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Labeling trans fat
July 10, 2003 8:21 AM   Subscribe

How much trans fat is in that Devil Dog? The FDA has announced that starting in 2006 food manufacturers must list the number of grams of trans fatty acid -- very bad fat -- on food packages. This is supposed to be a big deal, meant to save lives and billions of bucks. Not so fast. I say, it is a useless addition to the already confusing line-up of numbers on the nutrition panel. Besides, the presence of trans fats is already revealed in ingredients lists on food boxes and wrappers -- look for hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. But the stuff flies off shelves anyway. I say, if the FDA really wants to tell people how bad these foods are, they should come right out with it. It's time for warning labels on junk food. THIS PRODUCT CAUSES OBESITY. THIS PRODUCT WILL CLOG YOUR ARTERIES. THIS PRODUCT MAY LEAD TO HEART DISEASE AND DEATH.
posted by jellybuzz (62 comments total)

 
I think your warnings above may put off one or two responsible adults, but if you really want to reach the target audience, you'll need a few more like:

WARNING: EATING TOO MUCH SUGAR CAUSES ZITS!
posted by walrus at 8:28 AM on July 10, 2003


Amen!
posted by acrobat at 8:34 AM on July 10, 2003


A friend of mine once observed that the only food-related warning label with any hope of being effective would be "IF YOU EAT THIS, YOU WILL DIE." Big red letters, right on the front.
posted by Acetylene at 8:35 AM on July 10, 2003


or a big picture-based warning:
This is your ass( | ) this is your ass after you eat this (__|__)
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 8:38 AM on July 10, 2003


I know in Canada, the warnings on cigarette packages include pictures of rotting teeth, diseased lungs, brain tumors and drooping cigarettes meant to signify impotence, while in the states, they just have some lame black text saying "Cigarettes contain carbon monoxide."

Here is hoping that the FDA get's its act together and slaps a shot of a three hundred pound man sitting in his sprinkler eating that very same product while his children cry and his wife seduces the poolboy on the back of every bag of chips. If nothing else, it will at least brighten the days of those who don't leave the store with five bags of chips and a box of ding dongs for the walk to the car.
posted by jon_kill at 8:39 AM on July 10, 2003


I don't really care what other people eat.
posted by spazzm at 8:43 AM on July 10, 2003


well, then again, staring at a big hairy three hundred pound man would really ruin my afternoon kit-kat break

haha, if canada legalized pot, what would the warning labels look like? snoop doggy dogg??
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 8:46 AM on July 10, 2003


if canada legalized pot, what would the warning labels look like?

Warning: may be seized by a sudden irresistible urge to laugh out loud at crisp packets and watch childrens television.
posted by walrus at 8:49 AM on July 10, 2003


THIS PRODUCT CAUSES OBESITY. THIS PRODUCT WILL CLOG YOUR ARTERIES. THIS PRODUCT MAY LEAD TO HEART DISEASE AND DEATH.

Does anyone honestly not know this already? Why do we need the nanny state to tell us?

If nothing else, it will at least brighten the days of those who don't leave the store with five bags of chips and a box of ding dongs for the walk to the car.

And will allow those people to feel even more superior than they do already. *cue Church Lady superior dance music*

while in the states, they just have some lame black text saying "Cigarettes contain carbon monoxide."

That's actually one of five warnings (another is "Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, And May Complicate Pregnancy"), and the warnings must be circulated.

I can't wait for jonmc to add his .02
posted by pardonyou? at 8:52 AM on July 10, 2003


walrus, I think they have proven that zits/spots are not always caused by sugar. Wasn't there some study about carb overload causing breakouts? Regardless, sugar doesn't directly cause obesity (does it?) while trans-fatty acids do.

High Fructose Corn Syrup has recently hit my radar as yet another additive to avoid (unfortunately it seems to be in everything that is mass produced).
posted by shoepal at 8:54 AM on July 10, 2003


Here are the Canadian cigarette warnings (with pictures that are surprisingly difficult to find on the web). According to the Canadian Cancer Society, they've proven very effective.
posted by stonerose at 9:02 AM on July 10, 2003


This is a futile effort.

