Odds & Ends: Bacon and Eggs, Sugar and Sodas, Interview, Cognitive Dissonance

More evidence that what “everyone knows” is changing

Yesterday I linked to articles in the popular press that dispute the “fat kills!” everybody knows advice.  Today a reader sent a link to an article titled 15 Ten-Second Health Tips on Yahoo Health.  Here’s the relevant quote:

Eat Bacon and Eggs for Breakfast
Regularly skipping breakfast increases your risk of obesity by 450 percent. Moreover, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University found that people who regularly ate a protein-rich, 600-calorie breakfast lost significantly more weight in 8 months than those who consumed only 300 calories and a quarter of the protein.

And no, eggs and bacon aren’t unhealthy. (Overeating eggs and bacon—or anything else—is what’s unhealthy.) In fact, whole eggs contain more essential vitamins and minerals per calorie than any other food. They’re also one of the best sources of choline, a substance your body requires to break down fat for energy. What’s more, in a recent review of dozens of scientific studies, Wake Forest University researchers found no connection between egg consumption and heart disease. As for bacon, once it’s been cooked it contains just 1 gram of saturated fat per slice—and one-third of that is the kind that has no effect on cholesterol levels.

Frankly, I don’t care if bacon has one gram of saturated fat or 20, because saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease.  That little complaint aside, it’s encouraging to see eggs and bacon publicly exonerated in the press — a mere 27 years after TIME magazine fingered them as killers.

Sugar in a can

Here’s a question I get in emails all the time:  If carbs make us fat, why aren’t the Japanese fat, since they eat rice? Yes, they eat rice.  Americans eat rice, pasta, bread, cereals, donuts, french fries, ice cream, pizza crusts, cookies, potato chips, corn chips, and Little Debbie Snack Cakes.  Then, on top of all that, you can toss in the sodas.  Here’s a graphic showing the rise in soda production in the U.S.

Now here’s another graphic comparing annual per-capita soda consumption in several countries:

Notice Japan down there at the bottom of the list — with about 1/10th the per-capita consumption of the U.S.   I’d say that could make a difference.

A reader happened to send me this email last week:

Hi, Tom – I thought you would appreciate this.  Today my husband accidentally grabbed a regular instead of a diet soda at the store.  He’s a lab researcher studying aging in fruit flies and just happened to have sucrose around since it’s used in the fly food.  He posted the attached picture to Facebook, with the comment:  Accidentally grabbed regular instead of diet coke at the convenience store. Ouch 260 calories. Decided to weigh out 70g of sugar, and here’s what it looks like.

There’s your sugar from a 20-ounce soda.  According to my math, the average American consumes somewhere between 270 to 300 times this much sugar from sodas each year.  Since I don’t drink any, that means someone else is consuming 600 times this much sugar from soda per year.  (If anyone knows that guy, tell him to STOP RIGHT NOW!)

Another interview

I recently appeared on Jim Harold’s Conspiracy Corner podcast.  I warned him beforehand that I’m not a conspiracy theorist.  I don’t believe our government has the competence to pull off grand conspiracies.

My views on how the government screwed up our diets may be interpreted by some as a conspiracy, but I chalk it up to two factors: 1) as the great economist Milton Friedman said, people have an inexhaustible capacity to believe that whatever is good for them is also good for society as a whole, and 2) as detailed in the wonderful book Mistakes Were Made (but not by me), people also have an inexhaustible capacity to deny their own mistakes.  The USDA recommended a diet that happened to benefit the grain industry whose products they’re supposed to promote anyway, and they’re probably incapable of admitting they goofed.

Anyway, Jim still wanted me to appear on the podcast.  His site is normally subscription-only, but you can listen to the podcast here.

The Older Brother on Cognitive Dissonance

The Older Brother’s latest post is about the disconnect between what the experts recommend and what the evidence shows:

Today’s SJ-R Health section focused on the very real food-health connection and an anti-inflammatory diet, but only the last sentence mentioned that “foods labeled ‘low-fat’ often remove fat and replace it with pro-inflammatory carbohydrates.”

