Panaceia or Hygeia

immunize yourself against the pandemic of lifestyle diseases

Posts Tagged ‘fat’

You can say no

Posted by Colin Rose on October 27, 2009

A great book, but Kessler calls everything that can be digested “food”. Artificial concoctions formulated to appeal to addictions to sugar, fat and salt are junk food and have no more reason for existence than cocaine or tobacco. It is impossible to eat too much of unrefined cereals, vegetables, fruit, legumes, low-fat dairy products or lean meat with no added butter, margarine or oil.

National Post
27 Oct 2009

To understand how eating promotes more eating, we must first understand the concept of “palatability” as the term is used scientifically. In everyday language, we call food palatable if it has an agreeable taste. But when scientists say a food is…read more…

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‘The Heart Truth’ for both men and women

Posted by Colin Rose on February 26, 2009

Unilever, the maker of Becel margarine, would like us to believe that Becel is a health food; the more you eat the better. To that end Unilever contributes $millions to various cardiovascular and dietetic organization who reciprocate by putting the Becel logo on their literature and web sites.

There is no such thing as a healthy refined fat. Both margarine and butter are junk food, naked calories. Besides, pure fat is tasteless. The taste in butter and margarine comes only from their salt content. Obesity is the major nutritional problem and refined fats (butter, margarine or oil)are the most concentrated form of calories and should have no place in a healthy diet.

The Heart Truth’ for both men and women
Margaret McKellar, brand manager, Becel.
National Post
26 Feb 2009

Re: Barbara Kay, Apparently Men No Longer Have Heart Disease Or Strokes: That’s The Message From Becel Margarine And The Heart And Stroke Foundation, Feb. 16. I have had personal experience in dealing with loss due to heart disease and stroke. My…read more…



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French fries healthy – no cholesterol

Posted by Colin Rose on August 8, 2008

La Presse reports the latest example of profiting from the cholesterol myth, this time from a restaurant chain famous for its poutine.

Photo by Matt Saunders. A typical plate of Montreal poutine. Can you see the fries buried under the cheese and gravy?

This sign has been seen in many Lafleur outlets in the last few months.

For those who need help with the French, here is a rough translation:


Our fries – an exceptional product

Produced in Quebec, potatoes, whole and fresh

A nutritious and energizing food, an exceptional vegetable, a healthy choice

More iron than a bowl of spinach,

Two times more potassium than a banana,

More fibre than a bowl of oatmeal

As much protein as half a glass of milk

Less calories than a bowl of rice.

Low in fat and salt and with a high concentration of Vitamin C and cooked in canola oil

Canola oil contains a larger amount of good fat than other popular vegetable oils like olive oil.

A source of omega 3 and omega 6 essential for good nutrition and a healthy diet without cholesterol and trans fat.


Let’s dissect this diatribe. We would agree that potatoes with the skin, baked or boiled, are nutritious but not particularly exceptional. They certainly don’t deserve the trashing they have gotten from the likes of nutritional morons like Montignac, Atkins or Taube who believe that calories from carbohydrates are poison and that calories from fat or protein are the only good calories. They ignore the fact that one’s brain needs 400 kcal (100 gm) of glucose per day.

Potatoes many contain more iron than a bowl of spinach but have more calories for the same amount of iron. One certainly wouldn’t want to attempt to supply one’s requirement for iron by eating potatoes.

We won’t argue about potassium but one doesn’t put salt on bananas and most servings of French fries, alone or in poutine would come with a lot of salt which tends to negate the benefits of potassium.

The protein in potatoes is not a complete protein, like in animal products, and one wouldn’t want to rely only on potatoes for one’s protein requirement.

One French fry may have less calories than a bowl of rice but a bowl of French fries has a lot more than a bowl of rice.  

Potatoes have very little fat but, when French fried, have a huge amount of fat. There is no such thing as “good” fat. All fat has the same calories, 9 kcal per tablespoon, the most concentrated form of calories. Now there are differences in the fatty acid composition of refined oils from various sources but there are no controlled trials showing these variations have any effect on prevention or treatment of any disease. High profit olive oil and canola oil are “good” because those selling them say they are good.

There are lots of other sources of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. No need to eat French fries.

