top of page

HealthNotDiets Digest, Issue 39, 2018

September 21 - September 27, 2018

As always, if you like what you read here, please support the original author by liking/sharing/following/up-voting/subscribing directly to their feed.

Happy reading!


Articles & Blogs

I've been Gooped!

by James Marriot

“as I walked in it struck me that this was the sort of place where I should keep my views about the all-curative properties of Lemsip to myself.”


Corporate sponsorship diverts research and distorts public policy, report finds

by Christopher Knaus

“Bias in the research agenda can produce results that support only certain policy responses to tackle pressing public health problems, which in turn affect the population’s health.”


Weight Watchers Is Changing Its Name. Here’s Why It Can’t Survive As A Diet-Only Brand.

by Lauren Strapagiel

“They’ve contributed in a huge way to the unrealistic standards of body size that we see today...telling women they’re fat because they’re overindulgent or emotional overeaters.”


'Somebody Has To Speak Up For Us': What It's Like To Change The Picture Of Obesity With Your Photo

by Jamie Feldman

“While impactful, one article cannot alter the perception or treatment of people on its own. In a continued effort to raise up the voices of the participants and encourage others to speak out, we followed up with a few of the people involved in the piece.”


Weight Watchers has dropped 'weight' from its name. But that's not enough.

by Rebecca Scritchfield

“Dropping the word ‘weight’ in favor of wellness appears more politically correct, even though they are just rebranding the concept of dieting”


Beyond the numbers on the scale: Why weight management doesn't fit with eating disorder recovery

by Jena Daku

“it doesn’t make sense, nor does it fit with my ethical framework, to collude with someone’s desire to manage their weight when clearly it’s not working for them, it’s masking deeper problems with their relationship with self, and it’s causing them harm and distress.”


This Dietitian’s 5 Rules for Grocery Shopping

by Amanda Boyer

"How many of you have rules for grocery shopping? ....I could list a million rules I’ve heard, I’ve used, I’ve imagined… and they’re all bullsh!t.”


An open letter to social media influencers and bloggers

by Sarah Pannell

“Diets, dietary changes, “lifestyle changes,” (whatever term you wish to use) are NOT a “no risk” option.”


What Does Putting Weight Loss On The Back Burner Mean?

by Nina Mills

“When we focus on weight loss as our main reason for doing intuitive or mindful eating, inevitably we turn our mindful eating and intuitive eating practise into the ‘hunger and fullness diet’.”


What Is 'Natural' Food? A Riddle Wrapped In Notions Of Good And Evil

by Alan Levinovitz

“Though the distinction between natural and artificial — that is, made by man’s art — dates back at least to Aristotle, the popular romanticization of natural food stands in stark contrast to pre-modern culinary philosophies”


Willpower: Is that what eating disorders are all about?

by April Bandy-Taylor

“an eating disorder is more than just a trendy diet. It’s not something I signed up for or planned. It’s an illness”


What is kombucha? Coca-Cola jumps on ‘healthy’ drink fad

by Alana Mitchelson

“Claimed to be a super health elixir with a long list of health benefits, kombucha is one drink where science has yet to support these claims....So far no clinical trials have been carried out in humans.”


Religious Trauma Syndrome: How some organized religion leads to mental health problems

by Valerie Tarico

“It would be years before I understood that my inability to heal bulimia through the mechanisms offered by biblical Christianity was not a function of my own spiritual deficiency but deficiencies in Evangelical religion itself."


Lizzo Is A Body Positive Style Icon To Watch

by Julia Brucculieri

“I think that it’s empowering for young girls to see that it’s OK to work out and not have a six-pack”


Why we're proud of our fat bodies

by Alice Zoo

"I know that my body is some people’s greatest fear, and to confront that is uncomfortable.To confront me being happy and living life and feeling healthy - whatever that means - threatens people’s desires to fit into a beauty norm.I think it scares people that you can exist in a way that you haven’t been told that you can exist.””


Black Women Started The Body Positivity Movement, But White Women Corrupted It

by Danielle Jennings

"Things have certainly gotten better than they were 10, 20 years ago, so progress is being made, but we are still in last place in a race that we started and never wavered from.”


