Another Busy Week

      114 Comments on Another Busy Week

I probably won’t be doing much with the blog this week besides answering comments.  Work is piling up, I’ve got a speech to outline and write, plus my birthday is this week, which means we’re busy preparing for the party.

One brief rant, however:  several people asked my opinion on the FDA banning trans fats.  I’m sure you can guess how I feel about that.  Same as with sugar … yes, trans fats are bad for you, and yes, we should educate people about why trans fats are bad for you.  But if people want to consume trans fats anyway, that’s their business. Once you give the federal government the power to ban foods (or food-like substances) it decides you shouldn’t eat, you’re asking for trouble.  Give it time, they’ll ban butter and bacon.

And now back to outlining that speech …


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114 thoughts on “Another Busy Week

  1. Molly56

    Yeah, I agree with you there. Washington State just (supposedly) failed to pass the “label GMO” referendum (I say supposedly because I don’t really trust election results anymore) and though I hate the idea of GMO’s I also am conflicted in many ways about government mandated labeling. Don’t get me wrong; I read those labels and swear by them. But they can be manipulated, and maybe we’ve just been lucky so far, as the food giants haven’t been threatened enough so far to sabotage the system.

    I believe that as more and more of us connect via smartphones etc., we will create our own networks to inform each other about GMO’s and other food concerns just like we rate businesses now. It will be huge.

    The other day I got a free pint of whipping cream because I complained that all the brands in this very health-conscious food cooperative store contained carrageenan except one, and they weren’t carrying it lately. The clerk said right off to wait a second, and he went back and got me a brand that I had overlooked–free of charge–to try it out. It was great–I’m allergic to the stuff (to put it mildly).

    I knew that very recently this store was unaware of carrageenan, because they had admitted to the fact and of being kind of surprised by it on their store blog after some customers posted about it. This is the way business will be run in the not too distant future; I’m sure of it.

    Excellent. More proof that ultimately it’s the consumers who determine what stores will carry.

  2. mlantenac

    “Once you give the federal government the power to ban foods (or food-like substances) it decides you shouldn’t eat, you’re asking for trouble. Give it time, they’ll ban butter and bacon.”

    I came across a story about the playwright George Bernard Shaw. Story goes he asks a high society lady:
    S: Madame, would you sleep with me for a million dollars?
    L: Of course!
    S: Would you sleep with me for 20 dollars?
    L: Of course not, what kind of woman do you think I am?
    S: We’ve already established that, now we’re just haggling over price….

    First the principle is established that government can initiate physical force against its own citizens; the rest is just a matter of degree.

    Get in bed with the devil, sooner or later you’re going to have to f@#$….

    Indeed. But with government, you’re more likely to get @#$%ed.

  3. Bret

    That’s right. Regardless of how we feel about trans fats, it is not our right–nor government’s–to tell other people they cannot eat them.

    We are all responsible for our own bodies, and our children’s (while they are children), and that’s it. Live and let live.

  4. Steve

    Amen Tom!

    Education is always, ALWAYS the correct way to deal with the potentially negative side effects of personal liberty. If a personal choice does not have a direct negative effect on another then the responsibility for making the choice should never be shared with another.

    Wait until a majority of Americans have subsidized Obamacare policies. Then the excuse will be that the government is paying for their healthcare, so their bad choices affect everyone.

  5. Steve

    The government may not be best when it’s used to discourage bad behavior. But they sure excel at encouraging “good” behavior. Tax breaks for whole foods. Let everyone else pay through the nose for tobacco, twinkies, pizza and beer.

    How about if get rid of the subsidies, tax breaks and “sin” taxes and just let people decide for themselves?

    1. Babs

      How do you get tax breaks for whole foods? I guess Im not following u on how the govt *excels* at encouraging good behavior.

  6. Rae Ford

    It’s the fear of regulation like that, that prompted me to change my voter registration to Libertarian when I moved.

  7. Molly56

    Yeah, I agree with you there. Washington State just (supposedly) failed to pass the “label GMO” referendum (I say supposedly because I don’t really trust election results anymore) and though I hate the idea of GMO’s I also am conflicted in many ways about government mandated labeling. Don’t get me wrong; I read those labels and swear by them. But they can be manipulated, and maybe we’ve just been lucky so far, as the food giants haven’t been threatened enough so far to sabotage the system.

