Category Archives: Big Food

At Least Fish Sticks are Honest

fish sticks

So it seems there’s a fish conspiracy going on. A recent study revealed up to 1/3 of fish sold is deliberately mislabeled.  Meaning your favorite filet of grouper is potentially something called asian pangasius, or ponga.

And, apparently, if you purchase red snapper, there’s a 94% chance you’ve been fooled.  And charged a premium for your naivete.  A few other findings, as reported by Forbes:

  • More than half (59%) of the 46 fish types tested had mislabeling.
  • 84% of white tuna samples were actually escolar, “a species that can cause serious digestive issues for some individuals who eat more than a few ounces.”
  • Fish on the FDA’s “DO NOT EAT” list for sensitive groups such as pregnant women and children because of their high mercury content were sold to customers who had ordered safer fish.

It all makes frozen fish sticks seem more reputable.  At least they recognize what they’re pushing can only be generally described as “fish”.  Someday that may be the best we can get.


Fat Mouse Pushes Organic Farming Agenda

Courtesy New York Times

Courtesy New York Times

The mice pictured above have the same diet.  EXACTLY the same.  And they performed the same amount of activity.  A lab mouse is easy to manipulate that way.

So, why is one mouse obese? Perhaps it’s a gland problem.  Or maybe our fat mouse is cursed with a slow metabolism.

Fortunately, this being a lab experiment, we know exactly what has led fat mouse to gain weight.  And, presumably, a searing jealously of the skinny mouse.  Our fat mouse was been exposed to an “obesogen”.

An obesogen is a chemical that causes our bodies to retain fat at an inordinate rate.  Unfortunately, they aren’t only found in labs.  We humans are essentially covered in them.

Obesogens, a term first coined by biologist Bruce Blumberg, can be found in plastics, furniture, machine reciepts, and, oh yeah, our food.

It seems a lot of the pesticides and herbicides used in industrial farming can have the endocrine-disruptive behavior of an obesogen.  Another reason emerges to eat organic as much as feasible.

Obesogens aren’t the main cause of America’s obesity epidemic, the easily accessible abundance of processed junk food still holds that title. But ongoing studies like the one performed on our two mice are revealing our chemically enhanced environment is doing us no favors.


McDonald’s and the Olympics

Ah, the Olympics.  A 17 day demonstration of what human bodies are capable of when pushed to the limit.  The payoff from the sacrifices these athletes have made is a remarkable thing to witness.

The Olympics also means Big Macs, Happy Meals, french fries, and Coca-Cola.  Not exactly the type of fuel high performing bodies need.

Nevertheless, you’ll see numerous advertisements for McDonald’s and Coca-cola in the commercial breaks.  Two companies whose products contribute to the obesity epidemic in the breaks between acts of physical perfection.

There’s no need to get on a soapbox. The juxtaposition of these two extremes is argument enough.  The real point to underscore comes this quote from IOC president Jacques Rogge:

“The bottom line is that we have to support and alleviate the needs of…our national Olympic committees and international federations.  Most international federations are on a lifeline for the Olympic Games and they need the financial support…otherwise they would be in trouble.”

Translation:  We don’t really want unhealthy food advertised so prominently during the Olympics, but well, we need the money.

I’m not lamenting.  Just reminding.  It’s the money.  It’s why pizza is a vegetable in schools, produce is pesticide laden, and livestock are fed antibiotics.  It’s always the money.

But don’t fret.  We’ve got a really good women’s gymnastics team…

The Truth about High Fructose Corn Syrup

It’s time to give the definitive word (mine at least) on High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).  Let’s make this quick and straightforward with 3 simple statements.

1)  There is some debate, but generally speaking HFCS is no worse for our body than regular sugar.

2)  HFCS is made from corn.  Due to farm subsidies, we have lots and lots of corn.

3)  Since we have so much corn, HFCS is cheap. Making it an ideal ingredient for Big Food processors.

Don’t be fooled.  By marketing tactics touting a product made with “real sugar”.  It doesn’t matter if it’s HFCS or cane sugar, if you consume too much you’ll gain weight and increase your risk for developing diabetes.

You’re now a little wiser.  Spread the word.

Life, Diet, and Taxes: 4 Rules for Eating Right

A new report says most Americans  believe income taxes are easier to understand than deciphering nutrition advice.  That’s startling. But with dietary advice coming from all sides, ultimately an understandable finding.

But it doesn’t have to be complicated.  In fact, I’ve found nutrition is rather straightforward if you follow four simple rules.  Less is more, especially for a simpleton like me.

#1 Calories count, kinda.  Calorie count is the single number to use for a quick way to judge a food’s healthfulness.  But, the makeup of those calories can change everything.  Junk food calories are worse than vegetable calories.

Simply put:  It’s better to eat a 150 calorie apple than a 100 calorie Oreo snack pack.

#2 Healthier doesn’t mean healthy.  Baked Lays are better than regular Lays.  A little bit.  Both are processed potato based snacks.  Eating a little better can help, but if everything you eat is a little better than junk, you’re still eating junk.

#3 Big Food is a used car salesman.  They want you to buy their product.  And they know you care about eating healthy.  So they plaster whatever claims they can on their package to make you think it’s good for you.  It’s not.  Be wary of advice from someone who only wants your money.

#4 There are no gimmicks.  We know how our bodies respond to food.  Vegetables good.  Cookies bad. There will be no miracle breakthrough diet. Won’t happen.  Stop waiting for it.  And disregard anyone who says otherwise.