Like the low-fat menus being force-fed to school kids now, which remove the fat their brains and bodies need to be healthy; then fill them up with grains and other carbohydrates; then wonder where all of the childhood obesity, diabetes, ADD and autism is coming from.  That ought to make someone’s brain hurt.

I probably shouldn’t mention this since he didn’t, but yesterday was his birthday … so if you visit the blog, wish him a happy belated.

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47 thoughts on “Odds & Ends: Bacon and Eggs, Sugar and Sodas, Interview, Cognitive Dissonance

  1. David

    The soda chart tells only part of the story on sugar consumption. In many countries, regular table sugar is still used in soda, but as you know, in the U.S., it’s primarily HFCS. So even though Ireland may be a distant second to the U.S. in terms of soda consumption, their per capital fructose intake may be much lower.

    That would make sense.

    Reply
  2. Lori

    Hey, I know the people who are drinking your sugar and mine, too: my brother and his wife. Recently, my sister-in-law spent a day with my mom and went into Coke withdrawal. (Having gone through the mental fog, stomach ache and headache from it twice in 2007, I know it’s no fun.) Ironically, they used to belong to a religion that forbade caffeine, but allowed all the sugar you could ingest, so they drank Kool Aid by the gallon. I don’t think anyone in their house weighs less than 250 pounds except for their granddaughter, who drinks nothing but water.

    The popular notion that since the Japanese eat rice, there’s nothing wrong with our eating carbs as well isn’t a fair comparison. My understanding of the traditional Japanese diet is that they eat a high-nutrient diet of pork, fish, seaweed, other veg, some rice and a little tofu. It’s a very different context from the SAD.

    Their sugar consumption is a small fraction of ours, which has to make a difference.

    Reply
  3. Theo

    To me, your answer to the question about the Japanese looks like a deflection. The question was: why do the the Japanese not get fat eating so many carbohydrates? You answered by saying that we drink more sods than they do. I don’t have numbers, but I think we consume fewer total carbohydrates than them, but WAY, WAY more fructose (from all that sucrose in soda). So maybe its not carbohydrates that make you fat, but sugar (fructose specifically).

    Just trying to point out where I see cognitive dissonance. I don’t think you want to be accused of hypocrisy, but the Japanese are a big-ass black swan in the whole carbohydrates in general will make you fat. Hence, maybe its the kind of carbohydrate (sugar, maybe wheat too).

    Didn’t mean for it to come across as a deflection. According to the various figures I’ve seen, the average Japanese adult consumes somewhere around 1800 calories, about 50-60% carbohydrates. Let’s go with the high figure, and we get (1800 * 0.6)/4 = 270 carbs per day. The average American consumes more like 350-400 carbohydrates per day.

    I do agree, however, that the type of carbohydrates matter. If Dr. Robert Lustig is correct that it’s fructose more than anything else that induces insulin resistance, then our sugar-laden diet is far worse than their rice-heavy diet.

    Reply
  4. Al

    I was worried there for a minute that I was only getting 1 gm of saturated fat per bacon slice. Then I realized that since I cook the eggs in the bacon grease, all the fatty goodness gets soaked up by the eggs. I don’t like to waste.

    Save the bacon grease! Great for frying.

    Reply
  5. tracker

    Maybe “conspiracy” is too strong a word. More like “willfully ignorant” because it makes them money. You can’t deny the fact that certain entities make a lot of money because people become so sick from eating like this. If things changed, that would mean a loss of money for some. Imagine if everyone suddenly figured out that they didn’t need statins or Metformin.

    Speaking of cognitive dissonance, I told a friend about this site, about the fact that fat is not bad for you, she’s diabetic. What does she do? Eat low-fat bacon and fat-free cheese >_<

    Sure, there’s big money in treating a largely sick population. I just don’t believe, as a few wacko authors do, that a group of evil executives got together in a smoke-filled room and conspired to make us sick so they could sell us medical procedures and drugs.

