From The News …

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Interesting items from my email inbox ….

How to ruin chocolate

Since replacing fat in our diets with various forms of sugar has been such a smashing success, why not extend the practice to chocolate?

Scientists have managed to halve the fat content of chocolate by replacing cocoa butter and milk fats with fruit juice.

Although the process, which uses tiny droplets of orange, cranberry or apple juice, gives the bars a slightly fruity taste, it can be applied to milk, dark and white chocolate.

Tests are ongoing, but if the ‘mild’ fruit taste of the chocolate proves too strong and cannot be lessened, researchers believe the same result could theoretically be achieved with a mixture of water and vitamin C.

The potentially ground breaking technique was developed by scientists at the University of Warwick and unveiled by lead researcher Dr Stefan Bon at a national meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans.

Dr Bon said: “We have established the chemistry that’s a starting point for healthier chocolate confectionary… This approach maintains the things that make chocolate ‘chocolatey’, but with fruit juice instead of fat.”

Just what the world needs:  a repeat of the Snackwell’s phenomenon.  You remember Snackwell’s, don’t you?  Cookies and cakes and dessert bars that were good for us because they were low-fat! That was back in the 1990s, and all that fear of fat sure made everyone thinner and healthier, didn’t it?

I can’t help but wonder what kind of scientist ends up toiling in a lab to replace fat with fruit juice.  I’m guessing not a scientist whose other option was working in particle physics.  I also can’t help but wonder what kind of journalist considers removing fat and adding fruit juice to be a ground breaking technique.  Seems to me a moderately talented tinkerer could accomplish that feat in his basement.

It’s all about selling pharmaceuticals

As if we didn’t already know, Medical News Today recently pointed out what’s wrong with diabetes research:

An analysis of diabetes trials worldwide has found they are not addressing key issues relating to the condition with almost two thirds focusing on drug therapy while only one in ten addresses prevention or behavioural therapies. The research is published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), and is by Dr Jennifer Green, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA, and colleagues.

The researchers found 2,484 interventional trials by selecting those with disease condition terms relevant to diabetes. Of these, 75% had a primarily therapeutic purpose while just 10% were preventive. Listed interventions were mostly drugs (63%) while few were behavioural (12%).

So very few diabetes trials involve diets.  And of course, when researchers do attempt to control diabetes with diet, they usually prescribe the high-carb, low-fat diet promoted by the American Diabetes Association, which is pretty much bound to fail anyway.

I don’t want to sound paranoid, but is it possible they choose that diet so they can declare that diets are ineffective for controlling diabetes?

Another a-salt on salt

Here we go again … another study (a meta-analysis in this case) claiming that drastically reducing salt would save lives:

A reduction in dietary salt intake by 50 percent could prevent approximately 100,000 deaths from heart attack and stroke in the United States every year, according to new studies published in the April 4 issues of British Medical Journal online.

And researchers suggest that the responsibility for reducing salt in foods lies primarily with the food industry.

“Eighty percent of the salt that we eat is added by the food industry,” study author Graham MacGregor, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine in London, told FoxNews.com.

In MacGregor’s study, researchers analyzed data on 3,000 adults who decreased their salt intake over the course of about four weeks.

Results indicated that study participants saw an average decrease in systolic blood pressure of 5 mmHg. Similar results were found in a second analysis of 56 studies, also published in the April 4 issue of BMJ.  Achieving this type of blood pressure decrease across the entire population could have major health benefits, according to MacGregor.

I’d say according to MacGregor is the correct choice of words – because that statement certainly isn’t  true according to the science.

First off, notice that restricting salt reduced systolic blood pressure by a whopping five points – yipeekyai.  Since hypertension is defined as blood pressure that’s 20 points above normal, I don’t think five points is going to make much of a difference.

Secondly, the research on salt, hypertension and cardiovascular disease is inconclusive at best.  Here’s a quote from an article Gary Taubes wrote some years ago titled The (Political) Science of Salt:

University of Copenhagen researchers analyzed 114 randomized trials of sodium reduction, concluding that the benefit for hypertensives was significantly smaller than could be achieved by antihypertensive drugs, and that a “measurable” benefit in individuals with normal blood pressure (normotensives) of even a single millimeter of mercury could only be achieved with an “extreme” reduction in salt intake.

After decades of intensive research, the apparent benefits of avoiding salt have only diminished. This suggests either that the true benefit has now been revealed and is indeed small, or that it is nonexistent, and researchers believing they have detected such benefits have been deluded by the confounding influences of other variables.

Finally, if you really want to lower your blood pressure, trying cutting way back on refined carbohydrates — especially fructose.

Why I don’t trust nutrition committees

I guess it’s not just the USDA that’s essentially a division of Monsanto.  Private organizations are being co-opted as well:

The politics of genetically modified food has created a rift in a policy-setting committee of the influential Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that demonstrates the difficulty in finding anyone — anywhere — who doesn’t already have an opinion on the issue.

A dietitian working on a panel charged with setting policy on genetically modified foods for the academy contends she was removed for pointing out that two of its members had ties to Monsanto, one of the biggest makers of genetically modified seeds.

“Perhaps it is possible for someone who works for an organization that creates or promotes G.M.O.’s to be objective, however, that would be hard to do,” Carole Bartolotto, a registered dietitian in California, wrote in a Feb. 6 e-mail to an academy executive.

In February, Ms. Bartolotto sent an e-mail to Kari Kren, a manager of research and business development at the academy, asking about the academy’s conflict of interest policy and raising questions about two other members of the group, Marianne Smith Edge and Jennie Schmidt.

