Sunday, August 26, 2012

Amusing "junk" food idiocy in the NYT

Economist Don Boudreaux has a laugh at some addled Leftist hatred in the  letter to the New York Times below:

    Asserting that “Not everyone can afford fresh fruits and vegetables,” Mark Bittman pleads for policies that would replace today’s large commercial farms with smaller farms (“Celebrate the Farmer!” Aug. 22).  He writes: “The naysayers will yell, ‘this mode of farming will not produce enough corn and soy to feed our junk food and cheeseburger habit,’ and that’s exactly the point.  It would produce enough food so that we can all eat well”.

    Not all food experts agree with Mr. Bittman’s suggestion that agricultural markets and policies result in too little availability of fresh foods and, hence, prevent Americans – and especially poor Americans – from eating well.  Only last September one expert found that “In fact it isn’t cheaper to eat highly processed food….  In general, despite extensive government subsidies, hyperprocessed food remains more expensive than food cooked at home.  You can serve a roasted chicken with vegetables along with a simple salad and milk for about $14, and feed four or even six people” – a price, this expert reported, that is half of what it costs at McDonald’s for the same number of people to dine on burgers, fries, and soda.  (This fact, of course, means that people who eat lots of hyperprocessed foods choose to do so, and even pay a premium to indulge that preference.)

    Oh, I almost forgot: the expert who found that junk food is more pricey than are many healthier options such as “rice, grains, pasta, beans, fresh vegetables” is your very own Mark Bittman writing in your very own pages (“Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?” Sept. 24).


The empty-headed self-righteousness of the original NYT article is nauseating so I am pleased that Boudreaux has exposed the author for what he is -- JR

The "incorrect" diet that seems to beat fibromyalgia

When I wrote in the Daily Mail about how I’d overcome fibromyalgia, the response from readers was overwhelming.  Clearly, many people, like me, have been floored by the condition — and the lack of effective treatment — and were anxious for more details.

Unfortunately, no one really knows what causes fibromyalgia and there’s no cure.  Treatments such as painkillers rarely do more than ease the symptoms (characterised by debilitating muscle pain).

Many patients end up giving up work and normal daily life — I longed to retire early from my job as a GP just so I could rest all day.

After two years of misery, my condition was getting worse — but I then came across the theory that fibromyalgia may be linked to oxalates, which are compounds found in ‘healthy’ foods such as fruit, vegetables, salad, nuts and beans.

I cut these out of my diet and overnight my symptoms disappeared — the disabling muscle pains, tingling legs, fatigue and inability to concentrate all went.  But if I ate foods rich in oxalates, the symptoms returned within hours.

Why would this be so?  Oxalates are a kind of ‘natural’ plant pesticide and if the body doesn’t excrete them properly for some reason, it’s possible they accumulate in the muscles, brain and urinary system, causing a range of problems.

But though this made sense, no one could have been as surprised as me that the low oxalate diet actually helped.

And it really did — I was so happy to function normally again, to be able to run instead of amble, do my housework, carry on working and feel animated again.

I must stress that by no means am I an expert in fibromyalgia — eminent doctors and researchers, such as those behind the Fibromyalgia Association UK, have spent years studying this condition, and done much to support sufferers.

Indeed, the article I wrote was about my personal experiences and those of a small number of my patients.

But I can’t believe we are unique — I’m willing to believe my physiology may be a bit odd, but felt surely there would be others in the same situation......

The important thing to remember is that this approach appears to go against the healthy eating principles you’ve been following for years.

Your fruit and vegetable intake is going to be limited to low oxalate produce, which will likely result in you eating much less than before (though this is no reason not to get your five a day — you just won’t have a wide range of fruit and vegetables to choose from).

Going low oxalate also means avoiding healthy wholewheat products and potatoes.

I’d also recommend avoiding vitamin C supplements — in large doses, this vitamin is metabolised into oxalate.

Some low-oxalate foods, such as sponge cake and shortbread biscuits, are high in sugar, so shouldn’t be eaten to excess.

However, there are plenty of low-oxalate foods that are low in sugar, such as eggs, meat and cheese.


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