    Reply
  6. Firebird

    I’m one of those heart attack waiting to happen folk that takes the grease out of the frying pan and pours it back onto the bacon.

    On an episode of “King of a Hill,” a doctor described Hank as man who looks like he butters his bacon. I was of course wondering what would be wrong with that.

    Reply
  7. Sigi

    We’re number six! We’re number six!!! Yay Australia – charging towards the top of the annual per-capita soft drink consumption table!!! Pop open another bottle of the fizzy stuff in celebration …..

    Please don’t try to reach the #1 spot.

    Reply
  8. Mat

    OK – I’m way behind with this and no doubt a bit slow but..

    If you and your brother are really called Tom and Jerry; your parents have a fantastic sense of humo(u)r.

    So were you always chasing him around the house knocking things over?

    Since he was bigger and stronger, if there was any chasing going on, I was the one running away.

    Reply
  9. Steve

    I’m still having some issues with this. While I loved the video, and I think a Paleo diet makes ‘sense,’ but I was almost led to believe that a very substantive minority or even a majority of the experts were in agreement on the debunking of the Lipid Hypothesis. It turns out to be a vocal minority, with little support.

    Now of course, consensus (even in science) does not make truth, but why should I believe your sources over the others? I’m afraid it’s simply because I WANT to believe your documentary, because it’s a very John Stossel-esque approach (which I love), and I lack the nutritional knowledge to make a real judgement.

    Anyway, also wanted to say I love your responses to some of these comments. It’s obvious you fall under some sort of libertarian (or possibly conservative) umbrella with your comments regarding conspiracy theories, and you watch King of the Hill. It’s so good to see there are some like-minded people out there haha

    Yes, I’m a libertarian. I take it you’re a new reader, since I’ve referred to myself as a libertarian many times.

    I don’t believe the Lipid Hypothesis because there simply isn’t any credible science supporting it, and lots to refute it. I’m not asking you to believe me; click some links under the Recommended Reading sidebar or pick up some of the books listed on the Recommended Reading page and check the evidence for yourself. Go back through some old posts and look at some of the data I’ve dug up:

    http://tiny.cc/3lq32
    http://tiny.cc/ukl0m

    If you watch the film, you’ll see a research physician begging George McGovern to avoid recommending low-fat diets until there’s more research on the matter, with McGovern replying that he doesn’t have time to wait for all the evidence to come in. A news anchor voice-over even explains that several large studies failed to produce any evidence that fatty diets cause heart disease. If you read transcripts of those hearings, you’ll see that many researchers insisted the Lipid Hypothesis was wrong. The consensus (which is beginning to fall apart, by the way) was manufactured. That’s what happens when a grain-subsidizing federal government — the 900-pound gorilla of research funding — takes a position on the science. If you also lean libertarian, I’m sure that makes sense to you.

    Reply
  10. Jesrad

    As a french I was stupefied back in 1998 when I spent a month in the US, by how people there seemingly never, ever drink any water at anytime. Glasses in restaurants are apparently there only for pouring your can, and as I picked that particular habit of only drinking liquid candy I quickly put on weight (roughly two pounds a week).

    On the cruise, I saw some really big people walking around with those “all you can drink” soda cups, filling them constantly. You almost have to look away to stay sane.

    Reply
  11. Eric

    It’s a long road ahead…. I just read the following in “The science of cooking” from P Barham:

    “The main reason why we regard saturated fats as being less healthy than unsaturated fats lies in their higher melting temperature. If we should get a build up of saturated fats in our arteries, and the particular fat should have a melting point close to, or even above, body temperature, there is a real danger that the fat may solidify in an artery and hence cut of the flow of blood – leading to high blood pressure or even a stroke.”

    Now, does that remind me of some video I saw recently ???