Large portions of America believe in creationism, astrology, and psychics. They reject logic and science regularly.

Suddenly once Transfat content is added to a label they are going to realize the complex dietary interactions and risks of transfat to a healthy long term diet?

Please...

Cigarettes tell you they will kill you right on the label yet America blissfully sucks down pack after pack as HALF A MILLION die annually.

I say, let Darwinism do it's work.
posted by Argyle at 9:04 AM on July 10, 2003


So...is there ANY warning they can put on unhealthy consumer goods to discourage people from buying them?

"WARNING: If you eat this, no one will have sex with you. Ever. Really, I swear."
posted by katieinshoes at 9:13 AM on July 10, 2003


I don't care what other people eat either, spazzm. But I do like to know what is in the food I buy so I can decide for myself if eating it is worth the risk. There's nothing wrong with having more information.

Better news than this labeling requirement is that some of the major food companies like Frito Lay are eliminating trans fats from their products altogether.
posted by pitchblende at 9:21 AM on July 10, 2003


Well if It's time for warning labels on junk food. Then I contend its also time for labels on stupid people. WARNING THIS BRAIN HAS 20% LESS ACTIVITY THEN THE NORMAL HUMAN BRAIN. THIS MAY LEAD TO EATING GROSSLY HUGE AMOUNTS OF JUNK FOOD AND BEER OVER A LIFETIME AND CAUSE A LAWSUIT CLAIMING THAT THE INGESTER WAS TOO STUPID TO HAVE A FREAKING CLUE THAT JUNK FOOD IS BAD.
posted by MrLint at 9:27 AM on July 10, 2003


Food companies are NOT in business because they are concerned about people's health - they are in business to make money.

Similarly, warning labels - of any kind - are not placed on products primarily for the protection of the consumer - they are placed on products to protect the producer. Warnings allow said producer to disclaim liability for later injuries which may be suffered when the product is nonetheless used in a way warned about.

Still want warnings, instead of just a listing of ingredients?
posted by yhbc at 9:29 AM on July 10, 2003


Thanks for the info shoepal. I was trying to elucidate the point that most young people would probably take more notice of something which would affect their image than their health. But it was a cheap, (and now you point it out, probably inaccurate) line, so I'm not sorry for you to debunk it.
posted by walrus at 9:34 AM on July 10, 2003


Why warnings just on stupid people? How about this:
WARNING: THIS PERSON IS INSUFFERABLY SUPERIOR AND WILL TELL YOU ALL ABOUT HOW BAD YOUR DIET IS ALL THE WHILE MISUSING THE WORD "THEN."
posted by deadcowdan at 9:39 AM on July 10, 2003


Food companies are NOT in business because they are concerned about people's health - they are in business to make money.

I'd say of any industry that this is a lossy strategy, particularly if your product contains things that will hurt people. If you don't at least give the appearance of concern for your consumer, you're not going to be around for the long haul, as your competitors can spin you right out of business.

That being said, no consumer should be convinced that there are genuinely altruistic people at the helm of each business ship. Companies will be only concerned enough to match cost/benefit charts.
posted by thanotopsis at 9:40 AM on July 10, 2003


lay off the speed, scooter.
posted by angry modem at 9:45 AM on July 10, 2003


Just because lazy people ignore food labeling doesn't make it a bad thing. Slap more information on there, I say.


It's the combination of excessive fat and excessive carbs (sugar) that causes obesity. Cultures that are heavily biased toward one or the other but get sufficient protein tend to not have nearly the same dietary problems as, say, Americans who combine both in large quantities while skimping on lower starch veggies.

I'd guess that sugar is more America's problem than fat is, mainly because people don't drink heavily advertised fizzy drinks made from lard. And fat, while crazy mad amounts of it are very bad for you, doesn't give you diabetes. And sugar makes you store more of the fat you eat.
posted by Foosnark at 9:49 AM on July 10, 2003


thanotopsis: If you don't at least give the appearance of concern for your profit margins, you're not going to be around for the long haul, as your competitors can undercut you right out of business.

