Sunday, October 17, 2004


"Snack foods, as it turns out, may not be an important cause of weight gain in children after all. Harvard University researchers followed the snack food intake during 1996-1998 of almost 15,000 children aged 9 to 14 years. Their results were reported online in the International Journal of Obesity (search) on Aug. 17 - and virtually no place else since.

After statistically controlling for stage of development, age, height change, activity and inactivity, the researchers reported no relation between intake of snack foods and subsequent changes in bodyweight among the 6, 774 boys and an inverse relation (meaning snack food intake was associated with lower weight gain) among the 8,203 girls. The researchers concluded, "Our results suggest that although snack foods may have low nutritional value, they were not an important independent determinant of weight gain among children and adolescents."

I know what you're thinking: only researchers bought and paid for by the snack food industry could produce such a shocking result and try to sell it to the public. So, who paid for the study? Was it Coca-Cola? Maybe Frito-Lay? What about M&M/Mars?

The study, as it turns out, was sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (search), the Boston Obesity Research Center (search) (a nonprofit organization funded by the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases), the National Institutes of Health (search) and the Kellogg Company (search). So, yes, there was some industry funding (albeit not from a company primarily known for its snack foods), but it looks like the bulk of the effort was funded by the very federal government agencies that have been primary promoters of the current wave of childhood obesity hysteria

More here:


"We write about food a lot, because we like food a lot. What we don't like a lot, to put it mildly, are people who mess with our food. That would include trial lawyers who see deep pockets to be looted from the purveyors of fast food, which can't help but raise the price of our chili cheese fries. That would include the fruit and nuts crowd, who would force us to live longer at the expense of better - certainly a matter of individual choice. The animal rights whackos who want us to have dinner with our ham rather than of it. The anti-obesity opportunists, seeking to deprive fat fetishists of fundamental civil rights.

The list is long and could get very personal. Moving from nowhere to the very top of the list is California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has now signed one of the most idiotic bills in that state's much-studied history of such action. We'd blame the California legislature, which passed the bill, but Arnold was elected to be the adult there.

The bill will ban the force-feeding of geese to produce (really good) foie gras . in 2012. How's that for "progressive" governance? You've got a state where betting touts can't decide whether terminal mismanagement or an earthquake will do it in, and its government has the time and inclination to declare foie gras production to be a crime against goosemanity. Having done so, it postpones implementation for eight years. A state that can't (or won't) police illegal immigration and thinks marijuana should be the state plant is going to police illegal goose liver. Paul McCartney and Kim Basinger, who cried for the bill, celebrated with soy milk toasts.

More here

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