In this section we illustrate the long-in-the-making, but just recently "exploded" war on fat. This is the next chapter of the most profitable business enterprise the world ever undertook: public health activism. Inert, indifferent and defeated, people continue to allow "public health" to control their lives more every day. Has the West surrendered individualism and freedom in favour of paternalism and statistical frauds in exchange for the vague perception of "better" health?
Commentaries and articles logged up to August 20th, 2007. Later commentaries on the frauds on fat and demonisation of food can be found in the current portal system, using the internal search engine.
Straightening Up Eaters (2007)Category: Static
May 14 - Do these pants make my pancreas look big?- Never let it be said that those cashing in on the "obesity epidemic" lack creativity in covering all angles in their quest to shakedown a panic-stricken public. So you think you are safe from premature heart attack and diabetes, all you slim and trim people? Hah! Think again. According to some doctors you could be just as prone to the pathologies that strike down your fat brethren. Your fat, however, is inside your svelte frame, busily smothering the vital organs.
"Being thin doesn't automatically mean you're not fat" and "just because someone is lean doesn't make them immune to diabetes or other risk factors for heart disease," is the message from these grifters who admit that they don't actually know whether interior fat poses health problems. They "suspect" it does and "theorize" that fat enveloping interior organs "might" be sending the body mistaken chemical signals to store fat inside organs like the liver or pancreas. Very much like the concept that "smoking kills no matter what" forerunner of all frauds, here is the "you are fat even even if you are thin" concept. What to do? Turn it all over to the experts. Stop smoking. You quit. Stop eating. You become a vegetarian. Exercise. You jog till you drop.
The bottom line to these hypotheses without evidence is that "bad" eating habits, the bête noire of the anti-fat crusaders, must be eradicated even for those who are not overweight. Junk the sugar, discard the fat and above all exercise, exercise. We all know, and perhaps unconsciously hate, those few, lucky people who can eat what they want and all that they want without gaining an ounce. There is no need to envy them anymore since they, just like the obviously overweight, are in need of the firm guidance that pours forth from the caring people who will make us fit no matter what it takes.
- May 10- From Germany but about England: cheese ads to children forbidden in England, and more coming for your own good! -No more cheese advertisement in children-oriented shows in England. Cheese is bad, destroys the body, makes you fat and lazy and "causes" disease. And there is far too much salt for children, anyway: take the word of the "experts", they know what they are saying. After years of relentless "studies", our "expert" heroes have finally labelled cheese as junk food. At the same time Homer Simpson will have to be shown far less, because he gives "incorrect" dietary advice to his kids.
On their side, the cheese manufacturers are showing the expected butt-kissing attitude already adopted by the tobacco industry, but with an even more 21st century twist. They make, in fact, the ultimate loser demand: equality under oppression. If cheese is bad for health, they argue, what to say about cheeseburgers and Coca-Cola, that are "really baaad" for you? Forbid that advertisement too! In the meantime, instead of suing the hell out of the "public health" crooks, shut down their industries in protest and create a political problem (before it's too late), the cheese manufacturer lobbies are writing a petition -- as the supply of toilet paper in the "public health" offices is worrisomely low for the protection of the environment.
In the meantime, God forbid that every idiot is not given exactly what he deserves, and that the holy hand of "public health" does not bestow its wrath on Coke and hamburgers to maintain absolute justice. Finally, the British "experts" "recommend" the prohibition of adult-oriented cheese advertisement to make anti-cheese campaigns more effective.
- May 3- Haven't we seen this before? - Overweight workers cost their bosses more in injury claims than their lean colleagues, suggests a study that found the heaviest employees had twice the rate of workers' compensation claims as their fit co-workers.
Just as anti-tobacco "suggested" that smokers cost their employers more than normal so the overweight are now being tarred as economic negatives. In both cases proof is not required to demonize whole classes of people whose only sin is not to worship at the altars of health. In reality smokers and the overweight don't cost society any more dollars than do those who don't smoke or fall into the proper weight limit as determined by behavior control activists.