    I believe that as more and more of us connect via smartphones etc., we will create our own networks to inform each other about GMO’s and other food concerns just like we rate businesses now. It will be huge.

    The other day I got a free pint of whipping cream because I complained that all the brands in this very health-conscious food cooperative store contained carrageenan except one, and they weren’t carrying it lately. The clerk said right off to wait a second, and he went back and got me a brand that I had overlooked–free of charge–to try it out. It was great–I’m allergic to the stuff (to put it mildly).

    I knew that very recently this store was unaware of carrageenan, because they had admitted to the fact and of being kind of surprised by it on their store blog after some customers posted about it. This is the way business will be run in the not too distant future; I’m sure of it.

    Excellent. More proof that ultimately it’s the consumers who determine what stores will carry.

  8. mlantenac

    “Once you give the federal government the power to ban foods (or food-like substances) it decides you shouldn’t eat, you’re asking for trouble. Give it time, they’ll ban butter and bacon.”

    I came across a story about the playwright George Bernard Shaw. Story goes he asks a high society lady:
    S: Madame, would you sleep with me for a million dollars?
    L: Of course!
    S: Would you sleep with me for 20 dollars?
    L: Of course not, what kind of woman do you think I am?
    S: We’ve already established that, now we’re just haggling over price….

    First the principle is established that government can initiate physical force against its own citizens; the rest is just a matter of degree.

    Get in bed with the devil, sooner or later you’re going to have to f@#$….

    Indeed. But with government, you’re more likely to get @#$%ed.

  9. Bret

    That’s right. Regardless of how we feel about trans fats, it is not our right–nor government’s–to tell other people they cannot eat them.

    We are all responsible for our own bodies, and our children’s (while they are children), and that’s it. Live and let live.

  10. Steve

    Amen Tom!

    Education is always, ALWAYS the correct way to deal with the potentially negative side effects of personal liberty. If a personal choice does not have a direct negative effect on another then the responsibility for making the choice should never be shared with another.

    Wait until a majority of Americans have subsidized Obamacare policies. Then the excuse will be that the government is paying for their healthcare, so their bad choices affect everyone.

  11. Steve

    The government may not be best when it’s used to discourage bad behavior. But they sure excel at encouraging “good” behavior. Tax breaks for whole foods. Let everyone else pay through the nose for tobacco, twinkies, pizza and beer.

    How about if get rid of the subsidies, tax breaks and “sin” taxes and just let people decide for themselves?

    1. Babs

      How do you get tax breaks for whole foods? I guess Im not following u on how the govt *excels* at encouraging good behavior.

  12. Mark

    Oh I agree, we should let people decide what they want or don’t want to use and consume. You know, like we did with asbestos, MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard), DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), tholidamide, etc.

    If you think really hard about this, I’m sure you can spot the difference. Go ahead, start thinking. I’ll grab a cup of coffee …

    … done? Okay, here’s the difference: If I install asbestos in, say, a school, I’m exposing kids who don’t know it’s there and didn’t choose to inhale asbestos fibers. If I choose to stuff myself with food fried in trans fats, I’m not harming you, I’m not harming your kids, I’m not harming anyone but myself. That means it’s none of your business.

    The fears surrounding DDT were overblown, and banning it led to millions of deaths by malaria. Probably not a good trade-off.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/henrymiller/2012/09/05/rachel-carsons-deadly-fantasies/

    1. Mark

      And what about say parents who unknowingly feed their kids with items made with ‘healthy shortening’ (which I believe is a trans fat?)just like margarine and copha. I wasn’t having a go Tom, but people are unknowingly eating this stuff (if I buy a pie with less than 0.5g of trans-fat per serve, it doesn’t need to be listed on the ingredients list from what I know). The food industry has introduced a poisonous ‘food substance’. Where’s the police in this instance (they mobilised pretty well in that raw dairy show down.

    2. hometeamdawg

      The government doesn’t need to decide what I choose to eat.

      But I do want to know if a restaurant is using transfats.

  13. Rae Ford

    It’s the fear of regulation like that, that prompted me to change my voter registration to Libertarian when I moved.

