RFF#101 – In the 1970s, Linus Pauling believed that the common cold would cease to exist if everyone ate an appropriate amount of Vitamin C

On my almost annual family trips to Florida, a visit to the local used bookstore has become a tradition.

Bookstore in Florida

On my latest trip I found quite a treasure…an original copy of Linus Pauling’s Vitamin C and the Common Cold.

Linus Pauling Book

Today, the scientific consensus is that vitamin C does not reduce the incidence of the common cold, but rather, will only reduce the severity and duration. However, considering the lack of agreement among studies in combination with yesterday’s post, this may be yet another example of confusion arising from trials on genetically heterogeneous populations. Who knows…only future research will tell. And until then, eat your citrus, because when it comes to fruit, you can’t go wrong!!

I learned about this fact from:

Pauling, Linus. Vitamin C and the Common Cold. W.H. Freeman and Company; San Francisco: 1970.

Douglas RM, Hemilä H, Chalker E, Treacy B. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Jul 18;(3):CD000980.


RFF#99 – Some grocery stores still have public body-scales

Over the past few years, I’ve often used the scales in Publix and other grocery chains during trips to Florida.

Mary on Scale

On my most recent visit, I couldn’t stop thinking…why is this here? And after a quick call to Publix headquarters, I was delighted to learn the history of these scales…

In the 1930s people didn’t weigh themselves in their bathroom, the way we do today. As a matter of fact, the only way to weigh yourself was at the doctor’s office, or via public coin-operated scales.

However, a grocery entrepreneur named George Jenkins (affectionately known as Mr. George) wanted his customers to be able to weigh themselves for free. So, he put a free scale in all of his “Publix” grocery stores, and they’re still there today!

Although “grocery store scales” may seem like an artifact of a bygone era, when considering the obesity epidemic, their presence is as relevant today as it was 80 years ago. A statement found on a surviving scale from Paris says it all…

He who often weighs himself knows himself well.

He who knows himself well lives well”

 I learned about this fact from: Brian West, the Publix’s Media and Public Relations Manager; and Health Boosters from Withings “A Short History of the Weighting Scale” http://blog.withings.com/2011/09/30/a-short-history-of-the-weighing-scale-2/