Or, to put it another way: some people cannot afford as much consumer choice as others, and there will always be a market to sell them cheap food. Cheaper production = more profit = happy shareholders + big payouts for company directors, who have probably moved on and cashed in their options before any shit can hit the fan.
posted by walrus at 9:53 AM on July 10, 2003


Labelling products with their contents = good thing. It can lead to informed choice (well, among people who actually care, I suppose).
Labelling products with every possible negative effect their use or misuse could potentially have = ridiculous. If you're stupid enough to shove unlimited amounts of fatty, greasy, nutritionally void food down your throat, or try to stop a moving chainsaw with your crotch, you deserve everything that follows.

You just can't protect people from their own idiocy. It's impossible, and it's about time we stopped trying.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 10:07 AM on July 10, 2003


Amen to the comment about letting Darwinism handle this issue.

As far as I'm concerned, most individuals should know by now that eating greasy, fatty, processed, preservative-laden foods is bound to be bad for your body.

MORESO, they should know that eating these foods on a regular basis in typical "American Sized Portions" (read: gigantic) is horrific for your health.

And finally, combining that with a LACK of regular physical exercise....come on. This all seems far too logical and common sense to me.

Now, placing nutritional charts on foods? Good idea. Warning us about every possible side effect = unnecessary. Let me make the decision, thank you. No warnings are necessary. When I was 16 I walked into a Burger King and they had up a nutrition chart. While standing in line bored, I read the chart. I promptly walked out of the restaurant and since that day I can count on my hands the number of times I've eaten fast food.

Has anyone here lived in a foreign country for any long period of time? Or, conversely, visited the United States for a long period of time? Everytime I head over to Europe it is a guarantee that my health improves and my weight drops due to more regular exercise (walking) and eating more 'natural' foods in lieu of processed crap. To me, the correlation is pretty simple.
posted by tgrundke at 10:24 AM on July 10, 2003


Can someone explain to me what the big problem with informing people about health risks are, in our already unhealthy, sedimentary society?

No, not everyone knows about trans fats, and not everyone knows how bad they are for you. Since when did it hurt to try? If people are so stupid, then they probably don't realize that "partially hydrogenized" or "hydrogenized" means trans fat. And they probably don't know that the Institute of Medicine declared there to be no safe amount of them in foods, although they admitted they're almost impossible to completely cut from one's diet.
posted by gramcracker at 10:25 AM on July 10, 2003


"I don't really care what other people eat."

Ten minutes in time-out for spazzm for being reasonable.

Let that be a lesson to you, spazzm. Your "live and let live" attitude is unacceptable on NannyFilter.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:25 AM on July 10, 2003


THIS PRODUCT CAUSES OBESITY. THIS PRODUCT WILL CLOG YOUR ARTERIES. THIS PRODUCT MAY LEAD TO HEART DISEASE AND DEATH.

Does anyone honestly not know this already? Why do we need the nanny state to tell us?


good points pardonyou?

personally, yhbc, i do not believe warnings actually protect the consumer from health hazards or the manufacturer from litigation. and i don't really support warnings on food products (forgot my /sarcasm tags up at the FPP again) (not to mention spell check...)

but i am annoyed when the federal government calls a national press conference to congratulate itself on passing some new and essentially useless little rule for the good of citizens. how does it help to tell us a product contains 3, 5, 100, whatever -- grams of trans fats when we do not know what trans fats are?? hence, something along the lines of "this product can kill you" is much more useful.

but i do understand the view of those who want to do away with the FDA altogether. (and while we're at it, the whole Department of Health and Human Services above it.)
(and why stop there?)

on the other hand, i think it is true that some government regulation can sometimes be helpful, or at least better than nothing.

but in the end, of course, the nanny state is not my nanny. (and maybe that's what the labels -- all government mandated labels -- should say: BE YOUR OWN NANNY.)
posted by jellybuzz at 10:31 AM on July 10, 2003


gramcracker:

I don't think anyone is against informing people about health risks, but I do believe that there comes a point where you've got to let common sense take over and leave the NannyState out of things. The bigger problem is that, starting with Transfats, no doubt someone will want to go after sugar, then canola oil, then corn syrup, etc. etc. How many ingredients are we going to begin to 'warn against'?