Ms. Schmidt, a dietitian who operates a farm in Maryland, won a $5,000 prize from Monsanto and is a test farmer for the company.

Ms. Smith Edge, chairwoman of the committee, is a senior vice president at the International Food Information Council, which is largely financed by food, beverage and agriculture businesses, including companies like DuPont, Bayer CropScience and Cargill, companies that were among the biggest financial opponents of the California labeling initiative.

Later, she questioned the academy’s decision to hire Christine M. Bruhn, a professor at the University of California, Davis, to write its position paper on genetically engineered foods.

Professor Bruhn, who works for the university’s agriculture extension service, was an opponent of the California labeling measure. Additionally, the university has scholarships and other programs financed by Monsanto.

I wasn’t familiar with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – or so I thought.  Turns out that’s the new name for what used to called the American Dietetic Association.  Their web site describes the organization as the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.  So doesn’t it give you confidence in their objectivity to learn that Monsanto has members of the board in its (very deep) pocket?

As if Monsanto’s influence weren’t reason enough to ignore anything this organization says, take a look at this paragraph:

But what really concerned Ms. Bartolotto was the academy’s decision that Professor Bruhn would write the paper before the work group finished its review of the scientific materials.

Forming an opinion before reviewing the science?  I predict some of these people will end up on the next USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee.

Fat gets the blame again

Yahoo published an article about a teenager who lives on ramen noodles and has lousy health as a result.  Here are some quotes:

Ramen-style noodles, a staple in the pantry of broke college students, has been the mainstay of one teenager’s diet for the past 13 years, according to an article in the New York Daily News.

Georgi Readman, 18, of the Isle of Wight, U.K., refuses to eat fruit and vegetables and exists solely on packaged noodle soup, a snack that often contains high amounts of fat, saturated fat, and sodium. One package typically boasts 400 calories and 20 grams of fat.

Readman, who is 5’3” and 98 pounds, told the Daily News that she became hooked on the noodles when she was five-years-old and her mother still buys her packages by the dozens. She estimates eating 30 miles of noodles per year and the thought of eating anything else makes her sick.

Readman could not be reached for comment but according to her doctors, she is malnourished and has the health of an 80 year old.

(Note to Yahoo’s online editor:  Those sentences should read ” … when she was five years old …” and “…  has the health of an 80-year-old.”  Please reivew the proper use of hyphens.)

So we’ve got a young lady who lives on noodles and is malnourished, and the reporter believes the problem is the SATURATED FAT?!!  Newsflash: people don’t become malnourished by eating saturated fat.  They become malnourished by not eating enough quality fat, protein, vitamins and minerals.  According to what I can find online, that 400-calorie serving of noodles that the reporter believes is chock-full of saturated fat would contain about 9 grams of the stuff, but 45 grams of carbohydrates – probably consisting mostly of mutant wheat created by Monsanto.

I’m starting to think when reporters are assigned to the health beat, they’re given a coffee cup with the words ALWAYS BLAME SATURATED FAT emblazoned on the side.  Or perhaps the interview process goes something like this:

“I see you’ve spent most of your career reporting on school-board meetings.  Do you actually know anything about health or nutrition?”

“No, I’m afraid not.”

“You can start on Monday.”

And finally, just for fun …

My nephew Eric (The Oldest Brother’s Oldest Son) sent me this email today:

One of my favorite shows is “Parks and Recs.”  It is about a park department where one of the heads is ironically a meat eating, hard core Libertarian name Ron Swanson.  I’m sure most of your Fat Head followers, especially in my age range, are quite familiar.  When someone asked about our views/beliefs, my friend Paul interrupted and simply said to them, “To sum up Eric and his dad: Ron Swanson.”  I was sent this link with a few of his greatest quotes.

After reading the quotes, I think I’ll have to start watching that show.  Ron Swanson seems like my kind of guy.

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106 thoughts on “From The News …

  1. Jenny

    Parks and Rec is fantastic,* and Ron Swanson is my idol. Sadly, Nick Offerman is no Ron Swanson — he and wife Megan Mullaly are in the ridiculous Demand a Plan video.

    *If you start from the first season, you have to give it a chance. It takes a little while to get rolling.

    I think I may have watched the first couple of episodes. If so, I wasn’t impressed enough to stay with it. But then I didn’t think the first couple of episodes of “Seinfeld” were very funny either. Sometimes a show takes awhile to finds its legs.

    Reply
    1. bigmyc

      You guys DO realize that Swanson is an over-the-top (is this parenthetical usage correct?) depiction of a Libertarian. His character is clearly not meant to pay homage to the burgeoning political affiliation as it is a common device in comedy sit-coms to over emphasize characters whose viewpoints are meant to be ridiculed. That being said, I guess any exposure is good exposure and as long as Libertarians maintain a good sense of humor….

      Of course. He’s a parody of a libertarian. Joke’s on the producers, though, since libertarians are cheering a character we’re supposed to ridicule.

      Reply
  2. Beowulf

    The only time chocolate should exist with fruit juice is in the form of a chocolate-dipped strawberry.

    I am shuddering at the thought of all the ramen I ate in college. I’m glad those days are behind me.

    Fortunately for me, I never liked the stuff.

    Reply
    1. Miriam

      I’m agin’ this crap as much as the next person, but chocolate with orange in it is really something, too. Or chili peppers. (Real chocolate, of course).

