From The News …

      29 Comments on From The News …

Interesting items from my inbox and elsewhere …

Soy it ain’t true, Joe

Makers of soy-based foods will no longer be able to claim soy protects against heart disease, at least if the FDA gets its way. Here are some quotes from an article in Fortune magazine:

Since 1999, food makers have been able to slap a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared claim onto their products that soy protein has proven heart health benefits. But the FDA on Monday moved to revoke that soy heart benefit claim—the first time ever that the agency has attempted to nix a previously authorized health claim.

That’s not to say there isn’t any kind of heart benefit to soy protein—it’s just not as certain as an officially designated claim would suggest. “[S]ome studies, published after the FDA authorized the health claim, show inconsistent findings concerning the ability of soy protein to lower heart-damaging low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol,” as the FDA notes.

Of course, I don’t care if soy lowers LDL or not, because most people who have heart attacks are already in the supposed “good” range for LDL. I don’t eat soy because it lowers testosterone, to name just one of many negative effects. You can read about those here.

There’s a corny joke in here somewhere …

I remember my grandma hugging me when I was a wee tyke and saying things like, “Oh, I could just eat you up!” Lucky for me she didn’t live on corn … and wasn’t a hamster. Here are some quotes from an article in Science New For Students:

People who eat a diet dominated by corn can develop a deadly disease: pellagra. Now something similar has emerged in rodents. Wild European hamsters raised in the lab on a diet rich in corn showed odd behaviors. These included eating their babies!

“Corn again?! Where’s junior? I need a real meal.”

Hamsters and other rodents are known to eat their young. But only occasionally. This tends to happen only when a baby has died and the mother hamster wants to keep her nest clean.

To be perfectly truthful, our house would be a lot tidier if Chareva ate the girls without waiting for them to die. But I’d rather put up with the mess, so we limit our corn consumption to the occasional tortilla.

Wait … a high iron level is good now?

Some of you may recall the Wood Allen movie Sleeper, in which a man wakes up in the future and discovers (among many other things) that everything once considered good for you is now considered bad for you and vice-versa.

We’ve been told for years to avoid eating too much red meat because the iron it contains will build up in your body and cause heart disease. So I found a recent study reported in Medical News Today rather interesting:

Recent research suggests that iron may have a protective effect against heart disease. These promising findings could pave the way for new treatments.

A team of researchers from Imperial College London and University College London, both in the United Kingdom, set out to examine the link between levels of iron in the body and the risk of developing the most common type of CVD: coronary artery disease (CAD).

Previous research has put forth the idea that levels of iron in the body may be linked to heart disease. But the studies that investigated this link yielded inconsistent results, with some of them suggesting that high iron levels can protect against heart disease and others indicating the exact opposite.

The new research uses Mendelian randomization to investigate this link more closely. More specifically, the scientists – led by Dr. Dipender Gill, a Wellcome Trust Clinical Fellow at Imperial College London – tried to establish causality, examining whether or not iron status has a direct effect on CAD risk.

The results confirmed the hypothesis that higher levels of iron reduce the likelihood of developing CAD. “These findings,” the authors conclude, “may highlight a therapeutic target.”

So now a high iron level might be good for us … and of course the goal is to develop new treatments for low iron.

I think I’ll just eat a steak and go on my merry way.

Meatless Mondays in the land of good beef?

And while I’m eating steaks to keep my iron status up, officials in Argentina are looking for ways to reduce beef consumption. Here are some quotes from an article in The Economist:

Argentina is famous for its beef… In 2010 Argentines lost the title of the world’s biggest beefeaters, when measured by annual consumption per person, to neighbouring Uruguayans. Diego Vecino, a writer, lamented Argentina’s declining beef consumption and suggested the country was “immersed in shame”.

Now it seems the Casa Rosada, the presidential palace, is embracing the trend. In a bid to start a debate on health and the national diet, it has instituted meat-free Mondays. For one lunch each week, the canteen will only serve vegan options to the 500-plus employees, including President Mauricio Macri.

