Skepticism

Jamie Oliver Says Organic Is “Normal”, Gets Ass Handed to Him

Jamie Oliver says organic is normal

On September 25th, Jamie Oliver, British celebrity chef, media personality, and self-styled “food campaigner”, published a blog post entitled, “Vote for Organic Food”. And with it, sadly, he demonstrated his dire lack of knowledge about agriculture, plant breeding, the food system, and the reality of the landscape of life for average families. And the worst part is, Oliver has a massive platform; everything he writes is immediately disseminated to millions of fans.

“Organic food is natural food, where nature has been allowed to do its thing”, Oliver’s Facebook page declared above the link to the blog post. “Putting natural ingredients into our bodies is only going to be a good thing.”

The celebrity food activist is either cleverly disingenuous, or has no idea what the word “natural” means. Admittedly I’m not a “roughing it” kind of gal; when nature is doing its thing, you’ll often find me running for the comfort of air conditioning and a delicious bowl of microwaved leftover stir fry. My followers alerted me to Oliver’s post, so I responded as follows:

Jamie Oliver Facebook comment

Though Oliver and/or his social media managers have responded to several of the comments on the thread, my message has yet to receive a reply from the chef or his social media team. My message, which has the most likes and responses and thus has certainly been seen by Oliver’s Facebook team, was a brief explanation of why the “organic is natural” trope is completely fallacious. I was pleased to see several comments along these lines:

Del Jamie Oliver 4

Indeed, encouraging families to eat varied diets high in fruits and veggies is important. Instead, Oliver’s blog post claims, “We know so little still about how the body works, but we do know that variety and freshness give us the most nutritional benefits – it makes sense to me that eating organic food, at its freshest, will support that.”

Variety is certainly important, but the word “freshness” means little when it comes to nutrition. In fact, frozen fruits and veggies are often just as, if not more nutritious than fresh, non-frozen counterparts, not to mention more affordable. Further, the idea that organic gives the most nutritional benefits because it “makes sense” to Oliver is little more than empty drivel. “Making sense” does not equal scientific data. The “appeal to nature” is not a fact, it’s a fallacy.

Del Jamie Oliver 1

The Farmer’s Daughter, one of my favorite ag writers, gives Jamie Oliver a piece of her mind.

What’s more disappointing than Oliver disseminating misinformation about organic foods, which are no more nutritious, safe, or “natural” than conventionally grown or genetically engineered foods, is his lack of response to farmers and other experts.

Del Jamie Oliver 2

Sarah Schultz, another awesome ag writer who blogs at Nurse Loves Farmer, tells Jamie Oliver what’s what.

Rather than responding to me, and to others offering sensible commentary about organic and conventional farming, Oliver chose to reply to other commenters, encouraging people to simply “grow their own” food when organic isn’t affordable. Does this sound like a realistic choice for the majority of people? Hardly.

Del Jamie Oliver 3

Jamie – my offer remains open, and I hope you’ll take me up on it. I am happy to put you in touch with farmers, plant geneticists, toxicologists, and scientists, truly some of the most knowledgeable and respected experts and communicators in the food and farming arena. I imagine some valuable dialogue and learning could ensue all around and, truly, what’s better than that?

Featured image:  Wikimedia Commons

Kavin Senapathy

Kavin Senapathy

Kavin Senapathy is a mom of two, co-Executive Director of March Against Myths, public speaker, Forbes contributor and author in Madison, WI. She is also co-author of "The Fear Babe: Shattering Vani Hari's Glass House". Follow her on Facebook and twitter @ksenapathy

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50 Comments

  1. September 28, 2015 at 10:12 am —

    I’ve always seen Jamie Oliver as a privileged little shit who, on the pretense of helping the poor, comes across instead as condescending and preachy.

    He has some very good points but he pushes those points to extremes without weighing the real world consequences, something that works well in one location for example might not work at all or may cost far more to implement in another location.

    One size fits all is never a good idea when it comes to something as varied and complex as nutrition, not that I really expect a chef to know that (after all he’s not a nutritionist) but since that is the case he needs to talk to those who do know of what they speak before he advocates. Intentions are not magic, and this latest thing makes me wonder if he will soon be hawking an organic line as it seems to be the pattern.

    • September 28, 2015 at 4:08 pm —

      “I’ve always seen Jamie Oliver as a privileged little shit who, on the pretense of helping the poor, comes across instead as condescending and preachy.”

      A lot of healthy eating types come off that way. They start off with sensible advice (eat lots of fruits and vegetables, less junk food) and then go off to La La Land. Not that actually following that sensible advice is feasible for everyone; proximity to a grocery store and access to personal transport are themselves privilege, after all. And even if organic farming weren’t all woo, organic consumers are willing and able to pay a premium.

      Also, technically, he is a nutritionist, but not a dietitian. “Nutritionist” just means anyone giving nutritional advice, but says nothing about the speaker’s qualifications. “Nutritionist” isn’t regulated by the government, while “dietitian” is. Guess which term quacks prefer. Come on, guess.

  2. September 28, 2015 at 12:38 pm —

    It is thoroughly disappointing to see Jamie Oliver misinform the general public in this way. His advice is not in line with that of the Food Standards Agency, whom in 2003 stated:

    “In our view the current scientific evidence does not show that organic food is any safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced food.
    Nor are we alone in this assessment. For instance, the French Food Safety Agency (AFSSA) has recently published a comprehensive 128-page review which concludes that there is no difference in terms of food safety and nutrition.

    Also, the Swedish National Food Administration’s recent research report finds no nutritional benefits of organic food.
    The Consumers’ Association in its report in Which? magazine for May 2003 concludes that there is ‘no consensus’ on reports linking organic foods to health benefits.”

    Interestingly, in his article, ‘Vote for Organic Food’, Jamie Oliver refers to the Soil Association when quoting the miraculous benefits of going organic. This is the same organisation that was mentioned via the Guardian in August 2009 for cherry picking studies and reporting organic produce as more nutritious despite these differences lacking statistical significance.

    Taking into consideration that the Food Standards Agency decide to conduct themselves in a scientific manner, as a consumer, I consider them a far more trustworthy and reliable source of food safety and nutritional information than Mr Oliver or the Soil Association.

    References:

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2009/aug/07/organic-food-standards-agency

    http://tna.europarchive.org/20110116113217/http://www.food.gov.uk/news/newsarchive/2003/jun/cheltenham

    http://gacs.food.gov.uk/gacsgroups/wgorganic

  3. September 28, 2015 at 4:12 pm —

    What I find interesting is the apparent denial that farming is itself a technology among back-to-nature types. (Then again, some of them might not mind such a drastic population reduction as might be required for the entire planet to resume a foraging lifestyle. So long as they were among the survivors.)

    And yes, TBH, people are apparently under this impression that living things don’t produce toxic chemicals. Where did this come from?

    • September 28, 2015 at 6:51 pm —

      I would like a three-decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich, with arsenic sauce, please. With the nightshade sauerkraut on the organic ergotic rye.

  4. September 28, 2015 at 7:06 pm —

    As Jon above said Farming is not natural its never been natural and in fact the start of agriculture is the start of civilization and a move away from nature. Farming is taking what was once natural and making it useful for humans. Outside of wild fish just about everything we consume has been greatly modified from its “natural” origin and can not survive without human intervention. Sure their are some wild berries and game too but they are just not that common in most industrial countries diets. That broccoli and kale you are eating would not exist without humans so have fun eating some wild brassica.

    So what is the difference between organic and ebil conventional? Organic just happens to be the way a few rich Brits in the 1940s thought food should be grown. Organic is not the way substance farmers grow their food. Its not the way farming worked in the 1880s. Because most farmers never believed that homeopathy was a valid way to treat their sick animals.

    • September 29, 2015 at 2:06 pm —

      Look at all the nightshades in my chili fries

      It gets worse when you consider white people have a habit of assuming people are more primitive than they are. Hence, for instance, creationists who use the banana fitting in the human hand as proof of the divine.

      BTW, you mean ‘subsistence’.

    • October 9, 2015 at 2:13 am —

      Some of us practise perma culture farming. It produces more yield per acre than conventional farming, is less prone to insect invasions and not vulnerable to drought. The tomatoes and potatoe varieties are heirloom or strains from Peru, the country of origin. They are not GMO although some are cross pollinated. The problem of having large fields of the same crop makes them more vulnerable to insects and therefore may be necessary to use pesticides which can damage fragile organisms that make up the soil, making it necessary to fertilize with synthetic fertilizers. I am fortunate to have a couple of horses, so there is no shortage of well-composted manure! And you would be surprised at how many people can grow some of their own veggies. I have seen people growing things in containers or on the grassy parts next to curbs in cities. Community gardens have become very popular too, like using a vacant lot for growing veggies for a whole neighbourhood. Eating local is good for the economy and cuts way back on the amount of fossil fuels used for transport. Conventional farming is hard on the environment, and eventually will not be sustainable. It is only a band aid solution to a booming population problem that has not been addressed.