Nutritional labels give me all of the information I need to know. That data, combined with regular common sense should lead me to believe that (to repeat, sorry) too much processed, fatty, sugary food is bad for human beings.

I agree that people may not know about trans-fats, but we do all know that 'fat' in general is not good for the body. The less you eat, the better.
posted by tgrundke at 10:31 AM on July 10, 2003


"Live and let live" doesn't really apply to food corporations with the motto "Sell more faster." the FDA label does not say "Don't eat this, or else;" it just lists the facts. you are free to ignore them; it's not like there's a tax on junk food (yet). something tells me all the anti-NannyStaters aren't all organically farming their own food -- would they start shopping at Whole Foods if there was no FDA regulation at all and everything just said "Yum Yum Wholesome Treat" on it, but was full of god-knows-what?
posted by serafinapekkala at 10:39 AM on July 10, 2003


In countries with socialized healthcare systems, what other people eat does have an effect on me: it increases healthcare costs, leading to poorer service, higher taxes, or both. (I imagine the insurance industry in the U.S. would argue that it has similar effects on them.) I'm all for placing a sin tax on shitty food, to compensate for this. I'm happy to pay high taxes for universal healthcare, but I'm loath to pay for non-infectious, lifestyle diseases that occur because people have knowingly abused themselves.
posted by stonerose at 10:50 AM on July 10, 2003


They should slap a warning label on our ass the minute we're born: "WARNING: LIFE WILL CAUSE DEATH"

People do things to themselves during life that is not necessarily consistent with the simple objective of living the greatest number of years (including smoking, drinking, eating, driving, bungee jumping, skydiving, having unprotected sex, etc). They do those things because they enhance life, even at the risk of shortening lifespan. Many people would rather eat rich, satisfying food for 65 years than bland, "nutritional" food for 100.
posted by pardonyou? at 10:53 AM on July 10, 2003


"I'm happy to pay high taxes for universal healthcare"

There's where you and I disagree. I'm unhappy paying high taxes for any reason.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:53 AM on July 10, 2003


passing some new and essentially useless little rule

I'll be reading the packages, when products start listing them (in 2006), and I'm sure other health-conscious consumers will, too. They're hardly useless. Just because it says it has hydrogenated soybean oil in it, I don't know how much. If I'm choosing between two cereals, all things being equal, I'm going to choose the one with fewer trans fats.

when we do not know what trans fats are?

Aren't you just arguing for a different type of nanny state, or a different degree of one? In one case, you know how much trans fats are in foods, but you still need to learn what trans fats are, and why they're bad for you. In the other case, you want the government to just tell you "this is bad for you," without questioning why, or what is bad for you.

tgrundke: I don't buy the slippery slope. Trans fats are commercially produced, found in nature in tiny quantities, and don't have any other health benefits besides ones that apply to healthier fats and oils.

stonerose and crash: you're already paying for it. Smokers' emphysema and lung cancer, obesity--where do you think the money for their care comes from? Other, healthier people's health dollars. Public health is called that for a reason: it affects all of us, even financially.

And for the record, not all fats and oils are bad for you--unsaturated fats (ie: oils, esp. omega 3's) have health benefits.

Quick background:

You've got two types of cholesterol in your body: HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein) and LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein). HDL is "good cholesterol." It's a fat molecule that absorbs excess cholesterol from the blood, takes it to the liver, where the liver removes it from your bloodstream. LDL is "bad cholesterol." It can build up on arterial walls (it's then called "plaque") and shrink the passageway for blood. This is a major cause of heart attacks, strokes, TIAs, leg clots, etc.

HDL (you want it High) and LDL (you want it Low)

By fat-type: posted by gramcracker at 10:58 AM on July 10, 2003


Thank you, gramcracker, that was very helpful.
posted by yhbc at 11:02 AM on July 10, 2003


Fantastic. Now if the FDA would force them to list the types of sugar in a product, we'd have something.

