Friday, June 29, 2007

Grow Op Surprise

Hat tip to Jimmy Kimmel for this one - a clip from a local news channel's coverage of a burning marijuanna grow op. Stay tuned for the interview with the fire fighter at the end.

Have a great weekend!

(as always, email subscribers must head to the blog itself to watch the clip)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

My Take on Body Fat Percentage Scales

Short version - don't buy one.

Here's the longer version.

You've all seen them, and I'm sure many of you have them - the scales where you take your shoes off and magically it tells you your body fat percentage.

The scales work via bioimpedance analysis which involves a small electrical current being passed through your body from foot to foot. The signal travels through the various components of our bodies (fat, muscle, bone) and the time it takes is measured by the scale. The more water there is in the tissue, the faster the transmission and because fat has less water content than muscle, the more fat you have, the slower the electrical current travels and the more fat is registered by the scale.

A good body fat percentage scale will have an error range of at least 4% and frankly you can affect more error by varying your hydration level.

So why don't I like them? Wouldn't it be a good thing to know your body fat percentage? Umm, why would that be a good thing? Would it change anything? Would you live any differently or choose any differently if you didn't see those numbers going down?

The answer to the above questions should be "no", because regardless of your body fat percentage what I'd be recommending you be doing is living the best lifestyle that you can enjoy.

What many folks don't know buying a body fat percentage scale is that body fat percentage changes slowly - very slowly and frankly aside from exercising and losing weight, there's really nothing for you to do to bring that number down. Add in the wide range of error that these scales tend to have and now you've got a tool in your bathroom with the potential of providing you with daily discouragement utilizing a number that you can't do anything specific about to change. Not so smart.

A good practice for a physician is not to order any test that you're not prepared to act on or where the results will not add to the person's health and well being. In my mind body fat percentage is just such a test.

I'll reiterate the goal that I tell everyone in my program is the only goal worth having,
"Live the best life you can enjoy, not the best life you can tolerate."
Sure there will be days with more calories and days with less exercise, but that's real life and in real life, if you're living a life you don't enjoy (a diet for example), eventually you'll decide to stop living that way. Knowing your body fat percentage will only confuse that goal.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Health Canada says Nachos are Healthy

Even for Health Canada, this is astounding.

So apparently for the past few years Health Canada has had a program called the Healthy Cafeteria Program, which according to an internal document from Statistics Canada involves a program that,
"promoted offering more healthy choices or alternatives to the foods regularly served in workplace cafeterias. Besides providing employees with an environment that supports healthy eating, the Healthy Cafeteria Program also gave employees easy access to information necessary for making better food choices."
Sounds good right? It gets even better. Lorne Murphy foods, the company responsible for the cafeteria at Jean Talon and Statistics Canada were awarded the Eat Smart! Award of Excellence from the City of Ottawa for their adoption and promotion of healthy eating in the Jean Talon cafeteria through the Healthy Cafeteria Program.
"One of the goals of the Healthy Cafeteria Program was being able to obtain the Eat Smart! Award of Excellence. This award certifies that Statistics Canada and Lorne Murphy Foods Ltd. have met (and in many places, exceeded!) the nutritional and food safety standards of the workplace cafeteria program."
I'll get into how useless Eat Smart! is another day, but today let's focus on the green checkmark in screen capture above.

If you look back at the picture at the top of the post you'll see a little green checkmark next to the Nacho Supreme (you can enlarge it by clicking on the picture). According to the Healthy Cafeteria Program and Lorne Murphy Foods, winner of the Eat Smart! Award of Excellence from the City of Ottawa that little checkmark represents the day's entree that is "low fat" and presumably is the "more healthy" choice and an example of the stellar work being done by the Healthy Cafeteria Program and their collaboration with Statistics Canada and Lorne Murphy Foods in the promotion of healthy eating and the provision of information to employees to enable them to make "better food choices".

So how much of a better choise are these nachos? I emailed Lorne Murphy foods and they were kind enough to provide me with the nachos' partial nutritional breakdown,
"In response to your inquiry, depending on the toppings you have, you are looking at approximately 1000 - 1200 calories and up to 2000 mg of sodium per serving of Nacho Supreme."
If promoting a 1,200 calorie lunch with more than a full day's worth of sodium as a healthier choice doesn't scream out to Health Canada and Eat Smart! give me an award of excellence, then I don't know what does.

