of how many calories we burn per day?

    1. Hi, Maria. It appears to be very accurate at capturing steps, i.e. walking and running. It’s not effective at tracking exercise that doesn’t involve steps (like biking or swimming) or things that involve more than just steps (like tennis or gardening) but you can easily enter in these other activities and the Fitbit will adjust its calorie record to reflect those other activites. However, it’s all based on average metabolic rate of people of your size, age, and gender, and average number of calorie expended during various types of exercise. But because I think many of us underestimate how active we are, even having an accurate step-counter is a great reality check for most of us.

      1. Thanks for the reply, Monica! I too have a FitBit, and the calories that it shows that I burn per day seemed a bit high to me, so I was just checking.

  2. I would love to get my hands on one of those FitBit devices but I do have a budget that I need to follow. Does it cost much? If it does, will it be worth my money?

  3. Your link to the article for Intel iQ links back to this same page. Please fix, I’d like to read it.

  4. In my opinion activity monitors are a necessity if you really want to keep a tab on how active you have been for the day. There is no way you can manually monitor how many steps you have taken for the day if you are not using an activity monitor.

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