Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Maccas has good associations for little kids

The reference given for this report is faulty as no such article appears in the current issue of JAMA. I wonder however if the kids who were studied had ever been to McDonalds or not. I would be surprised if they had not. So attributing the effect to TV advertising is tendentious. The kids may simply have learnt from experience that Maccas has tasty food

Junk-food advertising's influence on young children has been confirmed by research revealing vegetables taste better to preschoolers if served in McDonald's wrappers. In a study prompting renewed calls for restrictions on fast-food marketing, four out of five children preferred hamburgers, chicken nuggets, fries, milk and even baby carrots served in McDonald's packaging, over identical food in plain wrappers.

Childhood obesity experts said the results of 300 individual tasting comparisons, with 63 children aged three to five, were alarming. Seventy-seven per cent preferred fries served on a wrapper with the golden arches logo, compared with 13 per cent who liked them better in plain packaging. Chicken nuggets in a bag branded with the logo were favoured by 59 per cent while more than half (54 per cent) thought baby carrots in a branded french fries bag tasted better than in a plain bag. Forty-eight per cent liked the hamburger with the fast food company's logo compared with 37 per cent who preferred it in a plain wrapper. Even milk tasted better, with 61 per cent preferring it in a McDonald's cup.

The study found that the more televisions there were in a preschooler's home, the more likely they were to prefer foods and drinks from McDonald's. The results from the Stanford University (California) research, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, come a week after federal Labor's health spokeswoman, Nicola Roxon, revealed a Kevin Rudd government would ban the use of licensed characters such as Shrek to market junk food to children.

McDonald's spokeswoman Christine Mullen said they used Shrek to advertise their Pasta Zoo Happy Meal, which has less fat and more calcium and protein than other options.



Or does it? It depends in part on how well the matching between the diseased and normal population was done. Strictly, the matching should have been with other ill people

Carbonated Beverages and Chronic Kidney Disease

By Saldana, Tina M. et al.


Background: Carbonated beverage consumption has been linked with diabetes, hypertension, and kidney stones, all risk factors for chronic kidney disease. Cola beverages, in particular, contain phosphoric acid and have been associated with urinary changes that promote kidney stones.

Methods: We examined the relationship between carbonated beverages (including cola) and chronic kidney disease, using data from 465 patients with newly diagnosed chronic kidney disease and 467 community controls recruited in North Carolina between 1980 and 1982.

Results: Drinking 2 or more colas per day was associated with increased risk of chronic kidney disease (adjusted odds ratio = 2.3; 95% confidence interval = 1.4-3.7). Results were the same for regular colas (2.1; 1.3-3.4) and artificially sweetened colas (2.1; 0.7-2.5). Noncola carbonated beverages were not associated with chronic kidney disease (0.94; 0.4-2.2).

Conclusions: These preliminary results suggest that cola consumption may increase the risk of chronic kidney disease.

Epidemiology. 18(4):501-506, July 2007


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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