Good Lord!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Unhealthiest Food Ever?

Hat tip to Julie over at her web log It Must Have Been Something I Ate for finding this informative video on what perhaps is the unhealthiest food I've ever seen - bacon dipped in batter, deep fried and served with gravy.

My favourite part of the clip is when the reporter states that the food's inventor Frank Sodolak is,
"force feeding America a much needed dose of of personal responsibility"
(Remember, email subscribers have to head to my actual blog to watch the clip)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Heart and Stroke Foundation's Fatal Trans Fat Flip Flop

In June 2006, the trans-fat task force, a joint undertaking between the Heart and Stroke Foundation and Health Canada, came out with their unanimous recommendations. They recommended that trans-fats be removed from Canada's food supply using a regulatory approach.

Not surprisingly given their lead role in the task force the Heart and Stroke Foundation (CEO Sally Brown was the task force's chair) has a position paper on their website dated November 2006 that states unequivocally,
"The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada recommends that the Federal government implement the recommendations in the Final Report of the Trans Fat Task Force (2006)†, which was co-Chaired by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and Health Canada."
In fact, over the course of the past year, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and CEO Sally Brown have made a very strong case for the implementation of a regulated approach to trans-fat elimination from the Canadian food supply. Here are a smattering of quotes and sources:
"Taking all the evidence into consideration, the task force agreed to a regulatory approach to effectively eliminate transfer in all processed foods"

Sally Brown, CBC News Jun. 28, 2006

The task force took many factors into consideration and was careful in choosing the limits and timeline that it did"

"When you're changing public policy, you have to come up with a solution that is doable, practical but meets your outcomes and that's what we very much tried to do"

"We believe if these regulations were promulgated, Canada would become a world leader in this area"

Sally Brown, Vancouver Sun Jun. 28th, 2006

"The problem is, without regulations, we won't get everyone on board and it's harder to get product changes. Unlike french fries, with something like doughnuts and chocolate bars, you have to take it out of the formulation which is more difficult. We needed regulations uniform across both sectors"

Sally Brown, Vancouver Sun Nov. 1st, 2006

"Trans fats are a "toxic" killer that need to be removed from the food chain as soon as possible"

"We know that the government is taking our recommendations very seriously, but we also know that they're getting some push back from industry who traditionally don't like regulatory approaches"

"Our argument is, if you don't regulate it, it'll be piecemeal"

"We also say that by regulating it, you're sending a signal to the marketplace to ... create healthier oils."

"We think we've given the government a great opportunity to implement what was a consensus report," she said. "[The food industry] supported all the recommendations, they're ready to act. Now we need the government to act."

Sally Brown, National Post Jan. 11th, 2007

"We don't understand why the federal government has not moved on this important health issue,"

"We want this toxin - which is what it is - removed from our food supply"

"Canadians are consuming on average 2.5 times the daily limit, and in some age groups, much higher than that"

Sally Brown, CNews, Apr. 5th, 2007

"could account for between 3,000 and 5,000 Canadian deaths annually from heart disease"

"The longer we wait, the more illness and in fact death will happen, so we know we have to get it out of our food supply"

"There is no safe amount of trans consumption, but many of these foods are well past recommended limits."

Sally Brown, The Windsor Star, Jun. 5, 2007
So to summarize Sally Brown and the Heart and Stroke Foundation's very clear position on trans-fat and Canada, they wants trans-fat, a toxin with no safe consumption level, responsible for thousands of deaths annually, removed from the food supply via regulatory means because if its removal is not regulated not everyone will be on board, removal will be piecemeal and the longer we wait, the more illness and death will happen.

So then please can someone explain to me why when on June 19th, Tony Clement reported that the government will be ignoring the clear cut recommendations of Sally Brown's trans fat task force, trading a regulatory approach to trans-fat removal for a two year, please, pretty please, request to the food industry to remove trans fat that Sally Brown, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation came out with this press release,
"The acceptance of these expert, consensus recommendations moves us one big step closer to the elimination of processed trans fats from our food"

Sally Brown, Toronto Star, Jun. 21, 2007
Umm, Ms. Brown, didn't you say just two short weeks ago that the longer we wait the more illness and death will happen? Didn't you also express your genuine and valid concern that without regulation not everyone will be on board and that removal will be piecemeal and that there's no safe level for consumption?

