This is really, really bad news.
At the same time abandoning palm oil is both extremely impractical and causes numerous other sustainability problems. Palm oil has incredibly high yields per hectare when compared with other oil crops, which is important to consider when discussing it's 'sustainability'. It's yeilds are something like 3-5 tons per hectare per year, while soy/sunflower/others are less than 1 ton/ha/yr. Not to mention the human impact, it's a cash crop for many small holders who's livelihood depends on it. For these reasons, even very vocal environmental organizations like GreenPeace stop short of calling for boycotts... the focus needs to be on producing it sustainably.
Consumers need to demand that the palm oil in their products is sustainably produced e.g. via the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) or otherwise. Unfortunately even knowing if palm oil is in your product or not has been difficult, and even brands who use sustainably produced palm oil are hesitant to draw attention to the the oil in their products.
I've worked closely with this program on technical projects, and while it certainly has a number of flaws, the accountably is much higher than for conventional palm oil. I'm really hopeful that research into other methods (Algae oil production) will be more economical/efficient/sustainable, but at the moment it's still theoretical. :(
I'm wondering who the key players are, what is currently being done, whether there's opportunity for public pressure to influence any of the actors, etc.
I'm sure they have a much better assessment than I could ever make of the worst performers, the biggest players, and the key organizations to target to bring change. Not to mention that if they have campaigns running/planned it would be nice to coordinate with what it sounds like your organization is doing. Annisa Rahmawati (@AnisaHijauDamai) was representing them at this years RSPO european roundtable two weeks ago.
The WWF is also very involved with the RSPO and Palm Oil. Good luck!
I'm not arguing for or against palm oil. I know virtually nothing about palm oil; I'm simply criticizing the source.
Many are specifically worried about palm production because a lot of the areas that are being deforested are also peatlands. They burn the entire area which doesn't just burn the trees, but also a huge amount of peat. This releases a crazy amount of CO2.
You could argue that it isn't palm production's fault and that they shouldn't be burning those areas. As long as it is profitable it will continue though.
Not to suggest that palm oil is a "great thing"; I'm generalizing my counter to the source's argumentative approach.
I guess I am not really arguing against you. I am just emphasizing that there could be severe future consequences for increasing palm oil demand specifically.
I don't think there are any easy answers here.
Yes, all kinds of things are illegal or banned because people will choose to do the wrong thing before the right thing.
There is stil some forest left for orangutans and other endangered species, but it is under constant pressure from expanding plantations.
Can the oils that we're currently hydrogenating be used for biofuel production?
Keeping something that hurts people legal because another country is destroying forests is not a workable plan. Indonesia needs to be dealt with separate from the issue of trans fats.
The people leading the charge on this are the primary reason why we went to trans fats in the first place!
We start from a position of ignorance, and we incrementally gain new pieces of knowledge. Years ago, we learned about the health risks of saturated fats and moved away from them. More recently, we learned about the risks of trans fats and are now moving away from them. The people at the Center for whatever are updating their position based on the latest findings rather than sticking to outdated facts that have been disproven. I wish more policy-makers would do that.
Our knowledge and understanding of the totality of nutrition and health is still pretty small, in part because there are lots of interacting components and because many aspects of nutrition are correlated with ethnicity and lifestyle. Nonetheless, it has been demonstrated that trans fats are bad for your health, independent of other factors. We shouldn't keep consuming them just because science didn't manage to uncover this fact until recently.
The problem is that various sciences have very different requirements for what constitutes a valid 'discovery'. e.g. In particle physics if you don't have a 5 sigma result you haven't really found something. You often see incredibly weak data accepted into journals in the soft sciences, see the recent 'chocolate makes you thin' faux study as an example.
I think there is a large problem in soft sciences in that they are very quick to declare knowledge with very limited data supporting it. The various dietary sciences are probably the worst offenders at the moment. As you've said we know very little about nutrition and health, so why are we so quick to make definitive statements about it? That sounds like the opposite of science to me.
I'm sure this will be controversial but I'd rather not classify such 'soft sciences' as science at all. I've seen several complete reversals in soft sciences in my life and think that this actually contributes to the general public's mis-understanding and mis-trust of science as a whole. e.g. "Those scientists can't even figure out what I'm supposed to eat so why would I believe this quantum physics non-sense!"
A fundamental tennent of all heath care/policy is "first, do no harm." If you change or do nothing, people are no worse off than they were to begin with. If you want to change something, you better be damn sure you aren't making matters worse.
Ideally: if it's meat then non-intensive because that means less chemicals injected into the animals; if fruit and vegetables then try to source from farms that put an emphasis on re-mineralising their soils - they are less likely to rely on chemicals combined with genetically engineered varieties.
Essentially, buy food that makes the food industry as little profit as possible. The sort of food that would never be advertised on TV. The sort of food that costs a lot to produce, doesn't last long and lacks fancy packaging.