    Here is one of my favorite quotes from Voltaire, a French philosopher:

    “Anyway, the refutation of beliefs is an impossible mission : one does not fight faith (beliefs) through reason”

    I think that Voltaire guy may have a future as a writer. Or he may end up in prison, hard to tell.

    Reply
  12. Milton

    Isn’t the argument about the Japanese and rice consumption just another white swan? Actually, it’s more like a black swan dipped in white flour, when you think about it.

    I certainly don’t view the Japanese as a black swan. If the hypothesis is that we’re more likely to gain weight as we increase our consumption of carbs, especially sugars and white flours, then a population that consumes fewer carbs than we do and consumes almost no sugar or white flour isn’t exactly a glaring exception.

    Reply
  13. Lisa

    “The USDA recommended a diet that happened to benefit the grain industry whose products they’re supposed to promote anyway, and they’re probably incapable of admitting they goofed.”

    As I learn more and more about fats and carbs I have constantly wondered where did all this misinformation come from and why. Your point is extremely helpful.

    THANK YOU

    (Then I get heartbroken by the damage, not just the physical, but the emotional, as we beat ourselves up for not being successful in our weight loss, despite “following the rules”.)

    THANKS

    Yup, I feel sorry for people who are trying to do “the right thing” and failing to lose weight or feel better. They’re being misled.

    Reply
  14. TurkeyTammy

    Wait, I’m confused as to what your major point/crusade seems to be. If the Japanese eat only carbs that are low and/or absent of sugar, then isn’t sugar the problem and not carbs? If your whole point is that “cereals, donuts, french fries, ice cream, pizza crusts, cookies, potato chips, corn chips, and Little Debbie Snack Cakes” are bad for you, then I think Morgan Spurlock and CSPI would happen to agree with you. In your comment reply where you are stating that Americans are eating between 350-400 carbs a day — how much of that is from the sugary junk you listed above? I don’t think Americans are eating 350-400 carbs of whole grains, veggies, and fruits (that’s a WHOLE lot of food to get that many carbs from those healthy foods). If Americans got most/all of our daily carbs from whole grain, fruits, and veggies, heck even rice, chances are we wouldn’t be having an obesity issue. Kind of like the Japanese!

    The crusade is 1) to get overweight, insulin-resistant people to lower their carb intake so they can lose weight and feel better, and 2) to get people away from sugars and most grains, which are damaging to our health.

    If you grow up eating rice and potatoes and never damage your metabolism with sugar, you can probably continue eating rice and potatoes without become obese. However, most overweight people these days are insulin-resistant, and insulin-resistant people experience negative reactions from those foods, which is why one potato sends my glucose skyrocketing. Had I never discovered Coca-Cola and Captain Crunch, that may not be the case.

    There’s also a big difference between 270 carbs per day and 400. At some point, you cross a threshold and begin experiencing negative reactions. Back when most Americans were lean, they weren’t on low-carb diets, but they weren’t consuming 350 – 400 grams either. Our carb consumption went up when the anti-fat hysteria (promoted by CSPI among others) kicked in.

    And no, I wouldn’t recommend those “healthy whole grains” to anyone, fat or lean. Check the post on grains and arthritis and see how many people have negative reactions to the lectins and glutens. The Japanese eat a lot of rice, but not wheat, which appears to have fattening effects beyond even the high carb count.

    Reply
  15. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener

    Had someone at work warn I was going to kill myself by eating eggs, sausage or bacon (usually in some sort of omelet form) every morning. I formed them if I was trying to kill myself I would plan on switching to oatmeal.

    The great thing about more of these articles showing up in the popular press is that you can send links to people who’d never read a full book on the topic. Then maybe they’ll stop pestering you.

    Reply
  16. Firebird

    I just saw a guy on your Fat Head Facebook page criticize a poster helping a college student come up with an inexpensive, healthy eating plan. Among her choices was that he consume 1 T of coconut oil/day. Another poster came on and discouraged its use, stating that, as a sedentary people, we should stay away from eating oils.

