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:


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, 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.

43 Responses to “From The News …”
  1. SB says:

    I live close to a city with a high middle eastern population. Went to a party for a friend in that area, and the host’s children (aged 2 and 4) would voluntarily eat hummus and raw veggies. Maybe it’s the fun of dipping that gets them.

    That NZ story makes no sense…the guy loses weight and then gets booted? Dumb.

    Math or effective writing was not someone’s strong suit…down “to” a third of previous calculations would have been more accurate. The method of inflating the number of deaths “caused” by obesity is straight up dishonest.

    Every time I hear parents say kids won’t eat vegetables, I shake my head. Kids will eat almost anything with enough delicious fat on it.

  2. Janet says:

    “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.”

    Didn’t you have this discussion several months ago? Self reported height, weight, foods eaten, etc.? Even at the doctor’s office I have been weighed, but they ask me how tall I am. Because I don’t take that stuff too seriously, I give a different height every time. I alternately smoke and don’t smoke. I alternately have fallen in the last 6 months and not fallen. What do I eat? It sure wasn’t the same for 20 years!! It isn’t even the same as it was 5 years ago. Most people’s weight varies day to day and week to week, let alone over 20 years.

    Are we basing anything important to anyone on this kind of data???

    We shouldn’t, but I bet we will. This will be cited as more evidence that obesity is a disease that requires insurance coverage.

  3. Judy says:

    The McCormick Science Institute (the same McCormick that sells herbs and spices) supported this “research”. Sounds more like a survey to see what kids will eat so their parents will buy it than any real kind of study.

    Sure does.

  4. Lori says:

    Miracle Whip? That stuff is to dip as roll-ups are to fruit. Kids preferring ranch and pizza flavors over garlic and herb tells me their taste buds are adapted to junk food.

    Salt and vinegar on cucumbers, almond butter on celery, and Kalona butter on everything else from green beans to jalepenos works for me. (Kalona is cheaper, closer, and tastes better to me than Kerrygold.)

    We’ve also found that macadamia oil is pretty tasty on kale.

  5. Ash Simmonds says:

    @ChrisKresser: “If you want your toddler to eat green veggies, put butter on them!”


    For the record, I never put butter on my kids … although when they were toddlers, they did put butter on themselves.

  6. Darren Doyle says:

    The pedant in me feels the need to point out that Kerrygold is one word.

    Keep up the good work!

    Good catch.

  7. Bret says:

    I have no doubt whatsoever that people are trying to explain to the NZ government goofs that correlation does not equal causation–probably Fat Head fans among them–but I am quite sure the NZ government goofs are not listening. They already know everything and have all the answers. Their biggest problem is how to secure a tax payer-funded salary for life.

  8. Firebird says:

    I believe I just saw the most ridiculous thing. During the news, there was an item where a farmer has crossbred various types of grapes so that they taste like cotton candy. They goal? To get kids to eat more grapes by having it taste like something they enjoy. Next up, the farmer wants to create a grape with a lollypop flavor. He’s not sure which flavor.

    I suggest grape.

    And now we have vitamins for adults that taste like gummy bears.

    • Marilyn says:

      That gags me. Years ago, the grocery store had some some samples of apples that were flavored somehow with artificial grape. They were dreadful. But I sometimes wonder if they were put into production anyway, since sometimes the grocery store delicious apples have a kind of “grapey” flavor now.

  9. Geoff says:

    Another article demonizing fat…when its sugar filled food…this stuff makes me sad 🙁

    • Catherine says:

      Why do these people consider that a drug must be the answer to everyone’s prayers, for whatever ailment/condition? And what flawed “research! It wouldn’t be the sweetness in cream cakes, then, that seems to make some people want more and more, or the starch? Oh, of course not, they’re carbs, and they are healthy! Silly me!

      Very interesting, Geoff.

