Dr. Yoni Freedhoff is a 38-year-old married father of three that loves to read books, watch TV and BBQ meals at home. Yoni is passionate about a lot of things in life, most notably martial arts, hiking and single malt scotch. He also really enjoys being a medical doctor with a family practice in southwest Ottawa, and he’s addicted to blogging.
Dr. Freedhoff started blogging in December 2005 to give his patients more exposure to medical information about weight loss, proper dieting, and exercise training. Since that time, his web journal has matured into a fountain of first rate nutritional advocacy, and a powerful truth beacon; today Weighty Matters shines a bright light on the soft underbelly of Big Food.
Weighty Matters is an award winning health and science blog that currently ranks among the world’s top health blogs. The domain has been profiled in newspapers, and on television shows across the country, and Yoni Freedhoff even spoke to The House Standing Committee on Health in Parliament in December 2006.
Yoni is a health nut that loves being outside and trekking in nature. He once hiked from Switzerland to Liechtenstein across the Alps without taking a single bus or car along the way. So it should come as no surprise that he now has a triathlon named after him in Ottawa; the Dr. Freedhoff Try a Tri Challenge (100m swim – 11.4km cycle – 2km run) event is for anyone who wants to do a short triathlon, and is well suited for beginners and young participants.
Yoni is a trust agent debunking the food industry and his growing popularity is certainly well reflected in the views, comments, retweets and trackbacks that Weighty Matters accrues with every post. His expert information is rare and precious, and he really is perhaps one of the most important bloggers of our time because his message is so unique.
Stated formally on the bottom of his sidebar, his blog’s mandate is ‘to provide readers with critical appraisals of nutrition and weight related claims, products and policies so as to allow readers to make more informed decisions in those areas.’
The good doctor uses his growing authority to highlight backward government policies that cater more to well funded food industry lobbyists than on budget health industry advocates. Yoni likes to tell the truth around nutrition and weight management and isn’t scared of torching the merchandisers, marketing executives and government ministers that mislead Canadians so they can sell more breakfast cereal, or put more artificial sweeteners in their ‘health snacks’.
“It’s definitely reader-beware out there. Mom bloggers getting trips paid for by the products they promote, health bloggers with no actual background or training, illness bloggers who rely on their own personal experiences to extrapolate to the disease as a whole. It’s tough finding reputable sources.”
Weighty Matters reads like a gossip magazine of food industry cover-ups, lies and licentious behavior. Every post is a potential scandal that should get somebody fired. Right now March 2010 a number of recent posts prosecute the claims of Saralee, Frito Lay, and catch Del Monte hiding sugar behind the word fruit concentrate in so-called fruit snacks aimed at children that have more sugar than Twizzlers and worse still, have earned the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s seal of approval in the form of their Health Check.
Yoni remarks on how Kelloggs appears a featured sponsor on the CBC Kid’s website and includes CBC staff official reaction to his blog post and their denials that ‘Eggo’ was introduced into a recent script as surreptitious product placement for Kelloggs sponsor. Good catch – who else do we have in Canada that is watching this stuff, and keeping an eye on these guys?
While Yoni goes after a great many people and policies, the two that he has hit the hardest are likely the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Health Check which he calls a “misinformation program”, and Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating which he feels is better described as, “Canada’s Food Guide to Unhealthy Eating”.
There is very little doubt that weight and diet related illness together are now the number one preventable cause of death in Canada.
Dr. Yoni Freedhoff is the founder of Ottawa’s Bariatric Medical Institute, which is a multi-disciplinary, ethical, evidence-based nutrition and weight management centre. He writes in his blog profile ‘Nowadays I’m more likely to stop drugs than start them, and love going to work in the morning.’ Yoni is referring to how as a medical doctor he once prescribed pills, but now seeks other more natural solutions. I like how he combines the two ideas in his biography, taking drugs to go to work. That’s because such a large percentage of people do take drugs to go to work these days, and if you consider caffeine or nicotine to be drugs then the percentage is very high indeed.
“The studies on medical information and the web to date have been frightening with the vast majority of sites providing false and sometimes even harmful information. It’s tough too when you see a patient who’s educated themselves from some of the more questionable sites (which in turn are often quite compellingly written) and they don’t want to hear your opinion. Certainly it provides another degree of difficulty in effectively counselling patients.
All in all I’m living a far more interesting, exciting and richer life than I had ever expected, and it’s not a stretch to say that much of that reward has come as a consequence of my tiny, little blog.” Dr Yoni Freedhoff, March 5th 2010