Archive | Food

What’s Wrong with this Picture?

Butter-Cereal

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 →

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“The World is Fucking Insane”

Soda

Unfortunately I can only agree with this.

The World is Fucking Insane: Exploring aisles 9-13 at my local supermarket

Continue Reading →

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Despite Promises, Kids Still Bombarded With Junk Food Ads

Twinkies

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.

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The Perfect Crime

Sometimes, marketing enables a pickpocket to steal a wallet–and be thanked for it…

Last year, just one of the big fast food companies made more than $1,300,000,000 in profit (billion with a ‘b’). They’ve also paid their CEO nearly $200 million in salary in the last five years. Sometimes, a big profit is the sign that you’re doing something right, creating real value for people able to pay. Sometimes, though, it means you’re exploiting a weakness in the system.

Seth Godin’s blog: The perfect crime

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“Have Some Candy”

candy

Why do people assume that everybody wants candy, no matter where you are? Has this become so normal?

The other day I was at a lunch restaurant, where you can buy healthful foods, such as a salad full of nutritious ingredients (my choices: chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, feta cheese). I chose mineral water to go with my salad.

As I was paying the cashier said “… and have some candy”. I answered “No, thank you”, but she had already thrown a handful of wrapped toffees into my grocery bag.

Did I seem like a customer who wanted candy with my healthful lunch? Apparently. One apparently assumes that EVERYONE wants it nowadays. It’s normal to eat candy, at any time.

The Twist of the Tale

It’s of course voluntary to eat the candy you are given. It’s your own responsibility what you put in your mouth, no one else’s. I have chosen not to eat candy. So, do you think I ate them? Continue Reading →

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The Darkest Secrets of the Food Industry

Do you want to know the darkest secrets of the food industry? Read the great new book Salt Sugar Fat, like I’m doing right now.

The author, Pulitzer prize-winner Michael Moss, was just on the Daily Show. Watch it above.

A short comment on the book: While it’s mostly great it’s also partly stuck in the failed dogma of yesterday. Natural saturated fat is still a villain. The main solution? FRUITANDVEGETABLES. Yawn. But if you ignore that the book is absolutely fascinating. Mostly for the insights we get into the minds of the people running the processed food industry.

Highly recommended: Salt Sugar Fat – How the Food Giants Hooked Us.

More: The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

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Hip-Hop Video Compares the Food Industry to Drug Dealers

Are food industry executives thinking and acting like drug dealers? Just a couple of days after I made that exact comparison here’s this video.

Before anyone mentions that the industry is just selling what people want, consider this from a blog post at TreeHugger:

This is usually where someone chimes in with arguments about freedom of choice, free markets and personal responsibility. And this is where the analogy between fast food and hard drugs becomes particularly useful. We don’t allow drug dealers to pedal crack cocaine for a very good reason – and we certainly don’t let them put up billboards, advertise to our kids, or lobby congress.

Freedom of choice does not work for people who are addicted. Although I would prefer to compare junk food addiction to smoking, rather than crack cocaine. That may be slightly over the top.

Is it a fair comparison? What do you think?

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What if Wild Animals Ate Fast Food

Here’s what would happen if the water holes of the Serengeti were filled with Pepsi Cola.

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The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

the-extraordinary-science-of-junk-food

Here’s a great new article on how junk food is engineered to be addictive:

NYT: The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

It’s perhaps nothing really new and the journalist is still stuck in old-fashioned failed ideas (sugar, salt and fat are equally bad). But the article gives great insights into the minds of the men running the junk food industry. Like this quote:

People could point to these things and say, ‘They’ve got too much sugar, they’ve got too much salt,’ ” Bible said. “Well, that’s what the consumer wants, and we’re not putting a gun to their head to eat it. That’s what they want. If we give them less, they’ll buy less, and the competitor will get our market. So you’re sort of trapped.”

You see the problem? Any junk food company trying to focus on healthy food (instead of focusing on making the junk food ever more addictive) risks being quickly eliminated. Any executive trying to do what’s right (and make less money) will likely be fired.

So what happens if the industry is left unregulated? It turns into a rapid evolution towards ever more addictive and ever less healthy junk food. It’s what’s been happening for a long time.

Here’s how a former Coca Cola executive was secretly thinking about expanding his market and making more money:

Dunn said. “How many drinkers do I have? And how many drinks do they drink? If you lost one of those heavy users, if somebody just decided to stop drinking Coke, how many drinkers would you have to get, at low velocity, to make up for that heavy user? The answer is a lot. It’s more efficient to get my existing users to drink more.”

I imagine that’s not too different from how any drug dealer thinks.

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Good Night, Low-Fat Diet

Promise

Omega-6 margarine spread might just kill you

The old fear of natural saturated fat (such as butter) has been on its way out for a long time. Repeated reviews of science have in recent years not shown any evidence that eating butter is anything but healthy. In Sweden (where I live) lots of people have understood this and sales of skim milk, low-fat margarine and other low-fat products have plummeted.

Here is another nail in the coffin for the fat-phobia and the low-fat hysteria. A review of previously unpublished (hidden) numbers from an older study shows that today’s margarines may not only be unnecessary. They may be directly harmful to the heart.

A disaster

The study involved nearly 500 men with heart disease. Half of them were randomly assigned to increase polyunsaturated omega-6-fat intake, including in the form of margarine (similar to Promise light spread* in the US), and were advised to reduce saturated fat (such as butter). The other half was left alone and allowed to continue eating as before.

When the study was stopped after three years there were significantly more deaths in the group that consumed omega-6-rich margarine. The risk of dying during the study was elevated by a whopping 62%. Those who escaped counseling on margarine clearly lived longer.

Now it’s revealed that the risk of death from heart disease also was significantly elevated, by as much as 74%(!), in the group that was given margarine.

Good night, fat phobia

When you add this previously hidden disastrous result to all other studies that have been done, there isn’t the slightest evidence that omega-6-rich margarine is good for your heart. On the contrary: The numbers are very close to (p=0.06) showing a statistically significant harmful effect from this margarine. A probable increased risk of dying from heart disease as a result of consuming margarine instead of butter.

Adults can of course avoid buying the junk. But not all get to choose. Where I live potentially heart damaging omega-6-rich margarine is the only alternative allowed in many day care centers and schools, citing official fat-fearing dietary advice.

Time to wake up, official dietary guideline authorities?

More

From the British Medical Journal

*/ Promise light spread contains 1900 mg of omega-6 and only 300 mg of omega-3 per serving.

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