Monday, April 09, 2012

Fear of the unknown

The many ingredients of factory-produced food cause some people to think it is bad  -- and they have some influence

Fairfax County Public Schools has decided to phase out the 26-ingredient burger. Penny McConnell, who directs the county's Office of Food and Nutrition Services, says she will replace it with an alternative frozen patty made of 100 percent beef. The change could come as soon as mid-April.

But McConnell says she doesn't have the kitchen equipment, the space or the labor force to return to scratch cooking in schools.

She says the pre-prepared foods made by manufacturers are healthful and help limit the risks of food-borne illness, since they prevent the chance of cross-contamination that comes with handling raw meat. "That product that comes from a manufacturer, it's gone through lab analysis and safety checks," McConnell says. "I know it's safe."

The debate about school food is a reflection of a wider cultural rethink about the way we eat.

"What I believe is that we're going back," says Ann Cooper, director of nutrition services for the Boulder Valley School District in Colorado. "If we want to be healthy and want our kids to be healthy, we've got to find our kitchens again."


It's all just kneejerk stuff.  Instead of finding out why ready-prepared food has complex ingredients, they just think they know better. They just cannot handle the thought that manufactured food might be SAFER.

And note that  Feminazis who HATE "processed" food  are the cause of the need for such – with "women's lib" - women are no longer "stay at home moms" that cook home-cooked meals.

Feminazis can't have it both ways - "Fulfillment" in career, competition with men etc. , and "home cooked meals"

Why those antioxidants could be causing you more harm than good

They are the Philosopher’s Stone of the 21st Century: antioxidants, touted as a universal cure-all. Naturally occurring chemicals, they are found in fruits and juices, made into supplements, and even added to make-up.

Every week we read about a new superfood that is supposed to have more of these apparently beneficial chemicals than anything that has come before – and the concept is beguiling.

Antioxidants enhance the immune system’s defence against the diseases caused by free radicals. They include Vitamins A, C and E and selenium, and we have been told they may help prevent cancer, heart disease and even such neurological conditions as Alzheimer’s.

But adding extra antioxidants to our diet gives no benefit. You can eat as many blueberries – or whatever the antioxidant-containing food du jour is – as you like and it won’t stop you getting these illnesses. And loading up with supplements may be bad for your health.

Some antioxidants are produced by the body and some by plants, and so they can be derived from the diet. Their job is to combat free radicals – highly reactive molecules formed as a natural by-product of cellular activity. Free radicals are also created by exposure to cigarette smoke, strong sunlight, and breathing in pollution.

These aggressive chemicals present a constant threat to cells and DNA. We know they can lead to cell damage, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Free radicals have also been implicated in everything from strokes to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Antioxidants stop the chain reactions triggered by free radicals that can damage and destroy cells. So it may seem entirely reasonable that it would be a good thing to eat and drink more antioxidants to boost the supply – or even rub them into your skin. But this is by no means the case.

You might have seen some antioxidant- containing products labelled with a number, usually in the thousands. This is the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) number.

It compares the antioxidant with a standard substance called trolox – itself an antioxidant. Cranberries, for example, have an ORAC level of 8,983, which is related to the number of molecules of trolox that would have the same antioxidant strength. Taken in isolation, the number is pretty meaningless, but it makes it possible to compare different foods. So theoretically, the higher the ORAC number, the better the food.

In reality, beyond a certain point, there is no benefit. In 2008, a study of nearly 15,000 men showed no benefits from Vitamin C and E supplements. There is no recommended daily amount of antioxidant consumption.And although there is evidence that antioxidants may have an effect on cancers, much of it is based on experiments on free radicals in cells cultured outside the body, in labs.

So if antioxidants are good for us, why doesn’t eating more of them have an even more beneficial effect? We know that people with poor diets are more prone to a host of diseases, and that those who eat a balanced diet with at least five fruits and vegetables a day, take exercise, and other very mundane things such as that, have the best chance of not becoming ill. But trials where people have consumed higher than usual levels of antioxidants by taking supplements have found  that, if anything, they have a negative impact on health.

A Cochrane Review published last month, which looked at the results of hundreds of individual studies, found that current evidence does not support the use of antioxidant supplements in the general population or in patients with various diseases. And when the review looked at the mortality rate over 78 randomised clinical trialsfor a range of conditions and using various antioxidants, those consuming antioxidants were 1.03 times more likely to die early.

Another clinical trial last month showed that antioxidant supplements don’t slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s. Two 1994 clinical studies showed a possible increase in lung cancer when taking antioxidants.


1 comment:

Wireless.Phil said...

No more lunch-meat, hot-dogs or Fast Food crap!

From the Sunday Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Toward the end of this article it says:

Beef is not the only meat that's heavily processed to create a variety of consumer foods, says CSPI's Klein.

Chicken and pork parts that also would have gone to waste are similarly turned into a slurry that might then be used to make products such as chicken nuggets or chicken tenders, or deli meats, such as ham loaf or chicken roll.

"Mechanically separated pork and chicken can also both include bones, which the beef doesn't, says Klein.

"I want to say to people, if you were grossed out by pink slime, there's more to come. And pink slime is not the only gross thing in a hamburger -- it's lawful to use trimming from the cow's forehead, from the esophagus." she says.

"Consumers seem to be surprised by the level of engineering that goes into their food. But maybe it's willful ignorance."

Poppendieck also is somewhat surprised by the intense reaction to the pink slime issue.

"I feel like there is a certain naivete among the public about the food supply," she says. "I think some people believe their hamburger comes from Bossy the cow, grazing in some farmer's field."

Actually, the vast majority of beef in the U.S. comes from massive, feed-lot operations, which slaughter tens of thousands of cows a day, she says.
Beef Products Inc. is being made a scapegoat to some degree, says Klein.

"I don't think we should just shame them -- it seems like the rest of the industry is getting a pass."

'Pink slime' in beef: Unsavory, or unsafe? Either way, people are saying , 'No, thanks.'

Published: Sunday, April 08, 2012, 9:00 AM Updated: Sunday, April 08, 2012, 3:29 PM