Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ass-backward science

I used to think the Brits were far more evolved than we Yanks. But that was before Marcella sent me this unbelievable bit of rationalizing from the U.K Food Standards Agency.

According to guidelines passed by the FSA, cheese, honey, marmite (that's how you know you're in the UK), and breast milk* are unhealthy and therefore banned as the subjects of food advertising to kids.

On the other hand, chicken nuggets, microwaveable curries, oven chips (I assume this is french fries), and diet sodas are A-OK, according to these standards.

This is what I think of as ass-backward science: First you decide what result you want your data to show. Then you screw with said data until it shows it.

So the makers of chicken nuggets can happily continue to flog their stuff to the kiddies**, but the beekeepers and cheese makers are SOL.

Nice going, guys.



* Breast milk's fat content would render it unhealthy by the FSA's standards.

** I lived in London for a year and I speak Brit too!

6 comments:

mary said...

I think what is really being exposed here is how much infants NEED fat to grow into healthy people. Any mom who nurses will know that if breast milk has a high fat content it's because it's the way it's supposed to be. Nature knows what it's doing.
It's too bad that the distorted thinking goes beyond those with anorexia and is being preached by governments.

Fillyjonk said...

Breast milk?? BREAST MILK??!?

Yes, sure, let's discourage kids eating a substance that has been naturally manufactured for kids to eat since mammals split off from reptiles. That makes sense. Vegetables are next!

(I know they're not banning the milk itself or anything, but you can't tell me that some moms won't look at that and say "whoops, better switch to watered-down formula.")

mary said...

In the Victorian times babies were 'accidentally' starved to death. Oops. ;( They were fed rice instead of breast milk, thinking that the solids would be more substantial. They were wrong then and they'd be wrong today. The BIG difference is that today we have more knowledge of what the human body needs. Anyone doing this today deserves to serve time for negligence!
My understanding of 'some' of the fat scare is that fat is thought to be where the toxins were stored in the body. So when a cow is fed growth hormones and additives it is in the fat of the food products. My very good pediatrician warned me to stick with a lower fat milk. I have friends who are dairy farmers and they insist that low fat milk is nothing more than a watered down version.I KNOW that the Gov't regulates the feed and since they were a small farm they were also put out of business[forced] by the gov't. What we really need is some hard honesty here as to what their real fears are as the gov't is often behind drug use in animals. In the 50's DDT was a common pesticide. The chemical doesn't weaken as it's passed down the food chain, it strengthens.
Then came growth hormones so they could produce, and make more money off fatter animals. Hmmmm, aren't these the folks that are now screaming don't eat the fat! Aren't these the same idiots who approved the growth hormones?
The fear then ISN'T the fat alone...it's what the fools put in it. Oh, and the good news is that we didn't waste the chemicals...we sent them to countries so they could reap the rewards. : (
Where's Michael Moore when I need him? He's better at explaining this stuff than me.
The fear then ISN'T the fat alone...it's what the fools put in it. They aren't telling the whole truth. We need fat. We do not need growth hormones though! There I said it.

mary said...

Just want to add that I do eat these foods anyway but in moderation. I hope the good foods counter the toxins by keeping my system healthy therefore able to fight toxins.
The sudden concern for our health just seems so blown out of proportion that IMO there is something else going on....so they distract by tossing a firecracker at obesity. I have a friend fighting cancer right now and no one is telling her that she needs a better diet. Nutrition isn't even mentioned by her medical team. What gives?

carrie said...

Gee, Diet Coke is better than breast milk, so why don't we put Diet Coke in baby bottles?

That's kind of what they're saying. If breast milk isn't okay and diet soda is, then why not give it to infants?

I hope that anyone with a shred of common sense would realize that this is horrifically unhealthy. And this is coming from a Diet Coke connaseour (sp?).

Nutrition is more than counting fat grams and calories. You read about nutrition online, and it's all about weight loss. That's it. What happened to feeding yourself with joy and pleasure?

Gah.

Harriet Brown said...

Fillyjonk,
You're not kidding they are. These are the same moms who would probably sign their kids up to be leptin babies given half a chance. Gah.

Mary,
You tell 'em! Interesting points you make about fat and its corollaries. I wonder how much of that is true. We'll probably never know.

Carrie,
You nailed it. That's Ellyn Satter's mantra: Feeding yourself with joy and competence. Exactly what we should all be aiming for. How are you doing in your new digs?