    I replied that coconut oil, as a medium chain triglyceride, cannot be stored by the body as fat and HAS to be used as energy. He replied that MCT’s convert to glucose in the liver. A friend of mine, a nutritionist, says that is an impossibility.

    Bodybuilders have been aware of the value of coconut oil for years. Have at it!

    Just shows how much misinformation there is out there. Thanks for setting the record straight.

    Reply
  17. Brian

    You have a good taste in TV shows. Boomhauer is the best!

    Am I reading your chart correctly? 400, 12-oz cans of regular soda per year, per person? Yowza! Quick math says that’s over 10,000 grams of fructose per year or 28 grams per day in soda alone. Can only imagine how that number would inflate when adjusting for those of us who drink none.

    Can you say fatty liver epidemic?

    Theo is a nitwit. Rice is relatively benign in healthy people, it’s mostly starch.

    The episode in which Boomhauer ended up having a conversation with Bob Dylan had me on the floor.

    Reply
  18. HW

    If you ever get tired of the same old bacon and eggs, try having some grilled fish for breakfast. If anyone questions you, tell them Japan has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, and that’s what they eat for breakfast (not bagels, or huge bowls of sugary cereal with skim milk)! 😉

    Indeed, Japanese people do eat rice, and rice noodles. But you know what else they don’t eat a lot of? Refined sugar, wheat, or gluten. They do eat eggs. And chicken. And pork. And of course lots of seafood, including row and raw fish. The United States exports beef to Japan (though it is expensive). Oh and that soy they eat? It’s nothing like the GMO frankenfood we have here. Traditional prepared soy is fermented. If you want to eat soy like the Japanese, dump out your soy milk and eat some Natto instead.

    Also, it might surprise people to note that Japan was originally a hunter/gatherer society too; both deer and wild boar were staples for a long time. Prohibition on certain meats (chicken, horse, monkey, and dog) came from China with the introduction of Buddhism. What I find interesting in all of these studies about Japan and carbohydrates, is how no one ever points out how Japanese health has changed (and improved) since more animal protein was introduced. Japanese people are living longer, growing taller every generation, have improved dental health, etc. Their consumption of animal protein has increased since WWII, not decreased, and their life expectancy is still going up.

    Also the group most people point to immediately because of their longevity — the Okinawans — have the highest fat and protein intake. Pork and lard are dietary staples.

    Reply
  19. eddie watts

    i don’t believe it started as a conspiracy, but am aware of just how “conspiracy theorist” i sound when i start going on one about it all.

    it is hard not to come across as a crazy!

    (i take it a 12oz can is 330mls? even so 400 cans a year is a crazy number!)

    Reply
  20. Walter

    I had two points, but you’ve already covered one: people with a broken metabolism don’t respond to cards the same way as someone whose never eaten SAD.

    I thought during the interview that the point you made about CSPI taking credit for removing trans fats from the restaurants and not admitting they put them there to begin with, is an extremely important point.

    Almost as important as McGovern’s “I don’t have the luxury.”

    A classic case of “Mistakes Were Made … but not by me.”

    Reply
  21. Hannah

    Hi Tom,

    I really enjoyed this article. It is heartening to see people realizing that eating good fats and protein isn’t what’s making them fat. That 450% increase of obesity risk ought to be enough to shake anybody.

    Also you might want to mention that on top of eating all sorts of grains we also eat brown and white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, sucrose and lots of other sweeteners that are unhealthy for us and make us fat. Stick to raw honey and fruit (dried or fresh) and you have a lot less trouble with weight.

    Thanks,
    Hannah

    Reply
  22. The Older Brother

    @Mat

    Somebody actually just asked about the Tom & Jerry angle in the comments on my “The Older Brother Gets Grass-Fed” post. Here’s my reply:

    They swear that’s not what they were thinking. Circumstantial evidence supports their claim, as I was born and named first, so technically it’s Jerry and Tom. Tom, of course, may disagree.

