Fitness Buzz: Skinny Vacations, Overrated Trends, and More

Here's what you may have missed this week in fitness, exercise, diet, and nutrition news.

By + More

Too busy to catch all the week's fitness, diet, and workout news as it happened? Here's a quick wrap-up of what was getting buzz.

Another tip: Avoid the Leaning Tower of Pizza

You may think of your vacations as fat traps, but in fact they are a primo opportunity to burn more calories than usual, reports the Washington Post's MisFits column. Simply moving around a lot as part of your holiday can add up to a lot more exercise than you get at home. The story quotes James Levine, a Mayo Clinic physician who espouses the idea that this kind of nonexercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT, for short) can make the difference between being overweight and not. I wrote a few years ago about Levine's ideas and how you can incorporate little changes into your everyday life.

Chopping broccoli

If you're cooking at home with whole foods like fresh herbs, garlic, natural peanut butter, and fruits and veggies, you may save some time and angst with the kitchen gadgets for health nuts featured on FitSugar. (We can add our own personal endorsement of the $9 garlic peeler featured in the slide show.)

Taking aim at the fads

Diet Blog opines on the 8 most overrated health trends, including yoga, antioxidants, "detox" diets, and The Biggest Loser. Commenters added their own: pomegranate juice, the raw food movement, and Lululemon brand yoga pants, among others. (I wrote recently about the latest discouraging research on antioxidants and many other supplements, and U.S. News also has delved into detox diets.)

Berry overhyped?

One of the items on that overrated list: açaí berries. The New York Times this week took a close look at the health claims made for food, drink, and cosmetic products made from the fruit. The conclusion: There's not a lot of evidence supporting manufacturers' claims that the berry can produce weight loss, wrinkle removal, a "detoxed" body, or, really, any tangible health benefit. (Generally, the claims of detox skin products should be viewed with skepticism, as I wrote recently.)

Be careful what you wish for

Finally, I will admit that it has been a longtime athletic fantasy to be featured in Runner's World. I am mentioned in the first paragraph of this story from the April issue, on advice for runners, but not exactly for my incredible racing performance. My embarrassment is your cautionary tale.