  14. Kayla

    I’m pretty sure here in Canada trans fats have been banned, or at least they must be kept under a certain level.
    Note (found on a Canadian media website):
    Nov. 7, 2013
    4:43 PM
    Abuse

    On June 20, 2007, the Minister of Health announced that Health Canada adopted the recommendations of the Trans Fat Task Force with respect to the amount of trans fat in foods. These recommendations from the Trans Fat Task Force were two-fold: 1.Limit the trans fat content of vegetable oils and soft, spreadable margarines to 2% of the total fat content; and 2.Limit the trans fat content for all other foods to 5% of the total fat content, including ingredients sold to restaurants

    So it’s interesting looking at labels of products which used to contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oil – now they use palm oil and coconut oil, or, if the texture isn’t affected, canola oil. While I’m glad to see Cool Whip with coconut oil (even though I never buy the stuff myself), I do worry that if North America takes it into it’s mind to use palm and coconut oils in it’s myriad of processed products we will be taking food (quite literally) out of the mouths of peoples in the countries where these oils are produced. Many of the calories consumed by the poor in many of these countries come from their cooking oil – usually palm oil. If our consumption raises the prices, they’ll starve. Also, the no trans fat ruling means butter can’t be used (or maybe just isn’t?) because it contains natural trans fats. Butter and other dairy products are usually consumed in their country of origin, making butter a better choice all around. Just my experience with a no (low) trans fats law.

  15. labrat

    Ummm – what entity is probably MOST responsible for the trans fats in our food supply?

    Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No … it’s THE GUY FROM CSPI!

  16. Chuck

    Not related to your post, but I thought you might be interested it if you have not heard it yet.

    http://www.feelguide.com/2013/07/16/lead-developer-of-hpv-vaccines-comes-clean-warns-parents-young-girls-its-all-a-giant-deadly-scam/

    I figure when they plaster commercials all over the TV about things like this, they are just trying to scare people into giving them business (sadly it works). I bet the whooping cough vaccine you see commercials for isn’t any better. It’s very sad that the drug companies are so greedy that they don’t care how bad the drug is and market it anyway.

    The link doesn’t go anywhere for me.

  17. Stefan

    Tom,
    How ironic that CSPI’s website shows – a bit buried – under accomplishments “1989 CSPI campaign spurs major hamburger chains to stop cooking french fries in beef fat.” The website currently shows as “front page” a press release (http://www.cspinet.org/new/201311071.html). I save myself quoting it; in the light of the 1989 accomplishment it’s hilarious… well if one can call it that.

    I guess amnesia is a useful condition when your previous advice likely killed people.

  18. Mark

    Oh I agree, we should let people decide what they want or don’t want to use and consume. You know, like we did with asbestos, MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard), DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), tholidamide, etc.

    If you think really hard about this, I’m sure you can spot the difference. Go ahead, start thinking. I’ll grab a cup of coffee …

    … done? Okay, here’s the difference: If I install asbestos in, say, a school, I’m exposing kids who don’t know it’s there and didn’t choose to inhale asbestos fibers. If I choose to stuff myself with food fried in trans fats, I’m not harming you, I’m not harming your kids, I’m not harming anyone but myself. That means it’s none of your business.

    The fears surrounding DDT were overblown, and banning it led to millions of deaths by malaria. Probably not a good trade-off.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/henrymiller/2012/09/05/rachel-carsons-deadly-fantasies/

    1. Mark

      And what about say parents who unknowingly feed their kids with items made with ‘healthy shortening’ (which I believe is a trans fat?)just like margarine and copha. I wasn’t having a go Tom, but people are unknowingly eating this stuff (if I buy a pie with less than 0.5g of trans-fat per serve, it doesn’t need to be listed on the ingredients list from what I know). The food industry has introduced a poisonous ‘food substance’. Where’s the police in this instance (they mobilised pretty well in that raw dairy show down.

      1. Pierson

        Then it’s the responsibility of the parent (or whoever) to be thorough and educated, not the job of any ‘higher power’ to decide that since some people are irresponsible, I can’t live how I want–especially if I’m not hurting anyone in doing so

        1. askmehowithappened

          I agree. While I do think there are issues with labeling, obviously, it’s one thing to demand honest labeling. Quite another to start banning things to protect people. Some years ago there was a story in the news of a perfectly well-meaning mother who fed her children “lemonade” that she’d made from lemon Joy dish detergent. Why? Because it said something on the label about “made with real lemons!” She unknowingly fed her child something she thought was healthy. And that’s the problem once you start in with the government protecting everyone from themselves (and their parents). There’s NO END. THere’s ALWAYS going to be someone more stupid than the last. Not to mention the implicit assumption is that YOU are stupid, but no one in government ever is. So when they tell you can’t have/do something “for your own good” you can totally trust them no matter what. Just like you totally trust your mom when she hands you that glass of lemonade…

        2. Jill

          Unfortunately many people don’t know what to look for, what questions to ask, or even that there are questions to ask.