  5. September 29, 2015 at 5:27 pm —

    I get that there are a lot of people who can’t afford organic food and most organic food has been genetically modified, but the flipside is, pesticides are polluting our water and killing our bees. Perhaps it wasn’t his point, but aren’t the advantages of conventional farming outweighed by the fact that we may not be able to grow anything in a few years?

    • September 29, 2015 at 6:10 pm —

      Organic uses pesticides the only difference is which pesticides they are allowed to use. With conventional the criteria for pesticides is effectiveness and cost while with organic it is if its “natural”.

      If you are worried about the water ways you should be for more conventional farming especially with round up ready varieties. Conservation Tilling and No Tilling means less run off. Its rare for an organic field to be conservation or no tilling because weed control.

      Bee apocalypse is over blown. The population of bees is stable and slowly rising and has been for decades.

      And where did you get this idea that we wont be able to grow anything in a few years? Yields continue to rise. There are counties in Illinois this year that are expected to average 215 bushels of corn. These counties have been planting corn and soy for now 150 years and their yields are increasing with no end in site.

    • September 30, 2015 at 2:33 am —

      I get so many bloody things in email asking me to vote on, “making labeling mandatory”, that I wish there was a bloody, “No.”, option, or, better yet, a, “you are all idiots”, button. lol

      Still, I would love to see “honest” labels – Organic that wasn’t just examined by some dude, so they could put a stamp on it, and sell it for more (you tell me this isn’t happening with half of the stuff), and a non-GMO section that was accurate – “Well.. we have these shitty looking, easy to bruise, organic apples from a species where are fairly sure hasn’t changed via human hands in a few million years, and.. oh, a fine selection of weeds, which are all in their original forms, since no one bothers to eat the damn things any more. Where is the rest of the food? Ah, the other 5,000 produce products are over their in our much larger “engineered” section.” lol

  6. September 30, 2015 at 2:41 pm —

    The bees and monarch butterfly problem you were worried about was caused by neocortinoid pesticides, and they are well on their way to being outlawed.

  7. September 30, 2015 at 2:44 pm —

    by the way, I do grow my own food, and one doesn’t need a backyard to grow veggies, I know many in New York City who grow their own in pots.

  8. October 5, 2015 at 6:19 pm —

    I lost all respect for Jamie Oliver when he learned he could get attention by scaring people. He was the one responsible for the “pink slime” panic a few years ago.

    • October 5, 2015 at 6:39 pm —

      To be fair it was good to get that stuff out of the food supply. More oversight of food is always a good thing, although I was never fed and would never eat any fast food or food supplied during school lunches (nor let my children eat that) for a variety of issues, including the one concerning the use of antibiotics on farm animals, despite stronger regulations.

    • October 5, 2015 at 6:48 pm —

      Just a quick cursory search

      A USDA microbiologist stated that the product does contain connective tissue “instead of muscle” and thus it is “not meat” and is “not nutritionally equivalent” to ground beef.[18] Fox News reported that besides low-grade beef trimmings other meat by-products such as connective tissue, cartilage, and sinew which contain fat were present.[19][20]

      In an Associated Press review, food editor and cookbook author J.M. Hirsh compared the taste of LFTB-containing hamburgers against traditional, or “real”, hamburgers. He described the LFTB-containing burgers as smelling the same, but being less juicy and highly mealy with bits and studs of cartilage-like matter.[27]

      Because of ammonium hydroxide use in its processing, the lean finely textured beef by BPI is not permitted in Canada.[91] Health Canada stated that: “Ammonia is not permitted in Canada to be used in ground beef or meats during their production” and may not be imported, as the Canadian Food and Drugs Act requires that imported meat products meet the same standards and requirements as domestic meat.[91][92] Canada does allow Cargill’s citric acid-produced Finely Textured Meat (FTM) to be “used in the preparation of ground meat” and “identified as ground meat” under certain conditions.[93]

      Lean finely textured beef and Finely Textured Meat is banned for human consumption in the European Union.[94][95] Meat processed using the Baader process is allowed in the EU.[96]

      • October 5, 2015 at 8:07 pm —

        “… besides low-grade beef trimmings other meat by-products such as connective tissue, cartilage, and sinew which contain fat were present.” Yes, and that’s how sausages have been made for the past thousand years or so. Furthermore, was there a single solitary case of anyone at all developing ill effects from this “pink slime,” or was it a case of Jamie Oliver getting attention by showing people that it looked icky?

        • October 5, 2015 at 8:29 pm —

          That would be something that’s very hard to connect to a root cause. We’re also cracking down on the usage of antibiotics in meat, even though we haven’t connected that directly to anything yet. The meat also tasted different, and frankly people have a right to decide whether or not they want to consume this. He wasn’t the only one, both ABC NEWS and FOX did a huge expose on it. Where you fell on this issue, seemed to go along party lines, republicans in states that get huge donations from these companies went one way and democrats went the other way.

          Whether he tried to get attention is another matter. Many of us knew about this issue years ago. I didn’t even know about this guy before now.

          • October 6, 2015 at 6:08 am

            We’re “cracking down” on antibiotics in meat because of the “natural” bandwagon. Food producers are sucking up to this “natural” because they can charge higher prices and it will sell. The “exposes” from the news shows were also sensationalist, and every single one of them gave attention to Jamie Oliver. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/05/23/the-pink-slime-saga-continues/ And I would prefer meat made from livestock treated with antibiotics, because – wouldn’t you you know it – it means the livestock were more more resistant to disease and infection. As such, if they could indeed connect these issues to a genuine root cause other than “it’s not natural therefore it’s bad” or “it looks icky,” then they should indeed crack down on it. However, We certainly do *not* have a “right to know” simply based upon fear and paranoia encouraged by the likes of Jamie Oliver. “Natural” or “looks ugly” are used as reasons by the industry because it helps increase profits.

          • October 8, 2015 at 2:47 pm

            I find both industries to be highly corrupt. And based on what I was reading, ABC News and Fox had both been investigating the meat industry from well before Oliver’s statement (2007 and 2009). The issue with antibiotics and why Obama, the FDA and USDA want its usage curtailed in meat is because of the rising rate of drug resistance (same with pesticides crops- including glyphosate.) Neither of these issues has anything to do with Oliver, I’ve known about both for years and had never even heard of Oliver before this blog post. I dont follow celebrity chefs. Or celebrity anything. But I do follow the development of new GMO by nonprofits, universities and small companies (not corrupt big giants like you know who) that dont require any pesticides at all including glyphosate or enlist duo, and new drugs that replace antibiotics by boosting our immune system. That gets us past two looming dead ends.

            http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/news/130501_superbugs
            Antibiotic resistant bacteria at the meat counter
            May 2013
            The pork chops you buy in the supermarket neatly packaged in plastic and styrofoam may look completely sterile, but are, in fact, likely to be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria — and not with just any old bugs, but with hard-to-treat, antibiotic resistant strains. In a recently published study, researchers with the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System bought meat from a wide sampling of chain grocery stores across the country and analyzed the bacteria on the meat. Resistant microbes were found in 81% of ground turkey samples, 69% of pork chops, 55% of ground beef samples, and 39% of chicken parts. Of course, thoroughly cooking the meat will kill the germs, but if the meat is undercooked or contaminates other food with its bacteria — perhaps via a shared cutting board — the result could be an infection that can’t be cured with common medications. Such infections are a serious health concern — a strain of antibiotic resistant staph was recently estimated to cause nearly 20,000 deaths per year in the U.S. — and the problem seems to be getting worse. An evolutionary perspective helps us understand how antibiotic resistance arises in the first place and why the prevalence of resistant bugs in livestock has health professionals and scientists worried.