  10. Alex Rion says:

    Hmmm… Seems Kerrygold products are pasteurized. Are we sure this is the best method to get children to eat veggies?

    “WATER, VINEGAR, SOYBEAN OIL, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH…” Modified food starch = wheat – Now I’m sure that’s a great way to get kids to eat veggies. /sarc

    Great work – keep it up!


    Pasteurized butter from grass-fed cows is still a fine product. Now, if you can find butter from grass-fed cows locally, that of course is even better.

    • Kristin says:

      For those of us on the West coast, Strauss makes a good European style butter. The label doesn’t say grass-fed but I’ve personally seen those Jersey cows grazing fields in the Port Reyes area of Northern CA with a great view of the ocean.

  11. TonyNZ says:

    Yes that was stupid of our government, but at least we’ve had some zero budgets in the last few years meaning that our kids aren’t getting unwittingly put into some high debt all-in economic experiment. Speaking of such, is your other blog still on life support or have you pulled the plug?

    I haven’t pulled the plug, but with programming full-time, keeping up with this blog, writing for CarbSmart, and working on our book, something had to go on the back burner. I’ll get back to that blog someday.

    I’ll trade your government’s version of stupid for my government’s version of stupid any time. Our version of stupid is going to lead to a massive default.

  12. j says:

    “You mean a dip made with Kerry Gold butter or sour cream?”

    Lol guess we knew where this was going..

  13. K2 says:

    Hi Tom,

    I think Lori posted something (perhaps a link to Amazon>) for the book “Grain Brain.” I checked the related website and find it interesting. While nothing especially new for Fat Heads, it covers how grains, sugar and even “good” carbs can negatively impact our brain health.

    You might have already seen it, but I thought I would share it so others could take a look and consider the book.

    Have a good one!


  14. Julie says:

    Yeah, fat is a lovely thing. When I was a little kid, I loved broccoli… as long as it had cheese on it.

  15. Alex says:

    I theorise that kids – generally – do not like/eat vegetables because we have evolved an instinctive ‘distaste’ for most plants due to their possible toxicity.

    When evaluated on a per mass basis (instead of a per calorie basis), most vegetables are not that rich in nutrients and the nutrients they do contain are often not in the most bioavailable form for the human body.

    Then there are the so-called ‘phytonutrients’, which I prefer to call phytochemicals, many of which are low grade toxins produced by the plant for the plant’s benefit and probably only have any positive health benefits due to their hormetic effect when eaten in small doses and/or infrequently.

    Needless to say – like a lot of kids (I am no longer a kid by the way!) – I eat little to no vegetables and probably would not be tempted to do so even if dipped in butter or sour cream!

    • Angel says:

      I go weeks on end without touching veggies, and somehow I am still standing.

      I didn’t like vegetables as a kid, and I don’t like them much as an adult. I’m a petite female with pretty sensitive taste buds … it makes sense that the phytochemicals would have a stronger effect on me than an average sized adult male, and therefore my body says, “Don’t eat veggies. Stick to steak and potatoes with lots of butter and sour cream.”

      My body also says, “Cruciferous vegetables suck. And kale is not food, it’s landscaping!”

      • Alex says:

        Studies have shown that ‘super-tasters’ (those with more taste buds than average) eat far fewer vegetables, on average, than non-super-tasters. The reason often given is that they (the super-tasters) find most vegetables too ‘bitter’. It is the ‘bitterness’ that often indicates the presence of toxins – like alkaloids!

        I also count myself as a super-taster; often the foods I find flavourful others find bland and the foods others say are tasty seem way too over-powering to me!

  16. Bill C. says:

    I found an easy way to spot studies that are based on bad science. They are the ones that make the headlines.

    That does seem to be the case.

  17. Mike says:

    I am the one with good health , and still obese/overweight. I have still outside fat with lousy skin. But ….. can run 10k anytime, play with kettlebells full workout, perfect blood results. For 44 years old who topped 300 lbs in the past , not too bad.

