The popular story of how low-carb diets work goes something like this: Reducing your carbohydrate...
Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...Tell Me More
Beverage giants like Coke and Pepsi Co. have come under heavy fire from children’s advocates, health experts and parents alike in recent years. Perhaps one of the most controversial issues in the soda wars is the “sponsorship” many schools obtain in exchange for stocking the hallways with vending machines. Exploiting our children in order to cover costs has to be one of the most disgusting examples of Big Agra’s power over our next generation’s health. So when Coke, Pepsi and Cadbury Schweppes announced they were pulling sugary beverages from schools in favor of “healthier” options like low-fat milk, diet drinks, and 100% juices, it was a begrudging step in the right direction. We don’t drink milk in our family and I’m not in favor of sports drinks, diet carbonated beverages or juice drinks, but at least this move was a measurable improvement over cans of corn syrup-clogged soda. (Bill Clinton lauded it as “courageous”.)
Diet Coke used to work hard to prove that it was more than just water and chemicals – consumers wanted to feel that they were getting something for their hard-earned dollars. To that end, marketing played up the great taste and refreshing benefits of Diet Coke.
Fast forward a couple of years, when water – particularly bottled water – is all the rage (never mind that thousands of children die every day from lack of access to water). Now, Diet Coke is falling all over itself to trump up the fact that it’s practically identical to water! Hey, it’s 99% water!
Which is funny, because why would anyone want to pay for 99% water with added chemicals?
I got a question last week from reader Barbara about colloidal silver supplements. For the record, this alternative health remedy is both ineffective and unsafe. It’s the latter that concerns me most, of course. A lot of the things we do for health are ineffective (homeopathy for starters; glandulars are another). Others are actually dangerous (the fat-free diet trend of the 90s that’s contributed to our metabolic syndrome epidemic). Colloidal silver supplements fall into the dangerous category.
Busted! High fructose corn syrup is incredibly cheap, partly because the U.S. government artificially fixes sugar prices and partly because corn is heavily subsidized (not so much “free market” anymore as “free lunch”). Clearly, your federal government loves you and hopes you get obesity and diabetes really soon so you can take advantage of all the great medical care that we don’t have.
High fructose corn syrup is also terrible for you, and not even the most conservative of nutrition experts disagrees with that. While there are a few slightly more terrible liquids out there – lighter fluid, for example – it’s really a shame that the “foods” available to us are so commonly laced with HFCS. And it’s even worse that they’re often promoted as being suitable for a healthy lifestyle or weight loss! They may look very cute, but beneath the fiber sprinkles and happy labeling lurks the heart of darkness. Really.
See the rest of the alarming facts about childhood obesity in America.
[tags] children, obesity, vending machines, soda, school [/tags]
A PICTORIAL, IN WHICH YOUR BEES CONSIDER THE VARIOUS OFFERINGS OF THE MIDDLE AISLES
Was it a mischievous mood, or simply the carbs? Over the weekend your Bees decided to explore (cue drums) the middle aisles of the grocery store. Here’s what we found:
We know that candy bars aren’t healthy (duh). How about a nice protein energy bar instead? Surely that’s gonna be nutritious! The Promax Cookies ‘n Cream bar even says so on the upper left corner: “Really Delicious. Really Nutritious.” It’s in red, so you just know it must be true. Plus, it is all natural.
But wait! Looking at the ingredients, we are confused. Granted, we are only bees. The list starts with some decent things, like whey protein and antioxidants (the new glamour children of processed foods). But it quickly turns to the usual suspects found in your average candy bar: high fructose corn syrup, canola oil, dyes and artificial flavorings, starches, and gums. Hmm. Maybe we’ll just get some juice. Juice is healthy, right? Especially if we choose the juice aimed at children, right?
Now this looks great. Nothing artificial, and more antioxidants! Hooray! Let’s take a look at the ingredients. 10% juice. Hmm, maybe we are just bad at math, but we’re pretty sure that means 90% high fructose corn syrup. Oh, look at this! It does contain 90% sweetener! Maybe you have to be a surfer, but this does not seem cool to us.
Time to move on to actual nourishment. Let’s find a convenient meal that is great for adults and kids alike. How about corn dogs? Hey, it says “trans fat free” so that must be healthy! Wait a minute, everything in the frozen section is now trans fat free. But we’ll stick with the corn dogs since they have that special double-dipped honey sweet coating. It’s not real honey or anything, but we’re not really Pooh Bear, so who cares? As long as it sorta-kinda tastes like honey and helps our bellies look decidedly Pooh-esque, it’s all good.
Oh, wait! One of us (ahem) has a problem with corn dogs. Apparently she is too good for mechanically-separated spinal meat. Fine (coughsnobcough). How about some vegetarian sausage? That surely must be healthy! See, low fat! Processed foods can be nutritious!
