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.
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.