    I love vegs in coconut oil, I agree with every word in this article.

  18. Obadyah says: Thought perhaps you would find this interesting. A doctor is waking up…

    He was a speaker on this year’s low-carb cruise.

  19. Celeste says:

    The dip article…so great. I was always disciplined enough to choke down raw or steamed vegetables, but then I got religion and started frying them in a little bit of lard, butter, etc. Now I love vegetables.

    I’m also currently expecting a child. For a while I had a lot of anxiety about how to get my kid to eat vegetables. Now I feel like it won’t even be difficult.

    Congratulations. Knowing what you know, you will have a healthy, vegetable-eating child.

  20. Jo says:

    The NZ story is not quite as it appears, which is why it has suddenly gone quiet in the media. The guy was in NZ on a temporary visa. When he applied for a permanent visa, which has stricter requirements, he was turned down. According to immigration authorities he was not turned down on the basis of his weight, but because of other health problems. He has the opportunity to appeal and, after this carefully orchestrated media campaign, he may well be successful if the government bows to pressure.

  21. Nads says:

    Once you get rid of the sugar from your diet then veges taste great, sort of like they did in “the good old days”.

    Cream cheese, sour cream and sugar free dill pickles makes a great dip for veges. Or even the full fat cream cheese Kraft dips in Australia don’t have too many bad things in them.

  22. Eric from belgium says:

    On the subject of cauliflower, in one of the low carb cooking courses I taught I used it as a rice / couscous substitute.
    Grate it to the size of rice grains, steam it or boil it, and serve with a sprinkle of oil or butter.
    People were amazed….

    Cheers to all

  23. Cathy says:

    “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.”

    I love your blog, read it regularly and frequently bore my friends with quotes and references I find here. Being Canadian I must take issue with your statement above. I absolutely do not want to get into a debate about healthcare, but this statement did prompt me to comment. One thing I have always marveled about is your descriptions of school lunch programs and the crazy low fat rules and restrictions placed on them – even the ones kids bring from home. I also cringe at the New York Mayor trying to limit the size of soda drinks sold in his city. But your correlation above doe not hold water as far as Canada is concerned. While we share the same fat-phobia lunacy as you, we have no rules regarding what kids can bring for lunch, and so few lunch, no rules around the size of soda’s (we call it pop here) etc. I have never heard of a child having his lunch taken away because it does not meet someone else’s idea of healthy. Sadly we do share the same lunacy regarding low-fat/high carb diets being healthy, but “so far” there have been no laws/policies limiting or defining the food we put in our mouths. The extent of such restrictions here are for example In my city, schools have taken sugary snacks and pop out of their vending machines – albeit replacing them with things my kids know are not any better (low fat chips and granola bars) , in my provinces we have seat belt laws, distracted driving laws and cigarettes can no longer be displayed openly in stores (they are there, just behind a curtain or panel) I guess what I am saying is, while I don’t disagree with you on any of the lunacy you expose, I don’t think you can blame the lunacy on socialized medicine – especially since there is plenty of such lunacy present in the USA.

    Take care and keep up the great work.

    I’m glad to hear the government in Canada doesn’t think that way, but unfortunately ours does and always will. Just by virtue of subsidizing school lunches (which our kids don’t even eat) for some kids, our USDA has decided it can tell me what I can or cannot put in my girls’ lunchboxes on inspection day. Over and over, our government follows the same pattern: 1) Take tax money from citizens, 2) return the money taken from citizens in the forms of some kind of subsidy, 3) declare that since they’re “giving” us money, they can tell us what to do.

    • j says:

      “declare that since they’re “giving” us money, they can tell us what to do.”

      This kind of “declaring” sounds more like dictating..but I wont expand on that for fear of being tracked and monitored.

      Since you wrote the comment and I approved it, we probably both have our very own NSA files now.

