This just speaks to my overall philosophy on government -- one that I realize many do not share -- but I generally believe in giving adults the freedom to make bad personal decisions. And let's not kid ourselves about the severity of transfats. This isn't a chemical that you accidently inhale once and are dead an hour later. This is a substance that if you consume it throughout your life, increases your risk of other health issues. That does not seem ban worthy.
There is a larger question of how much harm should a product cause society before the government decides to put a stop to it. I would like the government to have a standard by which any issue is put to the test. The nanny state doesn't bother me as much as its arbitrary selectivity and application.
But in what world is that true? In any grocery store you can get food that is organic or non-organic, GMO or non-GMO, with sugar or sugar-free, with fat or fat-free, kosher or not kosher, vegan or non-vegan. We consumers have more food choices today than we've ever had in the past. To claim that "all food producers" will just "use the same cheapest ingredient" is a straw man.
Poor people can't buy Organic non-GMO things; they're not affordable. If we ban this, they stop consuming it. Later in life we aren't picking up the tab for their health issues.
It just makes good economic sense and it's moral, too.
The only way that would happen is if consumers all decide to prefer the cheaper ingredient. Based on the number of higher end grocery stores and restaurants I've seen open within the last few years, I don't see that as likely at all. After all, a lot of food producers have already willingly decided to ditch trans fat.
On the contrary, there is an argument to be made that this is exactly the type of substance which is ban worthy. Obviously dangerous substances need not be banned, because their harm is enough to deter use. While less obvious, slow to damage, substances will not see less use without regulation.
If you went to your supermarket a year ago (before the ban) you'd have a hell of a time trying to find margarine. Consumers demanded trans-fat free products and got them, even without government intervention.
However I think when it comes to the food supply and what people are eating I think a laissez faire approach is dangerous simply because of the incentives involved. On one hand you have the big food producers whose incentive is to maximize profits by doing two things: using the cheapest ingredients to make the most appealing products. The nutritional value of the food doesn't enter into the equation at all really, at most it's the perception of the nutritional value as a marketing property of the food. On the consumer side you have people who want something convenient and tasty, and who will have to make quite a conscious effort to pursue nutritional soundness that runs contrary to their immediate lizard-brain response to whatever food is available.
Given this reality, I think it's foolish to assume that the best science is going to make it to the forefront and be generally reflected in public awareness and the food supply. Especially considering the volume of bogus "science" that is funded and filtered by companies like Coca-Cola in order to post-hoc justify their cash-cow products.
 0.4 grams of transfat rounds down to 0, and restaurants are not required to track it.
> which in fact
I love it when people talk about facts. There is no correlation between the use of saturated fats and cardiovascular disease, as those same dieticians which led us to believe otherwise have now changed their own story ...
I'm no dietitian, but going by
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturated_fat_and_cardiovascul... I don't see evidence for the "distinct and growing lack of scientific consensus" claimed in your link. The majority opinion still seems to be to prefer polyunsaturated fats over saturated fats.
Really, really good spoken!
I myself started distrusting many scientific claims. One day, all fats are bad for you, the other day only specific fats are bad and the next day, having to few fats are bad ...
And those fats are not the only "fads" that are around ... Today "xyz" is good for you ... tomorrow, who knows ...
EDIT for the downvoters:
I did not say, that all scientific claims are bullshit, but I want to say, that particularly some "scientific" claims paid by some big corporations might to be taken with a grain of salt! There are just to many people interested in "scientific" justification.
What you're seeing now is the unraveling of a set of mistakes made in the 1970s and 1980s, and we're getting closer to what my English mother and grandmother thought.
Try reading up on John Yudkin vs Ancel Keys. Keys' 1970s "Seven Countries" study was bullshit. Yudkin was right, and was treated despicably.
Really? Do you have any details?
The Center for Science in The Public Interest engaged in a media campaign to pressure restaurants to switch from animal derived fats (like lard and beef tallow) to vegetable derived fats(like Crisco).
They used their influence to push a policy change that was more harmful to the public health than the status quo. Now, this same group has used their influence to push a policy change that directly reverses the one that they championed 30 years ago.
I understand that our view of things changes as we gain new information but the thing that irritates me about this is that there was no mea culpa involved, no admission that they got it wrong last time. They just went full speed ahead with no acknowledgement of their role in the current state of affairs.
But the process of hydrogenation turns that liquid (at room temp) oil into a form that is closer to the traditional animal fat oils (i.e., lard). It also happens that the hydrogenation produces as a byproduct a small amount of trans fat contamination (this was never the goal, to produce trans fats -- it is a hard to avoid side effect of hydrogenation). And at the time, the trans fats byproducts weren't thought to be as harmful as saturated fats, esp since they make up such a low percentage of the overall product. Of course, now science knows more, and corrections are being made.