I don't know how you could possibly resolve these issues - all our food is genetically engineered, and all of it contains chemicals.
There's some subjectivity as far as "processing" goes. Olive oil is processed mechanically, canola oil is processed chemically, so that's a pretty wide gap that people might fight over. But partial hydrogenation? Seriously?
Partially hydrogenated oils do not exist in nature
That aside, I'm still not sure your classification for "processed" or "natural" makes sense. The key step in partial hydrogenation is mixing hydrogen with the oil,  while a step in canola refining is mixing hexane with the oil.  How does your naturalness heuristic tell us one is ok and one not?
 Which makes it surprising that this would create trans double bonds, since the effect is to reduce the number of double bonds. The problem is that with all that hydrogen available some bonds flip from cis to trans.
 As you alluded to by saying "processed chemically".
I just don't think any classification could categorize partially hydrogenated oils as "natural" without rendering the term entirely meaningless. Because of what we do to make them, because of their effect on the body, or because of how they differ chemically from more "natural" stuff: take your pick. The point being, eating "naturally" might be a slippery concept but a lot of what we're talking about here can be safely excluded by anyone shooting for that "natural" goal.
Food threads on HN are dumb enough that I'm going to leave it at that. The parent comment has already been downvoted multiple times for some reason...
But implying that something that is natural (ie, not borne of human activity, per your usage) is by definition good is fallacy. Remember that Socrates (among other enemies of the Athenian state) died after drinking an infusion of hemlock.
It took me 15 seconds to find a dictionary entry with seven different definitions for the word. But thank you for your valuable contribution.
> But implying that something that is natural (ie, not borne of human activity, per your usage) is by definition good is fallacy.
But as a heuristic it's probably not terrible. The paleo diet people have some strange ideas but the diet itself is really not bad. Veganism as a heart healthy diet is playing out well for a lot of people. And so on.
There is very little evidence to prove saturated fats are bad, but plenty to prove sugar is. Yet you don't see the policy makers telling us to eat less corn.
Also trans-fats (the ones that are bad) do not occur in nature which seems to be of the best predictors of whether something is net-good for you or not.
"Years ago, we learned about the health risks of saturated fats and moved away from them."
Yes, we "learned" about a lot of things over the years, and vilified the product to the point of absurdity. 'I can smell my neighbor's cigarette smoke--I will get cancer, or COPD?'. My cholesterol is high--I must take statins?.' 'I think I'm depressed--I must get a prescription of a hetero, or tri-cyclic antidepressant?' 'I'm a vegetarian; I must be healthy? Give me a wheel of that blue cheese, I hear it has penicillin in it, and I can eat it because I don't eat red meat!'
I don't know where the truth lies, and follow most recommendations, and trans fats are probally terrible; I just question these scientific, peer reviewed, doulble blind studies. I don't just call it Science anymore, and they know best. I look at all these studies with an air of skepticism that wasn't in me when I got out of college.
When a doctor, or nutritionist relays some information; I do my homework before accepting the advise as a universal truth.
Sadly, we did not as the health risks from saturated fats were incorrect, based on absolutely terrible science. The unprecedented public health initiative that resulted in everyone moving away from saturated fats (and the fat scare in general) did substantial harm to public health.
People and organizations are seen as more reliable if they don't waver in spite of facts. Is it hardware, or software? Can we learn to favor those who update their decisions based on validated facts, or is it hardwired in how our brains perceive confidence and reliability?
The outlets that want to say that aren't scientific outlets, they are popular media outlets and the marketing arms of entities selling diet fads and/or substituted products.
I doubt it's 'usual'. It's just more obvious and widely publicised (often for political reasons from people who don't want any regulation at all). There are plenty of times when the initial position was right and doesn't get changed.
> Our knowledge and understanding of the totality of nutrition and health is still pretty small...
Making policies based on ignorance without acknowledging that ignorance in the slightest is not science, it's politics. Instead of saying "we don't really know anything about this topic" they lobby the FDA to make policies -
As such I wouldn't say they are doing unadultered, capital S, Science. They are, after all, politicians by the sheer circumstance of their own name.
Why should I take the new rules seriously when the old rules were so, so very wrong?
I do not have an unmeetable standard... a clear, direct apology explicitly stating that the previous standard was the result of bad process, combined with clear statements of what is being done to improve the process and ensure this doesn't happen again would be fine.
In the meantime, though, I will not permit these people to just sort of tip-toe away from what they have (collectively) done to us, nor am I particularly impressed by efforts to change the consensus at a speed that to my eyes appears carefully calculated to ensure that nobody ever actually has to apologize, or even admit that they were wrong. In other words, at a speed that clearly indicates they're perfectly fine with millions more dying of preventable diseases rather than admit clearly that they were wrong.