          Thta’s why talking about thse issues, in general/neutral forums, is so valuable.

          1. Mark

            The dish washing liquid (my god, you really have to weep for mankind don’t you?) was not used for it’s intended purpose. If I use something in the exact way it was intended (ie, I eat a delicious bakery treat) and I come to harm as it was made with toxic/poisonous products (trans-fat as a shortening), what are my options for compensation in this instance? This is the function of government: to protect its citizens from fraudulent or dangerous actions of individuals or groups of individuals. I will readily agree this doesn’t happen with enough regularity.

            I don’t have a problem with government or anyone else screaming from the hilltops that cigarettes, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, etc. are bad for you. But if you know they’re bad for you and choose to consume them anyway, that’s your business. Some people value pleasure over health. It’s not my job, or yours, or the government’s to impose our values on them.

      2. Bret

        Statists always cite the troubled children as justification for government meddling.

        Age limits on cigarettes and alcohol did not work. Drug laws did not work. This pathetic attempt to legislate on bullying is not working. Maybe if we just ban trans fats, children will live a peaceful, happy life full of rainbows and butterflies.

        Never mind the fact that any physiological effects these children suffer from trans fats (et al.) are nothing compared to the character deficiencies–and subsequent lifetimes of failure–they suffer from having crappy, negligent parents. Let’s just spend an endless amount of tax dollars trying fruitlessly to replace these children’s parents with government.

        Whenever statists say “It’s for the children!” you know you’re about to see a reduction in your freedom or your take-home pay or both.

    2. hometeamdawg

      The government doesn’t need to decide what I choose to eat.

      But I do want to know if a restaurant is using transfats.

  19. Firebird7478

    I look at it this way. The government created the problem of trans fats by recommending them in the diet in the first place, which they shouldn’t have done. By banning them, they’re undoing that wrong.

    They could have just stopped recommending them and then admitted that lard and beef tallow are harmless.

    But it’s a fine example of how government works: create a problem, then rush in to fix it.

  20. Kayla

    I’m pretty sure here in Canada trans fats have been banned, or at least they must be kept under a certain level.
    Note (found on a Canadian media website):
    Nov. 7, 2013
    4:43 PM
    Abuse

    On June 20, 2007, the Minister of Health announced that Health Canada adopted the recommendations of the Trans Fat Task Force with respect to the amount of trans fat in foods. These recommendations from the Trans Fat Task Force were two-fold: 1.Limit the trans fat content of vegetable oils and soft, spreadable margarines to 2% of the total fat content; and 2.Limit the trans fat content for all other foods to 5% of the total fat content, including ingredients sold to restaurants

    So it’s interesting looking at labels of products which used to contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oil – now they use palm oil and coconut oil, or, if the texture isn’t affected, canola oil. While I’m glad to see Cool Whip with coconut oil (even though I never buy the stuff myself), I do worry that if North America takes it into it’s mind to use palm and coconut oils in it’s myriad of processed products we will be taking food (quite literally) out of the mouths of peoples in the countries where these oils are produced. Many of the calories consumed by the poor in many of these countries come from their cooking oil – usually palm oil. If our consumption raises the prices, they’ll starve. Also, the no trans fat ruling means butter can’t be used (or maybe just isn’t?) because it contains natural trans fats. Butter and other dairy products are usually consumed in their country of origin, making butter a better choice all around. Just my experience with a no (low) trans fats law.

    1. mm

      Kayla I’m sorry but you clearly don’t understand economics if you think those people will starve.
      Go buy Thomas Sowell’s book, Basic Economics. You’ll increase your edumacation and reduce your anxiety.

  21. Don in Arkansas

    I don’t see them banning tobacco, which probably is a greater health hazard than trans fats. I guess the tobacco lobby is richer than the trans fat folks.

  22. labrat

    Ummm – what entity is probably MOST responsible for the trans fats in our food supply?

    Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No … it’s THE GUY FROM CSPI!