As they did with smoking civil libertarians are weakly advising employers not to "overreact" with discriminatory policies rather than honing in on the junk science that reduces people to a grid of numbers. The scandal is not fat or smoking workers but the "science" that labels them so based on statistical manipulation that never proves but only suggests.
- May 1 - 'If you're fat you most probably won't get that job' - Many if not most readers of this site will recall the days when smokers were regarded as people, not pathetic, skanky addicts whose very presence poisoned entire communities at a single puff. The people who brought us hatred of smokers continue to work their foul spell on the overweight.
First, "studies" spring up in the media like mushrooms after a rain telling everyone how obesity is linked with various diseases and how employers should suspect lower productivity and fear future healthcare costs (a particularly compelling worry in the US where there is no national health system).
Now -bingo! Surveys show that employers are less inclined to hire the overweight. There's probably nothing new about that - attractive, fit-looking people have always had an advantage in our culture. But in the current climate, it wouldn't be a surprise to find that employers are inclined to be more discriminatory than ever before.
The new twist now is to look on being overweight as a "disability" in order to protect them from discrimination. Pretty diabolical-we're deeply stigmatizing people while simultaneously encouraging them to think of themselves as victims needing "help" from external programs.
So does this mean that EVERYTHING which "could lead" to a chronic disease should finally be regarded as a disability? With fat, we're making a "disability" out of something which is, at least to a large extend, simply an instance of normal human variation. We're pathologizing another aspect of life for purposes that could include both exploitation of the system by the "disabled" person, and exclusion or "special" treatment by government and institutions.
- April 24 -Perverting the language - The health establishment purposefully corrupts the language as a tactic to further its control over the population. Epidemic no longer refers to a terrible outbreak of infectious disease but is unethically used to describe voluntary behaviors such as smoking and eating. Addiction has been watered down to include smoking, shopping, gambling as well as other behaviors that used to be described as habits. "Proof" quite some time ago joined the words that Big Health perverted for its own ends.
"Scientists prove that salty diet costs lives" screams the headline in the Times Online introducing a story about salt consumption. Within not only is there no "proof" but a close reading provides evidence that the researchers, along with the media, have completely abandoned the epidemiological standards that should govern research such as this.
People who ate less salty food were found to have a 25 per cent lower risk of cardiac arrest or stroke, and a 20 per cent lower risk of premature death.
Add a zero to these percentages and this study would have warranted a news story. Ethical epidemiologists are looking for at least 200% (relative risk 3) as the base to justify concern or intervention. These puny percentages warrant nothing (especially when the data is gathered with questionnaires!), as the researchers well know and reporters covering these issues should know. The reporter, a Health Editor, no less, should have informed his readers that 20 and 25 per cent indicate... nothing. He does, however, midway down remark that the number of heart attacks and deaths supposedly caused by a salty diet are so small that they could have occurred by "chance."
Considering that the researchers are rehashing previous studies conducted one and two decades ago a more pertinent analysis should focus on why old research is dubbed "proof" of anything. Obviously the researchers are cashing in on the obesity "epidemic", a fertile ground for profitable grants. The United Kingdom, like other countries, is badgering its citizens to shape up and behave themselves. Anti-salt messages there are becoming increasingly strident and this study will bolster the campaigns to alter consumption. Like studies regarding the supposed bad effects from smoking tobacco, the salt and diet studies have proven only that Big Health long ago forgot why it is supported by a highly taxed population.
- April 20 -Calling time out on the media's weight obsessions: you tell ‘em, Tyra - Former supermodel Tyra Banks has come out as an unlikely (or is it logical?) spokesperson for the idea that our obsession with people's weight is … nuts. As various countries "crack down" on excessiveness skinniness in runway models (there have indeed been several anorexic deaths), Tyra Banks got called "fat" by the media for flashing a bit more flesh than usual in a bikini. Now she's calling BS on the whole schizophrenic body image obsession. Take that, health Nazis.