Unsurprisingly, I'm not inclined to account that as "virtue", nor to pay very much attention to what they have to say now. If you care about your health, ignore the government standards and do the research to build your own consensus based on the latest science coming out, which is in ever-greater dissonance with the decades-old "official" consensus. Don't wait for our political leadership to calculate how they can move without ever having to admit fault!
(Yeah, I'm pissed about this. If the nutritional consensus forced on us for decades really is wrong and really is, as I rather suspect, the primary cause of the obesity epidemic, this is, fully literally, Nazi-scale evil unleashed on the world. Millions of lives cut short, millions upon millions more with their quality-of-life trashed. I can personally name names for both those categories; the latter category includes damned near my entire immediate family, and they're working pretty hard on getting moved into the first one, and I simply can't convince them of the real problems with the entire authority system for their entire lives telling them something else. It would put the US government right up there on the 20th century death toll list... and that is a hard list to get on to because the competition is quite stiff! Every day they dither around trying to figure out how not to have to admit fault is that much worse.)
There is a very good case to be made that the science never supported what we were told, and that it was sourced in naked political power plays. When, of course, the consensus was still the Standard Consensus, that was not an argument that the body politic could hear, but as it becomes increasingly clear that the Standard Consensus was in fact wrong , it becomes an increasingly important book.
Nutrition is hard, and we'll be studying it for decades more. But it is not so hard that it was simply expect that we should be this fundamentally wrong, and more importantly, this wrong for this long. This took effort, and if we refuse to study what happened, we'll learn nothing from it. If indeed it the standard consensus is wrong, the signal telling us it was wrong was STAGGERINGLY ENORMOUS. We call it the "obesity epidemic". The only comparably sized epidemiological signal that comes to mind is the one that said "Lead is bad to put in the air." Those who ignored it are the ones who owe us apologies.
If you're even beginning to suspect that the standard consensus is wrong, I highly recommend getting yourself a copy and reading it. The science is a bit outdated now... the history, as is the nature of history, is not.
: I phrase it that way because I'm still hedged a bit on my bets, though "The standard consensus was very wrong" is getting pretty high on my Bayes-O-Meter, even as I'm not really bought in to any of its replacements yet.
I suppose it's worth pointing out that in previous HN discussions on these sorts of topics I've always been a bit more circumspect; my Bayes-O-Meter was merely in the "highly suspicious" range. But with the announcement from the government that they are actively reversing something previously issues forth as "truth", I've finally tipped over in outright ideologue on the topic. For the record, this is actually a considered decision, not brute emotionality or fad-following. It is also, for what it's worth, the exact reaction that I'm accusing these people of trying to avoid. They are trying to avoid exactly the anger I'm expressing here from becoming widespread, but if I'm correct, the anger would be fully justified, and the only honorable thing for them to do is to go ahead and incur the anger instead of holding us back. As you can see, I'm still hedging a bit with conditional phrases, but at this point I'm having an increasingly difficult time imagining that we're suddenly going to get a spate of (honest) studies re-confirming the standard consensus.
And to be clear... I'm not asking for them to be right. That would be an unfairly large request. I'm asking for them to stop being so aggressively wrong.
EDIT: I appreciate the responses, but does anyone have a credible source? Amid criticism that what people have read has turned out untrue, let's be careful not to perpetuate the problem with more rumors.
They demonized saturated fat and pushed a switch to partially hydrogenated vegetable oils which had trans-fat. Now we say trans fat is so unhealthy that it should be banned. So a significant number of people got exposed to trans-fat due to their policy demands.
* I don't put much faith in Wikipedia, but the linked article says CSPI has been consistent for 20 years: From the mid-1990s onward, however, CSPI identified trans fats as the greater public health danger. ... In response, three trade groups - the National Restaurant Association, the National Association of Margarine Manufacturers and the Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils - "said the evidence [on trans fat] was contradictory and inconclusive, and accused [CSPI] of jumping to a premature conclusion"
* Saturated fat is bad for you, as far as I know.
The article linked to is very interesting and names CSPI (as pkaye linked to) as well as the National Heart Savers Association (NHSA).
That said I'm all for going back to good old fashioned, exists in nature and is yummy saturated fat. Bring back the beef tallow french fries McDonalds! in ten years the FDA will say it's good for us!
You and I and anyone else with tastebuds will appreciate it, but I pity the vegans. Fast food will be completely off-limits.
It is likely that the only markets in which McDonald's would make more than a token effort to serve vegetarians would be India and select parts of California.
Aside from that, I wonder why a vegan would be considering fast food anyway. If you take more than a cursory glance at how such restaurants get their vegetable ingredients, you would see quite a lot of animal cruelty in the form of the institutional working environment for agricultural laborers. The 2001 Yum! Brands boycott, precipitated by tomato pickers in Florida, comes to mind.
