Friday, August 22, 2008

Bottled Water ... Tanking?

Get off the bottle. That seems to be the message.

From 1 January this year, the government of the city of Chicago implemented a five cent tax on bottled water sales to discourage consumers from the product.

San Francisco:
In 2007, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom also announced a ban on the city's departments using money to buy bottled water.

From Britain to Australia:
Politicians and ecological groups around the world from Britain to Australia have vowed to making similar commitments citing the industry's potential impact on the environment and water resources as part of their concerns.

And the bottom line is that municipal water sources are (almost always) as good or better than bottled sources. In other words, drinking from the tap or fountain is not a cool, but it's also not as good for the environment.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dehydrated Water

Here's the problem for us
The average American consumes 6 to 18g of salt daily ... but the body needs only about 0.5g of salt each day. And that excess salt (sodium chloride) can lead to increased risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

We know this.

In fact, the American Medical Association, says that ~150,000 US deaths could be prevented every year by halving the average salt intake. And where does that intake come from? According to the US Dietary Guidelines, over three quarters of it comes from processed food products.

Here's the problem for them
If you happen to make processed food products, you love putting salt in your food products because it prevents them from going bad (makes it unappealing to be consumed living organisms). But you would also find yourself in a catch-22, because ~150,000 people die every year from you selling them your products.

Consumers are growing wise to the health cost of these salt bombs, and so have voluntarily been trying to lower salt content in food, looking at every possibility for salt reduction.

Solution? Create an oxymoron
One food manufacturer is marketing a low sodium salt. Low sodium salt? Isn't that like dehydrated water? Given that salt is one part sodium and one part chloride, wouldn't that just make it high in chloride? (read the report here)

This particular oxymoron can fall in line behind other food product contrivances, such as the low carb potato (what would that BE?), or low fat half-n-half.

Keep in mind that this is only a problem for food manufacturers. If you eat real food, it becomes a non-issue because you avoid the processed food products that have to be preserved enough to outlast a nuclear winter.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

United States of Obesity

Welcome to the United States of Obesity.

According to a new study entitled "Will All Americans Become Overweight or Obese?" (read the abstract here), these scientists give us a flawless demonstration of absurdity of logic, abstracted from reality.

Here is how it goes:
The current US trends indicate an escalating rate of Overweight and Obesity. At this rate, therefore, by 2048, we will all be overweight and obese. All of us. 100%.

This illogic assumes that the trend is linier, that the acquisition
of Obesity and Overweight proceeds in isolation, and that there is no corresponding genetic predisposition to thinness -- only to obesity.

Even the logical caveat makes no basic sense:
"If the current trend continues, we will see X obesity by Y year ...." On it's face, it seems like it could be true. But that's a bit like saying, Olympic swimming events have been completed in faster and faster times.

Thus, projections show that, by 2075, those swimmers of the future will actually finish before they start, leaving them extra time for photo shoots. It's nice, too, because they won't have to get wet to be swimmers. What a fabulous world we'll live in!

Obesity and Overweight are dreadful problems, particularly when you look at the increases over time. However, extrapolations into the future rely on so many unknowns, that they can proceed from telling to meaningless to just plain silly.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Go Outside and Play

My mom used to tell me this -- go outside and play!! She probably wasn't thinking about my vitamin D levels, but just wanted to have a temporary island of peace in the house.

But it turns out that mom's advice was correct for a good number of reasons. For example, a recent study showed that low vitamin D can increase your risk of death by 26 percent (Read the whole story here.).

Don't feel bad, because it is not just you. A nationwide survey found that 41 percent of men and 53 percent of women in the US were not getting outside enough to get enough vitamin D from the sun.

Dr. Michal Melamed, the lead author of the study, said "There are studies that link low vitamin D levels to the development of heart disease, peripheral arterial disease, diabetes, hypertension and different cancers."
But don't go popping pills to get your vitamin D fix. According to the U.S. Institute of Medicine, the best way to get vitamin D, naturally, is by being out in the sun. All you need is 10 to 15 minutes of sun per day to get all a vitamin D you need. Vitamin D is also available in small quantities in foods such as fish and milk.

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