No vegetable food ever contained cholesterol but so what? Dietary cholesterol is not a problem. But the cholesterol myth has been so well implanted by the drug dealers that grease peddlers, like Lafleur, can use it to sell their junk. I hope Lafleur is paying royalties to Pfizer on every plate of poutine it serves. On the other hand, maybe Pfizer is paying Lafleur and its ilk to flog poutine so that people get obese and get “dyslipidemia” and Pfizer can sell more Lipitor to treat the “dyslipidemia”.

Trans fat is the current politically correct explanation for all the ills of Western civilization including child obesity. It like all kinds of refined fat is totally useless empty calories but there is no evidence that it killed any more people than any other kind of refined fat.

Most importantly, what is nowhere mentioned in the nutritional deception is that the vast majority of the French fries will be served at Lafleur as poutine in which the potatoes become a minor ingredient in the great globs of gravy and high-fat cheese. So Lafleur is really trying to sell more poutine by vastly exaggerating the importance of its only potentially healthy ingredient.

Legal Addictions

The appearance of a typical eater of poutine and a good candidate for a trial of a statin for "treating dyslipidemia"

Posted in cholesterol, diet | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

DIRECT. More obese liars.

Posted by Colin Rose on July 16, 2008

We have already commented on a similar diet study, A to Z. Again with DIRECT (DIetary RandomizEd Controlled Trial) we have another attempt to prove the Atkins diet is better but is really another demonstration of lying by most overweight and obese people. Any study on diet and energy balance that cannot first demonstrate that the First Law of Thermodynamics is obeyed from self-reported data is totally unreliable and unreproducible and should never be published.

While the data as presented are hard to interpret in terms of detailed energy balance because daily energy intake and expenditure is not reported, as it should have been, the subjects claimed to be doing more exercise and eating less but only lost 10 pounds in two years. The prescribed diets contained 1800kcal for men and 1500kcal for women. These values are close to the basal metabolic rates of these mostly obese people. They should have lost weight continuously and markedly during the trial. Let’s see how much they should have lost if they were reporting accurately. They claimed to be eating about 500 kcal less than baseline per day on all diets. Even doing the same amount of exercise they should have lost about a pound per week (one pound of fat is about 3500 kcal) or about 50 pounds per year or 100 pounds in 2 years. Since they claimed to be doing more exercise they should have lost even more. If they had been telling the truth, most participants should have starved to death well before the end of the study! Ergo, most overweight and obese people lie about food intake and exercise; they tell investigators what the investigators want to hear.

Obesity is and always has been caused by junk food addiction. Until we deal with that, the pandemic of obesity and its terrible consequences will only worsen. Unlike most infectious diseases, there is no vaccine against  addictions. We all must make the right choices as to what we put into our bodies. In developed capitalist democracies resisting the self-destructive temptation to consume all manner of cheap addictive substances or to adopt addictive behaviours readily supplied by highly profitable enterprises is the hardest task we have. And how to deal with it is not taught in medical school.


That obese people lie about food intake was proven beyond doubt by a study using doubly-labeled water to measure true energy expenditure. About 65% of these subjects were overweight or obese. They claimed to be eating only about 1500 kcal/day, about 40% less than they actually ate, but were burning 2500. So, they should have had a deficit of 1000 kcal/day and be losing weight dramatically but their weights were stable. Ergo they were “misreporting”, a euphemism for lying.


Disney World

Is she on a low-fat or low-carb diet?

Posted in diet, obesity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments »

The farm vote is more important than health and the environment

Posted by Colin Rose on May 4, 2007

In spite of all the breast-beating from politicians about the need to stem the obesity pandemic and clean up the environment, when it comes to keeping the farm vote obesity and the “environment” disappear from the radar screen.

Whey is about as ideal a food as can be found except for the lactose intolerant. Very nutrient dense, low fat and cheap. But dairy farmers need to sell butter fat because they are paid by the total amount of solids in the milk and fat is a large component of milk solids. Due to the apportionment of ridings, a rural vote is worth twice an urban vote. Also, the majority of Canadian dairy farmers are in Quebec and the minority Conservative government is desperate to increase its members from this crucial Province.

The sole goal of a democratic government is to get re-elected. So, politicians will do anything to keep the farm vote, including ignoring threats to the survival of our species, let alone a lot of other species.