            Where’s the evolution?
            It should be no surprise that antibiotic resistant bacteria are the products of evolution via natural selection: as bacteria reproduce, small, random errors (i.e., mutations) occur as their DNA is copied. Just by chance, some of those mutations may help their bearers survive and reproduce better and so will increase in frequency in the bacterial population. Other mutations may be detrimental and will be weeded out of the population. Still others may have no impact at all to the bacterium’s fitness (i.e., neutral mutations) and will change in frequency through genetic drift. When antibiotics flood the environment of the bacteria, individuals that happen to carry random mutations that allow them to survive and reproduce despite the drug will be favored. Eventually, the entire lineage of bacteria may carry genes that confer antibiotic resistance.
            This process seems to be inevitable. If a bacterial lineage is consistently exposed to a particular antibiotic, it will eventually evolve resistance to that drug, and this will occur in the soil, in livestock, in the human body — wherever bacteria are exposed to antibiotics. This same basic process is responsible for the evolution of advantageous traits in familiar organisms, like a hawk’s keen eyesight or a polar bear’s insulating fur. However, bacteria have a leg up on birds and bears when it comes to evolution. Most species rely on mutations somewhere in their historical lineage for their genetic variation — that is, an improved ability to spot prey will evolve in a lineage of hawks only if mutations conferring keener sight occurred somewhere in the hawk lineage and were then passed down to the generation of hawks experiencing natural selection. Bacteria, on the other hand, get their genetic variation both from their ancestral lineage and through a process known as horizontal transfer.
            In horizontal transfer, organisms share genetic material with one another directly, as opposed to passing genetic material only to their offspring. In this way, genes from distantly related lineages of bacteria can wind up in the same individual. A gene version that first arose in Escherichia coli could easily be passed on to Salmonella.
            Horizontal transfer represents a special danger when it comes to the evolution of resistance because, through gene sharing, antibiotic resistance genes that evolve and become common in one lineage of bacteria that is exposed to a particular antibiotic can be passed to distantly related bacterial lineages. In other words, a bacterial lineage can evolve resistance to a particular antibiotic even if its ancestors never carried a mutation that conferred resistance to that drug. With all this genetic variation being shared, antibiotic resistant bacterial strains can evolve quickly. Furthermore, different antibiotics often have similar modes of action (e.g., amoxicillin and methicillin both work by preventing bacteria from forming cell walls), so resistance to one drug often means partial resistance to a host of other medications. To make matters even worse, bacteria often transfer multiple genes for resistance to different antibiotics on the same piece of DNA. Since the genes are physically attached to one another, selecting for one of those resistance genes lets the others hitchhike to high frequency. So exposing a bacterial population to say, streptomycin, may also unintentionally favor the evolution of a strain that resists many other antibiotics as well — making for a particularly hard-to-cure infection.
            Bacteria have many characteristics that allow them to evolve resistance to whatever antibiotics we throw their way — short generation times, high mutation rates, and horizontal transfer — and current agricultural practices (in particular, the heavy use of antibiotics in livestock) seem destined to speed this process even further. In the U.S., around 80% of antibiotics are destined for farm animals, not for treating human disease. The majority of those animal antibiotics are used preventatively and to promote faster growth and speed meat production, not to treat sick individuals. Unfortunately, this approach also encourages the evolution and proliferation of antibiotic resistant strains on factory farms. So, it should come as no surprise that a large percentage of supermarket meat carries antibiotic resistant bugs!
            Clearly, the ubiquity of antibiotic resistant bacteria in livestock has implications far beyond highlighting the need to cook meat thoroughly. It suggests that, lurking in farm animals, is a vast pool of dangerous resistance genes that could easily make their way out of the bacteria in which they currently reside and into strains that would represent an even more significant human health threat. We have many lines of evidence suggesting that horizontal transfer of genes, including resistance genes, is commonplace among bacteria. What we have not had is a major outbreak of an antibiotic resistant infection that has been definitively linked to resistance from bacteria inhabiting livestock — yet. If the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, and the National Academy of Sciences have their way, we may be able to avoid that fate, at least for certain antibiotics. These groups have all signed on to support new legislation that would prevent widespread use of certain antibiotics on livestock, helping to protect the effectiveness of these drugs in humans.

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/11/06/beyond-antibiotics-a-new-weapon-against-superbugs-shows-promise/

            antibiotics alternatives that a new type of treatment had been effective at curing five out of six patients whose skin had been infected with MRSA or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus — one of the scariest bugs around because it appears to shrug off even the most powerful antibiotics available. The initial trial was small and limited to those with eczema, contact dermatitis and other skin infections but the company said it is beginning clinical trials for other types of infections.

            Antibiotics work by getting inside bacteria, but in recent years many bacteria that cause common illnesses such as tuberculosis or salmonella have mutated to have thicker membranes that stop the medicine from getting inside.

            The new drug — which the company has dubbed Staphefket — works from the outside by latching on to the outer cell wall of bacteria. It uses an enzyme known as endolysins to degrade the wall and thereby kill the bacteria. Scientists theorize that bacteria will be less able to evolve to protect themselves against this type of attack because endolysins tend to evolve with their hosts. They are also believed to have another advantage over antibiotics: They can be targeted to only kill specific types of bacteria while antibiotics tend to kill a whole spectrum of them — both good and bad for the body.

            Micreos said in May that it had tested the drug against 36 strains of bacteria, eight of them MRSA.

            The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in September issued a long-awaited report on the matter warning that antibiotic resistance threatens to undue all the progress we’ve made in the past century in terms of controlling infectious diseases.

            http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/national/report-combating-antibiotic-resistance/1328/

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/obama-directs-federal-agencies-to-ramp-up-efforts-to-deal-with-antibiotic-resistance/2014/09/18/581d2b70-3f56-11e4-9587-5dafd96295f0_story.html

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/antibiotic-resistant-genes-are-widespread-in-nature-study-finds/2014/05/08/ec608662-d53c-11e3-aae8-c2d44bd79778_story.html

          • October 8, 2015 at 3:10 pm

            Dont get me wrong, I dont trust the organic/”natural” industry either, but neither do I trust the meat industry. Where capitalism and profits are concerned, you always need to connect the dots in terms of following the money trail. More information is always useful. I’ll pay more money to make sure I get the high grade meat, where animals are treated better from people I directly know. (Actually they dont charge me more, but I’d pay a premium for the above- it’s worth it.) And I grow my own veggies (for the most part) pesticide free. I also dont drink alcohol, consume soda or anything with caffeine or nicotine or eat fast food. I dont know if you’re familiar with New York Times Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Moss’s work (he was an insider in the food industry and still has contacts within the industry), which was also aired on 60 Minutes, about how the food industry developed the right combination of ingredients to make fast food addictive- fueling the obesity crisis.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/magazine/the-extraordinary-science-of-junk-food.html

            http://www.cbsnews.com/news/food-industry-accused-of-manipulating-products-to-make-people-buy-eat-more/

            Moss, a New York Times investigative reporter, called parallels between the food industry and the tobacco industry “interesting.”

            “What amazing thing that actually happened, Phillip Morris became the largest food manufacturer in the country and eventually began warning its food division people that it’s going to face problems in salt, sugar and fat in obesity like it did on nicotine,” Moss said. “This was a decade ago. Obesity has increased since then. Again, I think it’s incumbent upon the food industry to realize that people care what they’re putting in their mouths.”

            Asked how the food giants hook us on foods, Moss said: “Salt, sugar, fat are the holy grail for the processed food industry. They know when they hit the right formulas, they’ll just send us over the moon for their products. They’re not just getting us to like their product, they’re also getting us to eat more and more and that’s why reporting this book for me was like being inside a detective story.”

            He added: “Take salt. I thought it was just a rock taken out of the ground and ground up. There are more than 40 types of salt available to the processed food industry, everything from powder that goes into salty canned soups to chunks that hit your tongue instantly and create what the industry calls flavor bursts to go to your brain until you eat more.”

            “Some experts will say that look, ‘Some people will react compulsively to their foods.’ They have really smart scientists on staff who know how to formulate these three ingredients (salt, sugar, and fat). For example, a person who invented a recent soda flavor for Dr. Pepper walked me through the process and says to get to the precise amount of sugar, which he calls ‘the bliss point,’ he came up with 61 variations of sweetness, put it to consumers, did his analysis and the precise amount is what he came up with.”

            In response to Moss’ book, the Grocery Manufacturers Association via Pamela G. Bailey, president and chief executive officer, issued this statement to CBS News: “Michael Moss’ book misrepresents the strong commitment America’s food and beverage companies have to providing consumers with the products, tools and information they need to achieve and maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle…”

            Moss said: “I have two young boys. When we go shopping, these products are still on the shelves. My book is peopled with senior executives from the food industry, some of them regret what they’ve done, and they’re calling on the food industry to do more, to do more meaningful changes because obesity is still rampant. These are big, public health crises.”

        • October 5, 2015 at 8:31 pm —

          And some of us know better than to eat sausages. Low grade, contains fat etc- having heart disease on both sides of my family, I stayed away from anything like that. Heart disease and high blood pressure are both huge problems in our society.

        • October 5, 2015 at 8:35 pm —

          None of this changes the fact that Jamie Oliver said some extremely dumb things that made me wonder if the man even knows how to express his thoughts properly.

        • October 5, 2015 at 8:48 pm —

          I’ve had to monitor my BP, when I used to consume meat of that type during some foolish college years, my BP was around 195/115….now it’s down to 135/90, still a bit on the high side, but a nice drop off, considering I’m not on any medication. My mother’s and sister’s was over 200 and my Dad’s was 180 with medication, so I’ve had to be very proactive in my approach. Known as the “silent killer” I’m sure others could do a lot better by lowering their consumption of this kind of meat also.

