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The Chocolate Ration Is Going Up From 30g To 25g

I saw some git on the BBC this morning suggesting we need a tax on chocolate to save us from getting fat. He called it a “dangerous addiction for some”.

Then I found this via Mark Wadsworth.

Celebrity chefs including Nigella Lawson and Rick Stein are encouraging unhealthy eating, according to doctors and nutritionists.

Their glossy cookbooks contain recipes loaded with “bad” saturated fats linked to heart disease, strokes and obesity.

A report unveiled today by The Fat Panel – an independent group of experts – shows that just one serving of some of their dishes contains more than the recommended daily limit of the fats.

Click on Ms Lawson or Mr Stein’s websites above and answer me a question. Does either look morbidly obese or unhealthy? In fact “food criminal” in chief Ms Lawson looks positively um… er… radiant. If there is a problem with tubbies it’s due to “Mums going to Iceland” and buying cheap junk food all the time for the kiddies. And not folks buying cook books written by the likes of Stein, Lawson or Ramsey. And if there is a problem it is caused by poverty because it costs to eat well. And poverty is solved by a good economy and a good economy is generated by freeing those who create wealth but this is not the time or the place for the usual libertarian diatribe on taxes and regulations…

A further question I would like to pose is what’s the odds “The Fat Panel” are a fake charity? I tried the charities commisiion but got nowhere but I shall owe you a deep-fried lard pie if you can show me they are genuine. And if they are fake (and they stink of it) then should gubbermint show an example and send the likes of Gordon and Jacqui to fat-camp or better yet the bacon-slicer?

I was going to suggest a visit from “Dr” Gillian McKeith
but the idea of watching Brown get colonic irrigation on Channel 4 is too hideous to contemplate.

Hope you enjoy lunch!

28 Comments

  1. “but the idea of watching Brown get colonic irrigation on Channel 4 is too hideous to contemplate”

    Oh, I dunno. When he’d been pumped out you’d be left with a hollow Gordo-Suit – perfect for Halloween…

  2. RAB says:

    They definately look fake to me.
    Anyhoo I have sent them an email, politely asking whence comes their Independence and funding.
    No reply yet…

  3. Sam Duncan says:

    But, in astonishing but cheering news, Sky News reports that “Scottish GPs” (I didn’t read the whole piece, so I don’t know if it’s a handful of them or some organisation purporting to speak for them all) have rejected the chocolate tax idea. I’m stunned.

  4. RAB says:

    I dont eat much chocolate these days, but when I do, it has to be dark chocolate.

    Well the wife came back from Lidl the other day with a few bars by a company called, Moser Roth, their Dark choc, plus orange and almonds. It is absolutely delish!

    Buy it, before I corner the market, cos being Lidl, it’s bound to be cheap!

    Oh and as far as the obesety issue is concerned, I am, officially, the thinnest person in Britain. Gandi was well overweight compared to me!

    How I do this, considering what , and how much I eat (quite a lot actually) has been a mystery to science for many decades.
    They have offered money to investigate me, but I dont need money.
    And I’m not about to be poked about for the next spurious theory.

    They also want to know why I never get headaches too.

    They can continue to wonder…

  5. JuliaM says:

    I don’t think they are a charity at all. Their website has no charity registration number, which I understand they must show.

    They look more like a private consultancy company. Bet they are getting a lot of grants though…

  6. NickM says:

    Bingo JuliaM. That’ll be it!

  7. Pa Annoyed says:

    Don’t have time to discuss at length at the mo, but read this.
    http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2008/02/how-weve-came-to-believe-that.html

    I first saw the chocolate story at her site – although she concentrates on medicine, she does show a distinct libertarian streak from time to time.

  8. Ian B says:

    No no no Nick. There’s no such thing as “junk” food. The term is propaganda, invented by the Centre For Science In The Public Interest, a bunch of loony (food and alcohol) prohibitionists spawned by the Nader empire, who started off as anti-nukers, moved into food, and have been depressingly effective at getting their puritanical ideology into the mainstream. They also invented “empty calorie”. They also, by a concerted pressure group attack on the US FDA or AMA or somebody got saturated fats into place as the Next Big Scare. They’re arseholes.

    Food is just food. Stop with the “yes there’s a problem, but it’s chavs eating chips, not me eating pommes frites” stuff. You’re just playing into their hands.

    Beating the Temperance Movement is central to our hopes of any success, since they are primary drivers of the post-methodist progressivism which oppresses us. Chips are great. Eat chips for freedom.

  9. Nick M says:

    I did say “if” Ian. Twice. It was more a rhetorical point. This nonsense reminds me of the current round of “targetting middle-class drinkers”.