Here are two reports on this exercise in raw politics from both of Canada’s national newpapers.


Government’s cheese plan stinks


New laws would favour dairy industry over good health


National Post


Recent initiatives by Health Canada might have you believing that the Canadian government is looking out for our health. But appearances can be deceiving. While Ottawa is offering up recommendations along with resources on healthy eating, they’re also readying to slash the availability of some of our more nutritious and tasty food choices, namely lower-fat cheeses.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has been trying, very quietly, to bring in legislation that would change the rules of how cheese sold in this country can be made. And it’s a push that could significantly undermine our ability to implement the government’s own healthy eating recommendations.

The availability of lower-fat cheeses makes meeting the required number of servings from the milk and alternatives group an easier task. Besides offering protection against high blood pressure and osteoporosis, their lesser quantities of saturated fat also impact the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Saturated fat is not just a culprit in boosting blood cholesterol readings but has also been linked to a decrease in insulin sensitivity — the first step towards developing type 2 diabetes.

Currently in the making of lower-fat cheeses, processors can decrease the fat content in their products but, to make their cheeses more palatable, add milk components like milk solids and whey. The added protein from the whey affects the mouthfeel of cheeses, making them taste like higher-fat products.

But if the CFIA has its way, many of the lower-fat cheeses now available would be illegal because of the added whey.

Using whey makes cheesemaking more economicaland leads to better prices for consumers. Incorporating it to make lower-fat cheese also lessens the impact of any waste products from cheesemaking on the environment. At the same time, most people would not be interested in eating lower-fat cheese. Anyone who remembers the taste and texture of the first versions of low-fat cheese understands this.

So why is the CFIA proposing these new regulations? While the agency’s mandate is to “protect Canadians from preventable health risks,” the CFIA is not under the jurisdiction of Health Canada. The agency, in fact, reports to the Minister of Agriculture, and the minister may be making dairy farmers very happy with these proposals. The CFIA is proposing a maximum ratio of two proteins found in milk — whey and casein. Limiting whey would force cheese makers to use more fluid milk — and therefore more money for dairy farmers.

But it would potentially be at the expense of the health of Canadians.

Health Canada has started to take a more active stand on a variety of nutrition issues as of late and, through its new food guide, recommends we look for “reduced fat or lower fat cheeses. Lower fat cheeses generally have less than 20% milk fat (M.F.).”

When told that there could be a problem with the availability of lower-fat cheeses, Health Minister Tony Clement stated, “I’d be concerned about that.”

It appears, though, that on this issue Health Canada has been asleep at the wheel. Renée Bergeron, a Health Canada spokesperson stated, “Based on our initial review, Health Canada considers that the proposed changes to cheese standards would not be expected to compromise the nutritional quality of cheeses and cheese products. However, we will continue to work with CFIA on this file as comments are received as part of the consultation for the regulatory process.”

Initial review? These proposals were announced in February. And it seems that the CFIA didn’t notify or invite comments from wellknown health advocacy groups that might have had some interest in the proposed legislation. When members of the Dietitians of Canada asked their association to respond to the CFIA about their concerns, the organization was denied an extension to provide their comments.

The cheesemaking industry is also up in arms. The Dairy Processors Association of Canada (DPAC/ATLC), Canada’s nationalassociation representing the public policy and regulatory interests of the Canadian dairy processing industry, has asked for an immediate halt to the process. In a news release in May, the association stated that these new regulations on cheese could result in $1.5-billion impact on Canadian consumers, trade and the economy. Prices for all cheeses would increase substantially. And many imported cheeses would not meet the new criteria.

Health Canada’s Bergeron also stated: “For information about work being done by industry on the development of innovative low-fat cheeses, Health Canada suggests that you contact Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada or the CFIA.”

But has anyone asked the industry about its advancements in the production of low-fat cheeses? According to Don Jarvis, president and CEO of the Dairy Processors Association of Canada, there have been a number of innovations that the cheese industry has developed over the past decade to produce healthier options — it’s these new techniques that the CFIA is attempting to stamp out.

We’re finally making headway in combining taste and good nutrition, so why does the government want us to take a step backwards?