      And may I suggest ramping up those chocolate-covered strawberries for a special occasion? Mix up 8oz of cream cheese, 4 T of Cointreau and 4 T of powdered sugar. (Yeah, I know, sugar: but it’s a minuscule amount when mixed with that much cream cheese and divided among 30 or 40 strawberries. Or use an artificial sweetener. It just takes the edge off the bitterness of the Cointreau.) Scoop out the strawberries and fill them with the cream cheese mixture before rolling in chocolate. In fact, skip the chocolate altogether. It’a amazing without it.

      Add a little fruit, sure … but don’t take out the fat.

      Reply
  3. js290

    It’s not possible to over consume salt.

    1. See how much sea water one can drink (salt).
    2. See how much fruit juice one can drink (sugar).
    3. See how much soda one can drink (salt+sugar).

    Only quacks blame an essential element that’s naturally self limiting while completely ignoring an unnecessary nutrient’s deleterious effects on our metabolism.

    Agreed.

    Reply
  4. Jenny

    Parks and Rec is fantastic,* and Ron Swanson is my idol. Sadly, Nick Offerman is no Ron Swanson — he and wife Megan Mullaly are in the ridiculous Demand a Plan video.

    *If you start from the first season, you have to give it a chance. It takes a little while to get rolling.

    I think I may have watched the first couple of episodes. If so, I wasn’t impressed enough to stay with it. But then I didn’t think the first couple of episodes of “Seinfeld” were very funny either. Sometimes a show takes awhile to finds its legs.

    Reply
    1. bigmyc

      You guys DO realize that Swanson is an over-the-top (is this parenthetical usage correct?) depiction of a Libertarian. His character is clearly not meant to pay homage to the burgeoning political affiliation as it is a common device in comedy sit-coms to over emphasize characters whose viewpoints are meant to be ridiculed. That being said, I guess any exposure is good exposure and as long as Libertarians maintain a good sense of humor….

      Of course. He’s a parody of a libertarian. Joke’s on the producers, though, since libertarians are cheering a character we’re supposed to ridicule.

      Reply
      1. bigmyc

        Sure, but then I imagine the producers would figure on that…I suppose it’s the non-Libertarian or rather, liberal fan base that the producers expect to get the laughs from. Swanson’s character seems like an archetype straight outta Dr. Marlene Zuk’s impression of Paleo Dieters.

        Reply
  5. Beowulf

    The only time chocolate should exist with fruit juice is in the form of a chocolate-dipped strawberry.

    I am shuddering at the thought of all the ramen I ate in college. I’m glad those days are behind me.

    Fortunately for me, I never liked the stuff.

    Reply
    1. Miriam

      I’m agin’ this crap as much as the next person, but chocolate with orange in it is really something, too. Or chili peppers. (Real chocolate, of course).

      And may I suggest ramping up those chocolate-covered strawberries for a special occasion? Mix up 8oz of cream cheese, 4 T of Cointreau and 4 T of powdered sugar. (Yeah, I know, sugar: but it’s a minuscule amount when mixed with that much cream cheese and divided among 30 or 40 strawberries. Or use an artificial sweetener. It just takes the edge off the bitterness of the Cointreau.) Scoop out the strawberries and fill them with the cream cheese mixture before rolling in chocolate. In fact, skip the chocolate altogether. It’a amazing without it.

      Add a little fruit, sure … but don’t take out the fat.

      Reply
  6. js290

    It’s not possible to over consume salt.

    1. See how much sea water one can drink (salt).
    2. See how much fruit juice one can drink (sugar).
    3. See how much soda one can drink (salt+sugar).

    Only quacks blame an essential element that’s naturally self limiting while completely ignoring an unnecessary nutrient’s deleterious effects on our metabolism.

    Agreed.

    Reply
    1. Ash Simmonds

      Heh, on Saturday I was at an auntie’s who is a health nut for a birthday party – she laid out a table and explained it all: “this one is pecan salad, this is rocket parmesan, this is tofu pasta alfredo, this is vegetarian lasagne, enjoy!”.

      Just in the quiet moment I said “ok, but is there any food?”.

      It was quiet just one moment longer and everyone went back to business.

      My calories for the evening came from wine.

      You may not be at the next party.

      Reply
  7. Tom Welsh

    I had an interesting run-in with a couple of self-appointed nutrition experts in the comments section attached to this article in the Independent (UK):

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/could-chocolate-soon-be-one-of-your-fiveaday-scientists-replace-sweet-treats-fat-content-with-fruit-juice-reducing-total-fat-by-half-8564084.html

    A chap called Carbonel opined that:

    “Of course there is fructose in fruits & juices but the fructose implicated in obesity is not the same: in the former it is unrefined & unprocessed & in the latter it is refined from sugar cane, beet or corn.
    “High fructose corn syrup is made from corn syrup derived from maize starch: the glucose in the syrup is *converted* to fructose in an enzymatic process”.

    He was then told that fructose is fructose, which is why it is called fructose. There can be only one fructose! This annoyed him:

    “No it’s really not. It’s extraordinary how many people are ignorant of basic chemistry.
    “The fructose implicated in obesity is a highly refined & artificial. It is not a natural sugar.
    “The sugar in fruit is really levulose, a genuinely naturally occurring sugar.
    “There are some chemical similarities between fructose (man-made) and levulose (made by nature), and so the synthetically refined sugar fructose was labelled in a way to make people believe it comes from fruit. Levulose is not fructose”.

