Here are some of the stories, studies, fads and other foibles of the dietary world that made headlines in 2008.
Diet Books: There is never a shortage of diet books hitting the shelves. A few noteworthy ones were; Toxic fat by Barry Sears, The GenoType Diet, by Peter D'Adamo, In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan. The latter gets my vote for food-related book of the year. For exercise-related books, Lou Schulers' New Rules of Lifting for Women and Eric Cressey's Maximum Strength are two stand-out strength training books.
The Economy and how it affects our dietary habits: It may be too early to tell how the economic meltdown will influence our eating habits and health, but needless to say, people are certainly going to be thinking about scaling back their spending. Ali wrote a wonderful 4-part series called "Dieting on a Budget".
Cancer and exercise: Weight training, high intensity cardio and other exercise can have major impact on various cancers both from a preventative standpoint as well as improving survival.
Oprah's bad year: A triple whammy for Oprah in '08; being subjected to a raw food diet , gaining all kinds of weight and being honored by PETA. "O" looked to be a McCain victory away from teetering on the edge of a tall building with Dr. Phil trying to talk her down.
Michael Phelp's horrendous diet: Don't try this one at home, folks. Sports Illustrated's "Sportsman of the Year" downs a reported 12000 calories a day - most of it high glycemic carbs. Turns out it wasn't as bad as we were led to believe, afterall. Still, one would hope that when Phelps hangs up those aerodynamic speedos, he considers cutting back a bit. On a related Olympic note, the world's fastest human and triple gold medalist Usain Bolt slammed chicken mcnuggets and yams on race day and could have cartwheeled the last 25 meters and still would have broken the record.
Exercise in a Pill?: In the never-ending quest to see if we get something for nothing, scientists have proposed the possibility of a pill that can replace exercise. Lazy mice all around the world are rejoicing.
Mediterranean and low carb shine in big study: In a very well conducted 2-year study, Mediterranean and low carb diets showed promising results compared to low fat diets, although the weight loss in each group was underwhelming.
Alternatives to gastric by-pass surgery: Some cutting edge procedures are either in the later stages of development such as the Tantalus II weight loss implant or have already been implemented, such as the first incision-free gastric surgery. Then of course, there is the absolutely absurd "alternative to gastric bypass" known as the 5 Bite Diet.
Exercise and the Brain: A handful of studies showed exercise to be a powerful tool in fighting brain-related conditions such as Alzheimer's and cognitive impairment.
The importance of waist management: A rather monstrous trial showed that a large waist (independent of body mass index) doubles the risk of premature death.
I have no doubt that 2009 will provide much opportunity to dissect the fads, research, success stories and such.
Are there any diet or health-related stories that stood out for you this past year?