Ms. Brown, why have you replaced what should have been indignation with accolades?

Contrast Ms. Brown's roll over and play dead response to Tony Clement's inaction press release with that of Mr. Bill Jeffery from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. He was also a member of the task force and felt just as strongly as Ms. Brown once purported to about the need for a regulatory removal of trans-fat from our food supply,
"Since the Trans Fat Task Force called for regulatory limits on industrial trans fat in foods in June 2006, at least 2,000 Canadians have died from trans-fat induced heart attacks. Yet, Minister Clement gave the entire food industry a two-year free-pass for voluntary action and says he will let all companies off the hook completely if, by June 2009, only 75% of certain products comply with the limits proposed by the Task Force. Minister Clement’s long inaction and flimsy standards for corporate responsibility pay a king’s ransom for the government’s relations with food companies."

Bill Jeffery, CSPI Jun. 20th, 2007
Shame he's not the CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Introducing the iRack

This one's been floating around for some time.

It's MadTV's Michael McDonald as Apple's Steve Jobs presenting their latest product, the iRack.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Health Canada Ignores Own Recommendations

On June 6th, 2006 Health Canada's trans fat taskforce published its recommendations to Health Canada.

They recommended,
"Foods purchased by retailers or food service establishments from a manufacturer for direct sale to consumers be regulated on a finished product or output basis and foods prepared on site by retailers or food service establishments be regulated on an ingredient or input basis.

For all vegetable oils and soft, spreadable (tub-type) margarines sold to consumers or for use as an ingredient in the preparation of foods on site by retailers or food service establishments, the total trans fat content be limited by regulation to 2% of total fat content.

For all other foods purchased by a retail or food service establishment for sale to consumers or for use as an ingredient in the preparation of foods on site, the total trans fat content be limited by regulation to 5% of total fat content. This limit does not apply to food products for which the fat originates exclusively from ruminant meat or dairy products.
Yesterday, one year later, Tony Clement provided the government's response,
"We are giving industry two years to reduce trans fats to the lowest levels possible as recommended by the Trans Fat Task Force. If significant progress has not been made over the next two years, we will regulate to ensure the levels are met."
Here's my non-spun version of this statement, "We've stalled for one year, now we're going to stall for two more years and hopefully by then all this hubbub on trans-fats will die down and we can avoid upsetting the food industry for a few more years".

So how is the food industry responding to this remarkable lack of action and incredible turn of luck for them? Here's the headline of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association of Canada's response to Tony Clement's gift to them,
"Foodservice industry applauds Minister of Health for action on trans fat"
and from Food & Consumer Products of Canada,
"Food Industry Supports Government of Canada's Trans Fat Elimination Plan"
Here's a basic rule of thumb. If the food industry applauds your recommendations they probably had a hand in shaping them.

Once again, shame on Health Canada.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Do you have Sleep Apnea?

I guess the first question should be, "Do you know what sleep apnea is?".

Amazingly, despite its clear causal association with hypertension, memory disorders, and obesity and the associated increased risk of sudden death, motor vehicle accidents and depression, many folks with sleep apnea don't know what it is.

Put simply, sleep apnea involves a person repeatedly stopping breathing during sleep which in turn causes them to not enjoy restorative sleep and to have low levels of oxygen in their bloodstream.

There are 3 types of sleep apnea: Obstructive, central and mixed with obstructive being far and away the most common and the one directly related to weight with the weight of a neck actually causing collapse or narrowing of upper airways during sleep.

Testing usually involves suffering through a terrible night's sleep at a sleep lab (though I'm sure some are lovely and don't involve trying to sleep through the chaos of a hospital) and then treatment usually involves sleeping with something called a CPAP mask that uses air under pressure to continually keep airways open.

Folks with successfully CPAP treated sleep apnea will almost always report that they can't imagine ever living without their CPAP machine because it has so dramatically improved their quality of life.

A person with sleep apnea might complain of NEVER feeling well rested, morning headaches, memory disturbances and daytime sleepiness. Their partner might complain of loud snoring (though snoring is not a must) or actual witnessed apnea events where they watch their partner stop breathing for up to a minute at a time.