    Finally, Carbonel really let rip. I don’t know if any of what he said is true, or whether he is just misinterpreting the facts. As far as I know, for example, levulose is just an older name for fructose.

    “There’s a difference between a chemical that is naturally occurring & one that is artificially produced.
    “You are mistaking chemically bio-identical with genuinely the same thing.
    “It’s the same with artificial hormones, for example. We can create bio-identical hormones that are “exact copies” of ones naturally occurring in the human body, with the identical structure. We may create it from natural sources like animals or plants.
    “However “natural” may be foreign or “supernatural” for the human body.
    “Consider Premarin: a “natural” mixture of estrogens made by a biological organism, the pregnant mare. But Premarin contains types of estrogen that are never found naturally in the human body. These estrogen types are more potent and more persistent than human 17-beta estradiol. In effect, Premarin is a “supernatural” estrogen for women that has some very undesirable consequences.
    “Another example is the “natural” estrogen-type compounds (genistein and others) found in soy and red clover and many other plants. These are “natural” substances, since they come from biological plant sources.
    “However, these compounds are unnatural for our bodies, since we don’t make these same compounds and don’t have the enzymes to change the genistein or clover isoflavones into 17-beta estradiol.
    “These molecules act very differently at our body’s estrogen receptors, and don’t have the full protective effects of 17-beta estradiol on the heart, brain and bone
    “Similarly, the body doesn’t recognise refined, man-made fructose. Levulose, on the other hand, is naturally occurring in fruits, and is not isolated but bound to other naturally occurring sugars. Unlike man-made fructose, levulose contains enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fibre, and fruit pectin. Refined fructose is processed in the body through the liver, rather than digested in the intestine.
    “Levulose is digested in the intestine. Refined fructose robs the body of many micronutrient treasures in order to assimilate itself for physiological use. While naturally occurring fruit sugars contain levulose bound to other sugars, high-fructose corn syrup contains “free” (unbound), chemically refined fructose”.

    I sincerely doubt our livers distinguish between fructose from fruit juice and fructose from corn.

    Reply
  8. Sean

    Be sure to check out Ron Swanson’s Pyramid of Greatness.

    “Fish–for spot only. Fish meat is practically a vegetable”

    “Skim milk–that’s right it’s on here twice, avoid it.”

    Reply
    1. Ash Simmonds

      Heh, on Saturday I was at an auntie’s who is a health nut for a birthday party – she laid out a table and explained it all: “this one is pecan salad, this is rocket parmesan, this is tofu pasta alfredo, this is vegetarian lasagne, enjoy!”.

      Just in the quiet moment I said “ok, but is there any food?”.

      It was quiet just one moment longer and everyone went back to business.

      My calories for the evening came from wine.

      You may not be at the next party.

      Reply
  9. Denise

    Thanks for the great post. Besides learning about these “studies”, I also learned how to spell yipeekyai!

    Don’t quote me. I was guessing.

    Reply
    1. Chris

      OMG, have you seen the bit that comedian Brian Regan does about the hotel clerk who asks if he left his reservation under another name? Hilarious! One of the names he asks the clerk to try is “Kyai, Yipee I”.

      Brian Regan is brilliant. I worked a club in Tampa years back with his brother Dennis, who is also hilarious though not as well known.

      Reply
    2. Mike P

      Anytime I hear or read the word ‘Yipeekyai’ I can’t help but think of Die Hard and the need to add an expletive afterward….

      I was tempted, but resisted.

      Reply
  10. Tom Welsh

    I had an interesting run-in with a couple of self-appointed nutrition experts in the comments section attached to this article in the Independent (UK):

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/could-chocolate-soon-be-one-of-your-fiveaday-scientists-replace-sweet-treats-fat-content-with-fruit-juice-reducing-total-fat-by-half-8564084.html

    A chap called Carbonel opined that:

    “Of course there is fructose in fruits & juices but the fructose implicated in obesity is not the same: in the former it is unrefined & unprocessed & in the latter it is refined from sugar cane, beet or corn.
    “High fructose corn syrup is made from corn syrup derived from maize starch: the glucose in the syrup is *converted* to fructose in an enzymatic process”.

    He was then told that fructose is fructose, which is why it is called fructose. There can be only one fructose! This annoyed him:

    “No it’s really not. It’s extraordinary how many people are ignorant of basic chemistry.
    “The fructose implicated in obesity is a highly refined & artificial. It is not a natural sugar.
    “The sugar in fruit is really levulose, a genuinely naturally occurring sugar.
    “There are some chemical similarities between fructose (man-made) and levulose (made by nature), and so the synthetically refined sugar fructose was labelled in a way to make people believe it comes from fruit. Levulose is not fructose”.

    Finally, Carbonel really let rip. I don’t know if any of what he said is true, or whether he is just misinterpreting the facts. As far as I know, for example, levulose is just an older name for fructose.