I love it. In fact, I think our federal government should require all employees to eat nothing but vegan foods at every meal. That alone might reduce the number of federal employees – and if we’re lucky, the ones who remain would be too fatigued to cause trouble for the rest of us.

The introduction of meatless Mondays to the Casa Rosada adds Argentina to the list of countries investigating ways to limit meat consumption. The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are in the middle of an obesity crisis. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that a majority of people are overweight in all but three countries of the region.

Argentina has particular grounds for concern. The rate of obesity among its boys is the highest in Latin America, and among girls it is the third-highest. This has been linked to various causes, including excessive eating of beef.

Head. Bang. On. Desk.

So Argentina has a childhood obesity problem and they think BEEF is the cause?! Note to Argentine officials (somebody translate this into Spanish): if your kids are getting fat, check their consumption of sugar and other processed carbs. I’m pretty sure beef isn’t the problem.

The Argentine Beef Promotion Institute, a lobbying group, has denounced the move as a bid for votes. Indeed, the promotion of meat-free eating has become rather political. A German proposal from 2013 calling for “Veggie Day” in public canteens led to a backlash. It was condemned as an “ecological dictatorship” and received considerable attention in pre-election coverage. Germans voted “nein” to the Greens that year.

And of course, The Anointed accepted the will of the masses rather than proceed with the Grand Plan …

Undeterred, the country’s environment ministry said earlier this year that it would stop serving meat and fish at official functions.

Yeah, that’s what I expected. The article provides more examples of The Anointed in action:

Portugal passed a law this year requiring a vegan option at public institutions. The UN’s International Resource Panel has called for governments to tax meat products. Researchers at Oxford University found that pricing food according to its climate impact could prevent more than half a million early deaths every year, largely in Europe, the United States, Australia and China. And surveys show that measures restricting meat consumption could be accepted by the public if justified in their interest.

Riiight. Because when The Anointed impose their preferences on you, it’s always for your own good.

I believe I have the answer for Argentina’s childhood obesity problem: put everyone on an all-corn diet. People will then develop an appetite for youngsters. Boom, no more childhood obesity problem.

Luckiest Deer Collision Ever?

We drove to Illinois over the weekend to see The Older Brother’s Middle Son and Youngest Son perform in a play. (They’re both talented actors. In fact, they provide most of the cartoon dialog in the upcoming film version of Fat Head Kids.) I usually do most of the driving, but with my aching back and all, I asked Chareva to drive so I could recline in the back seat.

As she drove along a winding, hilly road a few miles from home on the return trip, I reminded her that deer like to run across the road at night. She slowed down.

Sure enough, we came around a bend and saw three deer in our lane. Chareva let off the gas and steered left to go around them. Unfortunately (as often happens), one of them panicked and ran toward the van instead of away from it.


I jumped in my seat and said a bad word. Sara and Alana were so startled, they almost looked up from their iPads. Chareva might have said a bad word, but I wouldn’t know because I said my bad word too loudly to hear other bad words.

I had no idea how much damage had been done to the deer or the vehicle, but I could see that both headlights were still working, so that was a good sign. I fully expected to have a major dent somewhere on the passenger side.

When we pulled into the driveway, I got out to look. This was the extent of the damage:

I’m not happy we had to replace the mirror, but I felt more gratitude than anything. One of our neighbors had his windshield bashed in by a deer.  Another neighbor hit a big ol’ buck, which came through the windshield and seriously injured his daughter in the passenger seat.  One of the antlers poked a hole in her skull.

We got lucky. Same probably goes for the deer. With the minimal damage to the car, I’m thinking the deer likely ended up with nothing more than a headache and a good story to tell its deer pals.

Shoulder Surgery

I’m having surgery tomorrow to remove the bony mass that’s messing up my left shoulder. The surgeon told me he won’t know how much cutting and bone-sawing will be required until he’s in there. I hope it’s considerably less traumatic than my last shoulder surgery.  I was useless for weeks after that one.

Anyway, I’ll probably be too doped up to post for several days. I’ll let you know how the surgery goes, even if I have to dictate a short post to Chareva.