    But it remains that just eating chips and turkey twizzlers ain’t health and no amount of Ian B contrarianism (which you do very well) will convince me otherwise. I know there’s a lot of bollock talked about food though and you are right up to a point.

    Is it me or are alll those hectoring adverts from HMG – food, drink, drugs, STIs getting even more common? And I mean just in the last few months.

  10. Ian B says:

    But it remains that just eating chips and turkey twizzlers ain’t health[y]

    What evidence has led you to that belief?

    no amount of Ian B contrarianism (which you do very well) will convince me otherwise.

    “My mind is made up. The economy can only be saved by government stimulation! It’s obvious! :)

    Is it me or are alll those hectoring adverts from HMG – food, drink, drugs, STIs getting even more common? And I mean just in the last few months.

    Of course they are. The Temperance Movement are on a roll again. We’re now into a new period of moralitarianism which outstrips the Victorian period in its ferocity. Didn’t think they were going to stop at ciggies, did ye?

  11. NickM says:

    Well, people need things like vitamins and stuff. And all sorts of proteins and whatnot.

    My objection is that these buggers make out certain foods are “evil” full-stop.

  12. Falco says:

    The Fat Panel is funded by the UK Margarine and Spreads Association. They in turn appear to be funded by the marg industry, (hard to tell, nothing registered at companies house or anywhere else I can find).

    It looks likely that this is an effort by the marg companies to tell people to cut down on butter.

  13. Pogo says:

    Further to IanB’s comments…

    I heard an eminent nutritionist on Radio 4 a while back who stated that, in his opinion, there was no such thing as “junk food” there was only a “junk diet” – in that even deep-fried, battered Mars Bars aren’t going to do you any harm if you eat the occasional one, but will probably help precipitate a coronary if you eat them at every meal. ;-)

  14. Nick M says:

    Falco. That makes such sense because they weirdly rounded on Nigella or Rick for using butter rather than margarine. Cheers. How d’ya know?

  15. Ta for link.

    I’d quess that The Fat Panel is a good old fashioned quango – click on their ‘useful links’ tab and it takes you to NHS and Defra and such-like.

  16. RAB says:

    How Machiavellian, to fund a fake “Independent” think tank, who’s only purpose is to screw the opposition, namely the dairy industry.

    Anyone who prefers marg to butter should be taken out and shot!
    I mean that!!

  17. NickM says:

    No RAB, the sin is indeed it’s own punishment.

  18. Pa Annoyed says:

    Ian B,

    Have you seen this site? I think you might like it if you haven’t.

    She did the chocolate tax story a few days ago.

    She also demolished the “Mums going to Iceland buying cheap junk food all the time for the kiddies” one here.

    She quotes from the Sunday Times:
    “It seems to make no difference whether you prefer pasta al dente to a chip sandwich, or guacamole to mushy peas. One of the biggest studies into eating habits of the poorest families in the UK has gone against conventional wisdom by finding their nutritional intake is similar to the rest of the country. Food experts have argued for years that the poorest families suffer from “food poverty”, meaning they consume less nourishing food than the better-off and are at greater risk of long-term health problems.

    But the [$11.7 million] study by Britain’s Food Standards Agency (FSA), which looked at the eating habits of 3500 people, found the nutritional value of the food eaten by the poorest 15 per cent in society was little different from the average.”

    Oh, yes. And you can’t actually buy margarine in Britain any more, according to the UK Spreads Association. The legal definition of a margarine is 80%-90% fat content (EC Council Regulation 2991/94), of which there are none left on sale. If you look, you’ll see that all the stuff in the supermarkets you thought was margarine is in fact labelled “spread” – it is illegal to call that stuff “margarine”.

  19. RAB says:

    Um Pa, I hate to broach this, given that I was led to understand that Margarine was itself a nasty product, a byproduct indeed of the petro chemical industries with excess capacity,
    What the hell are in the Spreads!

    Should I be putting Wolfbane and consecrated water around my windows,
    Or large mirrors and cruxifixes around my walls?…

    Or should I just stop going to Iceland?

    And cook stuff with butter, instead!

  20. Pa Annoyed says:

    RAB,

    Margarines (and spreads) are simply an imperfect attempt to make artificial butter. “Nasty” smacks of the naturalistic fallacy, but I agree butter tastes better.

    Go with whatever you like. The efforts put in to reduce the fat content of spreads I think are wasted, but it’s no less healthy for being artificial. Justifying cooking with butter is perfectly reasonable on the grounds of flavour, no other reasons should be needed. It’s only scaring people needlessly about their food that I object to.