    “There’s a difference between a chemical that is naturally occurring & one that is artificially produced.
    “You are mistaking chemically bio-identical with genuinely the same thing.
    “It’s the same with artificial hormones, for example. We can create bio-identical hormones that are “exact copies” of ones naturally occurring in the human body, with the identical structure. We may create it from natural sources like animals or plants.
    “However “natural” may be foreign or “supernatural” for the human body.
    “Consider Premarin: a “natural” mixture of estrogens made by a biological organism, the pregnant mare. But Premarin contains types of estrogen that are never found naturally in the human body. These estrogen types are more potent and more persistent than human 17-beta estradiol. In effect, Premarin is a “supernatural” estrogen for women that has some very undesirable consequences.
    “Another example is the “natural” estrogen-type compounds (genistein and others) found in soy and red clover and many other plants. These are “natural” substances, since they come from biological plant sources.
    “However, these compounds are unnatural for our bodies, since we don’t make these same compounds and don’t have the enzymes to change the genistein or clover isoflavones into 17-beta estradiol.
    “These molecules act very differently at our body’s estrogen receptors, and don’t have the full protective effects of 17-beta estradiol on the heart, brain and bone
    “Similarly, the body doesn’t recognise refined, man-made fructose. Levulose, on the other hand, is naturally occurring in fruits, and is not isolated but bound to other naturally occurring sugars. Unlike man-made fructose, levulose contains enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fibre, and fruit pectin. Refined fructose is processed in the body through the liver, rather than digested in the intestine.
    “Levulose is digested in the intestine. Refined fructose robs the body of many micronutrient treasures in order to assimilate itself for physiological use. While naturally occurring fruit sugars contain levulose bound to other sugars, high-fructose corn syrup contains “free” (unbound), chemically refined fructose”.

    I sincerely doubt our livers distinguish between fructose from fruit juice and fructose from corn.

    Reply
  11. Liz

    Thanks for the great article. I know it seems daunting to watch a TV show from the beginning, but Parks and Rec is worth it. Ron Swanson for president!

    I’m up for the challenge.

    Reply
  12. Jan's Sushi Bar

    The most hysterical moment in P&R is Ron Swanson being offered vegan bacon in a health food store:

    The second most hilarious moment is Ron Swanson returning his steak at a diner and ordering bacon and eggs:

    Ron Swanson, American Hero.

    I’ve been inspired to add Parks and Recreation to my Netflix queue.

    Reply
  13. George Wilson

    Thanks for the Ron Swanson quote link, very funny.

    There’s a good report on AND by Michele Simon, of Eat Drink Politics, called “And Now a Word From Our Sponsors: Are America’s Nutrition Professionals in the Pocket of Big Food?” It takes a look at how deeply the food companies are into this organization. She does have the typical problem of failing to see ‘influence’ from other areas but it does stack up that the influence seems awfully one sided.

    Now I do have a problem with the idea that people with expertise in an area should not be involved in policy making but I do believe in balance. (Funny how this No Industry Experts allowed seems popular in DC but they think it’s OK for lawyers to write laws.) It would be OK for Monsanto to be on the board, just make sure somebody like Robert Lustig is on it too. Wouldn’t that result in an interesting meeting?

    Salt and Fat, carbohydrate whipping boys. These help make the unpalatable palatable. The mountain of white starch carbs that you would not eat otherwise, because they don’t taste good by themselves, becomes an edible when you add Salt, Fat or Sugar. Yet, despite mounting evidence that only sugar is a problem among these three taste elements only salt and fat get blamed.

    Don’t blame the poor chemist who figures out how to make the oil soluble active ingredient of cocoa form a suspension in fruit juice. Blame the product manager that funds the effort. Technically, it would be an interesting project but I wonder what the heck they are going to add to make this stuff solid at room temperature, which is part of the function of the saturated fats in real chocolate. Wheat gluten? Hydrolyzed soy protein? More Sugar? I have 72% dark chocolate most nights with a glass of wine or whiskey (bourbon preferably). I have no intention of going for one of these (no doubtably labeled ‘heart healthy’) monstrosities.

    I don’t just want industry “experts” out of policy-making. I want policy-makers out of policy-making.

    Reply
    1. Nads

      Even if the fruit juice was not fructose or harmful, the process of getting it to mix with the cocoa butter and then set hard won’t be natural.

      Reply
  14. Lori

    What did they do in the salt study, extrapolate? Say that if you reduce salt a little and it lowers blood pressure a little, then reducing it a lot will lower blood pressure a lot?

    If they actually read the data, they know that’s not what happens. Drastic salt restriction reduces blood pressure by a few points.

    Reply
  15. Firebird

    “I can’t help but wonder what kind of scientist ends up toiling in a lab to replace fat with fruit juice.”

    Scientist, or short order cook?

    Reply
  16. Denise

    Thanks for the great post. Besides learning about these “studies”, I also learned how to spell yipeekyai!

    Don’t quote me. I was guessing.

    Reply
    1. Chris

      OMG, have you seen the bit that comedian Brian Regan does about the hotel clerk who asks if he left his reservation under another name? Hilarious! One of the names he asks the clerk to try is “Kyai, Yipee I”.

      Brian Regan is brilliant. I worked a club in Tampa years back with his brother Dennis, who is also hilarious though not as well known.

      Reply
    2. Mike P

      Anytime I hear or read the word ‘Yipeekyai’ I can’t help but think of Die Hard and the need to add an expletive afterward….

      I was tempted, but resisted.

      Reply
  17. Greg

    That chocolate story is just infuriating. Luckily, I don’t think anyone probably eats enough chocolate for this to make a huge difference in anyone’s health. Which is another reason it’s so ludicrous: do they think people are living on chocolate to the degree that the fat content (as they view things) is going to ruin someone’s health? Insane.