A top Cornell food researcher has had 13 studies retracted. That’s a lot.

by Brian Resnick and Julia Belluz

“even textbook studies and phenomena are coming undone as researchers retest them with more rigorous designs."


Things I have learned in recovery from Orthorexia (and exercise addiction)


“Eating an adequate amount of food shouldn’t be a reward for good days, it should be a minimum standard all of the days.”


I Don't Know

by Talal Hilal

“As my philosophy in caring for patients with cancer developed, one thing that I came to appreciate more than ever is that the choice a patient makes after being informed of all the options is always the right choice.”


Research &

Clinical Practice

Surveillance of global physical activity: progress, evidence, and future directions

by Ding Ding

"It is generally believed that overweight and obese individuals are at greater risk of many complications after surgery, but most perioperative studies have found that this is not the case. In fact, mildly obese and overweight patients tend to have better survival rates than normal weight patients after many types of surgery"

U. Gurunathan, P. S. Myles; Limitations of body mass index as an obesity measure of perioperative risk, BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia, Volume 116, Issue 3, 1 March 2016, Pages 319–321.


Searching for a diagnosis: how scientists are untangling the mystery of developmental disorders

by Linda Geddes

“The question with these families has always been why so many of them have one very sick child and everyone else is healthy”


Mechanisms underlying weight status and healthcare avoidance in women: A study of weight stigma, body-related shame and guilt, and healthcare stress

"The relationship between BMI and healthcare avoidance can be explained by weight stigma (experienced and internalized), body-related shame and guilt, and healthcare stress.”

Mensinger, Janell L., Tracy L. Tylka, and Margaret E. Calamari. "Mechanisms underlying weight status and healthcare avoidance in women: A study of weight stigma, body-related shame and guilt, and healthcare stress." Body image 25 (2018): 139-147.


Soapbox & Shareables

Breaking Taboos in Society and Media: A Case Study of the portrayal of Menstruation

by Franzi Waitmount

Recently I finished writing my Bachelor's thesis about the portrayal of Menstruation in media and society - a real taboo topic. So taboo in fact, that the coordinator of my German university not only refused to help me but actively discouraged me from formulating this topic in a way to find a supervisor. (She told me that I would never find a professor who would approve this topic. To paraphrase what they said in English, there is no scientific bases for this topic and the reason for that: it's a taboo).

Now that I've successfully completed my bachelor thesis and defended it before a panel of professors in my final presentation, everybody involved has recognized the importance of this topic since ignorance surrounding menstruation has wide reaching consequences for the environment, the economy and financial and social gender equality.

I'm not trying to convince you to throw a "period party", neither am I going to wave a used tampon underneath your nose. I just want people to be aware of some important facts:

Half of the population of the world loses approximately a 30-50 milliliters of blood every month (for approximately 40 years of their live time - this makes up six and a half years in total). Although this process is crucial for the origin of every single human being, menstruating people have been heavily discriminated in many major religious texts and even scientific medical consensus up to the middle of the 20th century. The connotation of menstruating women evokes images of poisonous monsters, the devil, psychological and physical deficits and above all, in the vast majority of cases, being depicted as unclean and inferior. (This is part of the old testament: "When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening." To sum up the entire text, menstruating women should be completely excluded from society and live like a hermit for seven days.After which, in order to return to civilization they are also required to bring two doves to a priest who will sacrifice them in a ceremony to "purify" the woman. If people don't guard against this "uncleanliness" the whole society will collapse. [Leviticus 15:19-33]. No bullshit.)

Ofcourse, you can say that as a society we have developed past such extreme views, but in fact this attitude still presents itself in more subtle ways. Nowadays women are still being stigmatized (She´s just grumpy because she's on her period. We can't have a female leader - what if she starts a war when she gets her period!!??) and portrayed as hysterical, over emotional and not being able to make clear decisions. (Remembering Trump's comment about Fox moderator Megyn Kelly....)

As a consequence women and girls feel ashamed and uncomfortable, whisper to each other like criminals when they need a tampon because of their "biological weakness" and are not taken seriously when they have ailments related to their period.