  23. Chuck

    Not related to your post, but I thought you might be interested it if you have not heard it yet.

    http://www.feelguide.com/2013/07/16/lead-developer-of-hpv-vaccines-comes-clean-warns-parents-young-girls-its-all-a-giant-deadly-scam/

    I figure when they plaster commercials all over the TV about things like this, they are just trying to scare people into giving them business (sadly it works). I bet the whooping cough vaccine you see commercials for isn’t any better. It’s very sad that the drug companies are so greedy that they don’t care how bad the drug is and market it anyway.

    The link doesn’t go anywhere for me.

  24. Stefan

    Tom,
    How ironic that CSPI’s website shows – a bit buried – under accomplishments “1989 CSPI campaign spurs major hamburger chains to stop cooking french fries in beef fat.” The website currently shows as “front page” a press release (http://www.cspinet.org/new/201311071.html). I save myself quoting it; in the light of the 1989 accomplishment it’s hilarious… well if one can call it that.

    I guess amnesia is a useful condition when your previous advice likely killed people.

  25. Firebird7478

    I look at it this way. The government created the problem of trans fats by recommending them in the diet in the first place, which they shouldn’t have done. By banning them, they’re undoing that wrong.

    They could have just stopped recommending them and then admitted that lard and beef tallow are harmless.

    But it’s a fine example of how government works: create a problem, then rush in to fix it.

  26. Marg

    Why ban trans fats if a person is able to look at a label and know how much trans fat is in the tub of margarine or box of cookies? They can make their own decisions if they are so inclined. Otherwise, we are in danger of having butter, eggs and red meat banned because of “dangerous” sat fats. Agree with you, Tom. Make the labels clear and honest, and let people make their own decisions.

    This is why I’m pro GMO labeling.

  27. K2

    Hi Tom,

    I have really been enjoying the last few posts as their political bent is right up my alley. 🙂 You and your brother rock.

    Here is something that I am sure won’t surprise you or your readers, and it goes right along with government dictating our “choices.” My friend works at a federal government run facility where the cafeteria had for several years a small Quiznos outlet that was very popular with workers. Suddenly, their offerings are now not compliant with the “healthy” options required by the government contract, so they are being replaced asap by a SubWay outlet. Doesn’t matter what the customers want because they are just stupid and can’t be trusted to decide for themselves. The government decided to “herd” them in the right direction by changing the choices available to the captive audience.

    I would almost be happy if the switch is a failure. I have absolutely nothing against SubWay…they are just doing business and I wish them well. But this isn’t that SubWay undercut Quiznos in a better financial deal, but by complying with arbitrary government dietary requirements. How sad.

    Looking forward to more political commentary from you and your brother. Honestly, if this Obama Care situation weren’t so tragic for so many Americans, it would be quite comic and entertaining to watch.

    All the best.

    K2

    It’s comical despite what they’re doing to people. I watch the news and laugh out loud as we keep witnessing the incompetence and the unintended consequences (which were entirely predictable). It’s like watching the Three Stooges take over the healthcare business. I keep expecting His Highness to grab Kathleen Sebelius’ nose with a pair of pliers.

    1. susan

      “I keep expecting His Highness to grab Kathleen Sebelius’ nose with a pair of pliers. ”

      From your keyboard to God’s ear…

      I gave up watching much television news a while ago, but that would be worth watching.

      At this point, I’m pretty sure millions of Americans who’ve lost their insurance would pay to see that one.

    2. Kristin

      Subway is healthier than Quiznos? Isn’t that kind of like yanking out a McDonalds and replacing it with the ‘healthier’ Wendy’s?

      Ahhh, but Subway offers those low-fat options, ya see. That makes the bread good for you.

  28. Howard

    “Give it time, they’ll ban butter and bacon.”

    Precisely. Something our mutual friend Andreas does not seem to understand. Despite seeing a government in his neck of the woods that has already waged war against saturated fat.

    Well, that’s the difference between people who like big government and those who don’t: they just want big government to make the correct choices when it takes away freedom. We want government to stop taking way freedom.

  29. TJ the Grouch

    Happy Birthday from our farm in Columbia! I hope it is warmer “up there” than here.

    Probably not much. I heard there were snowflakes this morning, although I didn’t see any.

  30. Don in Arkansas

    I don’t see them banning tobacco, which probably is a greater health hazard than trans fats. I guess the tobacco lobby is richer than the trans fat folks.

