Interesting items from my inbox …
Kids like vegetables?
This was almost a good news story. Turns out kids will eat vegetables served with a dip:
Many parents have a difficult time persuading their preschool-aged children to try vegetables, let alone eat them regularly. Food and nutrition researchers have found that by offering a dip flavored with spices, children were more likely to try vegetables — including those they had previously rejected.
You mean a dip made with Kerry Gold butter or sour cream?
“Less than 10 percent of 4- to 8-year-olds consume the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) recommended daily servings of vegetables,” said Jennifer S. Savage, associate director of the Center for Childhood Obesity Research at Penn State. “Even more striking is that over one-third of children consume no servings of vegetables on a typical day. We wanted to figure out a way to increase vegetable consumption.”
I’ve already figured out how to increase vegetable consumption among kids: serve the vegetables with Kerry Gold butter or sour cream.
According to ChooseMyPlate, a USDA initiative, children between the ages of three and five should be eating one and a half to two cups of vegetables every day. Vegetables provide fiber and necessary nutrients. They can also replace less healthy food choices and combat obesity because they are less calorie-dense.
It’s not because vegetables are less calorie-dense. It’s because when you give your body what it needs, it stops yelling at you to eat more in hopes that your tongue will stumble across an actual nutrient.
Savage and colleagues found that children were three times more likely to refuse eating a vegetable alone than they were to eat the same vegetable when paired with a reduced-fat flavored dip. And the children were twice as likely to reject a vegetable with no dip than they were if given the same vegetable with plain dip.
ARRRGHHH!!! Reduced-fat dip?!! For Pete’s sake, a lot of the nutrients in vegetables are fat-soluble. That means you need to eat them with fat or your tissues won’t absorb them.
The children tasted and rated six different vegetables: carrots, cucumbers, celery, green beans, red peppers and yellow squash. After tasting each vegetable, the children were shown three cartoon faces and asked to pick which one best showed how they felt. Their choices were “yummy,” “just okay” and “yucky.” The researcher also noted if the child refused to try the sample. In the next session the children were introduced to five different Miracle Whip-based reduced-fat dips, one plain and the other four flavored with different combinations of spices. The most well-liked dips were flavored “pizza” and “ranch;” the least-liked dips were “herb” and “garlic.”
Hmmm, let’s visit the Kraft web site and see what’s in reduced-fat Miracle Whip:
WATER, VINEGAR, SOYBEAN OIL, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, SALT, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF NATURAL FLAVORS, EGGS, CELLULOSE GEL, MUSTARD FLOUR, POTASSIUM SORBATE AS A PRESERVATIVE, XANTHAN GUM, CELLULOSE GUM, SPICE, PAPRIKA, SUCRALOSE AND ACESULFAME POTASSIUM (SWEETENERS), DRIED GARLIC.
Soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup and sugar. What a great way to get kids to eat their vegetables.
My daughters happily ate roasted cauliflower with dinner last night. That’s because their mommy drizzled Kerry Gold butter and cumin on the cauliflower before roasting it.
Don’t be a dip. Put real fat on your kids’ veggies, then watch those veggies disappear.
How to solve the obesity problem
Take a look at what’s happening to an obese man in New Zealand:
New Zealand’s immigration authorities think they have gotten to the core of solving the obesity epidemic and rising health costs– deport fat people. A 50 year-old, 286-pound South African citizen no longer has an “acceptable standard of health” to remain in the country where nearly a third of adults are overweight, according to reports.
Albert Buitenhuis and his wife, Marthie, 47, moved to Christchurch, New Zealand from South Africa six years ago. They are now facing deportation after their work visas were declined because of his weight. New Zealand immigration authorities cited the demands his obesity could place on New Zealand’s health services in terms of cost.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it at least twice: when governments pay for your health care, they feel entitled to dictate to you about your health and lifestyle. Never mind that they pay for your healthcare with money they took from you in the first place.
When Albert, 5’ 8”, arrived to take a job as a chef, he topped 350 pounds. Yet he has worked, as has his waitress wife, paid taxes and managed to lose more than 60 pounds, according to The Press of New Zealand. His doctor says Buitenhuis, who has a chronic knee condition, is on his way to getting his blood pressure down and his weight under control.
For the first five years, no one seemed to think that Albert could not fit in New Zealand. But, suddenly, the authorities have decided he must leave. His wife, who is not obese, is on his work visa, so she must follow him to the loading dock.
Look, you goofy government ministers, if the guy has lost 60 pounds, he’s probably healthier than a lot of people who are slowly getting fatter but aren’t considered obese yet. And as the article points out, the same government ministers haven’t deported smokers.