        • October 8, 2015 at 3:24 pm —

          Thanks for the links, I’m going to read them also. The more information we have the better. I find that it helps fill in all the pieces of the puzzle- another example is where natural gas was touted as a great “bridge fuel” but when I read deeper into science magazines like Scientific American, I learned that natural gas is just as bad as coal- mainly because of the 5-10 pct methane leak and the environmental damage caused by wastewater injection back into wells. That’s why fracking is illegal here in NYS. Nuclear is a much better alternative to any fossil fuel.

          http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/02/14/new-study-shows-total-north-american-methane-leaks-far-worse-epa-estimatesJust how bad is natural gas for the climate?A lot worse than previously thought, new research on methane leaks concludes.Far more natural gas is leaking into the atmosphere nationwide than the Environmental Protection Agency currently estimates, researchers concluded after reviewing more than 200 different studies of natural gas leaks across North America.The ground-breaking study, published today in the prestigious journal Science, reports that the Environmental Protection Agency has understated how much methane leaks into the atmosphere nationwide by between 25 and 75 percent — meaning that the fuel is far more dangerous for the climate than the Obama administration asserts.The study, titled “Methane Leakage from North American Natural Gas Systems,” was conducted by a team of 16 researchers from institutions including Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and is making headlines because it finally and definitively shows that natural gas production and development can make natural gas worse than other fossil fuels for the climate.Just how bad is natural gas for the climate?A lot worse than previously thought, new research on methane leaks concludes.”https://www.sciencemag.org/content/343/6172/733.summaryhttp://www.cgmf.org/blog-entry/92/Study-America’s-natural-gas-system-is-leaky-and-in-need-of-a-fix.htmlhttp://www.ernstversusencana.ca/high-us-methane-emissions-blamed-on-leaks-harvard-fracking-study-show-fossil-fuel-industry-methane-leaks-far-higher-than-official-estimates-rings-methane-alarm-bells-in-australiahttp://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/198392-study-natural-gas-may-not-be-bridge-fuel-to-combat-climatehttp://www.desmogblog.com/2013/10/14/flaws-university-texas-methane-study-draw-criticism-scientistshttp://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/198392-study-natural-gas-may-not-be-bridge-fuel-to-combat-climatehttp://www.sciencemag.org/content/335/6065/183.abstracthttp://insideclimatenews.org/news/20150128/methane-leaks-gas-pipelines-far-exceed-official-estimates-harvard-study-findsMethane is leaking from natural gas infrastructure in Boston and the surrounding region at rates two to three times higher than government estimates, scientists at Harvard University and other institutions found.Published in the journalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last week, the researchers’ paper is the first peer-reviewed study that quantifies emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from natural gas installations in urban areas—including pipelines, storage terminals and power plants. The amount of methane lost over a year in the study area is worth $90 million, the authors wrote.The research, which was supported by federal and private funding, is part of an ongoing effort to assess methane emissions during natural gas production, transportation and consumption. The answers are crucial to understanding how the current shale gas boom contributes to climate change. Earlier this month, the White House issued the first national regulations to curb methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.”I think it’s fair to get some solutions in place now,” said Rob Jackson, a Stanford University professor of environmental earth system science who was involved in the Boston study. Even if scientists don’t yet know where all the emissions are coming from, he said, it’s “perfectly reasonable” to start tackling known emission sources.http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/01/21/1416261112.full.pdf+html?sid=3818ddcf-7d73-46af-8d4e-e8d718ff679chttp://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/10/22/3582904/methane-leaks-climate-benefit-fracking/Share5,852Tweet695Satellite observations of huge oil and gas basins in East Texas and North Dakota confirm staggering 9 and 10 percent leakage rates of heat-trapping methane. “In conclusion,” researchers write, “at the current methane loss rates, a net climate benefit on all time frames owing to tapping unconventional resources in the analyzed tight formations is unlikely.”In short, fracking speeds up human-caused climate change, thanks to methane leaks alone. Remember, natural gas is mostly methane, (CH4), a super-potent greenhouse gas, which traps 86 times as much heat as CO2 over a 20-year period. So even small leaks in the natural gas production and delivery system can have a large climate impact — enough to gut the entire benefit of switching from coal-fired power to gas.Back in February, we reported that the climate will likely be ruined already well past most of our lifespans by the time natural gas has a net climate benefit. That was based on a study in Science called “Methane Leaks from North American Natural Gas Systems” reviewing more than 200 earlier studies. It concluded that natural gas leakage rates were about 5.4 percent.The new study used satellites to look at actual “methane emissions for two of the fastest growing production regions in the United States, the Bakken and Eagle Ford formations,” between the periods 2006–2008 and 2009–2011. They found leakages rates of 10.1 percent and 9.1 percent respectively!http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014EF000265/full?

          • October 9, 2015 at 9:53 am

            “that dont require any pesticides at all including glyphosate or enlist duo, and new drugs that replace antibiotics by boosting our immune system.”

            Bull, and more bull. There are no crops that do not use pesticides, and often the ones used, despite being “natural” are actually worse, and used in larger amounts. As for the scam, only supported by the industry that sell them, not by diet experts, biologists, or anyone else who has any *actual* expertise on the subject – you can’t “boost” someone’s immune system using any of this nonsense they are peddling.

            You don’t fix real problems, using the cons and shell games of people as bad, or worse, at peddling things that either don’t work, are not true, or are as/more dangerous. And, someone falling for their multibillion dollar fakery isn’t, “learning useful things”, from them.

          • October 10, 2015 at 12:58 am

            What are you even ranting about? I dont dispute the fact that organic food uses more pesticides, what I was saying is that the NEW GMO coming from NPO, universities and small companies cuts the tether to large corrupt companies because they wont require ANY pesticides. The food I grow for myself uses no pesticides either. Like I said, I dont support the organics industry because I believe it is also corrupt but I also wont support large companies like the ones I mentioned that have many decades of history polluting the environment with PCBs, neocortinoids, etc.

            And uh, the immune system booster I was talking about is actually a pharmaceutical drug…. like I said stop assuming. I know there’s corruption in the pharmaceutical industry too (artificially inflated prices, doctored studies like Vioxx), but once in awhile they actually come forward with breakthroughs.

            http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/news/130501_superbugs
            Antibiotic resistant bacteria at the meat counter
            May 2013
            The pork chops you buy in the supermarket neatly packaged in plastic and styrofoam may look completely sterile, but are, in fact, likely to be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria — and not with just any old bugs, but with hard-to-treat, antibiotic resistant strains. In a recently published study, researchers with the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System bought meat from a wide sampling of chain grocery stores across the country and analyzed the bacteria on the meat. Resistant microbes were found in 81% of ground turkey samples, 69% of pork chops, 55% of ground beef samples, and 39% of chicken parts. Of course, thoroughly cooking the meat will kill the germs, but if the meat is undercooked or contaminates other food with its bacteria — perhaps via a shared cutting board — the result could be an infection that can’t be cured with common medications. Such infections are a serious health concern — a strain of antibiotic resistant staph was recently estimated to cause nearly 20,000 deaths per year in the U.S. — and the problem seems to be getting worse. An evolutionary perspective helps us understand how antibiotic resistance arises in the first place and why the prevalence of resistant bugs in livestock has health professionals and scientists worried.