Edit: Is my understanding above correct? I.e., is it the goal of hydrogenation to produce a more solid form of oil, and the trans fats are a byproduct? Or is it the trans fats that actually solidifies the oil?
I.e., is it the goal of hydrogenation to produce
a more solid form of oil, and the trans fats are
> For example, we switched to a cooking oil in our restaurants that reduced artificial trans fat in most of our fried menu items
> The fast-food giant already has demonstrated that it can eliminate trans fats when required. In Denmark, the company switched the oil it uses to make French fries to one that doesn't have any trans fat.
Goes to show age is not necessarily a barrier to productivity and creativity. Maybe it's fair to describe Dr. Kummerow as a kind of "geek" in his field. It follows that by all means we should honor old geeks, it doesn't serve our interests very well to discard them at 50 which I'm told is a current trend.
Article is a nice juxtaposition too, since just a few hours ago there was mention here of an article about diet and obesity. No doubt consuming substantial quantities of artificial trans-fats contributes to the health consequences of obesity if not obesity itself.
I was very scared of death in my 20-40's. I'm now 50 and I don't fear death like did when
I was younger. I just don't want to die in agony like my father did. My father died of liver cancer, and it was beyond hell. I would not wish that pain he went through on my worst enemy. And yes--a Hospice nurse said it was 'just the natural process of death--'. The doctor came to the house once--I think?
I don't have a point other than the fear of death lessens as you get older. If you are reasonably healthy man in your 20-40's don't ruin your life ruminating about death. I did!
Oh yea, my generation is not my father's. There's no need to call me "Sir". I was born in the 60's. We are not my father's generation: We don't take ourself's seriously. We don't need to be doated on. We still look at the world as if we were children; meaning we don't trust the grown up's(the one's usually in charge), and dislike authority figures--abuse of authority. My generation was raised by beatings of orange Hot Wheel tracks, by Hippie/conservatives (father--conservative know it all. Mother--a hippie who was in need of therapy). We grew up and learned from our parents mistakes. Please don't lump my generation with all the others. We are just as lost and confused as most of you--just chronologically older. Sorry, about my neurotic rambling. I'm 50 alone, scared, and close to being homeless.
I wouldn't sweat it too much, just ignore the number and keep pushing.
Cutting all advertising out of your life is a suggestion I'd heartily recommend, I did that many years ago as much as I could (outdoors it's a bit harder).
You value your own morals over the request of another, equal human being. To me that is your fundamental human right and I will not judge you for it. But I could not live with myself knowing that I denied someone I love their strongest wish while there is no cost to me personally. I'd feel incredibly selfish.
Just curious, would you actively stop someone in unbearable pain form killing her/himself or would you stop them? Would you help set up a machine to help someone kill her/himself?
Again, not judging, just loving this discussion and I'm willing to change my mind.
Or maybe because you know that certain things, if not done by now will most likely not be done in your life, and so the burden of "things left to do" is lesser as well.
I still fear death in that, like I said, I have many more things to do in life, but I've also known older people, even older than you, that fear death as well for this very same reason so not sure if this would be a potential reason or not, but I find it interesting.
PS. Sorry to hear you are going through a bad time :/
Would you like to elaborate?
(Did you know that the guy who invented LSD died at 102?)
What you're saying is, essentially, that this guy's age should be ignored because his longevity is due to luck. But I haven't seen anything that rules out other possibilities.
> What you're saying is, essentially, that this guy's age should be ignored because his longevity is due to luck.
That is absolutely not what I was trying to say. Sorry for the confusion. I was responding to the "look, he's old! let's see what he did to get there," comment: it's a form of survivor bias.
It's not about this man, or his life choices. Rather, it's about us, looking to survivors for lessons on survival.
Wikipedia has a good page on it:
Survivorship bias, or survival bias, is the logical error of concentrating on the people or things that "survived" some process and inadvertently overlooking those that did not because of their lack of visibility. This can lead to false conclusions in several different ways. The survivors may be actual people, as in a medical study, or could be companies or research subjects or applicants for a job, or anything that must make it past some selection process to be considered further.
102†. Albert Hofmann survived. Will you?
Engineered food really has a terrible record. With the exception of a few early successes with nutrition enrichment (e.g. iodized salt) and sterilization/pasteurization, most of what we've done with food has been neutral to negative in outcome.
Part of the problem might be the incentives. Food is a brutal margin-crushing business. Food engineering is not being pursued with the goal of making food more nutritious or safer. The primary goal is to find ways to offer cheaper, inferior food at the same price -- to remove value from the product in such a way that the customer does not notice. Making food more addictive (junk food) is also an objective. "Heroin is the ideal product" as the saying goes.