I pity the vegans because they voluntarily choose a form of asceticism, and are not likely to get any compensatory benefit for doing so. They choose to make their own lives more difficult, just like people who play games with unofficial voluntary conduct challenges. I'm not going to fault them for doing it, but I'm also not going to change my personal opinion that they are at some level just spoiling their own fun just for a few extra millimeters of e-peen.
can you tell me what that means? i honestly can't tell.
I think they're honestly trying to be better people. And in trying, they become happier with themselves.
But I also think that what they do does not actually make them objectively better, because I have different moral standards than they have.
As a result, the self-satisfaction vegans achieve by adhering to their standard of conduct sounds very much like someone telling me about how they caught all the Pokemon. They may be very proud of their accomplishment, but any interest I show is feigned, purely to spare the other person's feelings.
A fraction of vegans like to proselytize or otherwise promote their voluntary conduct challenge, and I can't stand those guys.
For anyone else that reads this thread, chickens are smart animals with complex social lives. See this excerpt from "Are Chickens Smarter Than Toddlers?":
In 1996, I discovered Dr. Lesley Rogers’s book The Development of Brain and Behaviour in the Chicken (1995) in the Beltsville, Maryland Agricultural Library outside Washington, DC. I sat on the floor of the stacks, reading it in tears, because Rogers was affirming that birds are intelligent beings, and that prejudice, not science, says otherwise. She said, “it is now clear that birds have cognitive capacities equivalent to those of mammals” (p. 17). She said, “With increased knowledge of the behaviour and cognitive abilities of the chicken has come the realization that the chicken is not an inferior species to be treated merely as a food source” (p. 213).
She explained that a chick “hatches with a well-developed brain, immediately able to make decisions and to form memories” (p. 118). Of battery cages for hens and all forms of industrial conditions for chickens, she said: “In no way can these living conditions meet the demands of a complex nervous system designed to form a multitude of memories and to make complex decisions” (p. 218). Citing recent demonstrations of complex cognition in birds including chickens and others once denigrated by mainstream scientists as “unquestionably low in the scale of avian evolution,” Rogers called for more research in the field of comparative cognition, given how recent studies had “thrown the fallacies of previous assumptions about the inferiority of avian cognition into sharp relief” (p. 218).
I was ecstatic. A bona fide avian scientist was saying what I already knew to be true about birds, and about chickens in particular, in forthright language that could be quoted without ellipses. She spoke of “the cognitive demands of the hitherto underestimated chicken brain” (p. 213).
The chicken’s brain is equipped to enable it to meet the complex demands of the natural world in which this brain took shape. There is a fit between the total mental system of the chicken and the tropical forest habitat in which chickens evolved. Chickens have thrived for tens of thousands of years within the complex ecology of their forest world – a world that is reflected in their genetic makeup. The neurophysiology of the chicken embodies a system of interactions between the genetic, hormonal and environmental factors that figure in the developing embryo and express themselves in the adult bird.
I lived with chickens for 18 years. I put my experience up against your fake book learning.
As for the previously held view (now considered incorrect) that saturated fats are harmful, a similar review of the scientific results at any time over the past 40 years would have shown that the view was based on the flimsiest of actual data, like one correlation combined with a second correlation.
That said, if you are relying on the government and other authorities as the final word on health advice, history suggests a bad outcome.
Saturated fat bad. Trans fat good. Trans fat now VERY bad. Saturated fat actually OK.
Eggs bad. Eggs good.
Coffeee bad. Coffee good.
Sacharrine causes cancer. Sacharrine OK.
Meat bad (especially red meat). Meat good.
I now just eat what I want, and don't worry about it unless I start vomiting.
It's a tough position and I sympathize with them. I suspect no matter how soon they do or don't pull the trigger, hordes of people will wind up incensed.
Or as an intermediate step: require warning labels or warning signs. If we let companies sell cigarettes with warnings, we should let companies sell donuts and movie popcorn with similar warnings.
The problem with going from no information to full ban is that sometimes (quite often) the health authorities are wrong. Let us make our own decisions about what tiny statistical risks we want to take in exchange for what marginal improvement in cost and/or tastiness some ingredient enables. If everybody agrees it's not worth the cost, the outcome will be the same as a ban. If only some people think it isn't, labels will let those people avoid that risk without inflicting their standards on the rest of us.
I don't think is is the best link, but it was quickly available:
Really it points out the disconnect between industrial food production vs human health and, in this case, a nice story about how one disconnect was resolved.
I tend to low fat vegetarian, though dairy is kept, but even I won't forgo meat all year round. It is silly to do so. The key as with all foods is moderation
For the rest of us, there are vegetables and grains.