"… there are models right now dying on the runway and people are saying that people are too skinny; then suddenly there are these pictures of me and they're saying I'm too big. And never mind me, I didn't really want to focus on that, but look, even if I had been 200 pounds, would that make me ugly and disgusting? Because that's what they were saying I was. And, if they're saying that, they're saying that to every woman: and so many women are 200 pounds, so many do have that shape, so that means that you're telling those women they're ugly and disgusting.'"
- April 20 -Bacon causes lung disease - Busy junk "scientists" in the United States have found that eating bacon, as well as othercured meats, increases the risk of lung disease. This report from the British Broadcasting Corporation wisely omits any percentages attached to the alleged increased risk so we can rest assured that the relative risk falls well below the threshold of concern. If the "scientists" had found a 200% increased risk of lung disease from consuming cured meats we might concur with their call for "more studies."
The "scientists" attempt to cover their bases by invoking the incantation that "smoking remains the single most significant cause of [lung disease]" but will undoubtedly ignite the ire of the anti-tobacco pressure groups by concluding that smoking, as well as lower class status, insufficient vitamin C intake and bad diet, could not account for the increased risk of lung disease for the cured meat consumption. Of course these days special interest benefactors, such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, have expanded their anti-tobacco ideology to include a bevy of "anti" stances, especially where food is concerned. Having discovered the joys of behavior modification through anti-smoking propaganda the "anti" advocates are eager to increase control wherever hysteria roams.
- April 20 -Peril in the post trans fat world - Proving yet again that they are never satisfied, the behavior engineers, despite their successful campaign to demonize trans fat, are now singing the blues that the proletariat faces new, perhaps insurmountable, challenges in a trans-fat-free environment. The elimination of trans fat, dubbed "heart-damaging" and "artery clogger", although no actual evidence exists that this cooking material warrants such terms of opprobrium, leaves a void that is being filled by animal fats, such as butter or lard, or tropical oils such as palm or coconut oil. Oh, the horror! Coconut oil, for those who remember the genesis of the modern food policing effort, should ring a bell since it was the evil substance that food ideologues successfully removed from movie house popcorn. As for butter, could there be anything more insidious to good health? The "good" substitutes for trans fat, such as olive, canola or soy bean oil, are useless for cookies, pastries and pizza crusts. It's no coincidence that these foods top the list of "unhealthy food" deplored by the food police.
"You need to find a replacement for a solid fat that doesn't have the health implications, and that's the tougher battle," says Susan Borra of the International Food Information Council. "We are changing the entire fatty acid profile of the food supply, and we're not sure we know what it's going to look like at the other end."
We are changing the food supply and we're not sure what will be the result. Could any statement be more arrogant and more reflective of the mantle of superiority with which the behavior engineers enwrap themselves? Historically any entity that proclaimed it was altering the food supply for entire populations with no concern as to the results wrought by its alteration would have been considered an enemy of the people and harshly curbed, if not eradicated.
In our emasculated era, unfortunately, food supply manipulators are treated as indispensable, integral components of the community rather than noxious meddlers. This article provides propaganda space for the American Heart Association, an organization that lies deliberately and continuously about the effects of smoking, to dispense its nonsensical diet recommendations to a public that has fewer choices now than it had before the social engineers became a blight upon the nation.
- April 19 -Racial component of fat - Researchers investigating why Europeans are so fat have unearthed a racial component that undoubtedly will lead to many, fatter grants for further research. The numbers are quite precise: half of white Europeans carry a defective gene that causes a 30% increased risk of obesity while 16% percent carry two defective copies of the same gene, which carries a 70% risk of obesity. We'll accept the researchers word on the percentage of white Europeans saddled with the defective genes and concentrate solely on the risks they assign to carrying that disease.
