Archive | Food

The Margarine Giant Gives Up: Butter Wins

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.

Quartz: The war against butter is over. Butter won.

Bloomberg: I Can’t Believe It’s Butter in My Unilever Rama Spread

“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 →


McDonald’s: Don’t Eat Our Food – It’s Not Good for Your Health

Information for employees

Information for employees

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?


Another Train Wreck: Heart & Stroke Foundation Recommends Eating Candy


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.

CTV News: Ottawa doctor says Heart and Stroke Foundation is misleading parents over a “Health Check” product

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 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.

Continue Reading →


Seal of Approval on Goodies Macabre

Cancer for dessert

Cancer for dessert

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:

The Swedish Cancer Society responds by trying to shift the blame:

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.


Can You Prevent Cancer with Millions of Cinnamon Buns?


Can You Prevent Cancer with Millions of Cinnamon Buns?

Cancer for dessert

Cancer for dessert

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 →


What Happens if You Eat 5,800 Calories of Carbohydrate-Rich Junk Food Daily?

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.

SmashTheFat: Introduction: The 21 Day 5,000 Calorie CARB Challenge

You may have seen the results of Feltham’s earlier experiment – 5,800 calories of LCHF food daily for 21 days:

What happens if you eat 5,800 calories on an LCHF diet every day?

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.


What’s Wrong with this Picture?


What’s wrong with this picture? There are two products:

  1. Unprocessed Irish butter
  2. Highly processed breakfast cereals containing 27% pure sugar (a professor and obesity expert recently called this “eating candy for breakfast“)

Do you see the red tick? That’s the sign of the Australian Heart Foundation, that supposedly helps people to “easily choose healthier products at a glance” by using “tough and stringent” nutritions standards.

The Heart Foundation still spreads obsolete fat-phobic advice – proven to be incorrect by modern science – so the real butter has no tick. But they gladly put it on the sugar-filled kids’ cereals.

No wonder obesity numbers in Australia are reaching “staggering” proportions: More than 60 percent of the Australian population is now overweight or obese.

Why is the Heart Foundation still spreading old-fashioned fat phobia – and instead, in the middle of an obesity epidemic, fooling parents into giving their kids candy for breakfast?

Protest here (just 700 more supporters needed! Update: goal reached and increased from 10K to 15,000)

Continue Reading →


Despite Promises, Kids Still Bombarded With Junk Food Ads


The food industry has promised to voluntarily stop advertising unhealthy junk food to children. And according to industry-sponsored reports they do live up to these promises.

A new independent scientific review show something completely different: Children are still the targets of lots of advertising. Independent surveys in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America showed little change in the last five years, despite industry’s assurances that things would improve. Here’s comments from the senior author of the study:

Self-regulation simply does not work in a highly competitive marketplace. Asking the companies to restrict their own marketing is like asking a burglar to fix the locks on your front door. They will say you are protected, but you are not.

So what could work? The three things that Big Junk Food fear the most:

  • Smarter, better-informed citizens
  • Government intervention
  • Lawsuits

Let’s face it: The industry will continue to fight on all three fronts. E.g. by trying to fool & confuse the public á la Coca Cola or spending millions on lobbyists to stop any regulation. Lawsuits may be their biggest vulnerability. But they will fight on all fronts. In a “highly competitive marketplace” they have no other choice.

We should stop expecting the burglar to fix our locks. Yes you too, Michelle Obama.