Friday, January 12, 2007


No doubt he wants to ban coffee too. That's FULL of the evil caffeine and lots of people drink it with that ghastly, fattening MILK and SUGAR!

Governments have been urged to consider banning the sale of caffeinated soft drinks to children following Australian research showing caffeine only increases addictiveness. A Melbourne study, published in the most recent issue of international research journal Appetite found caffeine added to cola-based drinks did not enhance flavour, but did increase their addictiveness, adding to childhood obesity problems. Study co-author, Deakin University's Russell Keast yesterday said his findings were "absolutely conclusive" that people could not detect the caffeine flavour added to cola-based drinks. But he said children might find themselves becoming addicted to the caffeine, without realising it. "It's a problem for children," he said. "We're talking about children, who don't have the cognitive ability to understand why they're getting more irritable, more moody."

Dr Keast said there was a "very strong cause and effect" between soft drink consumption and obesity, with previous research showing a person's chance of obesity rose 60 per cent with each extra can of soft drink they consumed. "Soft drinks have been linked to childhood obesity and caffeine has been linked to increased consumption," he said. "So I think overall that the picture is while caffeine adds no flavour activity to these soft drinks, it is potentially an issue the government perhaps should look at regulating, certainly in schools, to see if maybe caffeinated soft drinks and maybe soft drinks overall shouldn't be marketed to school children."

Dr Keast said banning the drinks' sale to children under the age of 18, in the same way alcohol was banned, could be one approach for governments to explore. "I think if that's a regulatory approach, that sort of thing should maybe be considered. I don't know what the best options are, how you would go about such things." Dr Keast last week emailed his report to federal Health Minister Tony Abbott and Victorian Health Minister Bronwyn Pike.

Mr Abbott last year slammed soft drinks as being "very, very harmful" for children except as an occasional treat, but stopped short of promising tougher laws.

Dr Keast said yesterday that research into the effects of caffeinated soft drinks would continue, with funding being sought to do similar studies in Thailand, where childhood obesity was also a growing problem. The six-month Melbourne study, conducted jointly with Lynnette Riddell, repeatedly tested 30 people aged in their 20s to see if they could detect the caffeine flavour in cola-based drinks.



Adults living with young children eat significantly more fat than grown-ups with no kids at home, a new study shows. Adults with kids consumed nearly 5 more grams of fat and 1.7 more grams of saturated fat every day, the equivalent of an individual pepperoni pizza a week, Dr. Helena Laroche of the University of Iowa in Iowa City and her colleagues found. Adults living with children younger than 17 also ate more salty snacks, cheese, beef, ice cream, cakes and cookies, pizza, and processed meats like bacon.

Busy schedules and time constraints may be forcing parents to choose more high-fat convenience foods, Laroche and her team suggest in their article in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. Adults with children may also be more likely to keep these foods around the house because they think kids like them. "We need to approach nutrition as good for the whole family," Laroche told Reuters Health. "Everybody should be eating the same nutritious food."

She and her colleagues analyzed data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a nationally representative sample that included 6,660 men and women aged 17 to 65. Households with children younger than 17 didn't consume more calories, but they did eat more fat, Laroche and her colleagues found.

"These findings suggest that food advertising aimed at children may influence not only the child's diet but also indirectly affect parents' diets," they note in their report. The authors suggest switching kids to lower-fat milk after age 2, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association, as well as limiting snack food, cheese products, and pizza.


Jonah Goldberg comments:

I'm growing increasingly annoyed with the idea that kids like fatty, sweet and all around yummy foods because of some sort of social construction of reality. I remember reading somewhere that Dr. Spock (no, the other one) said dessert shouldn't be withheld as a punishment because it emphasizes the wrong food and makes sweets seem like the most "valuable" meal. For a long time, this made total sense to me because I never had to think about it. Now that I'm a parent, I recognize that it is almost a total crock. Kids like ice cream because it tastes really frick'n good. Telling a kid, "clean up your room or no spinach for you" would be brilliant if it weren't so scandalously stupid (note: if yours is the one kid in a million who likes spinach more than ice cream, congrats. But we ain't building social policy around your example). I keep seeing these segments on TV or reading snippets in the paper about how if you just raise kids to like apples more than cookies, they'll like apples more than cookies. Maybe that's possible, but only if you never let your kids eat really good cookies so they never learn what they're missing.


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].

Trans fats:

For one summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and the evidence of lasting harm from them is dubious. By taking extreme groups in trans fats intake, some weak association with coronary heart disease has at times been shown in some sub-populations but extreme group studies are inherently at risk of confounding with other factors and are intrinsically of little interest to the average person.

The use of extreme quintiles (fifths) to examine effects is in fact so common as to be almost universal but suggests to the experienced observer that the differences between the mean scores of the experimental and control groups were not statistically significant -- thus making the article concerned little more than an exercise in deception


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