Even without looking at the data of the study one can easily figure that we are talking about inferred causality and not about a scientifically established one. "McCarthy notes that the function of FTO remains a mystery. It is unclear if people with the gene simply burn calories less efficiently or if they consume more food." These researchers know this, of course, but they also know how incompetent is the reportage of the media, even in something called NewScientist.com. Junk scientists also know how to follow the hype and capitalize on the political class's need to "do something." Obesity is the hottest "health threat" going, although tobacco research still rakes in the dough. Combining fat with racial differences is a two-fer in our obsessive culture where social engineers constantly seek to boil down human behavior into predictable equations that can be dealt with by an overbearing therapeutic health. As to the majority of Europeans who have these "defective" genes, no need to worry. The numbers cranked out mean nothing. But what is sinisterly meaningful is the approach - once again identical to anti-tobacco: people who are fat (like people who smoke) are defective. Next to what? Next to a defective ideology concerning itself with the "perfect, healthy man" who is compared with assorted computer models.
We have been down that defective path before, haven't we?... And walking down that path with or without computers makes no difference. We discovered then that this is not the logical way to go and -- even less -- the human way to go. We have to discover it again -- because to err is human, but to persevere is diabolical.
- April 12 -Soft drink tax - Norway is poised to raise taxes on soft drinks and sweets. The country has a history of taxing "luxury" products such as alcohol and cigarettes and now is going after products that are considered "unhealthy." While refreshing to read a news story that veers off script by mentioning cigarettes and soft drinks in the same paragraph but labelling just the soft drinks as unhealthy, it is disturbing that governments throughout the world are basing policy decisions on pseudo "scientists" who crank out junk studies that are more hype than research. The government is keeping its cards close to its vest on how high the taxes will go and on what they will be imposed but the ubiquitous "activists" hope for at least a doubling of the tax rate. The activists also are clear on why taxes must be raised:
"The problem is that we eat much too much sugar... too little fruit and vegetables, and too many processed foods like potato chips."
As usual the operative speaks for the population at large, deciding with his use of the royal "we" what will be done with the taxpayers who pay his salary. The newspaper moves back on script as it reports that Norwegians are firmly behind the government's plan to raise taxes. Never before have there been so many people who want their taxes raised, at least according to those who live to bilk the public.
- April 12 -Salt, the new Plutonium - Who would have thought it? Apparently in Canada there are 15,000 dead bodies found each year, every last one of them done in by salt. The numbers come from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the American shakedown organization that wants everyone everywhere to adopt its austere diet of self-denial. CSPI is not above lying to stir up hysteria while pressuring governments to crack down on the consumer. For some reason salt consumption is an inordinate concern of this group even though at the moment "research" has been exonerating salt after years of demonization. America may not produce any goods that people would like to buy these days but it sure is successful in peddling junk science throughout the world, no matter how fraudulent the claims.
- April 12 -Eat drink and be merry for dieting is no use - The experts for years have been hectoring us to loose weight since we are too damned fat. The message is relentless and accompanies the drumbeat of countless "studies" proclaiming that the industrialized nations are undergoing an epidemic of obesity. Governments have of course gotten in the act by re-defining obesity and heaviness so that more people fall into that category without having to gain a pound. Dieting has become a chronic condition for a huge swath of people.
So what are to make of the latest research that seems to say "give up and pork up?" At least that is one message coming from junk science central, the University of California where "scientists" analyzed dozens of studies involving thousands of dieters. The university's conclusion? Dieting doesn't work. This is an odd message to proclaim during an epidemic of obesity and speculations on the university's motives are just that. One explanation is that the university is preparing to pave the path for the pharmaceutical industry to enter more aggressively the weight loss game. Just as those who successfully quit smoking are those who do so without using smoking cessation products those who lose weight and keep it off do so on their own using will power. Will power cannot be patented but weight loss aids can be. Pharmaceutical money is behind the studies that discovered an obesity epidemic just as pharmaceutical money financed "research" that discovered that smoking leads to all manner of illness and an early, inevitable death. Based on its behavior regarding tobacco, expect a flurry of studies recommending professional help and pharmaceutical aids to lose weight successfully. It worked with tobacco so why change a con job that brings lots of money to Big Drugs.