    Another thumbs-up for Parks & Rec. I’m sure knowing that the actor’s politics aren’t the same as the character’s won’t ruin things for you. And some of the fun aspects of the character are actually from the actor – he was originally written as a libertarian to contrast with the Leslie Knope character, and as he developed he came to share characteristics with Nick Offerman more…the woodshop they sometimes show is his actual woodshop, the canoes are ones he actually builds himself, etc. Interesting dude. http://offermanwoodshop.com/

    Heck, I’m just pleased to know a Hollywood show even acknowledges libertarians. The typical Hollywood story is the noble Democrats vs. the evil Republicans.

    Reply
    1. Chris Bennett

      Its the same in the UK but worse I think. Most tv make out all Conservatives to be evil because they want financial restraint. Yet they do not find it evil to have parties because Margarat Thatcher dies and promote a song ding dong the witch is dead to celebrate it. I can only imagine what the rest of the world think of this shameful behaviour.
      On a more diet related topic I saw the article about the fruit juice in chocolate in the paper. The biggest thing that struck me about it was that it would taste horrible and would probably be a diabetics nightmare. Why do people still think fruit juice is good for you? I know when I use to drink it I felt great for about an hour then felt terrible. I wonder what could have caused that?

      In the Hollywood mind (and apparently the BBC mind), the good people are those who are willing to artificially raise our standard of living now by spending money we don’t have and accumulating huge debts that our kids and grandkids will spend their entire working lives paying back, thus lowering their standard of living. Only evil people could oppose such kindness and generosity.

      Reply
  18. SB

    Wait, so they want to put sugar subs in our milk, and milk in our chocolate… What’s next? Water in our bacon? Fine chocolates are like a filet mignon- you get them for quality, not size. Don’t kill them!

    Reply
  19. SB

    Also- the Independent article notes that as the fat content decreases, sugar will decrease as well. How? They’re replacing the fat with juice, which is all sugar. What is wrong with people?

    Perhaps people will just stop eating the stuff — less sugar and fat both that way.

    Reply
    1. Galina L.

      Less tasty food could be a goal. I read about a research (about obesity in children) that demonstrated children eat 50% less food if they don’t like it how it tastes. I found the number too optimistic. Usually children don’t eat what they don’t like then later they would find some junk to get energy.

      I guess that’s the theory the USDA is going on with those low-fat lunches.

      Reply
  20. cTo

    1) OMG I grew up on Snackwells cookies Dx URRRGH they are SO DISGUSTING! But I was always hungry and they were some of the only snacks we had, and since there was no fat I would sneak like half the carton/box before feeling (fleetingly) satisfied

    2) I think that the whole Is Salt Good? Is Salt Bad? argument largely fixes itself when one adopts a nutrient rich/real foods diet. Yes, ok, MAYBE some people get too much salt, but this probably comes from only eating processed foods with lots of added salt. Or, what I suspect is that salt cravings are actually a sign of nutrient deficiency.

    For my whole life, I always craved salt, all the time. I would sometimes ADD salt to food that other people thought was already too salty. But since going paleo? BARELY any salt cravings at all, ever. I add kosher salt to meats, soups, and baked veggies when im cooking, and of course i have bacon all the time, but i rarely if ever feel the need to put table salt on things anymore. Ive had friends gasp when they see me tossing handfuls of kosher salt onto steaks while im prepping them, exclaiming, “OMG thats so much salt!!” but I simply reply, “yeah but this is my second of two meals today and I havent had salt on anything else today.” Their reply is simply a confused, “….Oh…”

    3) True story of idiotic college diets: A good friend of mine’s younger brother went to UC Irvine for undergrad, and he told me about some friends of his that were living together in this quad apartment their freshman year. Between classes, they spent most of their time in their giant man-cave of a home, playing video games and surviving entirely on ramen, pizza, soda, and beer.

    About halfway through the year, they all started to get really sick, tired and achy with bad breath and bleeding gums. They thought they might all have some virus, so they sent the healthiest of them to the school doctor. The doctor said he’d run some tests, but offhand he apparently asked, “You know, I hesitate to ask this, but what is your diet like? Because, and I know this is crazy, but it sounds like you have the symptoms of scurvy.”

    Yuuuuuuuuuuuup. These four 18 year old guys, living in Irvine, California, where CITRUS TREES LITERALLY GROW LIKE WEEDS and are even part of the LANDSCAPING ON CAMPUS, had such a terrible diet that they developed scurvy.

    4) omg last comment I promise, but you HAAAAAVE to watch Parks and Rec for Ron’s amazingness. I’ll leave this as evidence, if you havent seen it yet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXhJPey3i_A

    (protip: the first season kinda drags, the second season picks up, and things really take off in the third season)

    Scurvy? OMG!

    These clips are convincing me that Ron could be my new hero.

    Reply
  21. Liz

    Thanks for the great article. I know it seems daunting to watch a TV show from the beginning, but Parks and Rec is worth it. Ron Swanson for president!

    I’m up for the challenge.

    Reply
  22. Jan's Sushi Bar

    The most hysterical moment in P&R is Ron Swanson being offered vegan bacon in a health food store:

    The second most hilarious moment is Ron Swanson returning his steak at a diner and ordering bacon and eggs:

    Ron Swanson, American Hero.

    I’ve been inspired to add Parks and Recreation to my Netflix queue.

    Reply
  23. George Wilson

    Thanks for the Ron Swanson quote link, very funny.

    There’s a good report on AND by Michele Simon, of Eat Drink Politics, called “And Now a Word From Our Sponsors: Are America’s Nutrition Professionals in the Pocket of Big Food?” It takes a look at how deeply the food companies are into this organization. She does have the typical problem of failing to see ‘influence’ from other areas but it does stack up that the influence seems awfully one sided.

