Friday, April 07, 2006

Sure Loser

I was reading a post on weight control over at Jane Galt's blog that got me thinking about my own weight control issues. My disgust with my weight started at the age of 12 when I was deep into puberty and realized my body was changing. My mother had always had weight issues and attended a weight watcher's-like group called,"Sure Losers." I should have realized by the name alone that this was a meeting for a 12-year old to stay from--but no such luck. My older sister and I begged my mom to take us with her to the meetings.

I will never forget the first time I walked into a group of 20 or so ladies who were of all age ranges--their only commonality seemed to be excess weight and a need to obsess over calories. The group leader's name was "Babe" and she was a short 70-year old who wore long gowns that would have been more appropriate at the Opera than at a weight watcher's meeting in the basement of her home. At my first weigh-in, I got on the scale and it tipped to 130 pounds--I was only five foot four at that point. "Wow, I used to weigh a lot less," I said, to which Babe replied, "when was that--when you were four? and gave a hearty laugh. Rather than pack up in disgust, I attended the meetings faithfully and listened to all that Babe spouted about how to eat. The tidbit I picked up most readily and held onto like it was gold instead of poison was, "You never need to eat another piece of candy as long as you live." I actively avoided all sugar and was already a vegetarian and thought somehow, I would always be healthy if I just avoided candy. Boy, was I wrong.

I spent the next years watching what I ate and exercising and running to keep myself healthy. I thought that eating sugar was a sign of weakness and only when my body would be so desperate for calories that I would crack and eat Tofutti during graduate school did I realize what I had been missing. I eventually became fairly plump from this endeavor--take a look at the calorie count on Tofutti and you will know why--especially if you eat a whole carton. The stuff is loaded with fat and calories. My family always looked at me with dismay when I would join them for a meal. I only had certain things I would eat that were healthy, fat free and vegetarian. Later on, after I stopped all of this foolishness, I told my mother how I had listened to Babe and thought I was never supposed to eat candy again. She gave me a puzzled look and said, "Why did you listen, no one else did!"

She was right--I never should have listened. I cannot say that any of the calorie restriction or dedicated exercise really helped my health. In fact, I sometimes wonder secretly if I ruined it. After all, at 37, I had a heart attack. The doctors say that this would not be caused by anything except bad luck, but I am not always sure. After my heart attack, I never tried to diet again. I am 5 feet 6 inches and weighed about 110 pounds at the time of my heart attack. I now weigh about 124. I swore that I would never let myself get hungry again and I don't. I eat candy when I feel like it--just had some really good peppermints last night-Yum!

I don't know why it took me so long to realize that no food in the world can make me immune to disease, aging and dying. Maybe I am just a "Sure Loser." However, with my new found knowledge, I feel disgusted when people talk about fat people being so unhealthy--they are not necessarily. I have seen overweight people in the past fly by me in a race, live into old age and generally do better in a lot of ways. I am not saying obesity is the answer, but then neither is being a twig.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah the things we take as gospel truth when we are young teens. It's not at all surprising that you latched onto those "rules" when you were that age. Just as it's not surprising that you had a hard time shaking them as you got older.

My mother was always a normal weight. If she dieted - she never said a word to us kids (me and my two younger sisters). I had 2 problems growing up. One was a tendency to migraines from about age 6 onward. The other was a younger sister who was skinny as a rail - I have always been a "normal" weight. As a child and into the young teen years - I would be teased a bit by my family for being the "big" one. ("pull the kitchen table away from the wall so Teresa can sit down" and then they'd laugh).

However, dieting was never really an option - if I didn't eat regularly I would get terrible migraines. (pain is much more of an incentive than shame). So I pretty much developed the attitude of - if you don't like my weight that's your problem.

Of course migraines also dictate the "sweets" I can eat. Since I LOVE chocolate - and it gives me incredibly bad headaches if I eat too much. I go to Starbucks and get a Soy Mocha (no whip cream thank you) daily. So far it hasn't triggered any headaches that I'm aware of... and I watch that very closely. That way I get my chocolate fix and I don't cause myself any pain. If I really crave some extra chocolate - I'll buy a box of the "truffles" from Whole Foods for about $3.00 - put it in the refrigerator and eat one piece a day and then back off if I start to get a headache.

I've always thought that what you eat must necessarily reflect in all aspects of your health. Sometimes you do things you think are right based on conventional wisdom - it doesn't always work out for the best.

10:59 AM, April 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Babe must have been a liberal.

1:15 PM, April 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seeing some of the newer studies on the benefits of cinnamon and chocolate I think candy, in moderation, is a healthy choice. As for life altering decisions; if the risk analysis portion of the brain doesn't mature until the mid 20's, it is best not to make very many before then.

1:49 PM, April 07, 2006  
Blogger Anna said...

A really good book on eating correctly is "Intuitive Eating". Especially great for chronic dieters.

2:06 PM, April 07, 2006  
Blogger TMink said...

Hey Helen,
thanks for such a brave, sweet post.