Also, what about the studies showing the children of vegan (it might even be vegetarian, can't recall) mothers have lower birth weights, IQs, and are shorter than the general population? What about the rates of B-Vitamin anemia?
I think that the benefits of being a vegan are the benefits of being concerned with your health. I'd be interested to see a comparison between an equally fastidious group of meat eaters.
Animal proteins are an inefficient method of consuming nutrients. You may like meat, but its not efficient, and data has shown that it can cause cancer in your GI tract given enough time.
EDIT: There's a reason Soylent is vegan; not to appease animal lovers, but because its healthier for you and more efficient.
More likely, it's because it's easier to utilize without spoilage.
Also, the cancers you refer to are not specific to meat, they're specific to cooked (moreso charred) food.
Milk and eggs provide a complete protein that's hard to find elsewhere without doing a lot of pairing.
That said, the "emaciated" point is probably moreso about the "low fat" part of the comment. Fat is critical for hormone production among other things, and it would be very hard to be a "powerlifter deadlifting hundreds of lbs" without adequate fat intake. More importantly, saturated fat (and specifically dietary cholesterol, the kind found only in meat and dairy) is particularly well utilized for hormone production.
No, its not. Raw preparations of meat are a thing.
You could get by with just Pasteurizing all your food (or cooking sous vide), but any meat or fish you will probably want to sear for about 3 minutes per side before eating, because it just tastes better that way. The mutagenic products of the Maillard reaction are far more dangerous to bacteria than to mammals.
It really is a landmark study: http://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2014-12-29-sugar-...
"Saturated fats are linked to increases in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which is positively associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Specifically, saturated fats have been shown to block the expression of LDL receptors, which ultimately prevents this unhealthy type of cholesterol from being filtered out of the bloodstream."
Wide swath generalization at best, categorically untrue at worst. Keep in mind - if nothing else - there are a lot of very different and unique saturated fats.
A 2014 systematic review looking at observational studies of dietary intake of fatty acids, observational studies of measured fatty acid levels in the blood, and intervention studies of polyunsaturated fat supplementation concludes that the finding ″do not support cardiovascular guidelines that promote high consumption of long-chain omega-3 and omega-6 and polyunsaturated fatty acids and suggest reduced consumption of total saturated fatty acids.″"
Conclusion: Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats.
And yes, you do get vegan powerlifters, but they are very much the minority and an outlier.
It is entirely possible to have a complete diet, "correct amino acids" and all from a vegan plant-based nutritional plan.
Care to explain why exactly?
I've always been thaught - ok, doesn't mean it's correct, or related, which is why I'm asking - that one difference between meat and vegetable eaters is the length of the large/small intestines: shorter for 'pure' meat eaters like cats, longer for herbivores like cows. And somewhere in the middle for humans as they are considered omnivores. Reason for this would be that it takes longer to digest/break down plants, which I assume is done by the intestines to extract nutrients for it?
I am a powerlifter and deadlifting hundreds of pounds is vague. How many hundreds? A couple hundred? Not very impressive. Five hundred? More impressive. I also have an anecdote but it disproves what you said: I don't know a single powerlifter who can pull five plates who doesn't eat animal meat. Also anecdotes on the internet mean nothing.
>Animal proteins are an inefficient method of consuming nutrients.
It may be inefficient from an energy usage standpoint, but from a protein synthesis standpoint it's vastly superior. Plant protein doesn't have the amounts of amino acids animal protein does.
I'd even say there's legitimate reasons to use MSG for certain preparations and flavors. Sparingly, mind you.
If someone wants to go full vegan, good for them. Just don't try to force that choice on everyone.
You're missing one of the primary tenets of being a vegan
I don't have a problem with the "I have made a personal choice to not eat animal products" type of people.
I ask because it's popular to claim that the results of scientific research are unreliable, but usually, IMHO, upon investigation those claims are wrong. Either they are conflating the results of one study with settled science, or conflating some popular unscientific rumor with real science.
Also, why focus on the Center for Science in The Public Interest? Who are they?
No researchers were necessary to access my memory.
Obviously, research changes and consensus changes. Being wrong in the past doesn't mean you're wrong today. Or being right in the past doesn't mean you're right today.
No he wasn't: http://mediamatters.org/blog/2011/07/28/if-you-wish-to-make-...
There was never a widespread consensus about global cooling:
>A 2008 paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society actually reviewed the climate research published in the 70s and concluded that "global cooling was never more than a minor aspect of the scientific climate change literature of the era, let alone the scientific consensus" and "emphasis on greenhouse warming dominated the scientific literature even then."
WUWT is a climate change denial site run by conspiracy theorists. It's not a good place to get facts about anything.
"I disagree with their position so I will slander them."
I then provided additional commentary about the quality of the site.
Which isn't to say that climate & environmental science isn't a bit sick. It suffers from group-think and a pretty hefty anti-human bias.