            Where’s the evolution?
            It should be no surprise that antibiotic resistant bacteria are the products of evolution via natural selection: as bacteria reproduce, small, random errors (i.e., mutations) occur as their DNA is copied. Just by chance, some of those mutations may help their bearers survive and reproduce better and so will increase in frequency in the bacterial population. Other mutations may be detrimental and will be weeded out of the population. Still others may have no impact at all to the bacterium’s fitness (i.e., neutral mutations) and will change in frequency through genetic drift. When antibiotics flood the environment of the bacteria, individuals that happen to carry random mutations that allow them to survive and reproduce despite the drug will be favored. Eventually, the entire lineage of bacteria may carry genes that confer antibiotic resistance.
            This process seems to be inevitable. If a bacterial lineage is consistently exposed to a particular antibiotic, it will eventually evolve resistance to that drug, and this will occur in the soil, in livestock, in the human body — wherever bacteria are exposed to antibiotics. This same basic process is responsible for the evolution of advantageous traits in familiar organisms, like a hawk’s keen eyesight or a polar bear’s insulating fur. However, bacteria have a leg up on birds and bears when it comes to evolution. Most species rely on mutations somewhere in their historical lineage for their genetic variation — that is, an improved ability to spot prey will evolve in a lineage of hawks only if mutations conferring keener sight occurred somewhere in the hawk lineage and were then passed down to the generation of hawks experiencing natural selection. Bacteria, on the other hand, get their genetic variation both from their ancestral lineage and through a process known as horizontal transfer.
            In horizontal transfer, organisms share genetic material with one another directly, as opposed to passing genetic material only to their offspring. In this way, genes from distantly related lineages of bacteria can wind up in the same individual. A gene version that first arose in Escherichia coli could easily be passed on to Salmonella.
            Horizontal transfer represents a special danger when it comes to the evolution of resistance because, through gene sharing, antibiotic resistance genes that evolve and become common in one lineage of bacteria that is exposed to a particular antibiotic can be passed to distantly related bacterial lineages. In other words, a bacterial lineage can evolve resistance to a particular antibiotic even if its ancestors never carried a mutation that conferred resistance to that drug. With all this genetic variation being shared, antibiotic resistant bacterial strains can evolve quickly. Furthermore, different antibiotics often have similar modes of action (e.g., amoxicillin and methicillin both work by preventing bacteria from forming cell walls), so resistance to one drug often means partial resistance to a host of other medications. To make matters even worse, bacteria often transfer multiple genes for resistance to different antibiotics on the same piece of DNA. Since the genes are physically attached to one another, selecting for one of those resistance genes lets the others hitchhike to high frequency. So exposing a bacterial population to say, streptomycin, may also unintentionally favor the evolution of a strain that resists many other antibiotics as well — making for a particularly hard-to-cure infection.
            Bacteria have many characteristics that allow them to evolve resistance to whatever antibiotics we throw their way — short generation times, high mutation rates, and horizontal transfer — and current agricultural practices (in particular, the heavy use of antibiotics in livestock) seem destined to speed this process even further. In the U.S., around 80% of antibiotics are destined for farm animals, not for treating human disease. The majority of those animal antibiotics are used preventatively and to promote faster growth and speed meat production, not to treat sick individuals. Unfortunately, this approach also encourages the evolution and proliferation of antibiotic resistant strains on factory farms. So, it should come as no surprise that a large percentage of supermarket meat carries antibiotic resistant bugs!
            Clearly, the ubiquity of antibiotic resistant bacteria in livestock has implications far beyond highlighting the need to cook meat thoroughly. It suggests that, lurking in farm animals, is a vast pool of dangerous resistance genes that could easily make their way out of the bacteria in which they currently reside and into strains that would represent an even more significant human health threat. We have many lines of evidence suggesting that horizontal transfer of genes, including resistance genes, is commonplace among bacteria. What we have not had is a major outbreak of an antibiotic resistant infection that has been definitively linked to resistance from bacteria inhabiting livestock — yet. If the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, and the National Academy of Sciences have their way, we may be able to avoid that fate, at least for certain antibiotics. These groups have all signed on to support new legislation that would prevent widespread use of certain antibiotics on livestock, helping to protect the effectiveness of these drugs in humans.

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/11/06/beyond-antibiotics-a-new-weapon-against-superbugs-shows-promise/

            antibiotics alternatives that a new type of treatment had been effective at curing five out of six patients whose skin had been infected with MRSA or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus — one of the scariest bugs around because it appears to shrug off even the most powerful antibiotics available. The initial trial was small and limited to those with eczema, contact dermatitis and other skin infections but the company said it is beginning clinical trials for other types of infections.

            Antibiotics work by getting inside bacteria, but in recent years many bacteria that cause common illnesses such as tuberculosis or salmonella have mutated to have thicker membranes that stop the medicine from getting inside.

            The new drug — which the company has dubbed Staphefket — works from the outside by latching on to the outer cell wall of bacteria. It uses an enzyme known as endolysins to degrade the wall and thereby kill the bacteria. Scientists theorize that bacteria will be less able to evolve to protect themselves against this type of attack because endolysins tend to evolve with their hosts. They are also believed to have another advantage over antibiotics: They can be targeted to only kill specific types of bacteria while antibiotics tend to kill a whole spectrum of them — both good and bad for the body.

            Micreos said in May that it had tested the drug against 36 strains of bacteria, eight of them MRSA.

            The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in September issued a long-awaited report on the matter warning that antibiotic resistance threatens to undue all the progress we’ve made in the past century in terms of controlling infectious diseases.

            http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/national/report-combating-antibiotic-resistance/1328/

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/obama-directs-federal-agencies-to-ramp-up-efforts-to-deal-with-antibiotic-resistance/2014/09/18/581d2b70-3f56-11e4-9587-5dafd96295f0_story.html

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/antibiotic-resistant-genes-are-widespread-in-nature-study-finds/2014/05/08/ec608662-d53c-11e3-aae8-c2d44bd79778_story.html

          • October 10, 2015 at 1:02 am

            You assume too much. I am fully aware of the higher amount of pesticides in organics, I never said I supported them. I also dont support corrupt multinational companies that pollute the environment with PCBs, neocortinoids, etc. I support the smaller companies and nonprofits that are actually advancing the GMO field by eliminating all pesticidesk, including glyphosate and enlist duo. I also support pioneering drug companies who are moving beyond antobiotics- not the same old, same old greedy ones.

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/11/06/beyond-antibiotics-a-new-weapon-against-superbugs-shows-promise/

            antibiotics alternatives that a new type of treatment had been effective at curing five out of six patients whose skin had been infected with MRSA or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus — one of the scariest bugs around because it appears to shrug off even the most powerful antibiotics available. The initial trial was small and limited to those with eczema, contact dermatitis and other skin infections but the company said it is beginning clinical trials for other types of infections.

            Antibiotics work by getting inside bacteria, but in recent years many bacteria that cause common illnesses such as tuberculosis or salmonella have mutated to have thicker membranes that stop the medicine from getting inside.

            The new drug — which the company has dubbed Staphefket — works from the outside by latching on to the outer cell wall of bacteria. It uses an enzyme known as endolysins to degrade the wall and thereby kill the bacteria. Scientists theorize that bacteria will be less able to evolve to protect themselves against this type of attack because endolysins tend to evolve with their hosts. They are also believed to have another advantage over antibiotics: They can be targeted to only kill specific types of bacteria while antibiotics tend to kill a whole spectrum of them — both good and bad for the body.

            Micreos said in May that it had tested the drug against 36 strains of bacteria, eight of them MRSA.

            The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in September issued a long-awaited report on the matter warning that antibiotic resistance threatens to undue all the progress we’ve made in the past century in terms of controlling infectious diseases.

          • October 10, 2015 at 1:05 am

            Like I said, this is actual work from scientists, not some celebrity chef.

            http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/news/130501_superbugs
            Antibiotic resistant bacteria at the meat counter
            May 2013
            The pork chops you buy in the supermarket neatly packaged in plastic and styrofoam may look completely sterile, but are, in fact, likely to be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria — and not with just any old bugs, but with hard-to-treat, antibiotic resistant strains. In a recently published study, researchers with the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System bought meat from a wide sampling of chain grocery stores across the country and analyzed the bacteria on the meat. Resistant microbes were found in 81% of ground turkey samples, 69% of pork chops, 55% of ground beef samples, and 39% of chicken parts. Of course, thoroughly cooking the meat will kill the germs, but if the meat is undercooked or contaminates other food with its bacteria — perhaps via a shared cutting board — the result could be an infection that can’t be cured with common medications. Such infections are a serious health concern — a strain of antibiotic resistant staph was recently estimated to cause nearly 20,000 deaths per year in the U.S. — and the problem seems to be getting worse. An evolutionary perspective helps us understand how antibiotic resistance arises in the first place and why the prevalence of resistant bugs in livestock has health professionals and scientists worried.