- April 5 -A breath of fresh air - Every day scads of health-related stories hit the newsprint and airwaves bringing the latest study to the public. These studies warn against newly-discovered risks or tout the benefits of a particular diet or a special regimen designed to promote longevity. Attentive readers and viewers over time often experience dejà vue. Haven't I heard this before, they ask themselves. Well, yes you have heard it before and sometimes you've heard some food or activity touted to the sky only to be damned later as suicidal. Wine bad, red wine good, carbs out, carbs in. What's a consumer to do?
Listen to an actual expert whose job depends on results, not deceptive hypotheses. Speaking at an American College of Sports Medicine-sponsored health and fitness summit Wendy Repovich, an exercise physiologist, spoke of the health myths that mystify the public. Eggs, for instance, got a bad reputation because researchers, aware that the yolk contains the highest amount of cholesterol of any food, transformed that fact into a panic attack that frightened people away from a food that mankind had enjoyed for thousands of years.
"Most people avoid eggs and probably if they have any kind of cardiovascular risk their physicians tell them to avoid eggs," Repovich said. "But really, there aren't a whole lot of studies that show that one or two eggs a day really make a difference to cholesterol levels."
There are, however, a passel of studies, rendered into overwrought prose by our lazy press, that imply (but never prove) that eating eggs is asking for a heart attack. The sheer number gives the accounts a patina of authority that then becomes the Truth. Years later the same grant junkies crank out "studies" that exonerate the egg and the cycle is complete and ready to begin anew at an opportune time. Critics of this process, like Repovich, have far more credibility than the study-for-hire gang that produces results that please those who fund the research. Repovich, after all, makes her living advising sports franchises on how to keep the players healthy. Better still, just follow the wisdom of "moderation in all things" and ignore the hysterics of the media.
- April 2 -Trans fat in restaurants: "at least as serious as the menace of smoking" - The rhetoric of Public Health continues to exhibit the same cookie-cutter tediousness day after day, week after week, year after year. Another day, another crisis as bad or worse than smoking!
This time it's trans-fats used in restaurants in Calgary, Canada, where the intrepid Dr. Brent Friesen, the Calgary Health Region's medical officer of health is gunning for promotion by playing the menace-of-the-moment game in the typically cynical fashion of his kind.
But with Albertans starting to wonder about virus and bacteria-laden bone chips in the instruments used for internal medical exams (see story above) his talk of high standards of restaurant hygiene ring a little hollow: "We require them to have utensils in a sanitary condition, we're talking about a similar approach to preparing food -- there are alternatives to trans fats," he blathers. Does that mean that trans fats are unsanitary now? Maybe if it's low-priority, we could get talked into the notion that unsanitary in hospitals and clinics is the "new" sanitary? See, we can do it, too - play the bad faith topsy-turvy word spin game. Are these guys actually getting MEDICAL training these days, or are they all just appalling PR flaks in white coats?
- March 9 -Would Cass Elliot have a career today?- Readers of a certain age will certainly remember Cass Elliot, the full-throated singer from the ‘60s vocal group the Mamas and the Papas ("California Dreamin", etc). The header above links with a YouTube duet between Elliot and John Denver, two now long-dead figures from what, in retrospect, seems a much gentler and humane era.
We digress. We've put the link up on FORCES not only to give our readers a break from the bad news, but to pose a question: as a fat woman, what would the wonderful Cass Elliot's chances be of having a career today? Would she be publicly harangued (as Barack Obama is over smoking) to lose weight in order to be a presentable or "suitable" performer for public consumption? Would she be told off by newspaper columnists for being a "bad role model"? Would there be discussions amongst the shriller "health advocates" about setting up government-imposed "standards" to regulate who can appear on federally-regulated airwaves on the basis of whether or not they appear "healthy"?
Anyway, for the moment, sit back and enjoy a nice moment from free 1972 …
- March 7 -Fat good, fat bad, fat happy, fat sad - So now, for about 10 seconds, let's raise concerns about whether people are getting enough fat in their diets. Yes, notwithstanding the obesity epidemic that's engulfing the world and the threat of ravaging psychological devastation posed by thin runway models, it's time to focus on whether modern low fat diets are causing infertility. According to this ONE study from the United States, ovulation-related infertility goes up by a whopping 85 per cent if a woman eats five portions weekly of low-fat foods.