    1. Babs

      And the Sugar Industry is richer than them all. Sugar is probably worse for you than either trans fat or tobacco. I’d rank it sugar, trans fat, then tobacco.

  31. Kristin

    Wonderful comments to help clarify my own feelings. For the first time when the government passed a law to enforce my own beliefs I wasn’t particularly happy. I think the increasingly polarized political environment has finally snapped me into some sense. My republican friends aren’t idiots and neither am I. Or we both are because in our own way we keep having faith in this broken system.

    I actually felt a bit of terror at the thought “What’s next?” A tax on butter? A ban on bacon (now there might be a riot.)

    For more cheerful news, after years of going to doctors that my company insurance will cover at a clinic that overall more alternative in focus, I might have actually found a doctor who is a real doctor. I went in for my annual blood test for my company, chip firmly attached to shoulder. I intended to ask them to do a Vit D and B12 test so at least I would get some good out of it. The woman was thrilled with my diet, with the changes she saw in my chart since then, the whole package! I have a doctor I can work with now. Her last words to me were that when I got my test results back I could go wave them under the nose of those who think I am about to die and perhaps get them to shut up. Man I like this doctor.

    If they start taxing butter to try to stop me from eating it, I’m buying my own dairy cow. I may do that anyway.

    1. Bret

      They’ll outlaw your dairy cow while they’re at it, Tom, to protect you from yourself. I.e. to protect established Big Ag cronies.

      I’m sure you’ve heard of this, but several governments around the country have actually made it a crime to raise one’s own chickens on his own property. Unbelievable.

      At least one state (don’t remember which) made it illegal to drink milk from your own cow.

    2. Pierson

      If so, you might want to get a Dutch Belted cow (or 2) if you can. Their milk (which is low in the A1 variant of Beta-casein) makes superior yogurt, cream, and butter, and is naturally homogenized. They also have very soft fur (if you’re into that sort of thing), and you’d be assisting in the preservation of a critically endangered bovine species! Also, they’re cleaner (and friendlier) than Holsteins. No, I wasn’t paid to say this.

      Thanks for the tip.

  32. Kathy in Texas

    In one of my rare indulgences (at the horse races) I made an offhand comment that I didn’t do that very often. The lady taking my order said “at least it’s canola oil” and I said that I wished they had never stopped using lard. She smiled and agreed. A lady at the condiment bar behind me said “AMEN!” We are not alone.

  33. Marg

    Why ban trans fats if a person is able to look at a label and know how much trans fat is in the tub of margarine or box of cookies? They can make their own decisions if they are so inclined. Otherwise, we are in danger of having butter, eggs and red meat banned because of “dangerous” sat fats. Agree with you, Tom. Make the labels clear and honest, and let people make their own decisions.

    This is why I’m pro GMO labeling.

  34. K2

    Hi Tom,

    I have really been enjoying the last few posts as their political bent is right up my alley. 🙂 You and your brother rock.

    Here is something that I am sure won’t surprise you or your readers, and it goes right along with government dictating our “choices.” My friend works at a federal government run facility where the cafeteria had for several years a small Quiznos outlet that was very popular with workers. Suddenly, their offerings are now not compliant with the “healthy” options required by the government contract, so they are being replaced asap by a SubWay outlet. Doesn’t matter what the customers want because they are just stupid and can’t be trusted to decide for themselves. The government decided to “herd” them in the right direction by changing the choices available to the captive audience.

    I would almost be happy if the switch is a failure. I have absolutely nothing against SubWay…they are just doing business and I wish them well. But this isn’t that SubWay undercut Quiznos in a better financial deal, but by complying with arbitrary government dietary requirements. How sad.

    Looking forward to more political commentary from you and your brother. Honestly, if this Obama Care situation weren’t so tragic for so many Americans, it would be quite comic and entertaining to watch.

    All the best.

    K2

    It’s comical despite what they’re doing to people. I watch the news and laugh out loud as we keep witnessing the incompetence and the unintended consequences (which were entirely predictable). It’s like watching the Three Stooges take over the healthcare business. I keep expecting His Highness to grab Kathleen Sebelius’ nose with a pair of pliers.

    1. susan

      “I keep expecting His Highness to grab Kathleen Sebelius’ nose with a pair of pliers. ”

      From your keyboard to God’s ear…

      I gave up watching much television news a while ago, but that would be worth watching.

      At this point, I’m pretty sure millions of Americans who’ve lost their insurance would pay to see that one.

