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Getting Creatively Lost: A Ramble Through France

French Teenagers

Fish ladder and dam, St.-Céré.

The park near my hotel had many benches, perfect for writing in my travel diary, eating rich pastries, and watching the kids from the Lycée Jean Lurçat gossip, flirt, preen, laugh, and let off steam, like teenagers anywhere. Mostly, the boys and girls eyed each other from separate groups, but when they mixed, there was horseplay. The boys never tired of swiping a girl’s handbag, shinnying up a metal trellis structure, and hanging the bag there just out of reach. The girl thus chosen acted flustered but enjoyed the attention, and the boys drew out the drama, knowing just when to retrieve the bag–before putting it, or another one, back up there.

Having seen so many overweight adults, more than I remembered on previous trips to France, I wondered how these kids looked so thin–most did, anyway. Later, I looked up national obesity rates and saw that they’ve been climbing, showing a marked increase among the young. Smoking rates have shot up too. The next day at the park, coincidentally, I saw where the kids had left two enormous bags of potato chips and a pile of spilled tobacco.

Like this blog? I invite you to visit my other one, Novelhistorian, in which I review historical fiction and history.  Read More 

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The Low Cost of High Fructose

High-fructose corn syrup has its attractions, among them the tiny financial cost to produce and consume. Soft drinks not only deliver more calories than fresh fruits and vegetables, they do so for far less money, on both ends of the food chain.

That cuts two ways, of course–a healthier diet would offer more  Read More 
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The End of Longevity?

Whatever the mechanisms of obesity, the results are grim. Some scientists have argued that obesity will soon end the trend of increasing longevity, which we’ve come to expect as a benefit of rising living standards and improved medical care. Our children and grandchildren may live shorter lives than we.

As it is, obesity  Read More 
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The Delicate Balance

Research suggests that very small changes in diet and exercise can, over time, bring about startling increases in obesity, even in children, so that regularly trading fifteen minutes of active play for sedentary activity has an effect.

If an already well-nourished adult eats an extra hundred calories every day for a year–the energy  Read More 
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Fructose in the Human Body

One scientific explanation for the behavior of high-fructose corn syrup in the diet, which the industry disputes, is that the body reacts differently to fructose from glucose. The human brain, this argument runs, senses the presence of glucose more readily and thus signals the body when it’s had enough, whereas fructose triggers no  Read More 
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Sweeteners and Obesity

Excessive meat eating has also been linked to obesity, another byproduct of industrial agriculture, in both the West and developing countries. Sweeteners have been indicted too. Caloric intake isn’t the only factor, as food packagers are quick to point out, but the connection is pretty hard to ignore, especially in high-fructose corn syrup,  Read More 
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