This product contains 95% refined sugar, 4.9% of some kind of sugar we have no idea what the hell it is, and 0.1% of naturally occuring sugar caused by the manufacturing of this product, and which technically is only the actual sugar this products needs.
posted by benjh at 11:02 AM on July 10, 2003


pardonyou?, I'm surprised jonmc hasn't made an appearance yet as well.

At any rate, The Politics of Fat is one of the better essays I've read recently on this very topic.

And while you're there, perhaps ponder whether or not Harry Potter is gay!
/derail
posted by tr33hggr at 11:13 AM on July 10, 2003


you're already paying for it. Smokers' emphysema and lung cancer, obesity--where do you think the money for their care comes from? Other, healthier people's health dollars. Public health is called that for a reason: it affects all of us, even financially.

Gramcracker assumes all of us have/can afford health insurance, I see.
posted by davros42 at 11:58 AM on July 10, 2003


Good summary gramcracker.

Isn't is also true that if you break it down further, monounsaturated fats (olive oil, avocados, etc) are better for you than polyunsaturated fats (other vegetable oils, fish) because the polys have a neutral effect on HDL as opposed to the positive effect that the monos have?
posted by pitchblende at 12:02 PM on July 10, 2003


tr33hggr: pardonyou?, I'm surprised jonmc hasn't made an appearance yet as well.

That's cuz he's gone.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:03 PM on July 10, 2003


Aren't you just arguing for a different type of nanny state, or a different degree of one?

actually, i am arguing both for and against a nanny state, usually simultaneously. i like the idea of some gov regulation sometimes for some things, a lot of it for other things and none at all for most. (what can i say? my cholesterol is too high to think clearly anymore.)

(by the way, gramcracker, excellent summary. one thing i still have to figure out: triglycerides.)

of course, i can't argue at all with pardonyou? re quality of life vs. longevity. although i would rather sit on the sidelines "safely" eating doughnuts and potato chips while he bungee jumps.

but can we all agree on this: it does not matter if harry potter is gay, so long as he uses condoms and eats his low-fat controlled carb veggies? good.
posted by jellybuzz at 12:08 PM on July 10, 2003


Couldn't be further from the truth, davros42. I work to get health insurance for everyone.

I assumed everyone pays taxes, which go to pay for Medicaid/Medicare, FEHBP, the VA, CHIP, the CDC, community health centers, public hospitals, and public health departments, to name a few.

Then again, if we just take statins, according to most of this week's cover Newsweek article, we can just continue to eat like pigs.
posted by gramcracker at 12:09 PM on July 10, 2003


I question the underlying motivations of those who express vehement opposition to adding a single informative line to the contents label of foods. What's the harm?

I read labels mostly in a side-by-side manner. So, although I know that both Oreos and ChipsAhoys are full of this particularly dangerous form of engineered fat, come 2006 I'll be able to tell which one has less. Try that with sugar the next time you buy fruit juice.

It doesn't take a nanny or a health nut to appreciate the value of disclosure. What's wrong with informed decisions? There are parts of Europe and Asia where they list ingredients by percentages. We should do that, too.
posted by squirrel at 12:28 PM on July 10, 2003


Thank you gramcracker. Forget warnings, I'm not for a "nannystate" but I do believe in making an informed decision. Grancracker's excellent explanation is the basic information an non-obsessed food buyer needs to know as they plan their diet. A label listing fat content, with the fat content broken down into Saturated, Unsaturated, Trans Fat etc would be helpful. Using gramcracker's breakdown you can make better choices of which foods to buy without having to spend hours at your local market.

I was curious, so I checked out the container of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! Light" that I have in the fridge. On the top it says "50% Less Fat & Calories Than Margarine" and "Naturally Cholesterol Free". On the side, above the Nutrition Facts, in red letters is "The product contains 0 grams of trans fatty acids per serving". This looks like a good product ( I bought it). There are 5 grams of fat: 1g Saturated, 2.5g Polyunsaturated and 1.5g Monounsaturated. I look at the ingredients, and third on the list of ingredients is partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Isn't that trans fat? But they said 0 grams of trans fat. They didn't say "No Trans Fat". Are they attempting to mislead me? I don't know, I'm asking.