Of course, it's being reported as if it were information that general readers could actually use, when it's not. One study simply does not give us anything that should be readily translated into "advice" for individuals about their specific habits and practices. But undeterred, one of the study's authors wades in to tell women what they should be eating. It's the fashionable thing to do, and the university's Public Relations office probably expects it: "Dr Chavarro said that his advice to women wanting to conceive would be to change their diet. ‘They should consider changing low-fat dairy foods for high-fat dairy foods; for instance, by swapping skimmed milk for whole milk and eating ice-cream, not low-fat yoghurt.' "
In British coverage of the same story, another health professional gives the opposite advice: "I'm not convinced that there is any reason for women who are trying to conceive to alter their diet, unless they are obese," says Dr Richard Fleming.
Two nations, two self-promoting "health experts," two quick quotes. Just another day hard day's work in the dubious business of "health promotion."
- March 9 -Champagne Charlie versus Ronald McDonald - Members of the British Royal family are not supposed to make overt political statements, but the heir to the throne has long been known for dabbling in "issues" . Maybe it's surprising that it's taken him so long to jump on the healthiest bandwagon. So now Charles has been "overheard" advocating a fast-food ban. A statement issued later assured us that the Prince "was keen to emphasise the need for children to enjoy the widest variety of food and not to eat any particular sort of food to excess." How touching and socially helpful. Never mind. How is the UK's republican movement doing these days, anyway?
- February 28 -This year, Girl Scout cookies have less trans fat - Here's Associated Press fleshing out a press release/publicity pamphlet from the Girl Scouts, acting under the assumption that this is somehow of compelling public interest. It is somewhat comforting to know that the internet, for all its faults, is offering us perspectives that can compete with the vacuity of "news" like this: "For much of the country, it's Girl Scout cookie time again. And this year, all those cookies, not just theThin Mints and a few others, will come nearly free of harmful trans fats." And, by the way, there is no scientific evidence that trans-fat is harmful - unless you believe in passive smoke!
- February 27 - Trans Fat Alternatives Also Risky - Cholesterol-raising trans fats may be disappearing from supermarket shelves and restaurants, but one type of fat taking their place may be no healthier, new research suggests.
We have trans fat, which is BAD, saturated fat, which is GOOD, and now we have interesterified fat, which we just DON'T KNOW yet. Well, hey, if we "don't know" we can use this one and sue the companies later. Please note, the "bad", "good" or "don't know" isn't the object of the discussion. The object is when it will be appropriate to start the lawsuits. Public Health is not the issue here, the money is the true subject here, as this tobacco/fat lawyer's web site clearly shows.
- February 21 - Savaging the Girl Scouts - "According to NAAO president MeMe Roth, campfires and merit badges only serve as window dressing for a baked-goods crime syndicate"
Hey, I'm just an alleged lowly "Front for Big Tobacco." Can you imagine the scorn and embarrassment of being a "Front for Big Cookies?"
What a sad - yet accurate - name for a narcissistic, self-centered, "Anti-Mentality" agenda opportunist: "MeMe Roth," president of the National Association Against Obesity (NAAO).
"Oh, look at ME!" says MeMe, "I'm ‘Saving the Children!' What a noble thing I'm doing to gut finding for kids outdoor hiking activities on nature trails so we can save them!"
Hilary Clinton - who launched the anti-obesity program Shape Up America with Dr. C. Everett Koop in December 1994 - once said it "takes a village" to raise children. MeMe and her Agenda-Afflicted cohorts would burn that village down to save it and the children who live there.
Please note that anti-obesity is modeled after anti-tobacco. The Agenda-Afflicted have "progressed" from beating up on tobacco company executives to nailing grade school girls to the agenda-hype cross-of-scorn. A better example of how far this mindlessgrifting for Robert WoodJohnson Foundation grant bucks can go.