  21. Pa Annoyed says:

    Off topic, but does anyone know anything about the US government regulating “scientific integrity”? Have I missed something?

    http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/ht/display/ReleaseDetails/i/9983

  22. NickM says:

    Well, yes PA.

    I would add that I also object to them using my money to scare people.

    So the poor don’t eat less healthily*… Well… they’re doing something less healthily. What is it?

    *But they are definitely fatter. That’s not from stats. That’s just annecdotal but can anyone deny it.

  23. Ian B says:

    Yes Nick, I can. You’re suffering from a bad case of confirmation bias.

  24. Pa Annoyed says:

    “but can anyone deny it.”

    Of course! We’re contrarian deniers!

    From the page I linked to above:

    “The study also found the rate of obesity, which has often been linked to poverty, was at a similar level among the poor as it is in the general population.”

    Denied! Happy to be of service.

    The reasons for the poor having poorer health are complicated, the direction of causality no doubt goes both ways, but to the extent that nutrition plays a role, it is more likely to be that the poor often cannot get enough food. From the same link…

    “The poorest families in the population did differ from the general population in a notable way: they suffered more food insecurity and difficulties finding enough to eat [...] So, if we are most concerned about helping low-income families eat nutritionally, they need enough food. And the report found that the extra nutrients to address deficiencies in daily recommended intakes are best supplied by meat, fats and dairy products.”

    The trouble is, all the media health advice you have no doubt been hearing all your life is by the same sort of pretentious, sustainable development, organic lentil vegetarian, recycling enviro-puritan Prince Charleses of this world that have just royally screwed public policy on energy and economics. They infest the media and the bureaucracies. And their understanding of nutrition – or indeed, basic human biology – is just as simplistic and deluded. They believe human over-consumption is the problem in everything, and take a perverse pride in their ritual self-mortifications. They believe people getting what they want is bad, that sacrifice and suffering are required to do good, and they apply this general principle to everything. To their way of thinking, that spreading capitalist prosperity/consumerism/consumption to the masses causes over-eating causes obesity causes early death is just common sense, a chain so obvious they don’t even need to check.

    And they think that being a bit creative with the facts is justified because they are the intellectual elite set over the ignorant masses, who ‘wouldn’t understand’, and anyway ‘it’s for their own good’.

    I diagnose a massive inferiority complex. Caused by actually being inferior.
    But once their beliefs achieve the status of “everybody knows that…” there’s no getting rid of them.

  25. Ian B says:

    Well said, Pa :)

    I also did a little anecodatal survey after I posted my last comment by going to the local shop for some ciggies (and a probably not legal any more surreptitious ogle of Patel’s lovely daughter). Outside there was a gang of feral teenagers, using the latest lingo in which “feral” actually means “bored”. As I live in the heart of Chavtown I did a quick obesity survey. None of them were fat, nor even overweight. One girl had a bit of “puppy fat” as we used to call it before “morbid obesity” became the only acceptable term. Then I looked in through the chip shop windows, and noted half a dozen people. One middle aged couple were middle-aged stout. That was it.

    Further to the stereotype busting, one of the feral teenagers bumped into me in the shop as he headed to the counter with his beer; much to everyone’s disappointment, he didn’t kick me to the ground and steal my wallet, but instead had the temerity to say “sorry, mate”. Kids today. They’re always letting us down.

    Anyway, what Pa said. It really is a class thing.

    ***
    My sister came round today to tell me she’s been diagnosed with breast cancer. A part of the conversation involved me trying very hard to reassure her that it isn’t all her own fault due to Lifestyle Factors (she likes a glass of wine or two). The fucking puritan medical establishment with their lifestyle epidemiological bollocks need lining up against a wall and shooting. At the very least, it would be nice if a mob of feral teenagers would storm BMA headquarters and give the cunts a damn good kicking.

  26. NickM says:

    PA, Ian,

    You have beaten me to the ground, stole my metaphorical wallet and then kicked me in the knackers for good measure.

    All I can say in my defence is that their were a fair chunk of sea monsters in my previous stamping ground (semi-rough Manchester) which are conspicous by their absense here in semi-surburban Cheshire.

    And PA, you naughty, naughty man. None of my opinions is from the deluded Charlesian scum you mention. Odd that you get your facts from a government report. Jus’ sayin’ is all. PA you a member of the Diogenes Club?

    Ian,
    All my best to your sister.

  27. Pa Annoyed says:

    Ian B,

    My sympathies to your sister. I know how it is.

    Junkfood Science has a couple of stories on that up on their front page, too.

    NickM,

    All I can say, then, is “sorry mate.”

    I would like to think that we had mugged you, beaten you to the ground, and then stuffed your wallet with gems of priceless knowledge. And then kicked you in the knackers to get your attention.