I checked out the company's website and read the FAQ. Did you know that margarine must have 80% fat and can't be sold in packages weighing more than one pound?
posted by whatever at 12:36 PM on July 10, 2003


Isn't is also true that if you break it down further, monounsaturated fats (olive oil, avocados, etc) are better for you than polyunsaturated fats (other vegetable oils, fish) because the polys have a neutral effect on HDL as opposed to the positive effect that the monos have?

Right. AFAIK, it's still inconclusive if polys are neutral or slightly DECREASE HDL. There are some fats called essential fatty acids that your body can't make, so you have to get from your diet. If you wanted to be an idealist about it, you can get your essential mono and poly unsaturated fatty acids from olive oil and flaxseed oil. Polyunsaturateds are less stable than monounsaturateds, one reason they're more likely to have fewer health "benefits."

Two classes of polyunsaturateds are very good for you, omega 3's and omega 6's. It's best to try to get them in equal quantities, but the western diet is 6-heavy. (Omega 3's are in fatty fish and flaxseed oil.)

one thing i still have to figure out: triglycerides

Fats and oils are both triglycerides. A triglyceride is just a scientific name for a structure with a glycerol backbone with three (tri!) fatty acids attached to it. And if you want to get really scientific...
posted by gramcracker at 12:37 PM on July 10, 2003


BTW, FWIW, I love doughnuts and Kettle Chips. But I think that the manufacturers of those foods should give me information about their products, and I don't see this as the antithesis of live-hard-die-young credo. I've been destroying my body in an informed manner for decades.

Thanks for the overview, gramcracker.
posted by squirrel at 12:41 PM on July 10, 2003


[from tr33hggr link]
At the same time, there is talk of imposing a "fat tax" and/or forcing manufacturers to put health warnings on certain foods, similar to the warnings on tobacco products.

Banzhaf will send a letter to McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken this month, demanding that they label their food as containing substances that may be as addictive as nicotine.


First this is getting ridiculous. It's one thing to advertise a product that will perform a certain way, then lie. But this is about one's own choices in their diet, free purchase power. For adults, no one is forcing this food on anybody, except the hand that feeds the mouth or laziness. Learn to cook, not only is it cheaper, you will do your body service while grocery shopping.

There are people whom are healthy, but by eye-sight are considered fat, lazy, obese and unhealthy. Don't recall one's clean bill of health observed by eyes alone.

But me paying more because it's unhealthy for the unhealthy is wrong, especially if I am healthy. What is next, no junk food sales to minors. As wired as Richard Simmons is, I applaud his effort after looking how this is now being handled by bureaucracy alone. I'm now guessing the lazy sit on their ass and push papers and hope to profit are behind this crap. Then why a tax; laws and fines work well. What is next on the agenda, lard seizures?

Folks are human and as, are individuals. You can lead a horse to water, yet you can't make it drink; but teach a horse how to find water and it may drink on its own.

They also said may be(s), don't recall May as the true healthier month.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:52 PM on July 10, 2003


I'm just worried that once the new food labels are in place, I might learn that my beloved Hormel Wranglers might not be good for me. Oh well, guess I better eat even more of them in the meantime, while I'm still able to live in ignorant bliss...
posted by spilon at 12:53 PM on July 10, 2003


These junkfood corporations have no problem taking your money, which is pretty much guaranteed not to have too many harmful health effects upon CEOs and shareholders. They have complete information on how greenbacks work, and the worst case scenario I can conjure is the danger of falling on their corporate wallets stuffed with your cash, thereby bruising their fat asses.

In return for that money, you are given a "product" for which you often do NOT have complete information about possible health effects. These greedheads and their slimy apologists/wannabes don't want you to know that their "product" may be harmful....hence this neverending bullshit propaganda ("everyone dies of something", "smoking doesn't cause cancer", "it's all about freedom", etc.) and disinformation from corporate flunkies and their lying front groups about "the nanny state".

Thanks, but we'll take the "nanny state" over tobacco company clones, their paid admirers, and their unquenchable, unethical lust for an unregulated "gimmee state", any time.