With those objectives it's not surprising that "artificial" food has such a horrible reputation. It's effectively a synonym for food engineered to be superficially addictive but devoid of quality.
It's worthwhile to note that iodized salt and pasteurization were in fact undertaken with the goal of making food safer or curing a nutritional deficiency.
> Later, he conducted a study showing that rats developed atherosclerosis after being fed artificial trans fats. When he removed the substance from their diets, the atherosclerosis disappeared from their arteries.
First of all I am talking about the trans fats themself, and plaque is not made from the trans fats themself. Those fats will be burned for energy over time and vanish.
If you want to talk about the results of the trans fats, those too will reverse over time if the health of the person improves.
Even with pharmacological intervention, reducing plaque size is really tough. The plaques are not just made of fat, but fibrosis tissue, immune cells, etc.
There are tons of studies that show that better lifestyle helps, it's just most people can't do it. Not eating trans fats is one small change that will help, that is also easily done.
Help reduce plaque size? I'd be interested to see those studies!
Some studies for plaque reduction:
There were also studies that show better diet stabilizes the plaque, preventing it from causing problems.
If you want to find more studies: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=plaque+regression
You've changed your claim. First you said a healthy diet will reduce plaque volume, now you say it just helps reduce heart attack rates.
Even the studies you cited only show minimal plaque volume reduction (so small it's questionable if it helps at all) and only with intensive pharmacological therapy.
It amazes me these things take so long when the evidence is pretty clear. I see the UK government still hasn't banned the things although most supermarkets and fast food chains have dropped them. I wonder if in the age of the internet that problems that kill probably tens of thousands of people will get dealt with in less than 55 years?
Vested interests (politicians, the food industry, even health organisations) make it very hard to overturn them once they're adopted. It would cost the food industry money and everybody else loses face if they have to admit they screwed up.
It's a lot simpler just to let tens of millions of Americans become obese and many thousands die of heart disease.
In passing, Denmark banned trans fats in 2003 and has seen a "70% fall in cardiovascular disease deaths".
Story time. Growing up I used to see the food pyramid posted on the walls everywhere - school, after school programs, etc. I became concerned that I wasn't eating enough bread due to looking at it all the time. One day I went home and tried to eat something like 12 slices of (white) bread. This is of course a really silly thing to do.
Denise Minger's book on the topic, Death by Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interests Have Ruined Our Health, is better than I expected...
On one hand, we want someone running the FDA who has experience with the food industry. (Just as we would probably prefer having a manager who has spent time in the trenches coding).
On the other (tin foil hat) hand, has the food industry placed a 'friend' in charge of the people that should be regulating them?
He wasn't put in charge of the FBI though and I'd assume he had heavy oversight.
Treasury, SEC, FDA, FCC, etc. They're all stocked full of cross-overs, that go from private to public and back or vice versa.
I don't think there's anything tin foil about it at all. It's de facto how the system works. I don't think it guarantees how a person will regulate, but it does probably trend toward heavy bias.
But smoking is A-OK even though it harmfully impacts people around the smoker and not just the smoker?
I do not find "because it is unhealthy for you" a compelling enough reason to ban something that tastes good and provides a convenience (storage) if we aren't going to be consistent with the logic of "its banned because its bad for you".
[Pessimistically] the #1 cause of poor health conditions is heart disease, and therefore the medicare/medicade cost is too high for the govt to foot the bill, so they're finally regulating. :P
For a more fair comparison you would have to sum together the cancers it is linked to, then factor the number of deaths of those cancers that were smoking-related. Which makes the math a bit trickier:
Not to mention there are non-death but still health-related issues that add up medical expenses. Which is a bit harder to quantify.
Also, as mentioned prior, other people suffer because of smokers from second-hand smoke. I feel strongly about this because I grew up with asthma and almost died at age 6 from an asthma attack that developed because of my father's smoking.
Smoking can kill the people around you. Eating transfats won't (unless they're sharing your food).
Banning trans fats as nothing to do with smoking.
>I do not find "because it is unhealthy for you" a compelling enough reason to ban something that tastes good and provides a convenience (storage) if we aren't going to be consistent with the logic of "its banned because its bad for you".
If they want to ban transfats because it is unhealthy for me with little to no benefits - I want them to ban smoking because it is unhealthy - and not just for me but for the people around me with little to no benefits.
If their reason for banning A (transfats) matches with banning B (smoking) and both are leading causes of death (C), have large medical expenses for Americans (C), are unhealthy with little/few/no health benefits (C), then it logically follows that if you ban A you should also ban B for C.
Because they are not banning B for reason C - I do not see that as a compelling enough reason to ban A because it not compelling enough to ban B; and A and B are equivalent issues for reasons C.
The answer is, of course, they profit vastly off B because of taxes. If they are profiting off of the deaths of Americans, wheres the problem?