    Now I do have a problem with the idea that people with expertise in an area should not be involved in policy making but I do believe in balance. (Funny how this No Industry Experts allowed seems popular in DC but they think it’s OK for lawyers to write laws.) It would be OK for Monsanto to be on the board, just make sure somebody like Robert Lustig is on it too. Wouldn’t that result in an interesting meeting?

    Salt and Fat, carbohydrate whipping boys. These help make the unpalatable palatable. The mountain of white starch carbs that you would not eat otherwise, because they don’t taste good by themselves, becomes an edible when you add Salt, Fat or Sugar. Yet, despite mounting evidence that only sugar is a problem among these three taste elements only salt and fat get blamed.

    Don’t blame the poor chemist who figures out how to make the oil soluble active ingredient of cocoa form a suspension in fruit juice. Blame the product manager that funds the effort. Technically, it would be an interesting project but I wonder what the heck they are going to add to make this stuff solid at room temperature, which is part of the function of the saturated fats in real chocolate. Wheat gluten? Hydrolyzed soy protein? More Sugar? I have 72% dark chocolate most nights with a glass of wine or whiskey (bourbon preferably). I have no intention of going for one of these (no doubtably labeled ‘heart healthy’) monstrosities.

    I don’t just want industry “experts” out of policy-making. I want policy-makers out of policy-making.

    Reply
    1. Nads

      Even if the fruit juice was not fructose or harmful, the process of getting it to mix with the cocoa butter and then set hard won’t be natural.

      Reply
  24. Carole AKA Carbsaner

    My fave is “When people get too chummy with me I like to call them by the wrong name to let them know I don’t really care about them.” Ron is my new crush.

    I think I have a bit of a man-crush after watching those clips.

    Reply
  25. Lori

    What did they do in the salt study, extrapolate? Say that if you reduce salt a little and it lowers blood pressure a little, then reducing it a lot will lower blood pressure a lot?

    If they actually read the data, they know that’s not what happens. Drastic salt restriction reduces blood pressure by a few points.

    Reply
  26. Firebird

    “I can’t help but wonder what kind of scientist ends up toiling in a lab to replace fat with fruit juice.”

    Scientist, or short order cook?

    Reply
  27. Greg

    That chocolate story is just infuriating. Luckily, I don’t think anyone probably eats enough chocolate for this to make a huge difference in anyone’s health. Which is another reason it’s so ludicrous: do they think people are living on chocolate to the degree that the fat content (as they view things) is going to ruin someone’s health? Insane.

    Another thumbs-up for Parks & Rec. I’m sure knowing that the actor’s politics aren’t the same as the character’s won’t ruin things for you. And some of the fun aspects of the character are actually from the actor – he was originally written as a libertarian to contrast with the Leslie Knope character, and as he developed he came to share characteristics with Nick Offerman more…the woodshop they sometimes show is his actual woodshop, the canoes are ones he actually builds himself, etc. Interesting dude. http://offermanwoodshop.com/

    Heck, I’m just pleased to know a Hollywood show even acknowledges libertarians. The typical Hollywood story is the noble Democrats vs. the evil Republicans.

    Reply
    1. Chris Bennett

      Its the same in the UK but worse I think. Most tv make out all Conservatives to be evil because they want financial restraint. Yet they do not find it evil to have parties because Margarat Thatcher dies and promote a song ding dong the witch is dead to celebrate it. I can only imagine what the rest of the world think of this shameful behaviour.
      On a more diet related topic I saw the article about the fruit juice in chocolate in the paper. The biggest thing that struck me about it was that it would taste horrible and would probably be a diabetics nightmare. Why do people still think fruit juice is good for you? I know when I use to drink it I felt great for about an hour then felt terrible. I wonder what could have caused that?

      In the Hollywood mind (and apparently the BBC mind), the good people are those who are willing to artificially raise our standard of living now by spending money we don’t have and accumulating huge debts that our kids and grandkids will spend their entire working lives paying back, thus lowering their standard of living. Only evil people could oppose such kindness and generosity.

      Reply
  28. SB

    Wait, so they want to put sugar subs in our milk, and milk in our chocolate… What’s next? Water in our bacon? Fine chocolates are like a filet mignon- you get them for quality, not size. Don’t kill them!

    Reply
  29. SB

    Also- the Independent article notes that as the fat content decreases, sugar will decrease as well. How? They’re replacing the fat with juice, which is all sugar. What is wrong with people?

    Perhaps people will just stop eating the stuff — less sugar and fat both that way.

    Reply
    1. Galina L.

      Less tasty food could be a goal. I read about a research (about obesity in children) that demonstrated children eat 50% less food if they don’t like it how it tastes. I found the number too optimistic. Usually children don’t eat what they don’t like then later they would find some junk to get energy.

      I guess that’s the theory the USDA is going on with those low-fat lunches.

      Reply
  30. cTo

    1) OMG I grew up on Snackwells cookies Dx URRRGH they are SO DISGUSTING! But I was always hungry and they were some of the only snacks we had, and since there was no fat I would sneak like half the carton/box before feeling (fleetingly) satisfied

    2) I think that the whole Is Salt Good? Is Salt Bad? argument largely fixes itself when one adopts a nutrient rich/real foods diet. Yes, ok, MAYBE some people get too much salt, but this probably comes from only eating processed foods with lots of added salt. Or, what I suspect is that salt cravings are actually a sign of nutrient deficiency.

