The proliferation of over-indulgent double meat, double bacon, double cheese, double bypass-surgery monster burgers across our fast-food nation has been taken to an all new level as detailed by this article in Portfolio magazine. (If you don’t believe me take a look at this interactive feature.) It doesn’t take a 7 page magazine article to tell us that fast-food chains from sea to shining sea have hardly even paid lip service to the public outcry against their freakishly fatty fare. You can hardly go anywhere without being bombarded with ads of fit young guys diving into double-pattied, greasy behemoths “no holds barred.” The latest evil-genius marketing ploy uses opponents charges against them by developing a false sense of pride associated with eating something that is so extremely socially incorrect. The bigger burger you eat, they tell us, the higher your middle finger flies in the face of whiny, veggie-eating health nuts.
As promised, we’ve been hot on the trail of Big Pharma lately, passing along every bit of damning truth we can find. This Sunday’s LATimes carried an article we call an “essential read” for anyone who’s been following and cursing the industry’s exploitation of the American public.
The strategy that has made the pharmaceutical industry one of the wealthiest and most powerful on Earth is finally starting to betray it. Beginning in just a few weeks, and continuing over the next several years, some of the biggest-selling and most profitable drugs in history will lose their patent protection. …The real problem is that the industry’s scientists have hit a dry spell. They are not discovering enough new drugs to replace the aging standbys. Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved just 19 new medicines, according to preliminary data, the fewest since 1983. Lost in all the hand-wringing on Wall Street is a recognition of how the industry got itself into this fix in the first place. For 25 years, the drug industry has imitated the basic business model of Hollywood. Pharmaceutical executives, like movie moguls, have focused on creating blockbusters. …The strategy had a flaw that executives have long ignored: It required extraordinary amounts of promotion at the expense of scientific creativity. To make the strategy work, the drug industry put its marketers in charge; scientists were given a back seat. Is it any wonder that executives at many companies have watched their pipelines of new drugs slow to a trickle?
via LA Times
There are many good things that could be said about NBC’s The Biggest Loser. I can give it accolades for its goal to help people lose weight through exercise and, more importantly, by completely re-thinking their diets. And I can praise it for the inspiration it has instilled in many people around the country to follow in the footsteps of the contestants on their own weight loss journeys.
But nobody’s perfect.
There’s always some new product anxious to help you part with your hard-earned cash. Some products are healthy or helpful, but some are downright dishonest scams. These three have become popular of late. Don’t fall for the hype!
Nonsensical and useless, the popularity of oil pulling persists. Through very particular “sieving” of an oil mixture in the mouth (think mouth rinse in slow motion), the oil supposedly draws toxins from the blood. If it were possible for oil to “pull” toxins out of the veins in the tongue, it would also be possible for oil to enter the bloodstream through your tongue. A molecule is a molecule. Toxins can’t “leak” out of your veins – if they could, you wouldn’t need to “pull” them out. Besides, even if toxins could “leak” from your veins, it would take far more than 15 or 20 minutes of “pulling” to cleanse your entire blood supply. Furthermore, fat-soluble toxins (the kind that would bind to oil) are not in the bloodstream. They are in your…fat cells! And on and on it goes. Read this terrific expose if you still think oil pulling is effective – it’s guaranteed to change your mind.
If you’re forking over extra cash for the high-end exercise kicks, save your money. Researchers performed a series of extensive tests with runners and discovered that the cheapest shoes offered by three top brands (they’re keeping mum on which ones – for now) were not only just as good as the priciest shoes, some of them were actually better! There was no appreciable difference in cushioning, support, quality or comfort. Not even pro runners could figure out the sneaker difference in a blind test.
Three brands…let’s take a guess, shall we?
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?
For once, I’m speechless.
Jabba the Hut Returns?
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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.