They in general did not begin from "I do not like the implication of the carbon emission -> global warming hypothesis to my business model so I will not consider explanations that force me(or my patrons) to stop making money from fossil fuels"
My point is that both are a valid critiques and should influence how you read the arguments made by both sides.
I was mostly annoyed that you were calling skepticism for those biases slander instead of pointing out that both sides are biased, and thus we(as humans) are likely to fall for the side that our confirmation bias leads us to.
Overall I'm convinced that warming is happening, and that human CO2 emissions are probably single largest cause of that. I'm also pretty well convinced that the impact of that warming is well below the alarmists views, and that we will move to renewables just as soon as it is efficient to do so.
>There was never a widespread consensus about global cooling:
The problem is that its hard for the public to weigh these claims when experts go on TV. Again, my point is that consensus changes, politics change, etc. Scientific consensus is often more wrong than right and later replaced or refined by something else. Denying that is sophomoric. Scientists aren't immune from fads and hysteria, especially when that stuff results in grants and fame.
It was a minority position. There wasn't a huge amount of research published on the topic. As far as I know no government or corporate polices were ever changed based on the idea. So it isn't a valid comparison to the trans-fat issue at all. It's actually just a classic example of "small group of minority opinion scientists who got a disproportionate but still small level of media coverage were wrong". That happens all the time. The media loves a plucky outsider with a dramatic story to tell.
It's a strange topic for WUWT to bring up since that entire site is based on the idea that the majority of scientists are wrong and that a small group of people (mostly not even scientists) with disproportionately loud voices in the media are actually right. If you want to make an analogy then WUWT are the global coolists of today (but with even less scientific credibility since they publish basically no papers). Which is of course fitting since a lot of people on that site are still predicting an imminent ice age.
We're talking network TV and the cover of the nation's most popular magazines and newspapers. A lot of people were exposed to these ideas, lets not deny that.
>It's a strange topic for WUWT
Let me guess, you're too young to know any of this stuff, but to the boomer generation they really went from "Guys new ice age coming" to "hey global warming" pretty quickly. I think you need to sympathize with them. Yes, obviously climate change/warming is happening, but dismissing how these things get into the media, climate cooling hysteria in the 70s, etc just makes you seem like some "SCIENCE CAN NEVER BE WRONG" type who disingenuously pisses on the experiences and realpolitik of the time.
The reality is that that cooling was in the popular consciousness and led by x amount of high profile scientists. It happened. The question in my mind is what stops this from happening again? Nothing as far as I can tell. Experts have a high levels of influence and combined with mass media can change or understanding of things pretty quickly. This is often a feature of our mass communication society, but it is just as likely to be a bug (wrong facts, conspiracy theories, propaganda, etc). The internet seems to make this worse.
tldr; science is as much political as it is technical
Just think how bad things would be if someone had taken that 70s era belief in global cooling and used it as a justification to require us to dump more CO2 into the atmosphere to mitigate it.
The only good thing about doing nothing in principle is that when something bad happens there's nobody to blame. Of course it may be the case that we have good reasons to believe that doing nothing is always safer than doing something, but we need some data and some models to support that belief, it's not enough holding it a priori just because many people still believe in "Mother Earth", even though they consider that "Father God" is dead.
Ironic since CSPI is one of the major reasons that we are using trans-fats today.
They slowly figured out replacements for the trans fats that improved the quality. We'll never know quite what they are because of trade secrets. But it's probably far less natural than hydrogenated oils.
Oreo cookies, by the way, never recovered. They are terrible.
For example, say I'm selling a product with the ingredients list "Partially hydrogenated soybean oil". If I label the serving size as .49 grams I could label the amount of trans fat as 0 grams per serving. Now this is obviously an exaggerated example, but it's easy to see from this example that a product could contain a non-trivial amount of trans fat with a specifically chosen serving size to label the amount of that trans fat as 0 grams (trivial). Therein lies the issue.
For example, one serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. If a company sells a meat product the size of two decks of cards, the FDA probably requires that the product be labeled as containing two servings.
Maybe I'm in the minority of people who hadn't heard that this transfat regulation was soon to be implemented (as a former New Yorker, it caught me by surprise)...but there are probably many upcoming rules that are worth knowing about before they get published.
I doubt it. People are going to continue to eat way to much of things they shouldn't, or too much of things that should be only eaten in moderation. It's not like Trans-Fats are the only thing people are eating too much of that is killing them.
Transfats are one of the few things that the above does not apply to. They are actively bad for you and there are no known redeeming qualities.
There are even still "low fat" foods on the shelf which intentionally remove dietary fat and replace it with complex carbohydrates (mostly sugars), which are bad for you.