The problem in Canada is that sleep labs are sometimes difficult to get to, especially in rural areas. Recently a company in Canada invented something they call a "Sleep Strip" which is actually a very sophisticated device that helps to screen for sleep apnea in your own home. It's the device pictured at the top of this post and it's available for sale at their website for $49.99.

[Hat tip: Robert]

UPDATE: Robert tells me that it's actually NOT a Canadian invention but rather an Israeli one.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

90 Calorie Life-hacked Cupcakes

Lifehacker's a fabulous website that offers up "hacks" on how to do things better from day to day life and quite a ways back they posted what I felt to be a very interesting dietary substitution.

You know substitutions I'm sure - apple sauce for oil, Splenda for sugar etc., but this one was really quite unique and specific to of all things, cupcakes.

The recipe is simple:

1 box cupcake mix
1 can of your favourite diet soda

All done.

Honestly, the diet drink is supposed to substitute for the water, eggs and oil.

I've been meaning to try it, but haven't got around to it so thought I'd throw it up here (no pun, honestly, no pun) and hope that one of my readers might give it a go and give us a comment. Icing wise Lifehacker recommends light cool whip (with some food colouring)

Apparently the average box of cupcakes will yield about 2 dozen 90 Calorie cupcakes.

Let me know how it goes!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Make Up Your Own Mind

Ever wonder how McDonald's would answer questions like,
"Why do you target children with unhealthy foods when there is an obesity crisis already?"
"Isn't the high level of advertising aimed directly at children questionable and unfair on parents?"
Well then have I got the site for you: Make Up Your Own Mind is actually a McDonald's website run out of the UK where you're allowed to submit any question you want and McDonald's will "answer" it.

I put the word "answer" in quotations because the sites answers are just empty spin doctored responses.

For instance, here's McDonald's answer to the targeting children with unhealthy foods question,
"McDonald’s has always been aware of the context in which it operates and the need for it to meet the requirements of society and customers in the food and experience that it provides. That’s why over recent years, the company has added new choices to its menu, such as Organic Semi-Skimmed Milk, Orange Juice, Vittel Water, Fruit Bags and Carrot Sticks, changed the recipes of popular food items such as Chicken McNuggets to reduce salt, fat and sugar and introduced better nutritional information without undermining the great taste that people know and love. You may be aware that the Food Standards Agency has devised a nutritional model that profiles food by its fat, salt and sugar content and will inform which products can or can’t be advertised directly to children. The majority of Happy Meal items (with the exception of the Cheeseburger, Milkshakes and non-diet fizzy drinks) are all rated as not being high in fat, salt and sugar."
The site's actually a hoot. The questions certainly are candid and the responses really demonstrate the need to duck and bob. Try to think how you might, as corporate McDonald's, answer these questions (taken directly from the site):

  • How is it that the pictures above the counter in your restaurants look so much better than the food that you supply your customers with? Isn't this blatant misrepresentation?

  • did u know that your products contain too much salt, sugar and fats? and that all that is not good for our physical bodies?

  • if you ate McDonald's everyday could you die

  • On t.v a man ate McDonald's for a whole month and he died. I think it would just kill people if they ate it more than 1 every 2 days. Is it true that your food is full of badness?

  • Why is it that it has taken the rather large amount of bad publicity for your food to actually start you looking at your menu's? Isn't it just reactive? when surely you have a responsibility to be proactive?

  • Why do you think you have such a bad reputation - and I mean terrible, you are reviled, ridiculed and abhorred - among educated people int his country (UK)?

  • More people die each year from illnesses relating to obesity than those relating to smoking. Tobacco companies are banned from advertising but McDonald's are not, whats more the obesity is actively encouraged by way of the 'Make your meal bigger' promotions. How do you feel about this? Guilt?

  • Anyone know how I could submit, "Answer writer for Make Up Your Own Mind" as a suggestion for a feature on that Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs? Those folks' arms must be pythons from slinging so much bullsh*t.

    [Hat Tip: Stefan]

    Friday, June 15, 2007

    Best commercial ever

    Marketing is a very difficult thing. Ads you think will do well often don't and ads you're not terribly excited by often shine.

    Ads need to provide you with very specific messages and provide you with an emotional call to action.

