Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Fake sugar kills dogs: "Keep those sugarless treats out of Fido's reach. Veterinarians warned on Friday that a commonly used sweetener might cause liver failure in dogs, and perhaps even kill them. Their report in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association appears to strengthen the suspected link between the sugar substitute xylitol, thought to make dogs sick, and possible liver failure. Xylitol, a naturally occurring product, is found in many sugar-free chewing gums, candies, baked goods and toothpastes. Researchers Sharon Gwaltney-Brant and Eric Dunayer with staff at a poison unit of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Urbana, Illinois, gathered information on eight dogs treated between 2003 and 2005 after eating products containing xylitol. Each dog became ill, and five died or had to be put down because of liver failure, possibly from ingesting xylitol. One dog who had to be euthanized had eaten four large, chocolate-frosted muffins containing about 1 pound (0.45 kg) of xylitol. "People don't think sugar-free gum can kill their dog. I didn't before I got into this. But this is something people should be aware of," Gwaltney-Brant, who co-authored the study with Dunayer, said in a statement".

Painting bad for kids? "Men who paint for a living may be placing their unborn children at increased risk of birth defects and low birth weight. A study of construction workers in the Netherlands, conducted in part by the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, links low birth weight and birth defects to paternal, airborne exposure to organic solvents such as paints, thinner and cleansers. The study, although preliminary in its parent-reported assessment of birth outcomes and small numbers of reported cases, is the first of its kind to link concentrations of solvents in the air to these health outcomes, said Dr. Igor Burstyn, a University of Alberta professor of occupational and environmental health, who co-authored the study with researchers from Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands. "This is the first time we have good exposure data in such a study, but more robust investigations are needed to guide policy-makers," Dr. Burstyn said." [The journal abstract is here. The sample size is of course absurd]

Steroids shrink your brain: "Steroids that help athletes to enhance their physique may also cause their brains to waste away, research suggests. Large doses of steroids are known to boost levels of the male hormone testosterone and cause a condition known as hyperexcitability, characterised by heightened aggression and suicidal tendencies. Anger brought on by steroid use is well known in the bodybuilding world, where it is known as "roid rage". Professor Barbara Ehrlich, of the Yale School of Medicine, said that hyperexcitability could be evidence of impaired brain function. She said: "Next time a muscle-bound guy in a sports car cuts you off on the highway, don't get mad, just take a deep breath and realise that it might not be his fault."


Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? [/sarcasm].


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