Monday, August 13, 2007

An extraordinarily stupid diet

Anyone subjecting kids to it could undoubtedly be charged with child abuse -- and the whole "detox" idea is a crock anyway

A 10-DAY detox diet consisting of only lemon juice, water and tree sap syrup is being sold to children as young as six. The popularity of the Lemon Detox Diet has soared in Australia, with more than 40,000 sales through the internet in the past six months. It has become a hot diet/cleansing treatment for Hollywood celebrities such as Angelina Jolie.

Nutritionist Rosemary Stanton is "horrified" by the cleansing diet. "There really isn't any proof this works," Dr Stanton said. "It is quite hazardous to put children on something that is unproven. "Children are growing and their bodies need protein. A diet like that will force their bodies to break down their own body protein. "It is dangerous and the wrong way to go."

The diet was designed by Hawaiian naturopath Stanley Burroughs 30 years ago. It involves drinking nothing more than a mixture of fresh lemon juice, cayenne, water and Madal Bal Natural Tree Syrup for seven to 10 days. The syrup is being sold through the internet for $79 a bottle. The Australian distributor, Sydney-based Andre Saade, said the product was suitable for children, while the company's website states it is "absolutely" safe for children. The syrup is made from the sap of trees -- one part maple, five parts south-east palm syrup, and tastes sweet and sour.

Dr Stanton said the internet was not the place to go for health advice. "People are simply spending money on something that they are not sure works," she said. "The body has its own detox system and that is the liver and the kidneys."


Australian native food fights disease?

It's all very well if you are of the antioxidant religion. That taking antioxidants can shorten your life must not be mentioned, of course

SPREADING Kakadu plum jam on your toast or seasoning soup with native Tasmanian peppercorns could curb the effects of free radicals and soothe the ravages of time, a study has found. For the first time, Australian native fruits have been shown to contain "exceptional" levels of disease-fighting antioxidants, a result scientists hope will boost Australia's fledgling bush-food industry, worth $14 million annually.

Researchers at Food Science Australia, a joint venture between CSIRO and the Victorian Government, compared 12 fruits, including brush cherries, red and yellow finger limes, riberries and Kakadu plums, with blueberries, renowned as a "super food" for its strong antioxidant properties. Native fruits were found to be a rich source of phytochemicals, with Kakadu plums and Burdekin plums containing about five times the amount of antioxidants found in blueberries.

The harsh Australian landscape may account for the findings, according to study co-author Izabela Konczak. "Australian plants had developed in complete isolation from the fruits from the northern hemisphere, with some plants, such as the Tasmanian pepper, associated with hardy Antarctic flora," Dr Konczak said. "If we expose plant cells to stress they produce compounds which protect the plant, and these work in humans as well and can protect us from nasty free radicals." Dr Konczak said eating antioxidants could prevent the development of chronic diseases and stem the ageing process.

Native fruits have been eaten by indigenous Australians for thousands of years, but with scant scientific data about their nutritional value, most people eat native fruit for their piquant taste, said Brunswick East-based CERES Bushfood and Permaculture Nursery manager Antoinette Celotti. "Mountain pepper, for example, has a spicy taste and there are advantages to growing the native fruit in relation to water usage," Ms Celotti said.

Using bush fruits as a source of phytochemicals could also interest the health food industry. "Finding unique food ingredients and flavours with health-promoting properties is a key market requirement these days," Dr Konczak said. So should we be eating Cedar Bay cherries on our breakfast cereal in a bid to stay youthful? "Yes, definitely," she laughed. "The development of minimally processed native fruits - a kind of convenience food - is the best way to use them for health benefits."



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 and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they 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.


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