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Here’s bad news if you want to be able to trust what you read in the newspaper.
Unilever – the manufacturer behind low-fat margarine among other things – now announces that they have started a “partnership” with major British newspaper The Guardian. The idea is that Unilever pays the newspaper a lot of money (a 7-digit number). Apart from that the partnership is based on…
…shared values of sustainable living and open storytelling.
What do these fine words mean? I recommend the entertaining analysis by Andrew Sullivan. The fine language is called “bullshit”, used to cover up the truth. What it’s really about - not surprisingly – is to disguise the industry’s propaganda so that it will look like independent journalism and become more efficient.
It’s very simple. Newspapers are having trouble finding sources of income. Unilever wants a credible platform for their advertising, where it looks like journalism. Win-win. Except for the readers, who will find it increasingly difficult to know what is news and what is advertising.
Just an example: Why spend money on TV commercials for low-fat margarine when planted newspaper articles about how “harmful” natural fats, such as butter, are a lot more effective?
In Sweden Unilever has been found in violation of the law several times for such disguised advertisements for margarine. Now the UK risks seeing the same thing happen at a totally new scale. Continue Reading →
This is the entry to my grocery store. It’s time for one of many Song Festival Competition nights, selecting Sweden’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest 2014, and this means going face down in sugar. It’s only once a year!
Or wait, it’s not just once a year we’re binging on bad carbs. It’s every day we can find an excuse, that is, most days.
This is the real cause of children’s obesity. It’s not that they were born with stomachs that needed to be surgically removed, no matter what some think.
And no, children with a weight problem don’t need to eat candy and drink soda. Not even a little. Not at all. No more than a person with pulmonary disease needs to smoke a cigarette. No more than an alcoholic needs a drink.
What children with weight problems need is a home free of temptations, and to eat themselves satisfied on real food. Weight loss without hunger. Parents can provide the children that opportunity. Continue Reading →
What does the label “natural” mean in ads for junk food? How about “100% natural”? Watch this commercial from the “False Advertising Agency” and you’ll know.
The video is produced by a company behind labeling of organic foods in the U.S.
Even better than looking for labels would be to eat real food. You can find this by using Michael Pollan’s suggested rules. For example, don’t eat anything that never rots, and nothing with ingredients impossible to pronounce (or with more than five of them). Continue Reading →
Gigantic margarine manufacturer Unilever is starting to give up the fight. Fewer and fewer people want artificial margarine, and fewer and fewer people are still unnecessarily afraid of all-natural butter.
In many countries – including the US – the sale of margarine is plummeting, while the sales of butter are increasing more and more.
In a new strategy, Unilever in Germany (and Finland), now blends butter into its cheap margarine – new TV commercial above.
“Margarine has become a marker for cheap, processed, artificial, unhealthy food,” says Marion Nestle, a New York University nutrition professor. “The irony is hilarious. Unilever went to a lot of trouble to formulate healthy margarines, but the zeitgeist has caught up with them.” Continue Reading →
Just in time for the holidays, fast-food restaurant McDonald’s got caught being surprisingly honest.
On a website for its own employees McDonald’s warns against eating fast food because it can lead to overweight. A picture corresponding to McDonald’s own main product Big Mac & Co is labeled “unhealthy choice”.
McDonald’s apparently doesn’t want its employees to get fat and sick, and so advises them not to eat the food that they serve. Perhaps McDonald’s should be equally honest with their customers? How about writing “unhealthy choice” in appropriate places on the menu as well?
Here’s another nutritional advice train wreck. The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation allows their “Health Check” symbol to be put on candy. Why? As far as I can tell because the candy uses the word “fruit” in its name.
Putting the spotlight on this insanity is one of my heroes, dr Yoni Freedhoff. Here are two recent posts from his blog:
- The Heart and Stroke Foundation Doubles Down On Its Endorsement of Candy as Fruit
- The Heart and Stroke Foundation Needs International Experts To Tell Them Not to Sell Candy?