~wink~
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:12 PM on July 10, 2003


gramcracker: you're already paying for it. Smokers' emphysema and lung cancer, obesity--where do you think the money for their care comes from? Other, healthier people's health dollars. Public health is called that for a reason: it affects all of us, even financially.

Wrong. Lay off the smokers. The ones who buy private insurance pay commensurately higher insurance premiums.

And the ones who the state pays for actually save us money by a) paying confiscatory sin taxes and b)dying young (cited work).
posted by trharlan at 1:14 PM on July 10, 2003


"Statins are the new aspirin."

Fascinating Newsweek article, thanks Gramcracker. I suppose I should be happy about this news. However, there's no heart disease in my family. We tend to be slim, with strong hearts and normal cholesterol.

And we drop like flies from cancer.
posted by jellybuzz at 1:14 PM on July 10, 2003


Whatever,

You asked:

I was curious, so I checked out the container of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! Light" ... On the side .... is "The product contains 0 grams of trans fatty acids per serving". ... There are 5 grams of fat: 1g Saturated, 2.5g Polyunsaturated and 1.5g Monounsaturated. I look at the ingredients, and third on the list of ingredients is partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Isn't that trans fat? But they said 0 grams of trans fat. They didn't say "No Trans Fat". Are they attempting to mislead me? I don't know, I'm asking.

All trans fats are unsaturated, but not all unsaturated fats are necessarily trans. (Unsaturated fats might be trans or cis, or both, in the case of polyunsaturated fats.) Gramcracker's link explains the difference between cis and trans unsaturated fats.

The hydrogenation process saturates an unsaturated fat (with hydrogen atoms). So, a partially hydrogenated fat is more saturated, but still somewhat unsaturated. But it is not necessarily a trans unsaturated fat.

So, the I can't believe it's not butter folks probably aren't lying to you.
posted by MarquisDeShad at 1:25 PM on July 10, 2003


In return for that money, you are given a "product" for which you often do NOT have complete information about possible health effects.

Oh, I see. Us poor, stupid drones are eating twinkies because we don't know they're bad for us. If only we were like foldy -- the keeper of all knowledge -- we would make more informed choices: "Why, this Krispy Kreme donut has 18 grams of transfats which could, over time, increase my risk of heart disease! I think I'll have a carrot instead!" Barring that, we could at least properly direct our anger at the corporate overlords: "Damn you, Krispy Kreme CEO, for making me eat this delicious glazed donut despite its danger to my health!"

Forget the nanny state. I want to live under a "foldy state."

~dry heave~
posted by pardonyou? at 2:05 PM on July 10, 2003


pardonyou?, nice straw man. What about the father/mother who thinks that all cookies are basically created equal, and ends up feeding his kids Oreos instead of, say, Arrowroots, not realizing that one has much higher levels of transfats? Don't such people deserve full disclosure? I saw nothing in foldy's post that called for such an overwrought response.
posted by stonerose at 2:17 PM on July 10, 2003


whatever:

I'm no expert, so I can't say for sure how there could be such a discrepancy, unless they'er being sneaky, and using the FDA's labeling guide for their own good.
To express nutrient values to the nearest 1 g increment, for amounts falling exactly halfway between two whole numbers or higher (e.g., 2.5 to 2.99 g), round up (e.g., 3 g). For amounts less than halfway between two whole numbers (e.g, 2.01 g to 2.49 g), round down (e.g., 2 g).
So it could have .49 grams of trans fat, but they get to label it as zero. Otherwise, I'm stumped.

On Preview: Good catch, MarquisDeShad. I think the hydrogenation process creates mostly trans fats, but I just found there's a relatively new technique that creates less trans-configuration.

Wrong. Lay off the smokers. The ones who buy private insurance pay commensurately higher insurance premiums.

I still think that having smokers in my risk pool still makes my premiums higher. Smokers pay more, but surely each smoker isn't paying the full amount for their lung cancer, emphysema, sore throats, and mouth cancer treatments? (Plus the sick days for people that are forced to work in a smoking environment, and treatments for asthmatics that have attacks due to smoke.) Don't have any data to back me up though.
posted by gramcracker at 2:21 PM on July 10, 2003


stonerose: I don't speak for pardonyou?.