            Where’s the evolution?
            It should be no surprise that antibiotic resistant bacteria are the products of evolution via natural selection: as bacteria reproduce, small, random errors (i.e., mutations) occur as their DNA is copied. Just by chance, some of those mutations may help their bearers survive and reproduce better and so will increase in frequency in the bacterial population. Other mutations may be detrimental and will be weeded out of the population. Still others may have no impact at all to the bacterium’s fitness (i.e., neutral mutations) and will change in frequency through genetic drift. When antibiotics flood the environment of the bacteria, individuals that happen to carry random mutations that allow them to survive and reproduce despite the drug will be favored. Eventually, the entire lineage of bacteria may carry genes that confer antibiotic resistance.
            This process seems to be inevitable. If a bacterial lineage is consistently exposed to a particular antibiotic, it will eventually evolve resistance to that drug, and this will occur in the soil, in livestock, in the human body — wherever bacteria are exposed to antibiotics. This same basic process is responsible for the evolution of advantageous traits in familiar organisms, like a hawk’s keen eyesight or a polar bear’s insulating fur. However, bacteria have a leg up on birds and bears when it comes to evolution. Most species rely on mutations somewhere in their historical lineage for their genetic variation — that is, an improved ability to spot prey will evolve in a lineage of hawks only if mutations conferring keener sight occurred somewhere in the hawk lineage and were then passed down to the generation of hawks experiencing natural selection. Bacteria, on the other hand, get their genetic variation both from their ancestral lineage and through a process known as horizontal transfer.
            In horizontal transfer, organisms share genetic material with one another directly, as opposed to passing genetic material only to their offspring. In this way, genes from distantly related lineages of bacteria can wind up in the same individual. A gene version that first arose in Escherichia coli could easily be passed on to Salmonella.
            Horizontal transfer represents a special danger when it comes to the evolution of resistance because, through gene sharing, antibiotic resistance genes that evolve and become common in one lineage of bacteria that is exposed to a particular antibiotic can be passed to distantly related bacterial lineages. In other words, a bacterial lineage can evolve resistance to a particular antibiotic even if its ancestors never carried a mutation that conferred resistance to that drug. With all this genetic variation being shared, antibiotic resistant bacterial strains can evolve quickly. Furthermore, different antibiotics often have similar modes of action (e.g., amoxicillin and methicillin both work by preventing bacteria from forming cell walls), so resistance to one drug often means partial resistance to a host of other medications. To make matters even worse, bacteria often transfer multiple genes for resistance to different antibiotics on the same piece of DNA. Since the genes are physically attached to one another, selecting for one of those resistance genes lets the others hitchhike to high frequency. So exposing a bacterial population to say, streptomycin, may also unintentionally favor the evolution of a strain that resists many other antibiotics as well — making for a particularly hard-to-cure infection.
            Bacteria have many characteristics that allow them to evolve resistance to whatever antibiotics we throw their way — short generation times, high mutation rates, and horizontal transfer — and current agricultural practices (in particular, the heavy use of antibiotics in livestock) seem destined to speed this process even further. In the U.S., around 80% of antibiotics are destined for farm animals, not for treating human disease. The majority of those animal antibiotics are used preventatively and to promote faster growth and speed meat production, not to treat sick individuals. Unfortunately, this approach also encourages the evolution and proliferation of antibiotic resistant strains on factory farms. So, it should come as no surprise that a large percentage of supermarket meat carries antibiotic resistant bugs!
            Clearly, the ubiquity of antibiotic resistant bacteria in livestock has implications far beyond highlighting the need to cook meat thoroughly. It suggests that, lurking in farm animals, is a vast pool of dangerous resistance genes that could easily make their way out of the bacteria in which they currently reside and into strains that would represent an even more significant human health threat. We have many lines of evidence suggesting that horizontal transfer of genes, including resistance genes, is commonplace among bacteria. What we have not had is a major outbreak of an antibiotic resistant infection that has been definitively linked to resistance from bacteria inhabiting livestock — yet. If the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, and the National Academy of Sciences have their way, we may be able to avoid that fate, at least for certain antibiotics. These groups have all signed on to support new legislation that would prevent widespread use of certain antibiotics on livestock, helping to protect the effectiveness of these drugs in humans.

          • October 10, 2015 at 3:01 pm

            Hmm. Thing with solutions that attack the shell of an organism.. Well, first off, what else does it attack? Second – how. If it truly just dissolved the structure, then.. that would have a possible bad effect on other things too. If it works by attaching itself to cellular structures – well, then, you still have the “evolved resistance” issue, since its possible that at least some of the bugs will not have to chemical “latch” needed for the enzyme to attach to.

            Its and interesting solution. But, the issue I had was with the whole “boosting immunity”. Immunity is.. at least partly, effected by mental state, like a number of secondary, not directly in our control, systems. Merely handing someone something they strongly believe will help them can “boost” the immune system. Convincing them they are going to die, can come dang close to crashing it, depending on how big an impact it has with specific patients (some may have more control than others, but only in the same sense that having a paddle places you more in control over a river, while white water rafting – i.e., you might have some capacity to steer, but but not actual “control”. Such secondaries are simply not wired so you can control them that easy, or directly.)

            However, my issue was with the fact that the whole GMO and “health food” industry promote absolute rank nonsense, in making claims about how you can “boost” immunity via diet, or the latest fad thing, or cure this, or prevent that. They get by with this because a) some idiot passed legislation more or less exempting them from the same rules as everyone else, b) the public has no means to tell legit research from made up, or badly done research, c) the press, especially the press that profits off of this sort of stuff, has no obligation, or even can be fined for, or sanctioned over, spreading false information and d) the FDA has had its fangs broken by the corporate world, and all but completely removed, when it comes to anything in the clever little world of, “supplements and other stuff not deemed to be drugs”. This, unfortunately, includes GMO – a false name, which just means, “We are scared to death of someone changing one exact, specific gene, and all the horrible things it might do, but not every other method of genetic engineering for crops, which cause, on average, anything from thousands, to tens of thousands of **unknown** mutations, with every generation produced.” Its like.. being mad that you still can’t buy pre-model T cars, because interchangable parts are somehow “scary and unnatural”, but having billions of one-off, self made vehicles makes “more sense” and would be “safer”.

            The whole argument against them is predicated on fear, not reality. On the absurd notion that switching out one part, which you know dang near everything about, is more dangerous that throwing together thousands of parts, in semi-random configurations, 90% of which you haven’t even mapped, never mind understand the complete function of. You are, in short, more likely to die eating a tomato that “reacquires” the ability to make the poison in deadly nightshade, than be harmed by a GMO product. Why? Because the tomato once *had* that genetic capacity, while, short of intentionally adding it, making a potato not bruise (but adding a gene another potato already has, and, funny enough, also deleting the gene that produces a carcinogen found in all potatoes), or something a bit more resistant to frost, etc. will not “add” such a thing to the organism.

            We are, right now, in a very nuts place. When science is likable, everyone accepts it. When the same science is inconvenient, or not understood, we reject it, even when its the *same* science. And both the bad guys in the big corporations, and the bad guys among the anti-corporation, as well as all the well meaning fools, on both sides, who drink the coolaid, and whole heartedly believe in the cause, play at doing science, and even resort to making things up, when it serves the cause, while the rest of the public just sees confusion and chaos, opting to do the same thing they always did – ask friends what fad they are currently into, to fix their problems (a losing strategy going clear back to when you could find anything from ground glass, to arsenic in “patent medicines”).

            But then.. you can’t trust experts right? Especially when you have the fake experts running around telling you that the real ones are fakes, and out to rob you, and the real ones telling you what you *absolutely* don’t want to hear, “We don’t know everything, but this is the best we do know. While those other people.. are just telling you anything that will make them money.” Failure to offer a solution, because the problem is more complex than you want it to be, or we just don’t actually have one, is a one way ticket to being ignored, in favor of anyone willing to offer one. And, if they babble stuff that sounds like science, and some “institution” some place gave them a piece of paper saying they have “skills” (even if is fake skills, for a fake product/treatment, but comes from some place that let them in the door, for profit, or their own gullibility).

            We haven’t had so much rank nonsense being taught in supposed “places of learning” since places like Cambridge and Oxford still taught about “bad humors”, and with at least as much authority, and public trust.

          • October 17, 2015 at 1:07 am

            I have to say I share your concerns. Have you seen the recent commercials for OpDivo? It’s the newest drug that fits this category (coincidentally it’s by Bristol Squibb Myers, the same company that did those horrible experiments on 774 Guatemalans by intentionally infecting them with syphilis via infected needles (in association with Johns Hopkins Hospital). At the end of the commercial they mention a whole host of side effects (nothing new here) but my eyebrows were raised when they mentioned that the body’s white blood cells could attack their own organs. It’s one of the many reasons why I oppose drug commercials.

            I also agree with the mental aspect of immunity but not having actual “control” over it. Perhaps we will one day when we better understand how the mind-body connection works. But that day isn’t here yet.

            I also decry the fact that we have huge issues telling apart legit research from obviously doctored material (witness the issue with Merck and Vioxx) and how much control the corporate world has over nutrition. I think you’ll find this an interesting read:

            http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/10/ag-v-nutrition/409390/

            Also, this is quite interesting

            https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28285-is-food-really-better-from-the-farm-gate-than-supermarket-shelf/

            VEGAN, low carb, Palaeo, 5:2. The quest for the healthiest diet shows no sign of abating. We now know more than ever about what food does to the body and the importance of antioxidants, healthy fats and a low glycaemic index.

            But what if, all the while, our food has been getting less nutritious? What if modern intensive farming methods – many of which solved malnutrition problems when they were first introduced – have affected the mineral and vitamin content of what we eat? Could having a constant supply of varied produce be compromising its goodness?

            Some of the most eye-catching work in this area has come from Donald Davis, a now-retired biochemist at the University of Texas. In 2011, he compared the nutrients in US crops from 1950 and 2009, and found notable declines in five nutrients in various fruits, including tomatoes, eggplants and squash. For example, there …
            http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9780470959350.ch6/summary

            Perhaps it’s connected to our obsession with “fast food” and how it’s formulated

            http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/magazine/the-extraordinary-science-of-junk-food.html

            http://www.cbsnews.com/news/food-industry-accused-of-manipulating-products-to-make-people-buy-eat-more/

            Moss, a New York Times investigative reporter, called parallels between the food industry and the tobacco industry “interesting.”

            Here’s another example of the FDA/USDA/EPA in bed with the corporate interests (and didn’t 20 FDA employees recently get caught taking paid vacations courtesy of the drug industry?) and look who runs it- Michael Taylor!

            http://www.theweek.co.uk/us/46535/when-half-million-americans-died-and-nobody-noticed

            I do see all the advantages of GMO to feed a growing world, but at some point we will also have to realize that the population MUST stop growing, based on UN figures, the world will be at full capacity by the year 2200, so either we colonize space or we stop the population growth problem. Also, I much prefer the next gen GMO that do not use any pesticides over the ones that require glyphosate or 2-4,D for a variety of environmental and health reasons. It’s also interesting that the studies from Stanford and Columbia I posted earlier seem to indicate that airborne pollutants are a trigger for such conditions as ADHD and autism (which Stanford put as 65% environmental, 35% genetic.)