The Heart and Lung Foundation put out a press release saying that they are trying to develop a “comprehensive position” on sugar and will be soliciting international experts to help out. Meanwhile they’ll keep recommending candy.
Here’s dr Freedhoff’s comment:
So what exactly do the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Health Check Registered Dietitians do for the Foundation if Health Check needs to ask for outside help to determine whether or not endorsing fruit juice gummis that are themselves 80% sugar by weight with virtually no associated nutrition is a good idea?
I guess what I’m trying to say is that if your organization needs international experts to tell them selling candy as a health food is a bad idea, perhaps you might want to consider the possibility that there’s something wrong with your organization’s own expertise.
I’d rephrase that last message for the Heart and Stroke Foundation:
If your organization believes that selling candy as a health food is OK, then your organization has zero credibility.
Bottom line: choose. You can have the candy money or you can have credibility. You can’t have both.
Can we prevent breast cancer – a disease for which the risk increases with overweight – by contributing to an increased consumption of cinnamon buns and fancy pastries in the midst of an obesity epidemic?
The ill-conceived and dishonest sponsorship by the Pink Ribbon and the Swedish Cancer Society drew criticism in Swedish local paper Corren from myself, among others:
- Corren: Seal of Approval on Goodies Macabre (Google translated from Swedish)
The Swedish Cancer Society responds by trying to shift the blame:
- Corren: The Swedish Cancer Society: We Have a Tradition of Cinnamon Buns in Sweden (Google translated from Swedish)
So, people who gain weight from eating cinnamon buns and pastry, thus increasing their risk of getting cancer, only have themselves to blame. Don’t blame the Cancer Society! They only, embarrassingly enough, happen to have their trade mark in advertisements for sweet baked goods. Apparently, they don’t accept any responsibility for the consequences.
Today is “Cinnamon Bun Day” in Sweden, and October is breast cancer awareness month. Is it reasonable that the Swedish Cancer Society runs a health campaign with one of Sweden’s biggest bun bakery?
Send a Bunogram in partnership with the Swedish Cancer Society and the Pink Ribbon (Google translated from Swedish)
Excerpt from a press release from the bakery: (Google translated from Swedish)
Last year Bonjour sold a grand total of 3.6 million cinnamon buns during the month of October. This year we have expanded our partnership with the Swedish Cancer Society and the Pink Ribbon, which substantially revises the expected outcome upwards. This year the business anticipates that as many as 5.4 million pink cinnamon buns will be eaten in Sweden during the month of October. [my bold]
Will the Cancer Society really prevent poor health by getting people to eat millions of extra cinnamon buns? The whole thing seems quite ill-considered in the midst of an obesity epidemic. Especially as obesity carries with it a greatly increased risk of, for example breast cancer, which the Cancer Society and the Pink Ribbon are supposed to fight. Contributing to a massive increase in the consumption of cinnamon buns then seems counterproductive.
Not surprisingly, there’s even a study showing that Swedes who eat more baked sweet goods have a higher incidence of cancer.
How are they thinking about this cinnamon bun campaign? Probably they’re just clueless. Continue Reading →
Judging from the breakfast served, the solution to the diabetes epidemic doesn’t seem to be at the EASD, Europe’s biggest diabetes conference.
The problem, on the other hand, seems to be everywhere.
What happens if you eat 5,800 calories of carbohydrate-rich junk food every day? This is what Sam Feltham is going to find out in a 21-day experiment that he’s now launching. He’ll also monitor various health markers during the experiment.
You may have seen the results of Feltham’s earlier experiment – 5,800 calories of LCHF food daily for 21 days:
While eating an enormous amount of LCHF food he didn’t gain 16 lbs (7.5 kg) as simplistic calorie counting would predict. He “only” gained 3 lbs (1.3 kg).
What do you think’ll happen when he consumes 5,800 carbohydrate-rich calories daily over the same length of time?
Contest: Estimate the number of pounds of weight gain for Feltham in the comment section below. Please also speculate on what happens beyond weight gain (tiebreaker in the event of several correct answers). The winner will be honored in a blog post.
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