Remember the whole "red meat will kill you!" thing? Yeah, utter nonsense. There's a small amount of cancer risk from the cooking process (and glazing/smoking) but broadly speaking raw meats are one of the healthiest non-vegetables you can eat. Much healthier than processed foods. The more fat the better.
When you order a burger, the bun is by far the most unhealthy part. Then the sugared sauce (e.g. ketchup, mayo, etc), then the american "cheese," and last of all the meat. But most modern burgers are just "sugar delivery devices" in the sense that the % of meat is tiny and % of sugar (from bun, cheese, and sauce) is getting higher and higher.
This kinda gets back to the 'eight glasses of water a day' thing. Some study indicated that a human should consume eight cups [the measurement, 2.5 liters] of water a day (including the water in food). Years pass, news reports are released, and you end up with people trying to guzzle down eight pint glasses of water a day.
> broadly speaking raw meats are one of the healthiest non-vegetables you can eat.
Vegetables, raw meats, everything else.
Fruits are a tough category as some are extremely healthy (e.g. Blueberries) while others are barely better than candy (e.g. Figs, Grapes, etc).
Am I correct here?
I should have said "unprocessed meat" not "raw meat" since raw is often used to described uncooked meat.
Bacon gets a bad wrap because it is often cooked in unhealthy oils and smoked. Both of which are "bad." You stick un-smoked bacon on a george forman grill and you have a darn healthy piece of meat.
"rap", not "wrap"
> because it is often cooked in unhealthy oils and smoked.
No, it gets a bad rap because its usually cured with nitrates/nitrites (including must "nitrate free" bacon, which isn't, it just uses celery salt, which contains nitrates that do exactly what other nitrates/nitrites do, but because its considered a flavoring agent and not a preservative and isn't synthized nitrate/nitrite, doesn't have to be labeled as a nitrate/nitrite), which have some adverse health effects in certain circumstances (though the USDA has taken action to require steps to mitigate those effects the same way that, e.g., the naturally occurring sources of nitrates in green vegetables naturally do, though the bad rap was already established by then), and also because of the high quantity of animal fat, which itself has a bad rap.
Uncured bacon obviously exists and doesn't have nitrates/nitrites (even stealth ones), but it probably isn't meaningfully more healthy than cured bacon.
Cooking bacon in oil is silly; its often used as a source of fat instead of oil in cooking.
Yeah eggs, salt, fat in general - all of these used to be considered dangerous too. Why should I believe that trans-fats are dangerous?
If people start eating 100 percent less trans fat but 300% more sugar to compensate, then even though sugar has redeeming qualities, it will be a bad thing, right?
Banning trans fat may be bad for orangutans but it's good for consumers' health.
Highly processed foods are now going to be much less greasy/oily and much more sugary to attract consumers. You need to do "something" get people to eat junk food, and if its not going to be the oily/greasy axis of evil it will be the HFCS/sugar axis of evil.
Maybe 1% of the market, the green/organic or at least greenwashing segment, will increase prices and switch to saturated fats and dramatically lower shelf life, but on a population wide scale that is a rounding error.
Higher carbs means more fat people and more diabetes and fat related illness including heart issues. So we're trading large number of heart disease related deaths for rather optimistically a slightly smaller number of obesity related deaths. Its probably a net win, but this is not the technological singularity where we'll all live forever...
Proof that I am not rambling incoherently:
So no worries there.
Can you show that Trans-Fats would be killing people if they stuck to properly portioned meals?
Removing Trans-Fats is just going to be replaced with other fats, and probably some sugar for 'taste' that people will continue to eat far too much of. I expect the effect of removing Trans-Fats to be negligible to none because of that.
People, no, I can't. If you wanted mice, monkeys, pigs, or any other mammal, I'm sure there's a study for you, but people not.
What do you think about the prohibition of adding arsenic to the food? If people eat it in moderated quantities, it won't kill them either.
Nearly 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
I'm not advocating that alcohol be illegal. I couldn't care less to be honest.
I guess my comment was more of a question of how can you ban substance "A" because "Its bad for you"; but not ban substance "B" which kills 90k people in the U.S. annually? It just seems cherry picked is all. If the gov't is going to ban bad things, how does substance "B" get a pass?
Alcohol and Transfats are apples and oranges.
It really does seem arbitrary, and once the arbitrary decision is made, all bridges are burned and we commit ourselves 100% to the capricious decision.
Looks like my thoughts were somewhat correct, at least at some time (August 2003 until ???), scroll to #6:
I actually do look at trans fat content on the labels quite often. The labels are very simple, it's not like a terms of service that's highly verbose and deliberatly obfuscatory.
If you want to avoid trans-fat, it's trivially easy.
The FDA might make mistakes, even mistakes that lead to deaths, but mobsters?
"Mobsters" implies a level of malice for profit that doesn't exist.. but I'd settle for "criminally incompetent and neurotic". I honestly think the IRS is better staffed and more reasonable as an institution than the FDA, yet the former is almost universally (undeservedly so) reviled.