    I imagine this one filled night tables across Europe.

    Have a great weekend!

    Thursday, June 14, 2007

    Set Point Theory

    Yesterday someone in the comments asked me what I thought about "Set Point Theory".

    What set point theory suggests is that a person's body, metabolism and caloric drive strive to maintain a specific preset weight and therefore if your "preset" weight is high and you lose weight, your body will just try its darndest to gain it back.

    I think it's an asinine theory.

    Some obvious problems (one pointed out quite rightly by the comment yesterday):
    1. Why have the world's setpoints gone up dramatically over the course of the past 50-100 years?
    2. Why is the world getting bigger so much faster (are all of our setpoints 1,000lbs?)
    3. Why do the setpoints of indiginous peoples (like the Pima Indians) seem to change the moment they step into North America?
    Set point theory is something that allows folks and governments to take even less responsibility in treatment design and implementation.

    Now it is indeed true that as the body loses weight it does compensate in multiple ways to try to preserve the weight it's losing. The body of course perceives weight loss as an environmental threat - an ice age or a flood or something, and so it jumps into action and changes the way the body handles certain processes, decreases something called the thermic effect of food and basically tries to hold on but it doesn't throw any magical switches to get folks to open their freezers and cupboard doors.

    I don't completely discount the whole theory however. I do believe that there is a range of weight within which a person can comfortably live, but I also believe that range is very wide and it depends not only on the genetic makeup of the individual, but also his or her learned and fixed environment.

    You might even stretch and say that I do believe in set point theory, but in my own version of it - I'll call it Life-Set Theory with weight being primarily lifestyle related.

    People regain their weight as they regain their old lifestyles.

    I say this to new patients daily,
    "The more weight you'd like to permanently lose, the more of your lifestyle you'll need to permanently change"
    The problem is, most weight loss efforts don't really do much to address lifestyle. Weight loss usually involves a food regime - either overt overall restriction and hunger or the magic food approach of this food's good and that food's bad. Those approaches are of course non-sustainable becase they invoke the suffering of hunger or of blind, thoughtless restriction. Any weight lost through suffering will be gained back when the suffering stops and the person reverts back to their prior life that might have led them to have weight to lose, but was easy to live.

    The environment also of course matters. Look at the Pima Indians - heaviest people in the World in Arizona and healthy weights back home in Mexico. I'd imagine this would work in reverse too. For example, take someone who's lost weight with a restrictive approach while working a sedentary job in an urban environment and plop him or her down on a farm where they've got to work all day long and there's no access to food other than what they cook and grow themselves. Do you think their "set point" will have them magically gain? Of course not, because their environment no longer allows for their prior calorie rich lifestyle.

    So to sum up this rant. For me lifestyle dictates set point. Change your lifestyle and eating patterns (combining hunger prevention strategies like frequent eating and increased protein with calorie awareness and an explicit lack of forbidden foods) and you've definitely got a shot, but do remember with lifestyle change it's not necessarily the changes that are difficult, it's change itself.

    Wednesday, June 13, 2007

    More Weird Searches

    A while back I posted a top ten list of weird searches that landed people on my blog. I decided this morning after seeing someone found me by searching for, "How many people die from choking on bacon?" that it was time for another list.

    Here are ten more very strange searches:
    1. Mcdonalds "snack wrap" diarrhea
    2. Does red meat stay in my stomach?
    3. Safe to give toddlers coke chocolate?
    4. Calories in smell
    5. This dog won't hunt overweight kids
    6. Uses of coca cola as medicine
    7. Rejoice underwear canada
    8. How to quit atkins?
    9. "coke plus" diarrhea
    10. Space alien medicine.
    So if those folks are still trolling around here...diarrhea guy, I hope you're feeling better. Please don't give your toddler coke chocolate. Don't worry about calories in smell (there aren't any). Coca Cola is not a medicine. I'm glad someone really likes underwear. And if you want to quit Atkins please try eating some bread.

    Tuesday, June 12, 2007

    Big Milk - Fastest Spin Doctors in the West

    That sure didn't take much time.