29 thoughts on “From The News …

  1. Michael Allen

    A friend of mine was a passenger in a car which hit a deer (at night), the air bag fired, and the concussion blew my friend’s eardrum. He was told he would get the hearing back, but he never did. Deer are best avoided if poss.

  2. Greg M

    So, you were expecting more BANG from the BUCK? Oh, DEER!

    Here’s hoping the surgery goes well. I for one will continue to read your blog, regardless of whether post-op drugs alter your prose!

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      If I start writing posts recommending a low-fat, grain-based diet, you’ll know I died during surgery and was replaced with a pod-person.

  3. Bob Niland

    re: Unfortunately (as often happens), one of them panicked and ran toward the van instead of away from it.

    I hit five of them over my most recent commuting years. Two of them did that. In daylight, my guess is that it’s a useful strategy against predators, like coyotes. Deer charges charging coyote, leaps over coyote, forcing coyote to expend energy in reversing direction, giving deer a better lead. Doesn’t work so well against vehicles.

    Night time is apparently a separate problem. Deer aren’t evolved to handle bright light at night; supposedly overwhelms their brains. “Like a deer in the headlights” has a basis. When they do finally move, it could easily be random.

    Iron, hmmm. Grains, phytates, iron supplementation in flours, lack of warning to those with haemochromatosis … lots of anointed idiocy to chew on.

  4. Emily

    Laws restricting meat consumption might be accepted by “the public” in Germany, but I guarantee they wouldn’t be in the U.S., and I’m guessing Brits and Aussies would have a similar reaction. Germany has a dangerously strong authoritarian strain. Jerome K. Jerome wrote in 1900, in Three Men On the Bummel:

    “The Germans are a good people. On the whole, the best people perhaps in the world; an amiable, unselfish, kindly people. I am positive that the vast majority of them go to Heaven. Indeed, comparing them with the other Christian nations of the earth, one is forced to the conclusion that Heaven will be chiefly of German manufacture. But I cannot understand how they get there. That the soul of any single individual German has sufficient initiative to fly up by itself and knock at St. Peter’s door, I cannot believe. My own opinion is that they are taken there in small companies, and passed in under the charge of a dead policeman…

    Their everlasting teaching is duty. It is a fine ideal for any people; but before buckling to it, one would wish to have a clear understanding as to what this “duty” is. The German idea of it would appear to be: “blind obedience to everything in buttons.” It is the antithesis of the Anglo-Saxon scheme; but as both the Anglo-Saxon and the Teuton are prospering, there must be good in both methods. Hitherto, the German has had the blessed fortune to be exceptionally well governed; if this continue, it will go well with him. When his troubles will begin will be when by any chance something goes wrong with the governing machine.”

    1900. Eerily prescient, and casts a certain chill over an otherwise frothy, lighthearted humor book. But can you imagine Americans acting like that? We can’t seem to agree about anything at all. It’s all so messy — and we like it that way. And the French would have another revolution if told to stop eating meat.

    Good luck with your surgery!

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I read many years ago that part of the explanation for why seemingly decent Germans would follow horrendous orders from Nazi officers was that Germans of that generation were all raised to obey authority, period. Let’s hope that’s no longer the prevailing attitude.

  5. Firebird7478

    “I jumped in my seat and said a bad word. Sara and Alana were so startled, they almost looked up from their iPads.”

    You owe me a computer monitor. LOL

  6. Erica

    Good luck on your surgery tomorrow. We’ll be waiting patiently (or maybe not so) for your return.

    My deer story:

    In 1985 I hit a buck outside of Durant, OK at 60 mph the night before Thanksgiving. I was driving my boyfriend’s brand new Maxima for the first time (he never let me live it down, either). I ended up sideways across the road and miraculously no one hit me. The right front headlight was taken out, and the radiator bent backwards. I was able to drive another 250 miles to Fayetteville, AR that night with no problem! Those Maximas were little square blocks and really good cars. I didn’t understand how lucky we were at the time.

    A guy in a pick up truck stopped with us to be sure we were ok and took the deer home to butcher (waste not, want not). On Friday, cleaning up the car to take it to the car repair to see if we could drive home again, we found the liver near the firewall. My boyfriend (who became my husband and is now my ex) was horrified, lol.