Exactly. We don't want The Mob 2.0. Banning something with such a huge demand is begging to transfer wealth to criminal organizations. (Unless you were willing and able to enforce it. And of course it's not the only reason.)
You can never look at one similar aspect of two very different things and make any conclusion about inconsistency or hypocrisy. It's an incredibly oversimplified attitude.
1 in 10 US Deaths are directly related to Alcohol Use [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/alcohol-responsible-1-10...]
World Wide: In the age group 20 – 39 years approximately 25 % of the total deaths are alcohol-attributable. [http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs349/en/]
The issue with this stat is that someone hurts/kills themselves or someone else, they had alcohol in their system, ergo it's an "alcohol-related incident". The problem with this line of reasoning should be obvious.
I'm not really disagreeing with your main point, just the "it's obvious that would prevent death by a madman going on a shooting spree".
Hell, if the US banned guns I would still own one I would just hide it better.
You probably wouldn't, because the risk of ending up in jail or prison would be unacceptable.
However, as an anecdote, most people I know of who actually know what they are doing (as in people who are gun enthusiasts, not people who bought a gun "for protection" and shot it enough to take a class then put it in a drawer) announce themselves before shooting as the goal is to get the intruder to leave.
Quite often this alerts the intruder to your location and, in the case that they are an actual threat, they will charge at you (this is counter intuitive for me, but most stories I've read of home invasion with an armed resident seem to end this way). I only typically hear about these stories from survivors, but the cases I know of the resident killed or wounded their attackers and were safe.
Basically, that long-winded group of anecdotes is to say that it is not the case that a gun can only help you if you shoot first at any sign of home invasion. Anyone who actually knows something about guns knows that you only point a gun at a target you have identified and are prepared to destroy. For the most part, that means you won't shoot first at any sign of home invasion.
Beyond disagreeing with the taste of wine, I personally don't drink any liquid in 4oz portions.
I sit down with 32oz of water at dinner time, and typically finish it.
> People love being emotionally numbed
> I guess people have a right to depress their emotions with drinking
Blanket statements like this are unfair. I'd wager most drinkers do so moderately, and are not doing so to numb their emotions.
That's not what alcohol does. If anything, it's an emotion amplifier. It does usually put me on the happy end of the spectrum, but I don't consider that to be "numbing".
I'm also a happy drunk.
People paint illusions around what they like.
It's politically a more difficult maneuver; we know because we tried it in the 20s
Shortening's like Crisco have been reducing the amount of trans-fats and the results can be seen in the loss of flakiness and butteriness of quick bread baking so much so that there is already a market for the older stuff.
But it is like rugby. Watch a Six Nations Championship game when you have the chance.
1. Substitution of players. Doing this dramatically changes the face of the offense. For example, in a short yardage play, they might sub out 1-2 receivers and sub in linemen. This gives the offense more power in the run. Alternatively, they can sub out the tight end and bring in a fifth receiver for the opposite - less blocking, more options for the quarterback to throw to.
2. Planning the next play, which has to be communicated to the players. This is, of course, affected by the substitution. Misdirection is a key part of game planning; for example, they might sub in two more linemen and still pass the ball, as the defense is expecting a running play.
3. The defense sees the formation and reacts to it. They've also substituted their players to be in line with the offense's players, (for example, if the offense has extra linemen, the defense will sub in extra linebackers) and will craft a defense on the fly to react to how the offense is arranged.
4. The quarterback sees the defense's alignment and makes adjustments on the fly. The middle linebacker does the same thing on defense.
5. The quarterback signals for the center to snap the ball, beginning the play.
All of this is intricate and happens pretty quickly, and if you're smart and experienced, you can predict what's going to happen and follow the action. I find it to be exciting, especially when you see a mismatch and the losing team scrambling to figure out a way to adjust. There's suspense that gets created as the offense drives down the field. Can they keep it up? Will the defense adjust? What new things are they trying in order to succeed where their previous efforts have failed? All of this is dynamic and happens very quickly. You'll literally watch a small change in blocking scheme wreck havoc on the defense's run defense. You'll watch a single linebacker's edge rushing butcher an offense's passing game and the offense scrambling to figure out anything to slow him down.
Unfortunately, watching the game has gotten worse over the years because of more commercials and terminally banal commentary, but football itself is great. I'll watch a shitty D3 college game and enjoy it as long as it's relatively competitive.
What really pisses me off is when this fast-paced, intricate game of chess is being played on the field and they're looking at goddamn people in the stands or cheerleaders or coaches or whatever. There's stuff going on, and we're missing literally half of the action because they want to show some shirtless drunk jackasses in the nosebleed seats.
On the bright side, the Chinese stream of the NFL is fantastic. No commercials.