            You might also like to read this from Sci Am- although it’s about cancer I still think it’s useful.

            http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/california-sees-a-76-percent-decline-in-cancer-risks-thanks-to-cleaner-air/

            If any of the prior links I provided were broken I apologize and will try to post them in full here.

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/24/autism-toxic-chemicals-children-environment-risk-factors_n_1543316.html

            http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=autism-rise-driven-by-environment

            http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/53862628-82/autism-utah-autistic-environmental.html.csp

            http://healthland.time.com/2012/11/27/autism-and-air-pollution-the-link-grows-stronger/

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/12/autism-pollution-study-_n_2853542.html

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/11/06/link-found-between-mothers-exposure-to-air-pollution-and-adhd/

            Thanks! From what I read in the Stanford study and from the scientist quoted from the CDC, they seem to think an added component is exposure by pregnant women to certain toxins.

            You might also like to read this from Sci Am- although it’s about cancer I still think it’s useful.

            http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/california-sees-a-76-percent-decline-in-cancer-risks-thanks-to-cleaner-air/

            If any of the prior links I provided were broken I apologize and will try to post them in full here.

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/24/autism-toxic-chemicals-children-environment-risk-factors_n_1543316.html

            http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=autism-rise-driven-by-environment

            http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/53862628-82/autism-utah-autistic-environmental.html.csp

            http://healthland.time.com/2012/11/27/autism-and-air-pollution-the-link-grows-stronger/

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/12/autism-pollution-study-_n_2853542.html

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/11/06/link-found-between-mothers-exposure-to-air-pollution-and-adhd/

            An interesting study from Columbia University.

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/11/06/link-found-between-mothers-exposure-to-air-pollution-and-adhd/

            More than 11 percent of school-age children in the United States have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a rate markedly higher than a decade ago. Could air pollution be a cause?

            A study, published in PLoS One this week and conducted by researchers at Columbia University’s Center for Children’s Environmental Health, of 233 non-smoking pregnant women in New York City found that children exposed to high levels of air pollution during pregnancy were five times more likely to have ADHD by age 9.

            The researchers measured levels of a common pollutant called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs in maternal and cord blood shortly after delivery and in the children’s urine at age 3 or 5. The team followed the children until 9 years of age and administered two tests which are the standard for diagnosing ADHD. Of the 33 who had high levels of exposure as measured by maternal blood, 13 were diagnosed as having the ADHD hyperactive-implusive subtype, seven the inattentive subtype and 13 both.

            Scientists have previously linked high exposure to PAHs in the womb with a number of other childhood problems, including developmental delays, reduced IQ and symptoms of anxiety and depression. It has also been linked to cancer.

            If the Columbia study is confirmed, it could help solve the mystery of what causes ADHD — whether it’s more genetic or more environmental — which could eventually lead to ways to prevent it.

            “Fortunately,” the authors noted, “it is possible to reduce airborne PAH concentrations using currently available pollution controls, greater energy efficiency, the use of alternative energy sources, and regulatory intervention to control polluting sources.”

            I do see the corruption from different sides, people trying to pull their own agenda, getting large sums of money from corporations that are on each side of the equation, and some that are on BOTH sides. It just goes back to what I’ve originally said, science and capitalism do not belong together.

          • October 23, 2015 at 12:17 am

            “More than 11 percent of school-age children in the United States have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a rate markedly higher than a decade ago.”

            Sigh.. The problem with this is sort of like with Autism. Diagnosis improves, as a condition becomes better understood. Most, if not all, increases in cases are either a) the result of an expansion of “who” fits the new definition, based on this better diagnosis (as in the case of Autism), or.. sadly b) over medication of cases that may or may not be real, and/or controllable with other methods. The latter is a massive problem with almost *all* medications and seriously screws up our ability to apply them appropriately when they are actually needed. Its like modern blood letting – yeah, turns out there are “some” cases where leeches are useful, and some of the perceived benefits, in the past, may have, as a result, been real, but.. since it was used for ****everything***….

            As to the rest of your post.. Well, will make a comment that Scientific American, while an OK source, in some cases, suffers the same major flaws as all other publishers:

            1. They publish based on interesting articles, not necessary well tested, understood, or accurate ones.

            2. They are writers “about” science, not scientists, so.. even when they write something that is well evidenced, they can sometimes, unintentionally, get the actual meaning, results, evidence or conclusions totally wrong.

            3. They are no more likely to publish, or perhaps **less** likely to do so, articles that discredit, or even nullify the contents of prior articles.

            This last one, more than anything, makes nearly all publications, for the general public, nearly worthless, and the ones for consumption by actually scientists are almost as bad (and, in some ways worse, since those publishers keep trying to bury their articles, and thus the data, research, and conclusions, when they do choose to publish something, behind pay walls, or otherwise deny **everyone** access to the needed data, to either verify, or refute, never mind expand on, the science. And.. you can’t do science if everyone is hiding their results, so no one has a damn clue what anyone else is doing, or what results they got from it.

            You can actually see this disaster playing out with anti-oxidants. Ages ago one man “hypothesised” that oxidation was a major component in aging. A few preliminary studies suggested that, yeah, this does cause damage to cells, and might damage the DNA. We then got what.. 15 years, or more, worth of useless BS in every place imaginable about the miracle of anti-oxidants. None of it based on “new” studies, or which confirmed the have clear, and side effect free, benefits over the amount the body itself already produces, or what you might need if you have certain deficiencies.

            Well.. Now, we have the original person that made the hypothesis knocking out the genes in animals, which produce the bodies natural ones, and “more the doubling the life span of the animals”. Whoops!! Giving them supplements – makes them age normally. (Sorry, this was… months ago, so I have no idea where to find a link).

            But, now there is also this:

            http://www.genengnews.com/gen-news-highlights/antioxidant-use-may-promote-melanoma-metastasis/81251856/

            Now.. Why? Well, from my own understanding of it, human cells, or more specifically all multicellular life, is a hybred, with a bunch of odd things tacked in, to regulate the errors this can cause. We have two repair systems for DNA – one works when oxidation is high, the other when low. The low one doesn’t work well with oxidation going on, because it tries to more directly repair the DNA, and doing this, with stuff bouncing around, messing with the process, can introduce “more” errors. So, you pump yourself full of anti-oxidants and.. the mechanisms that both do the safer repair, but don’t do it as well, shut down, and the more effective, ancient, one starts up – preventing errors that might otherwise cause the cell to terminate, despite its seeming immortality.

            Or, at least that seems likely to be what is taking place here. The miracle cure, now found in damn near everything, except possibly toilet paper…, will actually kill you faster, if you get cancer. Whoops again!

            And, its all thanks to:

            1. Reporting the “miracle” to soon, through supposedly reputable things like Scientific American.

            2. Failure to get the message out that new studies do not support those original theories.

            3. The food/supplement/pharma industry sinking their teeth into it so heavily, as a profit making venture, that even if #1 and #2 where not true, we would still be seeing #3 (the sale of useless crap to people who have been told they can own a new sort of rabbit’s foot, or pet rock).

            I.e., one big bloody mess, which is going to end up killing people, while, stupidly, the blame will probably be directed at the, in this case, ironically, not as guilty big pharma (or… they wouldn’t be, if they had kept the F out of the business of selling the same thing themselves, when they saw profit from it).

          • October 23, 2015 at 1:41 am

            I remember reading that new article about antioxidants too. I never understood the “craze” over antioxidants, because they are so commonplace, that if they were this “miracle” the conditions they were supposed to cure wouldn’t exist in the first place. You’re absolutely right, it’s an extreme marketing ploy. The supplement and pharmaceutical industry are two sides of the same coin. I think you’d find this to be some interesting reading too (and by the way I’m sad at what Scientific American seems to be turning into, it was my goto science magazine when I was in middle and high school, I had subscriptions to it and Astronomy magazine- and the magazine version always seemed to have wonderful articles back then, I dont see that as much now- even though it is owned by the same company as the journal Nature. Based on the below, it seems like most of our “prestigous” journals suffer from publication bias.

            http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/many-antidepressant-studies-found-tainted-by-pharma-company-influence/

            http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-toxic-chemical-bills-add-safety-but-dangers-remain/?WT.mc_id=SA_ENGYSUS_20151022

            http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/artificial-sweeteners-may-change-our-gut-bacteria-in-dangerous-ways/

          • October 23, 2015 at 10:32 am

            Yeah, well. Unfortunately the trend in how Scientific American and others have been changing is… not new. The main trend that is the most destructive has been the hiding of results from the public, and behind pay walls. The tendency to only publish the preliminary results (i.e., first studies), then ignore negative studies on the same subject, sadly, isn’t new at all. Its been happening since way before most of these magazines even existed. Like your Sci. Am. link to the thing on gut bacteria. At least they got the “may be” part right.. but, its the same “may be” that got the anti-oxidant craze started, and so many other things. A few, initial, studies suggest a possible effect. Only… is there one? And, isn’t it horribly irresponsible to claim there may be one, when you don’t have clear evidence that there is yet, nor replication of that evidence? Because, maybe its correct, and “some” of them “may” be doing something. Or… it might be totally wrong.

