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