Friday, November 03, 2006


Fitness fanatics eat them for a quick breakfast and parents choose them for children's lunchboxes. Yet despite their wholesome image, many cereal bars contain so much sugar that they would qualify for red "junk food" alerts on packs under the traffic-light labelling system devised by the Food Standards Agency.

A survey of 20 well-known cereal bars by the consumer watchdog Which? found that each one would be classified as "high in sugar" and would require a red warning logo. More than half the bars also contained high levels of saturated fat that would require a red alert. A Kellogg's Fruit 'n' Fibre Bar, for example. contained 10g of sugar, more than a McVities Penguin bar, with 9.7g, and not far off a Nestl, two-finger KitKat. Jordans Original Crunchy Honey & Almond Bar contained the most fat overall, 6.8g. But the bars with the most saturated fat were the Nesquik Cereal & Milk Bar and the Nestl, Golden Grahams Cereal & Milk Bar, each with 2.1g of saturated fat. These contain more saturates than a Mr Kipling Almond Slice cake.

Researchers at Which? magazine decided to investigate cereal bars after a study in July found that three quarters of 275 breakfast cereals contained high sugar levels. Weetabix Weetos 20g Cereal Bars contained 8.2g of sugar and Kellogg's Coco Pops Cereal & Milk Bars 8g of sugar, both more than the sugar in two McVitie's HobNobs biscuits.

Neil Fowler, the editor of Which?, said: "Although the packs are plastered with wholesome images and claims, the 20 bars scrutinised were all high in sugar and more than half were also high in saturated fat "These findings are worrying given the recent report that showed that obesity in Britain is more prevalent than in many other European countries." The bar with the least sugar (5.6g) and least fat (1.6g) was Nestle's Fitnesse Original. This and Jordans Frusli Raisin and Hazelnut bar came out best for saturated fat, at 0.7g per bar.

In a statement in the Which? report, Kellogg said that it had been assumed "that eating cereal bars as a snack is a problem when, in fact, the consumption of high carbohydrate snacks between meals has been shown to lower overall daily calorie intake and helps reduce hunger". Nestle said it had been cutting saturated fat in its cereal and milk bars and planned further cuts. The Nesquik bar now has 2g of saturates and Golden Grahams 1.9g per bar. The company said that both provided important nutrients. Jordans said that to cut the fat level it would have to use artificial additives, which was against its policy of using only natural ingredients. It added that 87 per cent of the fat was from oats and nuts, which were "good" fats essential for health.


Holy Grail discovered: A life-prolonging drug

A bit pesky for the do-gooders when they see what it is, though

A compound found in red wine reverses the damaging effects of a high-fat diet in mice and can extend their life, scientists have found. Resveratrol is produced by grapes and other plants, and its effects seem to mimic the life-prolonging effects of a very low-calorie diet.

In the experiments, reported in the journal Nature, mice were split into three groups: one given a normal diet, one a high-fat diet, and the third a high-fat diet with resveratrol. After 114 weeks, 58 per cent of the high-fat only group had died whereas only 42 per cent had died in the other groups. Giving resveratrol to the high-fat group reduced their risk of death by 31 per cent, about the same as for those on a normal diet. David Sinclair of Havard Medical School, who led the research, said that the resveratrol mice were also leading more active lives.

A drug company has started trials of a resveratrol drug in people with type 2 diabetes.



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? And what about butter? It is just about pure fat. Surely it should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

9). For a summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and no lasting harm from them has ever been shown.


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