So much for Democrats in the new 110th Congress having any pretense of honoring voters' mandate for change. It's business as usual with a particularly mean-spirited low-note in political mantras.
- February 12 -Forget Transfats! Step Away from that Copy of Seventeen Magazine!- Ronald Bailey of Reason magazine picks up on a new study which tells us that reading about diets is correlated with a higher rate of anorexia in teenage girls. Commenting on this and a Center for Science in the Public Interest call to ban food advertising to children, he comments: "Get it? Advertising makes you fat; diet information makes you anorexic," he comments. "Kind of a ‘damned if you do and damned if you don't' situation. It won't be long before the food and nutrition busybodies conclude that since information is toxic that we need to suspend the First Amendment. Of course, they'll do it "for the children."
- February 12 -The tyrannical doubletalk of the transfat bans - "Smokers have been relatively passive and have allowed the anti-smoking zealots to run roughshod over them. The question is whether those of us who wish to eat as we please will allow the food zealots to do the same. These people are cowards, and here's why: If Mayor Bloomberg and other food zealots think I'm eating too many trans fats, let them personally come and take fatty foods off my plate or remove them from my shopping cart. Since they don't have the guts to do that, they correctly deem it safer to use the brute force of the state to control what I eat."
- February 7 - One stiff study and this country boy is anybody's! - For the sake of public health, let's hope that Australian researcher Russell Keast is a bit more restrained in his personal behavior after a couple of drinks at the local pub than he is after a bracing bout of research - ‘cause after just one study published in the intriguingly named journal Appetite, he's a-lusting after prohibition!
Yep, the most objective judge of his own work - and unashamed to say so, Keast assures us that his dire findings about the demon soda pop are "absolutely conclusive" and that government should consider banning the sale of caffeinated soft drinks to under-18s.
Listen to the modesty, the restraint - after the inebriation of just one study (his own, of course):
"He said banning the drinks' sale to children under the age of 18, in the same way alcohol was banned, could be one approach for governments to explore. ‘I think if that's a regulatory approach, that sort of thing should maybe be considered. I don't know what the best options are, how you would go about such things.'"
Of course, he wouldn't know about stuff like that. Just a simple outback public health researcher on his first trip to the big, wicked city.
- January 29 - Cheese to join olive oil and raisins on British kids' TV ad ban - Cheese is junk food! That's the message from British regulators as they decide to ban its advertisement during children's viewing hours, hypothesizing a larger-than-average portion size to bolster their argument of "danger". Cheese joins a list of other advertising-banned foods which includes, incredibly, sultanas, raisins, olive oil and various nuts, as well as a variety of pre-packaged snacks.
A National Farmers' Union spokesman described the latest ruling as "mad" and "absurd", but the industry lobby is unlikely to put off the new breed of totalitarian-minded micro-managers that the Tony Blair government has unleashed under its cynical slogan of citizen health "empowerment".
- January 29 - She's fat! I hate her! - We'll let the photo speak for itself. Perhaps we're hopelessly old fashioned but the candid shot to us reveals a beautiful woman striding on a beach. Certainly we know what we'd look like if caught unawares in a Speedo on a sandy playa down under.
Her name is Tyra Banks and she used to strut the cat walks in Milan, Paris and New York. Over the hill at 33, Ms. Banks has, according to a snide report, really let herself go and now is fat, fat, fat. Ms. Banks rightly calls the gossip column that slams her girth a "strange meanness and rejoicing." We'd prefer calling it hate but what we truly don't like is how the victim of fat phobia apologizes for being less than svelte. Never agree with the haters and never apologize. Hold the mirror up to their ugly faces and let their obscene hatred speak for itself.
- January 29 - Obesity of China's kids stuns officials - For veteran observers of the Big Health politics-and-publicity machine, it sometimes seems like a Big Health Medium Term Planning Committee must crank out these headlines six-months to three years in advance, stick them in a file, then queue them up to be matched with a press release when the time is right.
Don't reporters, no matter how blasé, jaded and disempowered, ever get bored with it all?