Fat Head is Cracked
Several people told me that Fat Head was mentioned on Cracked.com, but the first email I received had this as the subject line:
You were mentioned in an article about crap-filled documentaries
You can imagine what I was thinking. I don’t waste my valuable time and mental energy reading or responding to articles that slam Fat Head or me personally, but I clicked the link just to check. Turns out Fat Head wasn’t the crap-filled documentary; it cited in a critique of a crap-filled documentary:
This is the movie that made you swear you’d never set food in a McDonald’s again (until the next time you drove by one). For 30 days, Morgan Spurlock decided he would only eat food sold by McDonald’s. He had to eat everything on the menu at least once, had to have three meals a day, and would only Supersize when offered. He documented the bizarre and terrifying changes his body went through while eating what according to science is not actual food.
Here’s the thing: No one has been able to replicate Spurlock’s results, and even basic math disputes the claim that his McDiet consisted of 5,000 calories a day.
As Tom Naughton points out in his documentary Fat Head, there’s simply no way Spurlock could have been eating that much food if he was sticking to his own rules. A large Big Mac meal clocks in at “just” 1,450 calories, and it’s by far one of the fattiest items on the menu. This means that even Supersizing lunch and dinner every day and adding dessert falls well short of the 5,000 calories a day Spurlock’s nutritionist claims he was consuming.
For the record, I do believe Spurlock consumed more than 5,000 calories per day – but not by eating just three meals per day at McDonald’s and only super-sizing when they asked him, which was the premise of the film. I think he doubled up on meals (which is super-sizing without being asked) and slammed down a lot of sodas, shakes and desserts to make sure he’d get fat — thus proving that doubling up on meals and slamming down sugary drinks and desserts is a bad idea, no matter where you eat. I’m pretty sure most of us already knew that.
In an effort to find out just exactly what the hell, Naughton attempted to contact Spurlock to obtain his food log, but Spurlock (who makes a huge deal in his documentary about McDonald’s never calling him back) never called him back.
I never expected Spurlock to call me back, but some Fat Head fans participating in an online Q & A asked him why he won’t show anyone his food log. Spurlock replied he no longer has the food log because all the materials for Super Size Me were destroyed. I think that excuse is as crap-filled as his documentary.
Is obesity underrated as a cause of death?
In Fat Head, Dr. Eric Oliver described how government officials exaggerated obesity as a cause of death. Now a new study claims obesity as a cause of death is underrated, not overrated.
Obesity kills far more Americans than we think it does, according to a controversial new study that suggests obesity accounts of about 18 percent of all deaths in the United States – three times previous estimates.
The research, published in the American Journal of Public Health, suggests the latest government estimates soft-pedal the dangers of obesity. And the controversy over the findings show how difficult it is to calculate the costs of being overweight.
The findings are controversial for good reason, as we’ll see in a minute.
The federal government has been in hot water over the issue before. In 2004 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention slashed its estimates of obesity-related deaths by a third, from 365,000 a year to 112,000 a year, amid a battle over how it made its calculations. And a few recent studies have shown that for people over 65, having a little extra pudge may be protective.
Uh … are my math skills slipping? If the CDC was claiming obesity caused 365,000 deaths per year and then slashed that estimate by a third, I get 365,000 – (365,000/3) = 243,333. Seems to me they slashed the estimate by more than two-thirds. Anyway …
Other experts immediately questioned the way Masters made his calculations. He used data from several national health surveys that ask people, among other things, how much they weigh and how tall they are – which in turn are used to calculate body mass index (BMI) and show whether someone is overweight or obese. The data covers 20 years, from 1986 to 2006.
Then he looked at death records for the same people. “Previous research has likely underestimated obesity’s impact on US mortality,” Masters and colleagues wrote.
Sounds to me like a repeat of what Dr. Oliver described in Fat Head: if you were obese and you died from a snakebite, they said your death was caused by obesity, not the snakebite.
“They didn’t account for smoking other risk factors like alcohol consumption,” says Kenneth Thorpe, a former Health and Human Services department official who is now an expert on health policy at Emory University in Atlanta. “The study doesn’t account for health insurance status, and we know that contributes to mortality rates.”
People who are obese are more likely to smoke than people who are not, Thorpe says, and they eat more unhealthful foods.
In other words, it’s not having a BMI of over 30 that kills you. But the lousy habits that make you obese can also ruin your health, which is why there’s an association between obesity and disease. Get rid of the lousy habits, and you can be healthy even if you’re still technically obese.
Someone should explain that to the government goofs in New Zealand.