Panaceia or Hygeia

immunize yourself against the pandemic of lifestyle diseases

Posts Tagged ‘trans fat’

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:

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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.

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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"

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Child obesity and trans fat, a politically correct scapegoat

Posted by Colin Rose on March 28, 2007

Here is a classic example of politicians trying to deflect responsibility for a problem away from the average voter, whom they are loath to antagonize, to a politically powerless scapegoat. You will never hear a politician say that eating TOO MANY CALORIES because of food addiction is the cause of pandemic obesity. That would upset the whole food supply industry and rural voters whose votes are worth twice a much as city dwellers. So, politicians blame trans fat and recommend building more gyms, changes that will make ABSOLUTELY NO difference but will not injure an delicate voter sensibilities.

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Child obesity an epidemic, Ottawa told

25% OVERWEIGHT: COMMONS COMMITTEE For first time, Canada’s younger generations are expected to live shorter lives than parents

OTTAWA – More Canadian children are overweight and for the first time the country’s younger generations are expected to live shorter lives than their parents because of obesity, says a new Commons committee report made public yesterday.

Committee MPs said they were “shocked” to learn about the increase in overweight children, from 12 per cent to 18 per cent, and obese children, from three per cent to eight per cent, between 1978 and 2004.

That makes about one in four Canadian children overweight or obese.

The report said parents must be in denial, as a Canadian Medical Association survey found only nine per cent report they have a child who is at least somewhat overweight.

The health committee called yesterday for aggressive measures to halt child obesity, and said they share fears of experts that “today’s children will be the first generation for some time to have poorer health outcomes and a shorter life expectancy than their parents.”

Highlights of recommendations are a ban on trans fats as advised by a federal task force; use of a mandatory, simplified, standardized food labelling system; and designation of federal funds to build or replace aging playgrounds, sidewalks, rinks, pools and other community exercise spots across the country.

The report said most Canadian children spend too much time in front of TV and computer screens; don’t get the expert-recommended 90 minutes a day of exercise; eat too much fat and junk food; consume too many sugary drinks and don’t eat the recommended five daily servings of fruit and vegetables.

The committee also reported the “distressing” and “most alarming” number of 55 per cent of First Nations children living on reserves, and 41 per cent off reserves, are overweight or obese.

There is so much poverty among First Nation and Inuit people that many people cannot afford nutritious food, especially in remote northern communities, the report said.

And of more than 500 First Nations schools, only half have a gym.

The health committee proposed Canadians take up a national challenge to halt a 30-year rise in overweight children in just three years – by the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver. Then targets to reverse the trend could kick in.

“It is ambitious but it is doable,” committee chairperson Rob Merrifield, an Alberta Conservative MP, told a news conference.

“For the first time in recorded history, our younger generations are expected to live shorter lives than their parents due to obesity,” he said in a prepared statement.

“New and aggressive action is required to address this complex and, ultimately, very costly problem.”

The report was welcomed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, which has long warned “fat is the new tobacco,” and by the Canadian Medical Association.

Foundation chief Sally Brown said overweight children are on “a fast track” to developing hypertension, heart disease and stroke.

New Democratic Party MP Penny Priddy said by chronicling links between poverty, poor diet and lack of exercise, the report busts a myth that overweight children all sit around playing on computers and watching TV. She cited the example of children in poor families being fed Kraft Dinner instead of going to bed hungry.

Kraft Dinner is a brand of macaroni and cheese, an inexpensive food.

Expressing concern that the committee would get into trouble with the Kraft corporation, Merrifield said “I love Kraft Dinner.”

The report said on average, adolescents in Canada spend almost 35 hours a week in front of a TV or computer screen – more time than in the classroom over the course of a year. Studies had shown the less time in front of a screen and the more activity, the less weight.

The committee also postponed a decision on a possible ban on food advertising to children, saying it would assess the impact of self-regulation in Quebec, Sweden and other jurisdictions in a year before deciding on the issue.

Bloc Québécois MPs issued a dissenting report, saying the Quebec government already has a well-defined strategy to deal with juvenile obesity and that the federal government should stick to its own jurisdiction in health, which is confined to First Nations and Inuit people.

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According to studies conducted at the University of Guelph, Canadians consume an average of eight to 10 grams of trans fats per day. At 9 kcal/gm for fat, trans fat account for at most 90 kcal/day. This is the cause of the obestiy pandemic? One pound of fat is about 3500 kcal, so it would take about 40 days to gain or lose one pound of fat if one adds the trans fat or eliminates it respectively. But that trans fat is always REPLACED with another form of fat with the same calories. A gram of trans fat has the same caloric value as a gram of oil or other fat. So one has to reduce the TOTAL FAT and TOTAL CALORIE intake to make any difference.

Here is what is often used to replace trans fat. No cholesterol, no trans fat, omega-3. These slogans are now used by food manufacturers to market even more junk calories. I predict the pandemic will only worsen. Nobody wants to deal with the fundamental problem, food addiction. See my photo essay on food addiction.

Health Food in Costco

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