So many stories, so little time to discuss every issue that they raise.
First issue is MY relationship and THE relationship between alcohol and sugar. The first time I read the Atkin’s diet book, back around 2003, I noticed that while beer had carbohydrates, clear liquors had zero. Back then I quit drinking beer and started drinking rum. After Atkins I went back to beer mostly, had a Keg Refrigerator in my basement, and drank a bunch of beer every night. I never considered myself to be alcohol dependent, but my Dad did. He was the only person who would tell me I drank too much.
Three years ago I gave up beer and alcohol altogether, and without giving up any other source of carbs I lost some weight. There is a lot of carbohydrate in good beer. I felt better and looked better. I was alcohol free for one year. At the one year anniversary I had a shot with a friend to celebrate. After that I drank occasionally from liquor that was still at the bar in my house. It was isolated instances and it was occasional.
Then, last year I went sugar-free. I went carb free, for a month. My sneak-drinking exploded. I got a bottle of vodka and I would drink every night. I discovered that when I was not having any carbohydrates at all my craving for liquor was through the roof. I was substituting one addiction for another. Addiction substitution is something covered in any book on addiction. At AA and other substance abuse groups they even encourage their members to go from drugs or alcohol to sugar. I was doing it naturally, because it was helping me to get off of carbohydrates. Now I read this:
If you are quitting something and drinking instead, or if you are quitting liquor and sweeting instead, you are not really breaking a habit, you are switching habits. I am going to try quitting both liquor and sweets now. I will be letting you know, of course, how that goes for me. Last night I went without any liquor, and ate breaded chicken, mashed potatoes and white gravy, sweet corn, and had a sugary cream soda. So, yesterday I gave up one thing, and had the other. I can certainly vouch for the news below:
Researchers at the University of California-Davis recently found that 80 percent of people report eating more sweets when they are stressed. Their new study, published in the the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, offers a possible explanation. Sugar, the researchers found, can diminish physiological responses normally produced in the brain and body during stressful situations. With stress levels on the rise, this could explain why more people are reaching for sweets.
Now for some other news and information gleaned in one day looking for nutrition news. So much to say, so little time to say it. Please click the links in blue today, so that you can see what is out there.
ADHD in children is in the news again, and this piece discusses how in the US some professions have taken to the practice of making a diagnosis based on what medicine works to make the patient feel better. Unfortunately, ADHD is one of those things. ADHD medicines are KNOWN to cause side effects, and the side effects come with their own medications to correct them. Some of the side effects to ADHD meds and it’s subsequent meds are permanent things, like nervous tics.
In the article they give a shoutout to curbing children’s nervous energy by changing their diets. I say always try this first. There are so many artificial ingredients in processed foods that are untested, and just labeled Generally Regarded as Safe by the FDA, that it is no wonder that youngsters have allergic reactions to some. If you think your child is wild, try no sugar and no processed foods for a month before you curse them with a lifetime of twitching.
This article in Salon.com is concerning the state of food safety inspections in the US. As I always say, good government costs money. Cutting the budget of food safety inspection is something that food industry doesn’t mind. Just like tax cheats love it when the IRS doesn’t have the money to audit anymore, the food factory would love to spend less money on cleaning their machinery, so that they can make more profit. Doing things right is always an option that they have, but since all the American public cares about is which product is cheaper, and since cleaning and maintenance cost money, and since the competitors are cutting corners and prices, the only choice available is to take risks. If the inspectors keep everyone honest, then no one has to cheat. It’s that simple. If you follow the rules when everyone doesn’t have to, you go broke. We need good government. The listeria outbreaks in ice cream prove it. People had to die to get this issue attention.
…much of our safety depends on trusting that the industry …will act in customers’ best interests. As Civil Eats reports, it’s typically up to producers to do their own testing, and then to notify the FDA when they detect a problem. There’s no law, meanwhile, mandating when they must issue a recall, or how many products they must pull — once a food is traced to illnesses, Morse explained, the FDA has the power to force a recall (and the company is unlikely to resist), but until then, the decision falls under more of a legal gray area. Sabra likely decided it could best protect its brand reputation by issuing a recall out of an abundance of caution — no illnesses were actually associated with the contamination — but that might be the exception instead of the rule.
Next up is an article about avocados. If you have missed the big “eat more avocados” bandwagon, well it’s too late to get on it. It turns out that all of the places that have been providing you cheap avocado are now in distress. It is a jungle plant that is grown in a desert in the US. In the jungle countries where it is grown there are growing pains. If avocados are someday six dollars each, I would be very happy. There are none grown within 500 miles of my home, which means that a one dollar avocado is taking advantage of too-cheap transportation to get to me. If they cost what they really cost the Earth by wasting so much oil to get to me, they would already be six dollars per. Eat local.
…imports, primarily from Mexico and Chile, now make up 85 percent of the avocados consumed in the U.S. year-round. But those countries have avocado issues of their own. In 1990, Chile had fewer than 8,000 acres of avocado trees; now it has more than 60,000 acres, and large avocado growers are draining the country’s groundwater and rivers faster than they can replenish themselves. In Mexico, where avocado farms are so lucrative that avocados are referred to as oro verde, or “green gold,” the problems are even more troubling. Seventy-two percent of the avocado plantations in Mexico are located in the state of Michoacán, and much of the industry there is controlled or influenced by the Caballeros Templarios drug cartel.
Then Salon had an article about the Ornish New York Times editorial. They, like Nina Teicholz take it apart bit by bit. Read it just to see how little evidence there is to shun any nutrient, except carbohydrate. If you want to live, live on delicious meats and fats. Eat vegetables and fruits, but if you eat good meats they are already eating vegetables and fruits for you. Get your veggies by eating good pork.
During the time in which the prevalence of obesity in the U.S. nearly tripled, the percentage of calories Americans consumed from protein and fat actually dropped whereas the percentage of calories Americans ingested from carbohydrates—one of the nutrient groups Ornish says we should eat more of—increased. Could it be that our attempts to reduce fat have in fact been part of the problem? Some scientists think so. “I believe the low-fat message promoted the obesity epidemic,” says Lyn Steffen, a nutritional epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. That’s in part because when we cut out fat, we began eating foods that were worse for us.
If you think that something that has “Organic” proudly displayed on it’s label, and has a price tag that is thirty or fifty percent higher than it’s non-organic neighbor is really and truly better for you, read this one. Mother Jones Online magazine describes the conditions under which organic confinement raised chickens are grown. Here is the risk of adding an animal welfare standard to the organic label standard:
And large farms often have the most to lose when higher standards are put in place. In 2012, a year after the NOSB’s recommendations, the USDA conducted an economic impact analysis of poultry raised with a range of animal welfare standards. The study found that birds with more living space (two square feet per bird) and with more consistent access to the outdoors would cause the price of organic eggs to “increase substantially” among large organic egg producers and “likely cause a substantial number of producers to exit organic production and switch to conventional production.”
Less “organic” producers would mean that all of your industrial confinement-raised chicken and eggs would be identically labeled, which would be nice, because there is, for all intents and purposes, no nutritional difference between them right now. Corn fed chicken is not as good as local chicken that eats its natural forage. It doesn’t matter if the corn was organic or not.
The FDA has finally decided to follow Canada, the European Union, and the sellers of the majority of the supplements containing the untested stimulant BMPEA. The FDA warned us back in 2013 that it was in the supplements, but at that time they said there was no evidence of danger. Over the next two years they didn’t look for any either. They waited for a foreign nation and an independent group of scientists to volunteer to do that work for them. Good job FDA. Great example of leading from behind. Good use of scarce government resources. Maybe no one died.