    For my whole life, I always craved salt, all the time. I would sometimes ADD salt to food that other people thought was already too salty. But since going paleo? BARELY any salt cravings at all, ever. I add kosher salt to meats, soups, and baked veggies when im cooking, and of course i have bacon all the time, but i rarely if ever feel the need to put table salt on things anymore. Ive had friends gasp when they see me tossing handfuls of kosher salt onto steaks while im prepping them, exclaiming, “OMG thats so much salt!!” but I simply reply, “yeah but this is my second of two meals today and I havent had salt on anything else today.” Their reply is simply a confused, “….Oh…”

    3) True story of idiotic college diets: A good friend of mine’s younger brother went to UC Irvine for undergrad, and he told me about some friends of his that were living together in this quad apartment their freshman year. Between classes, they spent most of their time in their giant man-cave of a home, playing video games and surviving entirely on ramen, pizza, soda, and beer.

    About halfway through the year, they all started to get really sick, tired and achy with bad breath and bleeding gums. They thought they might all have some virus, so they sent the healthiest of them to the school doctor. The doctor said he’d run some tests, but offhand he apparently asked, “You know, I hesitate to ask this, but what is your diet like? Because, and I know this is crazy, but it sounds like you have the symptoms of scurvy.”

    Yuuuuuuuuuuuup. These four 18 year old guys, living in Irvine, California, where CITRUS TREES LITERALLY GROW LIKE WEEDS and are even part of the LANDSCAPING ON CAMPUS, had such a terrible diet that they developed scurvy.

    4) omg last comment I promise, but you HAAAAAVE to watch Parks and Rec for Ron’s amazingness. I’ll leave this as evidence, if you havent seen it yet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXhJPey3i_A

    (protip: the first season kinda drags, the second season picks up, and things really take off in the third season)

    Scurvy? OMG!

    These clips are convincing me that Ron could be my new hero.

    Reply
    1. Walter Bushell

      I would’a thought the beer would have contained enough vitamin C. Ah, while beer may contain C it doesn’t have to and it causes you to “urinate” it away. Most difficult not to get enough C to prevent scurvy anyway.

      On the Gripping Hand, since the doctor recognized the symptoms there might have been a lot of scurvy going around. Fortunately they stumbled upon a good doc, an average doc might have put them on statins.

      I hope one of the roommates had the good sense to yell “Avast, ye scurvy dogs!” at least once.

      Reply
  31. Craig

    In the dessert section of “The Way to Cook” by Julia Child she mentions that she prefers full-fat desserts because she would rather be satisfied by a few bites of something delicious than eat a lot of something bland and unsatisfying. Keep in mind this is the woman who lived to 92 while loading all her recipes with real butter, heavy cream and ultra-fatty cuts of meat.

    Ron Swanson is a hero of mine. A friend of mine, nerdcore rapper Adam Warrock, created an epic rap anthem for him. Check out his song “Waka Flocka Swanson” on Youtube if you don’t mind some adult language.

    I don’t mind adult language. I watch shows on cable.

    Reply
  32. BobG

    It’s good to know that somebody finally jumped on the “chocolate tastes too good” problem. And as an added bonus, they’re taking on the “there’s not enough sugar in candy” issue, too.

    Two birds, one stone. I admire that.

    That’s why the top scientists were involved.

    Reply
  33. Howard Lee Harkness

    O. M. G. I can’t believe that I’ve never heard of Ron Swanson before. I think I’ve see some of his posters, but I didn’t know who he was or what he was.

    Is “Parks and Recreation” a TV show? If so, that may be how I missed this. I have not watched TV more than about 10-15 hours in the last 5 years.

    From what I know of you, Howard, we’d both love the guy.

    Reply
  34. Carole AKA Carbsaner

    My fave is “When people get too chummy with me I like to call them by the wrong name to let them know I don’t really care about them.” Ron is my new crush.

    I think I have a bit of a man-crush after watching those clips.

    Reply
  35. Craig

    In the dessert section of “The Way to Cook” by Julia Child she mentions that she prefers full-fat desserts because she would rather be satisfied by a few bites of something delicious than eat a lot of something bland and unsatisfying. Keep in mind this is the woman who lived to 92 while loading all her recipes with real butter, heavy cream and ultra-fatty cuts of meat.

    Ron Swanson is a hero of mine. A friend of mine, nerdcore rapper Adam Warrock, created an epic rap anthem for him. Check out his song “Waka Flocka Swanson” on Youtube if you don’t mind some adult language.

    I don’t mind adult language. I watch shows on cable.

    Reply
  36. BobG

    It’s good to know that somebody finally jumped on the “chocolate tastes too good” problem. And as an added bonus, they’re taking on the “there’s not enough sugar in candy” issue, too.

    Two birds, one stone. I admire that.

    That’s why the top scientists were involved.

    Reply
  37. Howard Lee Harkness

    O. M. G. I can’t believe that I’ve never heard of Ron Swanson before. I think I’ve see some of his posters, but I didn’t know who he was or what he was.

    Is “Parks and Recreation” a TV show? If so, that may be how I missed this. I have not watched TV more than about 10-15 hours in the last 5 years.

    From what I know of you, Howard, we’d both love the guy.

    Reply
  38. pam

    bizarre. how do they know her health is 80-year-old?

    isn’t instant Ramen noodle made with hydrogenated fat?
    (i don’t know if this is true on the other side tho)

    it can be quite addictive, maybe it’s the MSG.

    That’s a good guess.

    Reply

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