Did you read f&m's post? It was a long tangent, stating that the food companies are evil, and they make money.

He states that the worst case scenario I can conjure is the danger of falling on their corporate wallets stuffed with your cash, thereby bruising their fat asses.

He continues: These greedheads and their slimy apologists/wannabes don't want you to know that their "product" may be harmful....hence this neverending bullshit propaganda ("everyone dies of something", "smoking doesn't cause cancer", "it's all about freedom", etc.) and disinformation from corporate flunkies and their lying front groups about "the nanny state".

He finishes with Thanks, but we'll take the "nanny state".

Pardonyou? stated that we all know that these foods are bad, and that Foldy was just making a tired argument against his bogeyman of choice.

And here you come, writing I saw nothing in foldy's post that called for such an overwrought response

How did you miss the heaping mound of bile and vitriol?
posted by trharlan at 2:35 PM on July 10, 2003


How did you miss the heaping mound of bile and vitriol?
Well, I guess we should visit the optometrist together.

I won't wait around for a response to foldy's 'tired' public health argument, or my attempt to clarify Pardonyou?'s obscurative rejoinder.

I'm off to have a healthy meal and a glass of wine with friends - see ya!
posted by stonerose at 2:46 PM on July 10, 2003


Thanks, but we'll take the "nanny state" over tobacco company clones,

See your point, yet your education gave you that knowledge. If one walks into a golden arches and thinks they are eating healthy, they are ignorant, even if ordering a salad. I say one is ignorant if they can't factor the costs, ingredients and the the food produced in masses; you're bound to have unhealthy/crap ingredients, real crap too.
Yet ignorance of a law is not an excuse for it to be by passed.

Maybe out of time with my society, always thought the closes thing to Mom's cooking was home cooking. Has tv taught our children, happy meal is a healthy meal; thought it was about the toy. Would rather send the kids to cooking school to learn, unless the nanny state will be doing their cooking too.

On a state that is a nanny, they would give you permission to eat or not, worse than a parent; something no one here supports. But you would rather have healthy folks, that's great too, but you then you are controlling an individual's diet something none of you would support as members here.

I just lost a friend to alcohol, yet I don't condone it. He did this to himself, not the booze. Even told him Monday when he called, if I don't see you by tonight, which we were to meet, I have a feeling I will never see you again. Unfortunately for me I saw the writing on the wall, and it even separated our friendship further.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:54 PM on July 10, 2003


Jesus thom, I am so sorry. Please you take care of yourself.
posted by yhbc at 7:51 PM on July 10, 2003


Iiiiiiii dunno. To me the larger point is, once we pick the next food demon (sugar?) are we going to have to breakdown the exact sugar content in each food?

Where someone (cannot remember now) DID have a point was by saying that transfats are completely manmade and are unnatural (ie - carcinogens, other pollutants) and that due to such, they do deserve special 'treatment' as it were. This is an interesting topic we should flush out here in the flame - er, I mean discussion forum. ;-)
posted by tgrundke at 9:03 PM on July 10, 2003


once we pick the next food demon (sugar?) are we going to have to breakdown the exact sugar content in each food?

I certainly wouldn't mind requiring that every ingredient on the ingredient list having a weight next to it. Right now the only thing you can be sure of is that ingredients are listed in descending order.
posted by kindall at 11:28 PM on July 10, 2003


This recurring "nanny state" argument against nutritional labeling seems strange. Users of this notion seem to position themselves against 'the man,' or some authority who would seek to deprive them of something. I gather from what I've read here that they see labeling as oppressive. I see it exactly the opposite: freeing food manufacturers from their duty to provide data on the contents of their products would harm consumers. Could someone please tell me the harm caused by adding trans fat data to nutritional labels?
posted by squirrel at 12:15 PM on July 11, 2003


The "nanny state" argument could be used in just the opposite way: without the labeling aren't we placing more responsibility on food companies to determine what we eat? (and "nanny economy" would be more accurate than "nanny state")

I think the new labeling requirement is great.
posted by shoos at 7:49 PM on July 11, 2003


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