    2. Kristin

      Subway is healthier than Quiznos? Isn’t that kind of like yanking out a McDonalds and replacing it with the ‘healthier’ Wendy’s?

      Ahhh, but Subway offers those low-fat options, ya see. That makes the bread good for you.

      1. Firebird7478

        Actually, Wendy’s chili is fairly decent. Not as good as what the Amish (yes, the Amish) make around here, or Tom’s chili recipe, but it is pretty good in a pinch.

  35. Howard

    “Give it time, they’ll ban butter and bacon.”

    Precisely. Something our mutual friend Andreas does not seem to understand. Despite seeing a government in his neck of the woods that has already waged war against saturated fat.

    Well, that’s the difference between people who like big government and those who don’t: they just want big government to make the correct choices when it takes away freedom. We want government to stop taking way freedom.

  36. TJ the Grouch

    Happy Birthday from our farm in Columbia! I hope it is warmer “up there” than here.

    Probably not much. I heard there were snowflakes this morning, although I didn’t see any.

  37. Kristin

    Wonderful comments to help clarify my own feelings. For the first time when the government passed a law to enforce my own beliefs I wasn’t particularly happy. I think the increasingly polarized political environment has finally snapped me into some sense. My republican friends aren’t idiots and neither am I. Or we both are because in our own way we keep having faith in this broken system.

    I actually felt a bit of terror at the thought “What’s next?” A tax on butter? A ban on bacon (now there might be a riot.)

    For more cheerful news, after years of going to doctors that my company insurance will cover at a clinic that overall more alternative in focus, I might have actually found a doctor who is a real doctor. I went in for my annual blood test for my company, chip firmly attached to shoulder. I intended to ask them to do a Vit D and B12 test so at least I would get some good out of it. The woman was thrilled with my diet, with the changes she saw in my chart since then, the whole package! I have a doctor I can work with now. Her last words to me were that when I got my test results back I could go wave them under the nose of those who think I am about to die and perhaps get them to shut up. Man I like this doctor.

    If they start taxing butter to try to stop me from eating it, I’m buying my own dairy cow. I may do that anyway.

    1. Bret

      They’ll outlaw your dairy cow while they’re at it, Tom, to protect you from yourself. I.e. to protect established Big Ag cronies.

      I’m sure you’ve heard of this, but several governments around the country have actually made it a crime to raise one’s own chickens on his own property. Unbelievable.

      At least one state (don’t remember which) made it illegal to drink milk from your own cow.

    2. Pierson

      If so, you might want to get a Dutch Belted cow (or 2) if you can. Their milk (which is low in the A1 variant of Beta-casein) makes superior yogurt, cream, and butter, and is naturally homogenized. They also have very soft fur (if you’re into that sort of thing), and you’d be assisting in the preservation of a critically endangered bovine species! Also, they’re cleaner (and friendlier) than Holsteins. No, I wasn’t paid to say this.

      Thanks for the tip.

        1. Pierson

          Huh? They make excellent cream, which I mentioned cream in the 2nd sentence. It blends really well with the milk (or cheese, or yogurt), making the both especially smooth and delicious!

  38. Bernardo

    Hi Tom. On top of turning me to low-carb you also made me aware of Austrian economics. I’m a bit puzzled by how people cannot see some interesting relations:

    – The fear of fat is EXACTLY like the fear of deflation.
    – Modern economics is based on observational studies, just like fat-phobia.
    – Macroeconomics and economics fundamentals are like nutrition and biochemistry respectively. We know how economics work on a very basic, personal level but when we move to the macro level it’s like things don’t follow the same logic. EXACTLY the same thing with fat storage mechanisms and nutrition advice.
    – Government intervention “unintended consequences” are EXACTLY like side effects of drugs. As my uncle (doctor) would say: “If a drug has no side effects, it has no effect either.”

    Cheers and thanks!

    Well said. Funny how people are happy to see prices dropping for things like computers, hi-def TVs, cell service, etc., but if you say the word “deflation,” they scream in horror.

    Thanks go up the chain to The Older Brother for the interest in Austrian economics.