Oh, but wait. There are over two dozen ingredients in this “sausage”, including all the same things used in the “healthy” energy bar. This is really getting to be depressing. What other aisles are there? Surely there must be some healthy prepared foods somewhere in this dizzying labyrinth of Natural! Trans fat free! Low fat! A good source of some stupid vitamin! No sugar added because it’s already jammed full of it naturally!
Aha! The “snack” aisle. Because the other five aisles of processed, sugar-filled, sodium-bloated crap weren’t “snacks” but rather a healthy part of a balanced obesity epidemic. (Ever notice how all these processed
Click on the McDonald’s USA pic above to view the video.
Picture Courtesy of McDonald’s
We know this scandal is a few months old, but we still think it is deserving of the infamous Rotten Apple Award. Congratulations McDonald’s!
Are you lovin’ it Apples? Let us know what you think in the Forum!
[tags]McDonald’s, subliminal advertising, Iron Chef[/tags]
I’ve received many questions about various H2O health issues: reverse osmosis, filtration, distillation and bottled water. I plan to discuss the various concerns throughout the month of May. For the record, I am not in favor of distilled water and I think many of the water fears we have are unfounded. But I’m especially critical of the bottled water scams I see.
In general, I understand the reasons people prefer bottled water – hey, we want to be drinking pure water, not chemicals. I’m right there with you. But there are some major considerations if you are concerned about the environment, about water pollution, about resources and sustainability, and, as a matter of fact, about your health.
For now, I’m going to direct you to Wise Bread’s three-part series on bottled water hype . It’s one of the best investigations of bottled water I’ve ever read. I urge you to read each segment. If you care about your health, your bank account, and your planet, you will.
Truth time: I like having bottled water on hand, especially that Fiji…am I falling for great marketing or what? But now that I’ve read Wise Bread’s series, I’m done with Fiji. It’s possibly the very last thing we should be drinking if we care about our health or want a future that includes clean water.
I’m not saying no to bottled water entirely. It’s a must for health and fitness. I keep a bottle in the car and I always grab one when I head out for a run, and it would be unreasonable and unhealthy to stop these habits. But I think it’s a good idea to buy a low-cost filter for the kitchen faucet as well as to refill those water bottles instead of contributing to the Pacific Ocean’s Texas-sized carpet of trash Sara discussed last week.
Here’s something serious to think about: how healthy is it to drink something stored in plastic?
Especially considering the enormous amount of pollution that’s dumped into our waterways and pumped into our skies just to make that plastic bottle? This isn’t about being an environmentalist; this is about fighting for our health. Our air and our water are nearing toxic soup status thanks to plastic that has to be refined and produced and then shipped on fuel-hungry boats and trucks just to get to us. I don’t think this makes me some nutty tree-hugger (although I really don’t get why, like vegetarians , nice people in general are deemed so threatening). I think this is a critical health issue, and I believe we’re being snookered by the bottled water industry. Someone’s sure enjoying the private jet.
I’m not fooling myself into believing the water that comes to us via the city pipes is ideal, but taking that same city water, sloshing it into a toxic, inefficient plastic package and dragging it thousands of expensive miles away to a different city to be chugged exotically strikes me as a pretty profitable scam.
This brings me to my favorite quote from Wise Bread’s debunkery:
“I’d argue that
It’s time for another Rotten Apple Award, kids. The Impulsive Buy blog – which puts the “ew” in product review – covers everything from the new mint flavored Tylenol to McDonald’s new cinnamon bites, or bits, or buns, or something. The Rotten Apple is not being bestowed upon Impulsive Buy, however – it’s Mickey D that deserves all the glory on this one.
We try not to pick on McDonald’s too much. After all, there’s the Cheesecake Factory, where you can gain a pound by eating a single slice of cake. And to its credit, McDonald’s does make nutrition and calorie information available, something which the Cheesecake Factory evidently has a lot of trouble doing. But I feel McDonald’s is being blatantly disingenuous when there’s all this talk about premium chicken, premium coffee, and premium salads going on yet surreptitiously the G.A. (that’s Golden Arches) still pushes new sugary, fattening products with more speed and consistency than their employee turnover rate.
Isn’t it rather hypocritical to advertise those happy mommy-n-me commercials featuring salads, apple slices and sweet smiles, or to make a big public announcements about eliminating trans fat from french fries, while simultaneously introducing this 460-calorie dessert of glorified sugar biscuits? I know McDonald’s isn’t trying to position itself as Mecca for health nuts, but they’ve also done heavy (elephantine, really) marketing in the last few years to play up their healthier options and apparent concern for people’s hearts and waistlines.
Now that’s just rotten.