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto based consulting dietitian in private practice and is author of The Enlightened Eater’s Whole Foods Guide: Harvest the Power of Phyto Foods (Viking Canada).



Mr. Strahl, it’s not the Canadian whey

OTTAWA — Like Little Miss Muffet, Canadians have been consuming their curds and whey – and helping the environment at the same time. By choosing “light” cheeses at the supermarket, products that recycle whey, Canadians have exponentially increased the country’s consumption of a waste product traditionally bereft of commercial uses. Since residual whey is a significant industrial pollutant, this marketplace adaptation has produced a fine symbiotic relationship. Fewer calories for people. Less wastes for industry.

In this allegorical construct, the next character we encounter should be the Spider. Enter Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl as Spiderman. When Mr. Strahl addressed a convention of dairy farmers in February, he announced that he had directed federal food regulators “to launch a regulatory process related to the compositional standards for cheese.” He had taken this action, he said, “to protect consumer interests and to promote choice in the marketplace.”

The federal guardian of supply-management farming had come to help Canadian consumers? This was more ominous than it sounded. Run, Miss Muffet. Run.

As subsequently translated, Mr. Stahl’s announcement meant that the government proposed to compel Canadian food processors to use more “full-fat” milk to make “light” cheese, prohibiting the use of recycled whey in some instances, restricting it in others. As you might suspect, however, the actual work was already well advanced. The regulations will require, for example, that mozzarella contain 63 per cent full-fat milk, that cheddar cheese contain 83 per cent full-fat milk, that “fine cheeses” contain 98 per cent full-fat milk.

In many cases, these requirements will prevent the recycling of whey from byproduct into buy-product. Even as Health Canada advises Canadians to consume more “light,” low-fat foods, Agriculture Canada will make it more difficult to do so.

We’re talking huge quantities of whey. Every pound of cheese produces nine pounds of whey – and Canadian cheese makers last year produced 350,000 tons of cheese. The Dairy Processors Association of Canada, representing companies that turn raw milk into products worth more than $10-billion a year, says Mr. Strahl’s restrictions will put 300 million litres of whey back into the environment for disposal. “Environmental regulations,” the association says, “make this disposition almost impossible and very costly.”

Whey is the liquid that remains after the removal of fat from whole milk. It’s rich in minerals and carbohydrates. Farmers used to feed it to pigs. Rural cheese factories used to dump it into rivers and streams. In the past few years, technology has produced a few commercial uses, notably in processed cheeses where it keeps cheese moist. It can be dried into a powder and used to bind fat and water in canned meats and sausages. It can be converted into alcohol – where it has found its way into Baileys Irish Cream. Theoretically, it can be made into ethanol.

The environmental problem is that whey has extremely high BOD, or biological oxygen demand. BOD measures the biologically degradable substances in sewage.

These substances are broken down by micro-organisms that consume oxygen. You can’t dump whey into a river or a lake because these micro-organisms will consume the oxygen and kill the waterway. You can’t dump it into conventional sewage systems because these micro-organisms cling together and clog the pipes. This has been known for ages. One old text advised farmers: “It is a cardinal rule that no milk product ever be dumped into a stream or a sewage system.”

Whey’s BOD can be expressed as 40,000 parts per million. By comparison, the BOD of cream (with 40 per cent butterfat) is 400,000 parts per million; the BOD of skim milk is 70,000 parts per million. The BOD of human waste is 200 parts per million. Try as you can, you can’t avoid a final unpleasant comparison.

BOD comprises 3.5 per cent of whey. Multiply 300 million litres a year of surplus whey by 3.5 per cent. You get 10.5 million litres of BOD – precisely equal to the human waste of 4.5 million Canadians. Run, Miss Muffet. Run.

The Dairy Producers Association of Canada says 30 per cent of the cheese currently imported into the country (value: $100-million) will not comply with the impending rules. Cheddar cheese from the village of Cheddar in Britain’s Somerset County won’t meet the federal government’s butterfat-based definition of “cheddar.” It says the high cost of milk will force food processors to substitute vegetable oils for butterfat – further hurting the dairy farmers Mr. Strahl wants to help.

The moral of this fable? Don’t trust Chuck Strahl with your cheese. You’ll pay more for your curds. You’ll lose your whey – and your tuffet, too.

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