  39. Dash

    I’m curious to hear Tom’s take on the new Statin recommendations. From what I can gather they are disassociating the need to reduce cholesterol, but adding in new criteria to take statins.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/13/health/new-guidelines-redefine-use-of-statins.html?_r=0

    “Patients on statins will no longer need to lower their cholesterol levels to specific numerical targets monitored by regular blood tests, as has been recommended for decades. Simply taking the right dose of a statin will be sufficient, the guidelines say. ”

    ” The new approach divides people needing treatment into two broad risk categories. Those at high risk because, for example, they have diabetes or have had a heart attack should take a statin except in rare cases. People with extremely high levels of the harmful cholesterol known as LDL — 190 or higher — should also be prescribed statins. In the past, people in these categories would also have been told to get their LDL down to 70, something no longer required.

    Everyone else should be considered for a statin if his or her risk of a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years is at least 7.5 percent. Doctors are advised to use a new risk calculator that factors in blood pressure, age and total cholesterol levels, among other things.”

    Opinion coming soon enough.

    1. SB

      Oh good, so it’s sufficient to take the drug and have no goals for the outcome of taking it. You’re killin’ me smalls.

      Dr: “Just take it”
      Patient: “When can I stop?”
      D: “Oh never, we aren’t tracking numbers anymore”
      P: “So…how do I know if it’s working?”
      D: “Well if you experience fatigue, muscle soreness, develop diabetes…we’ll at least know you’re taking it!”
      P: “I don’t want that…I’d rather not take it and continue to not check my numbers.”
      P: “Then you will die!” (said in the style of The Black Knight of Monty Python fame)

  40. Dave, RN

    Looks like the new twist is stroke prevention. I think this means that since there is now a new use for the drug, the patent can be renewed. I’m guessing that’s what this is all about.

    That’s a good guess.

    1. Susan

      Perhaps that along with finding a new rationale for prescribing statins since the evidence is mounting that raised cholesterol numbers don’t equate to heart disease.

      Bingo. So now they need another excuse to prescribe statins.

  41. Bernardo

    Hi Tom. On top of turning me to low-carb you also made me aware of Austrian economics. I’m a bit puzzled by how people cannot see some interesting relations:

    – The fear of fat is EXACTLY like the fear of deflation.
    – Modern economics is based on observational studies, just like fat-phobia.
    – Macroeconomics and economics fundamentals are like nutrition and biochemistry respectively. We know how economics work on a very basic, personal level but when we move to the macro level it’s like things don’t follow the same logic. EXACTLY the same thing with fat storage mechanisms and nutrition advice.
    – Government intervention “unintended consequences” are EXACTLY like side effects of drugs. As my uncle (doctor) would say: “If a drug has no side effects, it has no effect either.”

    Cheers and thanks!

    Well said. Funny how people are happy to see prices dropping for things like computers, hi-def TVs, cell service, etc., but if you say the word “deflation,” they scream in horror.

    Thanks go up the chain to The Older Brother for the interest in Austrian economics.

  42. Dash

    I’m curious to hear Tom’s take on the new Statin recommendations. From what I can gather they are disassociating the need to reduce cholesterol, but adding in new criteria to take statins.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/13/health/new-guidelines-redefine-use-of-statins.html?_r=0

    “Patients on statins will no longer need to lower their cholesterol levels to specific numerical targets monitored by regular blood tests, as has been recommended for decades. Simply taking the right dose of a statin will be sufficient, the guidelines say. ”

    ” The new approach divides people needing treatment into two broad risk categories. Those at high risk because, for example, they have diabetes or have had a heart attack should take a statin except in rare cases. People with extremely high levels of the harmful cholesterol known as LDL — 190 or higher — should also be prescribed statins. In the past, people in these categories would also have been told to get their LDL down to 70, something no longer required.

    Everyone else should be considered for a statin if his or her risk of a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years is at least 7.5 percent. Doctors are advised to use a new risk calculator that factors in blood pressure, age and total cholesterol levels, among other things.”

    Opinion coming soon enough.

    1. SB

      Oh good, so it’s sufficient to take the drug and have no goals for the outcome of taking it. You’re killin’ me smalls.

      Dr: “Just take it”
      Patient: “When can I stop?”
      D: “Oh never, we aren’t tracking numbers anymore”
      P: “So…how do I know if it’s working?”
      D: “Well if you experience fatigue, muscle soreness, develop diabetes…we’ll at least know you’re taking it!”
      P: “I don’t want that…I’d rather not take it and continue to not check my numbers.”
      P: “Then you will die!” (said in the style of The Black Knight of Monty Python fame)

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