    There’s also a classic cocktail from the 1800′s called a Tom and Jerry, a kind of rum and eggnog concoction which was originally called a “Jerry Thomas,” created by an eccentric bartender of the same name. They claim this wasn’t the inspiration either (at least consciously), but it looks suspicious. We report, you decide.

    Cheers!

    – Older Brother

    Reply
  23. Joanne

    “On the cruise, I saw some really big people walking around with those “all you can drink” soda cups, filling them constantly. You almost have to look away to stay sane.”

    Wow, I thought I was the only one who felt that way…and they carry them ALL THE TIME!!! Sorry to say, to me it screams “I’m a soda addict and don’t really care what this sugary slop is doing to my body” Never liked the stuff, never drank the stuff…give me a glass of water every time.

    I fully understand it’s difficult to lose weight without the proper diet, but when you chug big sodas all day, you’ve got to have a clue what it’s doing to you.

    Reply
  24. Peggy Cihocki

    Speaking of Soda consumption and it’s effect on health, I just finished watching Dr. Lustig’s lecture on fructose at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM. I already knew from your movie and other sources that fructose is really bad news unless it’s packaged in the fruit. But it was interesting to see why.

    That’s a great lecture.

    Reply
  25. Robert

    Thought this might interest some people and didn’t know where the proper place to post it is. It’s the Big Mac guy from that other movie we all love so much.

    http://news.yahoo.com/video/milwakee-wisn-18667753/wisconsin-man-hits-big-mac-milestone-25267119

    Take a listen to those cholesterol levels! They’re just terrible! /sarcasm

    Strangely, Spurlock featured that guy in Super Size Me, which kind of undermines his whole premise that eating at McDonald’s will kill you.

    Reply
  26. Jason

    Yay, my sugar picture made it onto your blog. Part of my research is looking at metabolic effects of different dietary components in fruit flies. Keep up the good work Tom, loved your movie.

    Thank you for the picture, and thanks to your wife for sending it along.

    Reply
  27. apdubya

    To add to the post regarding Japanese eating habits, serving sizes for things such as sweets & sodas are generally MUCH smaller in Japan than the US. Go to McDonald’s in Japan (not that you really should; get the sashimi, man!) & you’ll see that the large soda is more like our children’s or small size.
    Japanese friends also complain that US food is too sweet; they prefer their own sweets (made with far less sugar and with traditional methods, too). As they say, the proof is in the pudding…

    We’ve corrupted our sense of what “sweet” is. Like a lot of low-carbers, I now find that carrots and some nuts actually taste sweet.

    Reply
  28. Luke

    I saw the Big Mac Guy on TV today, and they called him a freak of nature (facepalm). They mentioned that he lived a sedentary lifestyle, and that he was eating a diet that will kill him. Why do we have to put up with this stuff?
    On another note, do you think that he eats Big Macs with buns all the time, or do you think that he might be limiting his carb intake?

    If I remember correctly, he eats three a day, which would be about 135 carbohydrates.

    Reply
  29. gallier2

    That’s also a complaint when friends come back from the US. Everything is sweet, soft and tastes artificial (whatever that means). I’ve never been to the US and can not confirm or infirm but I do believe them. This said, I tried once american marhsmallows (yeah, I know it’s not paleo) and they were less sweet than their european equivalent (Haribo), but candy is probably not the right “food group” to compare.

    Sugar or HFCS are in a stunning number of the processed foods here.

    Reply
  30. HW

    I saw the Big Mac guy on TV last night too. The reporters kept repeating how he was a freak of nature, and an exception to the rule. They said the rest of us could never eat like that without getting fat or raising our cholesterol to dangerous levels, but imply he has some kind of genetic ability to eat lots of calories and fat, lol. The whole segment made me roll my eyes… and yeah, I’ve read that he doesn’t usually order fries with those burgers. Go figure.

    I’d bet a whole lot of us would experience the same “freak” results.

    Reply
  31. Firebird

    25,000 Big Macs and they say it’s going to kill him? Which one will it be, the 25, 006th?