    This stuff gets everywhere, and truthfully I don’t know for certain where it came from. What I think is happening is that this one has passed the Charlsian stage, and the most obvious lumps of BS have been filtered out. When the eco-puritan elite come up with this stuff, a lot of people believe them. Then they repeat it, those bits they believe, and others then start to hear it from people who are more credible. It achieves the status of “everybody knows that…” where it is so well known and so uncontested that people don’t notice that it isn’t obvious. They commonly don’t realise that you even can question it.

    I confess, I used to believe it too. I wasn’t terribly happy about the coercive politics of it, but I thought the biology was a matter of science. It certainly sounds plausible. But I heard of things that didn’t quite fit – a friend of a friend was a hospital dietician who worked for the MRC (i.e. a real dietician, not a wanker with a diploma), who had apparently said that it was mostly BS. You got new food scares – additives, E-numbers, pesticides, saturated fats, fructose, cholesterol, saccharine, mercury, all the rest, then you got some sceptic coming along and debunking it. It was only the new stuff in many cases, not affecting the core beliefs, but it sort of suggested that dietary science wasn’t without its myths.

    I had always thought it odd that Darwinian evolution would have fitted us out with tastes and desires for unhealthy food, and that ‘healthy’ food should taste like crap to us. Yes, there was an argument that technology had moved us out of our natural environment into one for which we were not necessarily adapted, but even so. It seemed a pretty fundamental bog-up on God’s part to make chip butties taste so nice. That’s just cruel.

    And then I came across some more serious scepticism – places like Junkfood Science, and I started to wonder just how far it all went. And I remembered O level biology lessons about a thing called homeostasis, the sophisticated feedback mechanisms by which the body maintained an incredibly precise fixed internal environment. Temperature, oxygen, carbon dioxide, blood sugar, water, salt, nitrogen, pH. You don’t have to consciously calculate how much to drink, lest your blood pressure rise to bursting point. You don’t have to remember to breath out at least as much air as you breath in, lest you over-inflate. Don’t you think it’s really weird that energy use and body fat are seemingly the only major parameters that aren’t regulated? That we supposedly have to do it consciously and according to calorie charts, like looking up numbers in tables for remembering to breathe enough?

    It occurred to me that even if true, it was an anomaly that required more than the usual level of evidence and explanation. It was an extraordinary claim, something very strange that didn’t fit in with the way biology usually worked. And once I actually started looking, I quickly found that it wasn’t true.

    Some bits of diet scepticism are still speculative, like the theories about Ad36, while others have been established in trial after trial. Each person has a natural weight their body aims for, it’s 75% genetic, it increases with age, the body can adjust both appetite and metabolism to control weight, the precision with which it does so is far finer than can be achieved with our approximate calorie charts and BMR tables, some people eat more and some less, but on average thin and fat people eat the same amount, it doesn’t vary with social class, and people tend to be most healthy and to survive illnesses better at their natural body weight, which according to the simplistic BMI charts is classed ‘overweight/obese’.

    It is true that there are some people morbidly obese – the ones who make it to TV. This is what would happen to everyone if those feedback control mechanisms stopped working. It’s like anorexia. Anorexics don’t lack willpower, and they’re not stupid. They’re simply ill.

    There have always been fat people. There has been no major change in its occurrence. It’s not unnatural or unhealthy. There is no crisis.

    And I think that when you think about it, that this looks like ‘common sense’ too. And good news, for a change.

    Ah, would that be good old Mycroft you’re thinking of? He enjoyed his food, too. As Holmes said of his earlier description of Mycroft, in that matter of the Bruce-Partington Plans, “I did not know you quite so well in those days. One has to be discreet when one talks of high matters of state…” ;-)

  28. NickM says:

    Just had lunch. Mashed spuds and fried bacon.

    As I said PA, I’m beaten and shall look into it. But do bear in mind that most of the food faddery is something I never believed in. Yakult = Occult. And the whole “naturalistic thing” never held much sway over me. Having said that I do prefer a bit of fillet steak to some Karchered rectum. But then who doesn’t?

    Also I would like to make two observations.

    1. This is about the longest comment thread we have ever had. And that mugged me in the dark.

    2. As long threads tend to this went somewhat OT. My point was about “food nazis” and not about whether they were right or wrong in erms of nutrician per se.

    Point 2 is not BTW the old, old tactic of redefining a losing argument. Just an observation.

    Anorexia (and bulimia) is something I know closely secondhand. It has very little to do with tabloid hysteria over “size zero models”. It’s about control. It’s about someone who’s life is in a mess taking control of something very personal and that they can control. Are the food nazis attempting to nationalize it?

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