            The public, on the other hand, will have to wait probably 10+ years for a confirmation, which we can only hope was done by legit researchers, following sound procedures, who analyzed the data in a way that reached reasonable conclusions (the more common one being non-scientists, conducting incorrectly blinded studies, then cherry picking the data set, from a tiny set of sample, to match their hypothesis, sadly). But, it might be 15-20+ years before “negative studies” ever find their way into the public view, and tell us, “Nope, nothing is actually happening at all with these things.”

            I have reached the point where, if I want to find out something, I look for a) known legit scientists, b) whether or not other scientists made sure the data makes sense, c) if the number of people/things studied is even meaningful, d) who/what was studied (a lot of psychology, for example, is biased purely because its conducted on a specific age group, at colleges, among those who “volunteer”, but not on other age groups, social groups, or those that are not already prone to join such studies. Yeah.. no way any of that could have an effect, right?), and e) enough different people have done their own studies, who also fit these criteria, that one can be reasonably sure the results are at least plausible, if not yet certain. Something like 90% of the stuff in “every” public science magazine right now “fails” one, or all, of these. The worst one being, “We just did this one study, and.. sort of think there might be a problem…”

          • October 23, 2015 at 10:56 am

            I agree with these points, the main problem is that science requires decades of patience to tease out the proper results, and the media, which is based on profits and instant gratification oriented attention grabbing headlines, does not. The net result is that the public loses its confidence in science and scientists. They attempt to “simplify” the results for the public, but what it actually results in is covering up of data that conflicts with their results as well as (like in the case of antioxidants) giving dangerous advice that is multiplied ad infinitum when the rest of the media picks it up and goes with it. That’s how crazes get started. And then we lose the real point of the original study amid all the noise. On the timescale of science, a few decades is nothing really, but unfortunately, at the pace our society works, it seems like an eternity so economic drivers that run these sources go with whatever will get them the most attention in the fastest way possible.

            The one thing I would add to your checklist is, to determine if there might be a conflict of interest by who conducted the studies and whether they received monetary compensation from a corporation that is financially interested in the outcome of said studies.

            http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1725123

          • October 24, 2015 at 4:43 pm

            Yeah. Definitely. That, or, if it comes from some place like Kato. Think tanks are not a bad idea, when their purpose is to find ways to apply science, or solve problems, which more specialized, and focused research won’t get your there. But, what ever they may have originally intended for some of those places.. they have been corrupted into something designed to “explain away” problems, create “plausible solutions”, which don’t reflect scientific reality, and, above all else, and the worst of it, “protect and safeguard the existing investments.” They are pure yes men. Dedicated to telling both the people that pay them, and the public, “We can keep going as is, without upsetting the current business model.” They have become, in short, the cliched assistant, of the mad scientist, in a cartoon, or a comedy, who, if the world where a comedy, would leave the audience laughing their asses of, over the inevitable fall of the villain, by saying, “Wow! Your a genius boss! I am sure your vast an elaborate plan to inject electric eel DNA into the world jello supply, in order to cause the population to short out all their electronic devices, in a bid to sell them your new Evil Brand shock resistant products will work ***perfectly***!!” Or.. Just the less comedic bad guy, who, in almost every movie, insist that the rewired circuit panel, the erupting volcano, or the strange liquid that was just pored into his secret formula vat won’t do “anything at all” to cause problems for their plans.

            In short, Governor Tarkin, on the Death Star, watching the count down to firing its super weapon, having, only moments before, told someone, “There is no real threat to this station. Why should we evacuate in our moment of triumph?” Only, in the real world, it takes 20-30 years for that torpedo to hit the reactor.

  9. October 5, 2015 at 8:49 pm —

    silent killer = high blood pressure

    • October 9, 2015 at 6:20 pm —

      Alex, your success in lowering BP by diet alone is impressive.

      Can you comment on the role of dairy food vs meat in that, given that dairy is high in saturated fat?

      • October 10, 2015 at 1:10 am —

        Thank you, but it’s still a bit on the high side. I also do aerobic exercises, running, meditation, and other relaxation techniques that help. I actually dont drink milk, I stopped drinking it after my college days. For calcium I consume green leafy vegetables (spinach is pretty high in calcium)- I actually grow that myself (no pesticides.) I also get calcium and vitamin D from seafood, which is rich in it. And during the warmer months, being outside is sufficient to make our own Vitamin D.

        • October 10, 2015 at 7:39 pm —

          So you avoid butter and cheese as well?

          It’s interesting, I come at this from a slightly different angle because for me the top priority was to lose weight because of diabetes. They say even a modest weight reduction of 5-10% has a big impact.

          Bottom line, I have lost 25kg over the last 6 months and now have well normal fasting glucose and A1c.

          Here I want to give thanks to Rebecca (fat shaming post, mid March) for her tip of the 500 cal/day calorie deficit , which allows steady weight loss without going totally batshit with hunger. Though chest pain and an abnormal GTT with a diagnosis of diabetes and an aortic aneurism gives a powerful incentive.

          How did I do it? In short, low carb, though not Atkins low, as < 135g carb/day has not been proven to be of value (American Diabetic Association). In practice this means 100 g nuts for lunch and 200g meat plus a shitload of steamed veg for tea. Others may choose a different way, but this works well for me.

          Still, with lo carb, it is hard to avoid saturated fat, and that bothers me. Hence the question. I would not have done it this way except my cholesterol has always been quite low.

          So I do approve Jamie Oliver's overall message of eating more fresh veg. And look, I don't care if organic farmers use strange methods, so long as it tastes good.

          Likewise if Monsanto wants to produce A GM potato that when boiled tastes like its been baked in goosefat, I'm all for that too. I am really grateful that there are so many options today.

          • October 17, 2015 at 12:24 am

            I love all the options we have available today, but I’d rather they come from a company with less skeletons in their collective closets lol. I read this on new sci and found it eyeopening

            https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28285-is-food-really-better-from-the-farm-gate-than-supermarket-shelf/

            VEGAN, low carb, Palaeo, 5:2. The quest for the healthiest diet shows no sign of abating. We now know more than ever about what food does to the body and the importance of antioxidants, healthy fats and a low glycaemic index.

            But what if, all the while, our food has been getting less nutritious? What if modern intensive farming methods – many of which solved malnutrition problems when they were first introduced – have affected the mineral and vitamin content of what we eat? Could having a constant supply of varied produce be compromising its goodness?

            Some of the most eye-catching work in this area has come from Donald Davis, a now-retired biochemist at the University of Texas. In 2011, he compared the nutrients in US crops from 1950 and 2009, and found notable declines in five nutrients in various fruits, including tomatoes, eggplants and squash. For example, there …
            http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9780470959350.ch6/summary

          • October 17, 2015 at 12:27 am

            I love butter so I’ll have it once in awhile, but the thing I really had to watch out for was cheese- I love pizza, but now it’s a once a month thing rather than a few times a week like it used to be. When I used to eat more cheese in the past I would literally feel a pain in my jaw and get dizzy and then I would check my BP and it was skyrocketing. This happened within minutes of consuming it :(

        • October 10, 2015 at 10:56 pm —

          I found the following links to be particularly useful – it’s hard to get good diet info on the net:
          http://www.mayoclinic.org/calorie-calculator/itt-20084939

          This allows calculation of your target calorie intake. (The calculator is a bit strange in that there is a discontinuity between the overweight and obese range – probably because they reduce the target by 200 cal if obese. So it does not do quite what it says it does. But good enough.)

          So for me it was 2000 cal/day to maintain weight, 1500 for a 500 cal deficit,
          made up of ~600 for lunch (nuts) and I want at least 700 for dinner (meat & veg) leaving 200 to play with – maybe an apple or a small piece of cheese.

          I used an Atkins handbook to calculate calories but it can be hard to get it close enough. If you fall short it’s really bad cos then you go crazy and scoff a whole pound of nuts or cheese.

          Also the position statement of the American Diabetic Association bears careful reading for an individuals exact situation:

          http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/suppl_1/S48.full

          • October 17, 2015 at 12:25 am

            Thanks for the info, Jack! looks like there’s a lot of helpful stuff there, that calculator is invaluable!

  10. October 10, 2015 at 1:13 am —

    The American Heart Association recommends roughly 600mg of Omega 3, I get my EPA and DHA from seafood, you need something like 360mg EPA and 240mg DHA

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