  7. Dianne

    Sending up prayers for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery. And thanks that your deer accident wasn’t worse! Your neighbor’s experience is very scary. Did the injured daughter make a full recovery?

    Deer are a major problem in rural Texas, too. Texas has millions of ’em, and their mamas don’t teach them to look both ways. My sister and I try to avoid driving through the Hill Country at night, especially if there’s a full moon, but sometimes they’ll run across the road even in full daylight.

  8. Phillis Hammond

    Glad nobody was hurt! We know of at least one person who was killed by a deer encounter so you were all mighty blessed! Hoping all goes well with your shoulder surgery. My hubbie had his right one done two years ago and will have the left one done first of the year hopefully. He didn’t have a large bony mass but had several “hooks” that were tearing up his bicep. This time he has the hooks and a rotator cuff tear. Should have had surgery like yesterday but he’s in the middle of a huge IT project (it’s his baby so I know you know what that entails) and can’t get it done until January. Anyway, hope you get well soon because you’ll be missed. Sure do enjoy your posts!!

  9. Desmond

    So Argentine children have only recently started eating beef, right? That is why prior generations were not obese, because they didn’t have cattle. Going back to traditional foods like soy tacos will solve everything!

  10. Janknitz

    Good luck with the surgery and I hope your diet leads to speedy healing.

    A deer (we named him “Bob”) ran into to side of my husband’s car and left the impression of his body in the metal. Bob did not survive, but thankfully my husband was fine.

  11. Bonnie

    You guys were lucky! The last deer I hit poked a hole in the radiator & crumpled the hood. It happened on a back road so I was going about 35 – had I been going faster it could have been really bad. Of course, it was bad for the deer. A young man who stopped to make sure we were OK took the deer home so it wasn’t wasted.

  12. Pancake Fury

    >Portugal passed a law this year requiring a vegan option at public institutions. The UN’s >International Resource Panel has called for governments to tax meat products.

    *Sigh*, why fools are so seldom lazy, huh?

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Milton Friedman explained that people are either intelligent or stupid, and either lazy or diligent. The most dangerous people are stupid and diligent.

    2. Evin

      Is the tax on meat products driven more by health concerns or environmental ones? Because both are unfounded. If you grass feed livestock, then the environmental part of the equation is taken out for the most part.

  13. Firebird7478

    My sister hit a dead deer on the Pennsylvania Turnpike…a fantastic feat. Even dead, the deer destroyed the suspension of her Subaru Justy.

    No venison ended up on our plates as a result of hitting the deerly departed.

  14. Chava

    “Note to Argentine officials (somebody translate this into Spanish): if your kids are getting fat, check their consumption of sugar and other processed carbs. I’m pretty sure beef isn’t the problem.”

    Or, just have them go to Diet Doctor en español.

    I’ve been lurking for a while. May you feel better every day.

  15. chris c

    “So now a high iron level might be good for us … and of course the goal is to develop new treatments for low iron.

    I think I’ll just eat a steak and go on my merry way.”

    Ooh no, didn’t they tell you??? It only works if it’s vegan iron.

    We have several species of deer here, the smallest – Muntjac – resemble a dog with jacked up rear suspension..They and the next size up – Roe deer – don’t seem to be much of a problem on the road. Red deer are the biggest and can do a lot of damage – “grilled deer” said a friend ruefully after one took out his front bumper and radiator. Fortunately he had nearly stopped his truck by the time he hit it.

    The most annoying ones by far are Fallow deer – they go around in gangs and you really have to watch out for them, because when one suddenly decides to run across the road they all go. Even stopping dead may not help much, you might miss the first and the second but the third will probably run full tilt into the side of your car.

    They all taste good though, just think of the cost of the damage as “venison tax”.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      But if you stop to pick up the deer and it isn’t actually dead, you can end up needing a bambulance. (Some of you may get the reference.)

  16. Evin

    Now the low-fat evangelists are telling us that the iron in red meat causes not just heart attacks, but cancer as well.


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