    Outrageous comments from the media. Makes me ashamed to have been a member.

    Whenever he finally dies, it’ll be the last one blamed for killing him.

    Reply
  32. eddie watts

    fructose-glucose syrups are in most if not all of the ice creams in my local morrisons now too.
    and in most sweets or cake-like products.

    Reply
  33. Stephen Taylor

    My view on how government screws up our diets.
    There is no conspiracy, just a coincidence of idiots!

    One of my favorite book titles: A Confederacy of Dunces.

    Reply
  34. HealthyFixx

    I had a similar OMG moment yesterday when I saw the headline in Yahoo news “Is Skim Milk Making You Fat?” The article explained that full fat milk is actually less likely to cause weight gain and they even went so far as to include the quote: “Diets high in fat do not appear to be the primary cause of the high prevalence of excess body fat in our society, and reductions in fat will not be a solution.”

    Is the truth actually starting to go mainstream?

    We can only hope.

    Reply
  35. kat

    I wish soda had sugar – like David said, it’s mostly corn syrup, and that is from GMO corn. (explained in the movie King Corn) I’d rather have real sugar than HFCS or Nurta-sweet. Spenda not much better.
    but, sigh, yes – I am giving up all soda. bad for weight and bad for your teeth too!
    BTW – when my kids were home – NO soda ‘cept for a treat on Saturday. no juice or anything but water. we wuz poor! and my kids all grew up very healthy, super smart, and good looking too!
    I have become a huge label reader. look for HFCS – corn surup – in a lot of foods. thanks :0)

    It’s in a surprising number of foods. Even most breads include some HFCS these days.

    Reply
  36. Kathryn

    @kat

    It is so easy and so much fun to make your own sodas at home. You can use excess fruit/berries from your yard or overripe fruit from your favorite grocer. You will be boiling everything so no need to worry about food poisoning issues.

    The simplest soda of all ingredient-wise is ginger ale. You control how much real sugar or honey to use as well as how much grated ginger per gallon. An ounce to an ounce and a quarter will give you ginger ale. Twice that will give you a very potent ginger beer.

    If you let your batch ferment on the counter for a few days before bottling, especially if it is fruit based rather than just ginger, you can make the most sublime soda/wine spritzers for a fraction of what the store might charge.

    The process does not require fancy equipment nor fancy bottling gear. A reused lowly 2 liter soda bottle will work just fine and is very kid friendly. The little ones love to squeeze the bottle to see if it’s getting hard from the build up of fermentation. When the bottle is rock hard, it’s fizzy and ready to drink.

    Unlike store bought soda, since this is a natural fermentation process, recapping allows the process to repeat itself if you leave it out at room temperature. No more worring about flat soda.

    There are lots of resources online and on youtube to take you through the process. The biggest decision you would have to make is if you want to use lacto-fermentation (you make yourself from grated ginger) or ale yeast (I buy at my local homebrew shop)

    Reply
  37. Firebird

    I don’t know why everyone glorifies honey, it is a sugar, just like any other sweetener. You can make the claim all you want about the nutrients that are in honey, and the same can be said about sugar right from the stalk of the cane, plenty of nutrients, too. Some health experts are also pushing agave as a healthy alternative to sugar. But the bottom line is that there are plenty of people who cannot have honey because of the sugar rush/crash it creates.

    I’ll stick to Splenda, stevia and xylitol.

    Reply
  38. Tracee

    Yesterday at my kids school I did an “Added Sugar Booth” at the health fair. I had different sizes of the sodas I see kids buying most (I work at a convenience store), I also had three big bowls of sugar, several 1 teaspoon measuring spoons and foam coffee cups. When the kids came up they told me what their favorite soda was and I had them spoon that amount of sugar into the cups. A 20 oz Dr. Pepper has 16 teasoons, a 20 oz Rootbeer has just over 18 and 1 lite size Mtn Dew, (very popular size with the kids) has 31 teaspoons which completely fills the coffee cup. I saw several parents do a double take when they saw their kids cups. It was a fun booth!

