Sara here. My Danish grandmother will be horrified by this post, but in my selfless devotion to you Apples, I’m taking that risk.
And so, I have to ask: What is up with Denmark? (Huh? you ask. Just go with me on this.) I’ve noticed a strange trend over the last decade. This could be my own erroneous inductive research here – in fact, I actually hope so – but the Land of Lutefisk seems strangely supportive of Big Pharma and the status quo (sorry, Grams).
First, two years ago, I heard about some “landmark” studies that came out of Old Dansk announcing that there is absolutely no link between autism and vaccinations containing thimerosal (a form of mercury). Nevermind that autism rates sharply increased around the same time that vaccines started being preserved with thimerosal. Nevermind that mercury poisoning symptoms and autism symptoms are virtually indistinguishable. Now, to be fair, the mercury/autism debate is hugely controversial precisely because we don’t have a definitive answer yet. I suspect the eventual conclusion may implicate thimerosal, at least as part of the equation.
But, then, there was the fish study. Once again, researchers in Denmark came up with – er, concluded – that fish oil does not help those interested in reducing their heart disease risk. The study was a review, which is right up there with questionnaires in terms of scientific accuracy. Even worse, it was a review of cohort studies (cohort studies can have major problems with causation vs. correlation). Moreover, reading the fine print (not just the abstract), what the study essentially “discovered” was that people who are at a high risk for heart problems do benefit from fish oil, while people who are at a low risk do not. Now, think about that. In other words, people who don’t have a problem will not benefit from a solution. Kind of like how my grease-cutting counter disinfectant won’t do a great job of cleaning my freshly-scrubbed counters, either. But after this study was reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, amazingly, what got media attention was that fish consumption just doesn’t help heart issues. No one got excited about the additional finding that high-risk people can help their hearts with fish oil – just 40 to 60 mg a day can help! (That’s actually okay, since there are already hundreds of rigorously-conducted studies proving fish oil is good for reducing your heart disease risk.)
The lesson: Apparently, 1) Create a study following less-than-ideal methodology, 2) determine absolutely nothing from it, and 3) leave out the important part and splash the meaningless part all over the news. Hey, if it looks like a duck…it might be a Danish study.
Now, since then, there have been some pro-fish studies, so I’m willing to give the motherland the benefit of the doubt. Although I have seen several other pro-dairy, pro-drug, pro-status quo studies from Denmark, I will withhold judgment until more evidence presents itself.
Except, now, hot off the presses, an authoritative announcement out of – you guessed it – Denmark: cell phones do not have any negative effect on the brain. Scientists in Copenhagen compared over 400,000 Danish cell phone users to the rest of the Danish population. They say that there was no compelling data to indicate that cell phone users had any greater risk of cancer or brain abnormalities. This does seem to confirm what the majority of cell phone studies have already concluded (except ones like this). The electromagnetic rays emitted by cell phones haven’t been found to have any impact on our DNA or cell structure. Fair enough.
But I’m watching you, Denmark.
The Fuming Fuji is outraged at the marketing of toxic food, especially when it’s aimed at the small fry. This week, the Fuming Fuji has decided to have a serious problem with the breakfast cereals for children.
But, Fuming Fuji, you ask, aren’t some breakfast cereals healthy?
The Fuming Fuji says no!
The claim: Breakfast cereals are enriched with 9, or 11, or 13 vitamins and minerals.
The catch: Breakfast cereals are enriched with 9, or 11, or 13 vitamins and minerals that are not biologically active and also wash off in milk, plus 9, 11, or 13 chemicals, additives, preservatives, dyes and artificial ingredients.
The comeback: Can’t you just drink the milk? And besides, lots of cereals are made with whole-grain now. Come on, Fuji!
The conclusion: Okay, you can drink the milk. It is a great way to get your daily serving of hormones, antibiotics and germs. Yes, cereals are sometimes made with whole-grain now. These same cereals are also made with sugar, sugar, and sugar. The whole grain has not replaced the sugar, only added to it!
The catchphrase: Now made with whole grain…and still a lot of other crap!
Disclaimer: Mark Sisson and the Worker Bees do not necessarily endorse the views of the Fuming Fuji.
Remember the bread-is-to-crumb logic section on the SAT’s? Or how about the interminable hours spent in Mr. Johnson’s English Lit class deconstructing the deeper meaning of that tree in that poem by that guy? The latest and greatest fish debate is worse.
Environmentalists, food lobbyists, and fishermen and women everywhere are in a big huff over whether we should label certain fish as organic or not.
Take a wild salmon and a farm-raised, sea-lice-infested, sick salmon. Which one is organic?
It’s not a trick question. The fish furor (as reported in the New York Times today) is because the government is likely to permit only farm-raised fish to be called organic. That means pristine, wild, icy-water Alaskan salmon cannot be labeled organic.
This is not a joke.
The reason wild, and ostensibly healthier, fish cannot be labeled organic is because we don’t know where their food comes from. And the official requirements of organic food include strict feeding rules. That’s great for a chicken, clucking around in a cage in Omaha. By all means, feed that darn chicken some organic seeds! But the day a wild, clean, natural Alaskan salmon cannot be labeled organic is the day I officially conclude our government employees did not sit through Mr. Johnson’s English Lit class.
The debate gets more complicated (as if we care). Evidently, because salmon are not vegetarian fish, said fish fishers cannot prove that the fish these salmon eat in their natural habitats are also organic. (It’s okay if you have to read that a few times.)
However, a farmed fish, infected with sea-lice, raised so quickly it doesn’t have adequate Omega-3 levels, and crowded in with other fish like, oh, I don’t know…sardines… can be labeled organic. Because we know where its food comes from.
On the other side of the net, one organic-fish-scandal expert says that to allow wild salmon organic status is just really disrespectful to the meaning of organic. Organic, by definition, means organic feed. In other words, we’re following the rules because those are the rules, rather than remembering that rules exist to serve our needs. If a rule doesn’t serve a need or reflect a situation accurately, it needs to be modified. End of story. No deeper meaning, no semantic salmon. Let’s remember the entire reason for starting this organic craze: the realization that we need to go back to natural, healthy foods.
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