      • Walter Bushell says:

        Just being known as paleo or low carb is enough. If these things spread it will destroy billions in profit$ just in the food processing industry, not to even consider the medical industries.

  24. June says:

    I think that texture is a totally overlooked element in the veggie debate. I can’t stand broccoli florets because of the texture, but I love the taste of the broccoli stalk. I will gag on steamed or boiled brussels sprouts, but sauteed in bacon fat until they are browned and still a bit crisp, yum! Stop boiling the heck out of veggies until they are limp and slimy. Just a quick pan saute and you are in business.

    • Jill says:

      You stole my thunder, June. 🙂

      Taste /toxicity issues aside, Many people don’t like vegetables because they don’t cook them well or don’t know how to prepare them or don’t like cooking at all!

      Years ago my naturopath told me that many people won’t eat vegetables because often they’re straight out of the fridge and they’re cold! BUt once they’re at room temperature – the vegies, not the people – they are eaten with no problem.

      If the people are eaten with no problem at room temperature, we would hope we were watching an episode of The Walking Dead.

  25. Cathy says:

    Well we certainly do have our share of the 1, 2, 3 steps you list, but so far universal health care has not resulted in laws or rules over what or how much we eat – at least not yet. 🙂

  26. Clint says:

    What dip came up with that unhealthy alternative? I put either melted butter, sour cream, and/or cheese on my vegetables! I snack on cucumbers with salt and vinegar while watching tv!

    It’s just the usual fat phobia kicking in.

  27. Beowulf says:

    My co-workers comment that I eat so healthy because I avoid the junk food meandering all over my workplace, and then I can just see the cognitive dissonance rattling through their brains when they realize that I’m cooking with butter, and not just enough to barely grease a pan. Full of energy, lean, and fit just don’t mesh with butter/full-fat dairy in most peoples’ minds. I try to do some education where I can (without being a pain in the neck), but most people (especially women) just can’t get over the fat phobia, especially the animal-fat phobia.

    It’s difficult for many people to believe that everything they’ve heard and read about saturated fat for the past 40 years is wrong.

    • Firebird7478 says:

      A friend of mine is a nutritionist and he has stated time and again that people would eat more fat if it had some slick name created by a marketing firm, instead of fat.

      We need to work on that.

  28. Kristin says:

    I went to a birthday gathering for a dear friend yesterday who I don’t get to see very often. She has lost weight and looks about the same weight now as when we first met nearly 30 years ago. She is concentrating on glycemic index theory which is fine since it means she avoids flour and sugar. But she also said to me that she finds the whole high fat thing unbelievable.

    I wouldn’t dream of critiquing a diet that is working for her and kept my tongue quiet. I did think that people are so indoctrinated into the idea that one must be hungry in order to be a healthy weight that it will take a while to shift. She has taken the biggest step which is to give up carbage.

    Agreed. If she’s given up the sugar and flour, it’s a big improvement.

  29. That Naughton story sounds so stupid he should have been nabbed for taking people for such fools.In fact,it sounds childish!

    Obese folks can live longer and healthier lifestyles if they ditch destructive habits like smoking?That’s no excuse,get fit people!

    Obese people can also be fit. Many are. Lots of thin people are in lousy physical shape. What the research shows is that people who exercise live longer, whether they’re fat or thin.

  30. Lisa says:

    I never liked vegetables much until I lived in China. The secret to wonderful vegetables is garlic and salt!

    By the way, if you were to take the Government dietary guidelines seriously, and also the recommendation for eating healthy green vegetables for your carbs, you’d have to eat over 9 pounds of broccoli each and every day to get your recommended 300 grams of carbs …….

    I like broccoli, but not that much.

  31. Walter Bushell says:

    Perhaps the nutritional advantage of vegetables is that they provide a medium for good fats?

    I think there’s more to it than that.

  32. If they use BMI to determine which deaths were obesity related – do they screen out athletes with large BMI?

    I doubt it.

Leave a Reply