    Excellent idea.

    Reply
  39. Howard

    While you were away I commented on Jerry’s posting about how my brother and I paralleled you and him on both your political and dietary epiphanies virtually to the year, although the roles were reversed with respect to age (I am the elder). Now I discover that Jerry’s birthday is the day after mine. My brother’s is June 28th. Is that close to yours?

    Nope, I’m Nov. 14.

    Reply
  40. Kat

    Hannah, with all due respect, honey is even worse for you than usgar and will spike your insulin faster! Just because something is “natural” by the way it’s an animal product, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Splenda and the like may not be “good” for you but at least they won’t throw your insulin levels to the moon. there’s been sutdies where people have consumed the equivalent of 10,000 packets of sucralose with no ill effects.

    Reply
  41. Dana

    That’s all right, I’m guessing those of you who are touting the Japanese diet as superior have not actually set foot in a Japanese grocery store.

    I have.

    Granted, it’s here in the U.S. but a store like that is meant to serve recent immigrants and first-generation American-born who are still close enough to their ethnic origins to miss the food.

    The Japanese are ahead of us in that they still eat a lot of traditional foods that are nutrient-dense. That is probably protecting them from at least some of the obesity that American suffer, obesity being as much a symptom of malnutrition as anything else.

    But seriously, you should check out some of the treats they eat and drink. Check out the ingredients. Check out the carb count.

    You will be appalled.

    Even their “more natural” mochi cakes tend to clock in at a whopping greater than 50g of carbohydrate PER SERVING.

    It doesn’t matter what the serving size of something is, either. You can always eat or drink more than one serving.

    Diabetes is on the rise in Japan. Just because they’re not all walking around at 300 pounds like so many of us are doesn’t change that fact. And that’s the cases they know about. Like as not they’re making the same mistake that Americans in *this* country make concerning diet and health: “I’m slender, so I will never become diabetic.” So they don’t check. So they’re sicker by the time they find out they were dead wrong.

    Everywhere industrial food–even ethnic industrial food–is displacing the natural ethnic foods, you’re going to see this happening–with or without the attendant weight gain.

    Someone sent me a statistic (which I still need to confirm) that the rate of type 2 diabetes in Japan is now around 6% — that’s in a country where rate of obesity is 3%. So they apparently have twice as many diabetics as they do obese people. So much for the theory that type 2 diabetes is caused by obesity, as opposed to both having a common cause.

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  42. Elenor

    I read somewhere yesterday (and alas, cannot remember where to provide a source), that Japanese immigrants to the U.S. who stay within their ‘ethnic enclaves/support groups’ and continue to eat their historical foods do NOT (as is so often published) quickly suffer a rise the American diseases, as compared to those left at home. It’s the ones who switch to the SAD who have the leaps in colon cancer and diabetes and so on. So, it’s not locale, it’s food choice!

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  43. Miko

    Japan and carbs: portion sizes are much smaller here. I think that this is what really accounts for the seeming paradox. Right now, make a cup out of your hand. Imagine a pile of cooked rice on your palm. That’s about the serving size of one bowl of rice, and people rarely take second helpings.

    Fruit is regarded as a sweet, and is often consumed for dessert instead of pie or cake.

    There is no entrenched custom of snacking between meals.

    It is rare to mix starches in one meal (for example, bread *and* potatoes, or rice *and* noodles).

    Children are almost never given soda to drink even on hot days, instead they are encouraged to drink unsweetened barley tea or green tea.

    Although obesity is rare, most Japanese are what you’d call “skinny-fat” meaning that although they are slender, they have incredibly poor muscle tone.

    There is an incredible amount of social pressure to maintain a slender figure, and people are swift to comment if they think you’ve gained or lost a few pounds; it’s not regarded as rude here. And possibly you’ve heard about the government-mandated waistline checks? I’ve been dodging them for years!

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