Monday, November 13, 2006

Hilarious: Diet products "boost appetite"

Diet products make people eat more, says nutritional toxicologist Peter Dingle. He said some sweeteners in diet products were linked with stimulating appetite. "Aspartame, commonly known as the sweetener NutraSweet, is a neuro-stimulant linked with stimulating appetite, so it can make you hungry," Prof Dingle, associate professor in health and the environment at Murdoch University, said. "Diet stuff doesn't satisfy hunger like conventional food, because hunger is linked to certain texture and taste sensations. If you don't get them, you don't feel satisfied -- you don't have the feeling 'I've had enough, I'm full'."

He said people also ate more because they felt they had "done something healthy" by having diet products. "Then they tend to consume just as much, if not more, than before," he said. "There is little research to show that these foods have great benefit for long-term weight control. "Long-term weight control is about eating good, healthy, nutritious foods, combined with a positive lifestyle, which includes keeping fit."

He said people focused on calories instead of nutrition. Rather than diet food, people should eat healthier, with fewer processed grains and more "super foods" such as beans, nuts, vegetables and omega-3 oils, Prof Dingle said. Instead of diet or soft drinks, people should drink water, which was healthier. "Parents give their kids two cans a night and then they complain they can't sleep," he said.

The Aspartame Information Center website says scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows aspartame is safe and not associated with adverse health effects.


Lunch-box dictators in Australia

A Victorian primary school is cracking down on all packaged and processed foods in children's lunches. Teachers at St Thomas' Primary School in Sale are inspecting lunch boxes to discourage unhealthy eating. They have asked parents of grade 3-4 students not to provide any packaged foods for lunch. Food deemed off-limits includes snacks such as BBQ Shapes, chips, cereal bars, crackers and biscuits.

The Bracks Government recently announced restrictions on selling junk food at canteens. But the school is taking healthy eating one step further by hoping to change what kids bring in their lunch boxes. Grade 3-4 teacher Rose Lee said they took action after seeing the amount of processed food brought to school. "There was always so many packets of BBQ Shapes, chips and LCMs (cereal bars)," she said. "There never seemed to be any fresh stuff."

Ms Lee said they sent a note home to parents about their decision to focus on healthy food. "We asked them to support us by not including any packaged or processed foods," she said. Ms Lee said the kids were initially shocked. "We had a meeting with our grade 3-4 saying we don't want them to bring in packaged food and they were absolutely horrified," she said. "They thought we were the meanest teachers in the school!"

But she said that four weeks later the students were loving it. "The kids are remarkable," Ms Lee said. "Now they are the ones who are inspiring us to eat healthy food." Ms Lee said the policy was not a ban, but they did inspect lunch boxes. "I do check lunches," she said. "And you make an almighty fuss about those that have packaged foods."

But Ms Lee said most students now brought fresh food by choice. "We thought it was going to be really tough, but it hasn't been at all. They are not bringing the packaged food in," she said. Ms Lee said the school also incorporated healthy eating in every class. She said the students were learning how to read nutritional information, to cook and also going for 1km runs. Ms Lee said only grade 3-4 students were involved in the initiative but they might expand it to the rest of the school.

Obesity expert Prof John Dixon applauded the healthy eating move. "This is just what we need. Clearly, parents and schools are incredibly concerned about obesity," he said. Prof Dixon, from Monash University's Centre for Obesity Research and Education, said it was great to see action at a grassroots level. "If communities wake up to it, they can make decisions that are positive for their kids," he said. Victorian Parents Council head Jo Silver also welcomed the crackdown on lunchbox junk. "We need to encourage our children to eat healthily," she said



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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