Tag: big agra

Dear Mark: Saturated Fat

Dear Mark,

In one of last week’s Cheap Meat discussions, you said something about ratios and saturated fats and how saturated fats aren’t really the issue in your mind. I might have been missing something in the conversation. Can you fill me in?

The issue of ratios within animal fat was raised by reader Jaana as she shared Cordain’s discussion of the varying polyunsaturated fat content and corresponding omega ratios in muscle meat versus different organ meats. Cordain compares wild game (that we can assume are comparable to the meats our pre-agricultural ancestors ate) with the domestically raised livestock we eat today. As a general rule, the muscle meat of conventional livestock today has less polyunsaturated fat than wild game does. Conventional domestic meat also has more saturated fat than wild game.

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King Corn – Coming to PBS!

Back in September, we told you about a new independent film called King Corn that, as the title suggested, was poised to blow the roof off the concept of the American food industry by telling us that everything – and I mean everything – we eat contains corn!

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GMO Foods: Super Solution or Franken Future?

Close your eyes and think about genetically modified crops. Now what do you see? Green fields of lush, pest-resistant, hardy crops? A ghoulish cast hovering above insidious kodachrome orbs they call GM tomatoes? Hordes of protestors in t-shirts and Converse sneakers? Hungry children being fed? A Pandora’s Box?

Applaud or curse, the U.S. allows the planting of GM crops, while many countries do not. It also doesn’t mandate labeling of genetically modified food, as do Europe and many other countries. These circumstances have, experts agree, allowed food made with genetically engineered ingredients to be included in approximately 70% of food in typical grocery stores.

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Scrutinizing Soy

You’ve heard me comment here and there about Big Agra’s favorite legume, but I thought it was time to truly sit down with soy, stare it in the eye and get to the bottom of its real intentions.

Just so you know, we had an amicable exchange, and both parties came away from the table having learned a thing or two about open-mindedness and media frenzy.

It’s true, soy was once nutrition’s sweetheart. It could do no wrong (much like multi-grain anything these days). Within a shockingly brief period, it was thrust into the limelight, granted liberties it wasn’t ready for and didn’t, in all fairness, ask for. Its sudden fame propelled it into the likes of the dairy aisle, the barbeque line-up, even infant formula. Talk about big shoes to fill! Could anyone truly stand up to such phenomenal pressure and responsibility?

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Friday Food for Thought: Sounding The Alarm On Children and Food Allergies

We like to keep informed on all the latest health and fitness updates, and that includes not just the “hard news” out there – research studies, government policy reports, industry (i.e. Big Pharma, Big Agra, etc.) “developments.” It also means following (and often reveling in) other contrary voices out there who are doing the good work of spreading sensical health consciousness and exposing disturbing health trends and conflicts of interest that should give us all pause. Whether we find ourselves cheering them on, formulating our rebuttals, or scratching our heads in bewilderment, we always relish some good food for thought. We thought you would too.

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New Nutrition Labeling System Still Has Flaws

New nutrition labels are in the works for a 2008 unveiling. There are some terrific improvements over the current labels. A particular problem I’ve long had with the existing labels is that the numbers are based upon the assumption that you’re following a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet. That’s too much for many women, not enough for many men, and irrelevant for many growing kids. And yet nearly every food and food product in America is measured and judged as if we were all virtually identical and weighing in at 150 pounds. Who actually takes time to adjust the nutritional values for their particular weight, BMI, and body fat percentage? Moreover, how many Americans are even aware that when they see “15% fat” on a label, the food carrying this label is not 15% fat? It seems, in fact, to be the perfect recipe for ambiguity – and obesity. If I wanted to obscure accurate nutrition information – because why would we ever want to present what’s inside on the outside – I’d come up with some imaginary standard and convoluted comparisons, too.

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How Safe Is Our Food?

Big Agra has gotten us into an interesting (and sickening) predicament. In light of a solid year of squeamish food poisoning issues, there are clearly some chinks in the armor of food safety. But is it really the government’s role to step in and regulate food safety further? Unfortunately, regulation tends to harm the good guys – raw almonds today, organic spinach yesterday, dairy for far too long now – and effectively underwrite large corporate agricultural interests. And yet. And yet. Currently, testing outfits that monitor food safety so our beef, lettuce, eggs and chicken are ostensibly edible are paid for by the very agricultural interests they test. In other words, it’s a recipe for corruption. While labs may be impartial, the results they gather when testing at-risk foods (such as meat and imported goods) are given over to the company and it’s on the company to report anything to the FDA. That is, the labs don’t have a way to send results directly to a presumably – and I realize the generosity of this idea – impartial guardian of public health. If one lab doesn’t “find” the “right” results, it’s fairly easy for the food company to find another, more affable laboratory. Still, I’m not sure that introducing increased FDA regulation or oversight is the solution here. But since I can’t even keep up with all the burgers that have been recalled since the summer, I feel compelled to ask you:

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The Best Meal to Feed to Your Child…

We stumbled onto this refined carbohydrate disaster as we were searching for healthy food services.  Like the kiddie menus serving up fried meats and refined starches across the nation, this offering does not bode well for the health of the seedlings! This plate of yellow’s only bragging point is “real” cheese…rounded out with greasy bread, fried tater tots, and corn. Where are the vegetables? (For the last time…corn is not a vegetable!) It’s no wonder we are seeing increased rates of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity in our youth when processed, refined grains and unhealthy fats are the standard options for children.
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Whose Food Pyramid Is It Anyway?

We’ve done quite a bit of ranting and issued endless criticisms of the FDA and the food pyramid. There, I said it. We did it here, and here, and talked about what you should be eating here. I’ve even offered up my own food pyramid (for carbs).

But whose food pyramid is it, anyway?

Though I regularly rail against the government’s grain-based, dairy-laden, sugar-rich recommendations, I have to wonder if anybody’s really following it anyway. Does the food pyramid make a hill of beans in the nutrition wars? We know the standard American diet is high in grain, dairy and sugar, but is this because those things are on the pyramid refrigerator magnet? Seems the other way around to me: Big Agra has an express interest in promoting cheap, unhealthy foods such as cereal and bread, and the government is simply the acquiescent mouthpiece. Marketing and advertising overwhelm the average American; the food pyramid merely reinforces the barrage.

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Twinkie Dust Is Like Star Dust. Or Something. What?

In defense of the Twinkie (wait, haven’t we heard that one before?), the Important People at Hostess explain exasperatedly that trying to understand what the Twinkie is made of is just like trying to understand the entire universe. Look, this miniature sticky cake of chemicals is as mysterious and magical as the very cosmos in which we exist. Duh. Don’t you feel silly now?

Unfortunately, the Important People are not delusional in the slightest. Twinkies are made of dozens of chemicals and at least 5 different rocks, so in truth, these little loaves of limestone really kinda are the universe. It appears you can manufacture irony, and it requires only 39 ingredients. I feel the welling up of an existential crisis of the sort not experienced since I watched my landlord wear a Dolce & Gabbana jacket to fix the toilet. There are some things money can’t buy, but for everything else, there’s rent.

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