    Just last week a study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that looked at vitamin D and calcium supplementation and risk of cancer. The study was fairly short at 4 years and somewhat small with only 1,179 total subjects. Subjects were randomized to receive either a calcium supplement or a calcium supplement plus vitamin D or a placebo. The results suggested that calcium and vitamin D supplementation in post menopausal women slightly lowered the incidence of cancer.

    So fantastic let's all drink milk right?

    But wait a second here, the study didn't look at milk did it? This small, short study looked at vitamin D and calcium supplementation.

    And wait another second, weren't there in fact studies that looked specifically at dairy consumption and cancer risk (rather than calcium and vitamin d supplementation and cancer risk)?

    If I remember correctly, didn't those studies actually show increased risk of cancer development with increased dairy consumption? There was the meta-analysis that suggested higher dairy consumption was actually associated with increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer and another showing that consuming the equivalent of 3 glasses of milk daily led to a 25% increase in the risk of ovarian cancer.

    Did that stop the Big Milk spin machine? Absolutely not.

    Yesterday there was a Big Milk press release that originated from the global PR firm Weber Shandwick. In it their press release entitled, "Boosting key milk nutrients may protect against cancer" Big Milk suggests, guess what, that you should drink more milk to get more vitamin D to prevent cancer.

    The press release explicitly recommends that you drink 3 cups daily which even if it were skim milk would provide you with 24lbs worth of skim milk Calories a year and lead you to consume a beverage linked to prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, and if you remember from a recent post, Parkinson's disease.

    Don't you think it might be smarter to just take a zero calorie 1000IU Vitamin D supplement instead?

    Monday, June 11, 2007

    You Know you're Hardcore When....

    You know I like exercise.

    A few weekends ago we had 64 patients run the Dr. Freedhoff Challenge triathlon through Somersault. Two weekends ago we had 4 patients run the National Capital Marathon, 2 run half-marathons and a whole bunch run a 10km run.

    One of my fondest exercise memories is hiking from Lichtenstein to France across the Swiss Alps (a route called the Alpine Pass Route - absolutely breathtakingly fabulous hiking). I decided to hike it because it was billed as one of the 3 most difficult hikes in Europe that didn't require specialized equipment.

    During that hike I remember it being a positive thing when a few of my toenails decided to fall off in protest of the beating they were taking.

    People have said I'm crazy for having that sentiment, but I'll tell you, I'm not nearly as crazy as someone named Jan Ryerse. Jan is an ultrarunner - someone who likes running over 100 miles at a stretch. He also kind of designs jewelery.....made from toenails.

    Like I said, you know you're hardcore when.

    Click the picture above, I dare ya.

    Friday, June 08, 2007

    Mom my Ride

    I can't believe that his been floating around the internet for as long a time as it has and I haven't seen it.

    Hat tip to my sister.

    Have a great weekend!

    Thursday, June 07, 2007

    Does Agriculture Canada Promote Health?

    Readers of my blog will know I've got a bit of a penchant for slamming what I see to be the inadequacies of Health Canada and their involvement in our national dietary recommendations.

    So how about Agriculture Canada? Does our Department of Agriculture do any better than Health Canada in the promotion of our national diet?

    Apparently not.

    NOW Magazine in Toronto had a very interesting article written by Wayne Roberts detailing just how woefully bad our agriculture policies are in the promotion and protection of health.

    Wayne looked at three separate Statistics Canada agricultural reports.

    The first report worried him because it reported to him that most independent farms are money losers. The report, The Financial Picture Of Farms In Canada, notes that 44.2 per cent of farmers lost money last year and that less than half of the farms that didn't go out of business since 2001 make enough money for the farmer that he or she can be working full time on their land.

    The second report worried him because it reported that most Canadian farmers are old. The report, Snapshot Of Canadian Agriculture, notes that the average age of a farmer in Canada is 52 years old, up 5 years from the report in 2001, and that there's been a 25% drop in farmers under the age of 35. For NOW Magazine's Wayne Roberts, that suggests that the days of the family farm are indeed numbered.

