I’m not surprised by this expose. Just as the Dairy Industry (Big Moo) has managed to “find” weight loss results when funding clinical studies, food manufacturers in general – and beverage producers in particular – “discover” nutritional benefits of their products and promote those discoveries to the public. Unfortunately, the nutrition science world is even more susceptible to corruption in studies than the pharmaceutical world!
As this article points out, it’s not so much that study results are deliberately misleading. The issue is that food manufacturers have many interesting ways of ultimately getting the results they prefer.
- Food companies pay for studies based on initial hypotheses that are already favorable.
- Food companies may conduct many studies but only use the favorable ones.
- Though conflicts of interest must be disclosed in any study, this is based on an honor system.
The Public Library of Science is one of my favorite resources for uncovering these sorts of shenanigans in the drug, food and beverage industries. In this particular article, PLOS finds that when beverage makers are involved in the study, the results are four to eight times more likely to be favorable. Coincidence?
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites
1) Calm Cows
It’s all over the news: Scientists have invented a cow that may be immune to mad cow disease. Yes, that’s right – a whole cow. Not a drug, or a food, or a shot, but an actual breed of cow that is immune to getting a disease caused by…oh yeah: irresponsible, filthy factory food production. Of course, since our government still insists there is absolutely no cause to worry about killer burgers, we suppose this techie fix is just for kicks – you know, just in case. Hey, it’s always good to have an extra species of bovine on the shelf for those rainy day public health disasters. Why mop the slimy slaughterhouse floor when you can just make a new cow that won’t be affected by said slime? Hooray, technology!
If you’re interested in the dark underbelly of the mad cow conspiracy (we’re staying neutral for now…but boy, are they persuasive), visit our favorite little conspiracy site maintained by a gaggle of rogue journalists who probably eat tofu and have really messy hair. If you’re interested in the government’s take, visit the FDA. If you haven’t seen the news piece, here’s the clickativity. And we promise, no more cow pictures for a while.
Beneath the calm exterior…
2) Yeah, yeah, have a drink…
Yet another study reveals that one or two drinks a day may not be so bad for the heart – and now, it appears, for the old blood pressure. This is a debate that will probably never go away, and the fact that this large-scale (11,000: pretty good) survey (kind of lame by scientific standards) found a glass or two of Grandpa’s cough syrup is good for middle-aged men isn’t the worst news on earth, now is it? Of course, women should stick to one drink (in general).
However, keep in mind that:
a) A little sip is good, a little more is bad. Anything more than one or two drinks and you’re in the boiling-point blood pressure range, and,
b) while beer may – may – help raise good cholesterol a bump or two, so will a good multivitamin, a few weekly servings of lean fish, and daily use of olive oil or Smart Butter. We’re just sayin’.
Although, this does look good…
I don’t know whether to laugh or cringe at the bizarre-but-true existence of the Heart Attack Grill. Call it vulgar, call it wasteful, call it offensive – but someone’s eating there. A lot of someones. And I guarantee you they’re not healthy.
The Heart Attack Grill: the restaurant that so prides itself on inducing heart problems, the burgers have names such as “Double Bypass”. Of course, as John Stossel points out, no idiotic unhealthy venture would be complete without scantily-clad “nurse” waitresses. (Because if you’re going to infuriate the health experts, you might as well offend the better-smelling half of the population, too. The bizarre American intersection of fast food meat and female objectification – didn’t these guys learn anything in college? Did they go to college?). Everyone knows I’m no big fan of the food police. Also, I fully admit to a love affair with salad rivaled only by Popeye. But, considering the fact that millions of people every year are tragically affected by easily-prevented heart attacks (and the fact that a half-million die), this kind of gloating stupidity concerns me, if only because these men may be reproducing.
Sara here. I have a little issue with the high prices and low quality of eggs at the supermarket. At least, I do now, because when Junior Apple Janet wrote in with the following, I had to spread the word:
“Home with my parents for the holidays, I was a bit confused when Dad came home with 88 cent eggs. Yes, 88 cents. More confusing still was the rainbow of colors and sizes of the eggs – not sure I’ve ever eaten green eggs before. I don’t know when my parents started doing this, but I am a convert. In fact, I ate nothing but eggs the whole time. My folks humored me until I insisted on serving omelets for the third day in a row. I couldn’t get over how much better farm eggs are! Why isn’t everyone doing this?”
Farm-fresh eggs are a good thing. They’re fresher, tastier, more nutritious, and cost less than your average parking meter. Who would bother with the thin-shelled, bland, pale store variety of eggs when real farm eggs are available?
What’s going on, Apples? If you are lucky enough to be living in or near a rural area, I recommend that you check out the egg situation.
The purpose of this post (yes, there is a point) is to highlight some of the better-egg tips in case you, like myself, aren’t within easy access of a farm.
- Go organic, of course.
- Give each egg in the carton a quick feel to make sure it’s not cracked and stuck to the carton.
- Choose Omega-3-enhanced eggs for an easy fatty acid boost every day.
- Look for eggs that are a little bit chalky or matte. The shinier the shell, the older the egg.
- Try to pick eggs that don’t have a lot of irregularities and bumps – an older chicken giveaway. Older chicken = inferior eggs.
- Don’t worry about cholesterol.
And, while we’re on the topic of eggs, did you know that egg foo yung (an American Chinese invention) is a surprisingly healthy restaurant food? Fried rice, egg rolls and the endless procession of cornstarch-based sauces in many American Chinese restaurants aren’t exactly your best bet for nutrition. But egg foo yung is typically sauce-free, high in protein, low in fat and sugar, and usually has a few veggies thrown in. It’s really not much different from an omelet. Speaking of omelets…
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