Worldwide, every day, women and girls are being held back in social situations, education and work, don't have access to sanitary products or are being excluded from society due to lack of education and are being declared as unclean and inferior.

In India 20 percent of girls drop out of school with the beginning of their menstruation. In many other countries women are socially prohibited from leaving the house during their menstruation due to a fear that they are contagious and could spread diseases like cancer.

Even in Germany, half of the women say that they feel uncomfortable in social situations while menstruating. 16 percent of them have described missing school, work or other engagmentents because they are afraid (!!) that others might notice that they are on their period. So in fact, this social stigma is so strong that people will remove themselves from society during their period!

Many women feel shame when buying tampons in a supermarket (in Germany, this is reported as one out of five) and on top of that, it costs them an arm and a leg! Pads and tampons are taxed heavily almost everywhere. In Germany, they are taxed 19 % which is the highest possible for general goods (higher than totally necessary items like salmon caviar or cut flowers).

If you ask yourself "who would make up such a rule?" it doesn't take long to realize: People who don't menstruate.

Over a lifetime, women pay on average a four-digit number just for their period (according to 8600 Euro including almost 1650 in taxes).* This reinforces gender and economic inequality, while there is already a gender pay-gap in Germany and on top of that women are required to pay an extra cost every month for their essential needs.

Btw for everybody who hasn't heard of it before, there is a reusable, hygienic alternative to tampons called the menstrual cup (or moon cup) which is of course not made of ceramic but medical silicon 😉. Not only is this a lot cheaper because you buy it once for around 20 Euros, and it lasts for years but it is also a better option for the environment because it prevents thousands of tonnes of disposed tampons and pads ending up in landfill.

Luckily, in recent years there is movement starting to grow in order to change the attitude towards periods. In some countries the "tampon tax" has been abolished or lowered. Even on the day I presented my thesis, Scotland decided to give sanitary products away for free to low income women. (In your face university!!)

This is part of the reason why I am posting this and why I wrote this thesis in the first place. To stop period shaming, raise awareness of economic inequality and the mistreatment of women because of this natural bodily function. We have to end this taboo in order to create a more fair and equal society. So I ask you to talk about this issue, raise your voice against this stupid tax, write papers about it and embarrass ignorant professors (my examiners - especially the male ones - were left speechless and had to acknowledge the value of this work) - and everybody calm down. It's just a bit of blood.

Check out my blog:


Like podcasts?

How about bite-sized podcasts that you can claim as professional development?!?

I've designed the Unpacking Weight Science Podcast to suit health professionals, health science students and anyone who wants to know more about human body weight, health outcomes, interpreting weight related research and the far ranging effects of weight bias.

Twice a month, my 20-30 minute podcasts unpack different elements of weight bias & stigma, weight research, BMI, health behaviours and weight neutral approaches. Paid subscribers (only $5/month!) get the podcast six months before everyone else, plus full show notes, reference list, self-test quiz and resource materials for use in practice. This equates to an hour of professional development each month :-)

Available for subscribers now is:

"When is a diet not a diet? HAES, IE and MNT'

Ep 15: Dietitians and nutrition professionals can feel like the ‘nutrition baby’ is being thrown out with the ‘diet bathwater’ when learning about the Non-Diet Approach, HAES and Intuitive Eating. Many wonder, if I can’t tell people what to eat, what is left? Is there any point to dietitians? Do I just forget all my medical nutrition therapy knowledge? This existential crisis is a consequence of nutrition-related professions identifying with their key expertise being in weight management. This episode sorts the ‘therapeutic wheat’ from the ‘fatphobic chaff’ to offer you a new perspective on your professional identity.

and instantly access 6 months of episodes before the rest of the world

Episodes 1 & 2 are now on iTunes!

Search 'Unpacking Weight Science'

to listen to them for free!



Sydney Sept 27th and Melbourne Oct 19th BOOK NOW


Want these 'live'? Then follow me on Twitter (@FionaWiller), Facebook (@HealthNotDiets) and Instagram (@FionaWiller)

Want some training in the non-diet approach or unpacking weight science? Resources include books, courses, workshops and handouts: visit

See anything you think I'd like to share or comment about? Post in the comments below or email me at

bottom of page