    Wayne's also worried that fewer than 6,000 farms account for roughly 40% of farm gate sales. His worry is that should there be any type of crisis, much of Canada will be left without any local food supply,
    "This is not a system designed with any regard for resilience, surge capacity, robust response to crises or due diligence by politicians and health officials."
    Wayne's also concerned by what he sees to be a disconnect between Health Canada and Agriculture policy. To quote Wayne,
    "Alert health officials might also be alarmed by another trend. There's little relation between what Canadian farmers grow and what Canadian health guidelines say people should eat. The government puts $4.8 billion a year into programs that fund farmers, but there's no sign that one of those dollars is attached to any directive about enviro or dietary health goals. About half of Canada's farms raise livestock of various kinds, beef cattle way out ahead, and about 40 per cent raise field crops (wheat, hay, canola, feed corn, etc), much of which goes to feed livestock or, more recently, to fuel cars.

    Only 5.5 per cent of farms produce fruit and veg. Sweet corn, tasty but devoid of many nutrients, takes up a quarter of the land devoted to fruit and veg, and potatoes, most destined for heart-dumb French fries and potato chips, take up much of the rest. The best fruit lands are devoted to grapes for wine, said to be good for the heart but bad for cancer, and displace apples and tender fruit, good for both.

    You'd never know, in short, that Canada's Food Guide was drawn up by the same government and paid for by the same taxpayers who fund and support contrary products in agriculture. I think "two solitudes" was the phrase a novelist once used to describe this Canadian trait."
    It's an interesting argument and one that I'm not sure I'm qualified to weigh in on as I'm not someone well versed enough in what our soils are good at producing and the economies of scale of which crops are the smartest to produce and subsidize.

    But it certainly wouldn't surprise me to learn that our government's out to lunch on Agriculture policy due to the enormity of the industry we're talking about and the nature of politics and its catering to the folks with the deepest pockets.

    Wednesday, June 06, 2007

    The Oxymorons at White Hat Brands

    Pop quiz time (let's see if you've been paying attention):
    1. Would recommending that children consume an additional 80 Calories per day help combat childhood obesity?

    2. Would recommending that children consume an additional 4 and 3/4 teaspoons of sugar per day help combat childhood obesity?

    3. Would recommending that children take a daily multi-vitamin help combat childhood obesity?
    The answer of course to all of those questions is a most emphatic, "NO!".

    Perhaps someone should tell that to the oxymorons over at White Hat Brands, a new corporation trying to hitch itself to the childhood obesity prevention/treatment bandwagon.

    Amazingly the thing they're trying to hitch is in fact an 80 Calorie, 4 and 3/4 teaspoons of sugar containing, vitamin enriched juice which according to the quobesity that is their press release is,
    "specificially formulated to help combat childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes among preteens".
    Really? Pushing sugar and Calories into children by using cartoon logos and a website targeting children who can't discern truth from advertising will help combat childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes?

    Hopefully discerning Mom's and Dad's will use Google to help them find this blog's commentary on this atrocious product and its parent company's shamelessly misleading statements about their Dog on it! fortified juice beverages.

    Tuesday, June 05, 2007

    National Action Against Obesity - An organization I will NOT join.

    Here's an example of something terribly wrong. Out there is an organization entitled, "National Action Against Obesity". Sounds like a group for me, no?


    As far as I'm concerned, NAAO is as biased and backwards an organization as you can get and while I may indeed agree with some of their positions (such as governments doing too little to help with this major public health concern), I'm absolutely appalled by the virulence and vitriol of their arguments.

    To see what I mean, click the video below (remember email subscribers need to head to my blog to see videos) and watch as the organization president Meme Roth espouses her asinine, biased, offensive and disturbing view that the most recent winner of American Idol is not worthy because her BMI doesn't fit Meme's ideal.

    When I watched this video the words contemptible and loathsome leaped to mind. How about you?

    Monday, June 04, 2007

    The Weight of the World

    Hat tip to the web log rightsizingamerica that pointed me to this pictorial representation of global obesity rates (click it for a larger view).

    The picture comes from a generally non-weight related web log entitled Wellington Grey.

    If there are educators out there who want this as a poster, the graphic's designer has opened up a webshop selling them.

    $20.69 for a large poster.

    (Sorry for the late post - I moved on Friday and don't have an internet connection at home yet)

    Friday, June 01, 2007

    The Sick Call

    I know one of the readers of my blog keeps her own blog and every once and a while she blogs about taking a sick day sorta just like that. I wonder if her employer reads it?

    I wonder how many fewer sick days there would be if every employer were like Conan O'Brien?

    Have a great weekend!