Country by country, month after month, "officials" get regularly "stunned" by the extent of obesity in their jurisdiction, and become predictably very concerned about "An American-style obesity crisis" in their own back yard. Wouldn't it be great if some media outlet had the budget - and the will - to follow the grant-and-corruption trail we strongly suspect is a universal run-up to every "shocking" new "obesity crisis"?
By the way, the lead for this article incredibly manages to make it sound like bad new that "urban Chinese boys age 6 are 2.5 inches taller and 6.6 pounds heavier on average than Chinese city boys 30 years ago." We should hope so. Thirty years ago, the Chinese were getting by on sparse rice rations that were painstakingly calculated to provide just enough calories to maintain an individual, and nothing more. The availability of proper adequate nutrition remains an issue in some rural areas today.
As we read on, it becomes clear that the real "news" here is that many more of the Chinese people are now well-fed. And the final word is left to a Chinese parent who remembers the bad old days:
Last week at a McDonald's in Beijing, salesman Liu Guojian beamed while his daughter Xinyi, 7, ate a hamburger.
"Our daughter will definitely be taller than us. She has eaten better than my wife and I," Liu said. "When I grew up, in winter all we had to eat was cabbage."
But someone has decided that a scary "obesity" headline is the only way to spin any story that contains the word "food".
- January 25 - Salt reduction demanded - A bossy, so-called health promotion group demands that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) limit the amount of salt that can be used in meat and poultry products. In this press release dressing itself up as news, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) huffily demands that the USDA remove salt from the list of substances "generally recognized as safe." CSPI wants salt to be treated as a food additive, a typical distortion of reality that is common to health pressure groups. The CSPI, which is made up of people who haven't worked a day in a legitimate business, assures consumers that food products will be just as tasty using the amount of salt the group deems sufficient. Just as restaurant and bar owners are judged by the elite as too stupid to run their own businesses by catering to the customer base they wish to attract, often smokers, so too food purveyors are too dim to be trusted with keeping their customers happy. CSPI is happy to run other people's business without assuming any of the risk. The Center for Science in the Public Interest is supported financially by a pharmaceutical front group so this organization doesn't have to worry about where its next pay check will be coming from.
- January 17 - Monkey see, monkey do - America's role of global nanny is pre-eminent as this article from Australia makes clear. The regulators down under, or Health Police, as the headline describes them, are champing at the bit to join the health hysterics in the United States by banning trans fats. The author is firmly on board the ban wagon but doesn't have any facts to justify her position. This makes for some hilarious reading - the biggest side-splitter being her assertion that New York City is a liberal utopia - as she gamely tries to justify the state's intrusion into areas in which it has no business.
- The proof is in, so the author claims, that trans fats cause heart attacks, hypertension and stroke. Too bad thatno such proof exists, a fact that doesn't make a dent in the author's feeling that the "obesity epic [is] spanning the globe."
- While even the experts don't know how many lives will be saved once trans fats are banned, they do know exactly how many billions are spent on drugs that lower cholesterol. The implication being that no more trans fats, no more need for cholesterol-lowering drugs. Add in the savings resulting from reduced sick days, lower health costs and the reduction of health education campaigns and the public reaps an enormous dividend by eliminating trans fats from the face of the earth.
- New York's action on banning trans fats is to be emulated because it wasn't Michael Bloomberg, the anti-smoker mayor who banned trans fats but the board of health, whose decision to ban wasn't based on political considerations (!!!???)
- There is "no safe level of artificial trans fat consumption." Just like one cigarette leads to lung cancer and a whiff of tobacco smoke gives a non-smoker a heart attack.
- Banning trans fats, prohibiting smoking in restaurants and bars don't curtail civil liberties, they promote them.
The author indeed has drunk deeply from the Kool-Aid pushed by the behavior regulators. Bring on the bans! We, the great unwashed, will venerate you, our betters, for saving us from ourselves. For an antidote to such self-destructive delusion, be sure to check out the comments under this article from one reader from Canada.