April 16th, 2010
05:49 PM ET

3 questions with Jamie Oliver

If you still think of Jamie Oliver as The Naked Chef, you have some catching up to do.

That show gave Oliver his start, but he has since become a crusader for healthy food for schoolchildren. Starting in a school cafeteria in the Greenwich section of London, Jamie’s campaign to change the way British schoolchildren eat took him all the way to the halls of Parliament, resulting in the British government committing 650 million pounds to improving the school food program.

Now, Oliver has turned his attention to the United States – and in particular, the town of Huntington, West Virginia, deemed the most unhealthy community in the country.

A series of six shows detailing his work in Huntington titled “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” is airing now on ABC. Sitting down with Oliver, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta had a chance ask him about his goals:

Gupta: The average person comes into a grocery store here in the states to buy food. Are we doing something wrong?

Oliver: I think one of the problems that we've got is, generally speaking soft drinks, in my experience are being consumed instead of any form of water. Snacking is just an unpoliceable meal – it's just whenever they want, and rarely has that much food nutrition. Really, it normally is largely based on sugar. And the meals, when you get around to them, will either be a [take-out], delivery, or processed boxed foods. There's nothing wrong with nugget per se, there's nothing wrong with a burger per se, it's normally when you get the cheaper versions, they've got all the other bits in them as well. I mean, something like a burger can be four ingredients but why is there 40?

Gupta: The thing I keep coming back to is that nobody wants to do wrong by their kids I don't think, so where is the problem here? Is there someone who wears a black hat in this whole thing?

Oliver: No I think the black hat to be worn is in education. We haven't done enough in England or America about food education for 30 or 40 years. If you understand the basics of food from an early age – if you have an open-mindedness about food because you've been exposed to a lot from an early age, then it allows you to make different decisions as you grow older and have your own kids. The families I've worked with that have massive problems – they don't not love their kids – they love their kids – they know they're all obese including themselves and they know all the problems – they've seen all the statistics, but they haven't got the tools to sort of shop or cook their way out of it really.

Gupta: People say they don't have time, people say they don't have money to eat well.

Oliver: Shopping is where you're going to spend the second-largest amount of money in your own life – other than your own house and your kids- but shopping is a massive bill in your annual spend. The families I worked with [spend] $150 a week. That's eight grand a year, and that's proper money. That is buying versions of all of these things- buying cucumbers, we're buying lettuce, leeks, potatoes. There are little tricks you can do in supermarkets: The minute they bag it up and grate it, they're gonna charge you for it. The minute you take erratic sizes, it'll be much cheaper. Whatever's in season and local will be cheaper and of course when they're doing deals and bargains – buy one, get this free – you might not want free. What's the point in buying them if you don't want free in the first place?

To see more of Dr. Gupta’s conversation with Jamie Oliver, tune in to “Sanjay Gupta M.D.” on CNN at 7:30 a.m. ET, Saturday-Sunday.

Filed under: Body Image • Children's Health • Weight loss

April 16th, 2010
04:48 PM ET

More challenges on Wakefield's research

By Madison Park
CNNhealth.com writer/producer

The existence of a gut disease, as described by embattled autism researcher Dr. Andrew Wakefield, is called into question in a new article published Friday in the British Medical Journal.

Wakefield was the lead author of a now-discredited 1998 study which suggested the measles vaccine caused gastrointestinal problems and those GI problems led to autism.  In that piece published in The Lancet, Wakefield, a gastroenterologist had said he discovered a new gut pathology called "autistic enterocolitis."

BMJ: Wakefield’s "autistic enterocolitis" under the microscope

Brian Deer, an investigative journalist challenges this notion in his BMJ article  and  alleges that Wakefield had a "mission,  which was to discover precisely such a disease."  Wakefield was hired by a lawyer to "help launch a speculative lawsuit against drug companies that manufactured MMR vaccine. And the instrument of their attack was to find what he called at the time 'a new syndrome' of bowel and brain disease caused by vaccines," according to the article.  Deer has written extensively on Wakefield for the Sunday Times.

He also reported that the biopsy reports on eight of the 11 children in the study were normal, yet the published Wakefield paper reported that 11 children had “non-specific colitis” - a clinically significant inflammation of the large bowel. The biopsy slides are no longer available for examination.

Autistic enterocolitis has not been accepted into gastroenterology textbooks.

Wakefield’s  study in The Lancet triggered concerns that childhood vaccines cause autism.  Earlier this year, the journal retracted his study after Wakefield was found guilty of acting unethically in conducting his research.

Medical journal retracts study linking autism to vaccine

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

April 16th, 2010
02:18 PM ET

Trainer tips: Practice is essential for race day

By Jeff Coudron
Triathlon Coach to Angie Brouhard, CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge Participant
Owner, Speedy Feet Racing
13-time Ironman finisher
28 time marathon finisher

In all my years of racing triathlons and producing races, I think one of the most valuable lessons I have learned is to practice what you plan for race day BEFORE race day. This applies to everything about your race day including what time you are going to wake up, what you are going to eat that morning, what you are going to wear during your race, and how fast you plan on racing. Everything. 

Here are some tips:

Schedule:  Use a training day to practice your pre-race routine. If you plan on getting up at 3 a.m. before the race, eating eggs and oatmeal, then going back to sleep for two hours before getting up and heading to the race, do that on a training day prior to the race. Although that plan may work for others, you want to be sure your body will react the way you want it to. On race day, your nerves may make your stomach a little uneasy. Make sure you have  a practiced and proven your pre-race breakfast.

Clothes you plan to wear:  When you are at the expo the day before the race, you may be tempted to buy new items.  Don't buy new shoes, shorts, goggles or wetsuits to wear in the race you are doing the next day. You are asking for blisters, chafing or other problems. Purchase what you plan to wear in the race well ahead of race day and train in it in advance. Make sure it works for you. It’s much better to find out something is not quite right during training sessions rather than during the race.

Nutrition:  Find what works for you in terms of nutrition during your training sessions. If you think gels will provide you the best energy source during the race, buy some. Consume them during your training sessions. Don’t eat granola bars and drink water during all your training rides and then think that gels and Gatorade will give you the best results on race day.

Speeds you plan to race:  The same applies to your race pace. While you don’t have to train the entire triathlon distance at the pace you are aiming for on race day, I do recommend you mix in some interval workouts – swimming, biking and running. If you want to run eight minute miles on race day and in your training you run nine minute miles, your body may go into shock due to the stepped up pace on race day.  But you don’t have to run 10k at an eight minute mile pace if that is your goal either. You do need to run some half miles at better than four minutes.  You could do a running workout where you run six half-miles at 3:30 each with a little rest between. Then when race day comes, and you hop off the bike and start running eight minute miles, your body should think, this is not so bad. Apply the same interval type training to swimming and biking workouts as well.

Race, Race, Race:  I would like to close by advising you to race, race, and race some more. I am a strong believer in racing yourself into shape. Nothing will make you push as hard as race-day adrenaline and fellow competitors. By racing frequently, even if different events and distances, you will be more ready to deal with race-day nerves and you will automatically get some quality speed work in your training. Racing also gives you an opportunity to test all of the above before your “main-goal” race - when it counts.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.