2:28 PM, April 07, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

but dave, is 'fat' really the worst thing a human being can be? Is 'fat' worse than 'vindictive', 'jealous', 'shallow', 'vain', 'boring' or 'cruel'.
(this was said by jk rowling in yesterdays UK times )

i am 23 stone, and 6 foot tall i am technically morbidly obese, and i am supposed to have all these health problems.. i havent been to the doctors in ages years,once was i had a lump on my leg, and it was benign, the other i had a throat infection. the dr took my blood pressure, normal, my heart rate. normal, cholesterol normal, everything was normal or well within the normal ranges.

everyone dies eventually, fat and thin, its not about how long you live your life its HOW you live your life. i would rather be fat and happy, than thin and miserable.

i lost a good friend through dieting, no she didnt die, she became paranoid, obsessed by what she ate, and kept going on how fat i am how ugly i should feel, i told her, look, i am happy with myself, she stopped speaking to me after that, and i never saw her again.

these BMI figues, they keep getting reduced reduced, and most dieters put the weight back on, and that can destroy a persons metabolism, and cause psychological problems too. so is it better to be thin and paranoid and miserable.. than fat and happy and at ease with yourself.

4:05 PM, April 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd suggest each individual sets their own standards for physical fitness. Therefore they have to maintain a lifestyle that allows them to maintain that standard.

If one person wants to maintain the strength, stamina, and flexibility of a college athlete, then there is a certain regimen they will have to adopt.

Another person may have no desire for such a level of fitness, and they will not have to do nearly as much.

We often hear a person needs to maintain a particular diet. OK. That diet is needed to satisfy some particular standard. What is it?

Likewise we hear a person needs a particular amount of exercise. OK. That exercise is needed to satisfy what particular level of fitness?

My standard is to score in the top ten percent of 18-25 year old Marines taking the Marine physical fitness test. I also have a standard for blood pressure and resting heart rate.

In the morning I run and do yoga, bicycle to work, go to a gym at lunch, and bicycle home in the aftrenoon. By the time I bicycle home from work, I have completed my routine. Exercise time totals three hours.

I also run one marathon per year, don't eat candy or soda pop, but do power myself on lots of healthy carbs.

I readily acknowledge my standards may be extreme, but I have chosen those standards. So I also have to choose an eating and exercise regime that supports my chosen standards.

Others may have different standards, and that's their personal choice.

The problem may be that too many people have not chosen their standards, and simply drift into some random and unchosen condition. If we consciously choose a reasonable standard, we can then do what is necessary.

4:29 PM, April 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


How how many pounds is a stone?

4:30 PM, April 07, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

dave i was quoting from a newspaper article, written by the kids author jk rowling. i thought it was appropriate due to some people will think being fat is somehow a sin, or that all fat people are lazy. being fat doesnt have to be unhealthy, you can be fit and fat.

there is a backlash against obese people, that sometimes rivals the men discrimination. for some being big, or fat, is just as healthy as those so called thin people..

but its easy to demonise fat people. is a persons worth less because they are fat.

4:59 PM, April 07, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

dont worry dave, but thats the attitude of some people out there.. you should hear some of the stories i get told. they are heartbreaking, i know people who cut themselves due to the pressures of society to make them thin, i know people who have killed themselves due to it, not to mention dangerous surgery to "fix" fatness.

5:38 PM, April 07, 2006  
Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

The NH State Motto, which everyone sneers at, is "Live Free Or Die." The second half of the quote, seldom noted, is the key to its understanding: "Death Is Not The Worst Of Evils."

Neither is fat.

It is ironic that as life expectancy and health increase, people become more obsessed and start believing they are "entitled" to a certain amount of it. For hunter-gatherer societies, where our genes streamlined, life expectancy was 28 years. That's why we don't have a third set of teeth, for example.

Most people reading this are way out ahead of that 28 years, but instead of reveling in their good fortune, worry about weight.

7:24 PM, April 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Village idiot,

And some of us intend to stay way ahead.

10:41 PM, April 07, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

but its a worry that we dont need to have. a good friend of mine once said to me, live life, and let worries about dying not bother you (he died a couple of months after saying that) he lived so much in his life that he wasnt afraid of death.

ok anonymous 10.41.

what if someone said to you, if you give up being with your family, you could live 100 years more. would that be worth it, if giving up meat would make you live 10 years longer would that be worth it, if you gave up vegetables that would make you live 1 day longer. would you do it..

NO ONE knows when its their time to go, it could be tomorrow, or 80 years from now. life isnt about just living, its about experiences, think about a trip to you favourite place on the planet, and if they said if u dont go there you can live 5 years longer.. would you actually not go there even though you adore the place.

to worry about being fat, when no one knows where and when we are doing to die, is counterproductive, i may die tomorrow, and i can say i had a interesting life, but if i worried too much about it i would get nothing done.

6:37 AM, April 08, 2006  
Blogger jau said...

Really good points. Thanks for contributing rationality. Now how to get us all to stop thinking only one look is attractive!

9:41 AM, April 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Some people think of what they have to give up when they choose a particular lifestyle. I don't. I think of what I will gain.

I haven't eaten meat for thirty years. I didn't give it up, I just crowded it out with more fish, fresh fruits and vegetables. Then I had no further desire for meat.

The better my diet became, the easier it was to maintain. My tastes changed so I no longer wanted candy, cake, or soda pop. There was no remaining desire. So, I give up nothing.

I agree I don't know when I will go. However, the time I have is much more enjoyable being healthy and fit. And I increase the probability I will have many more days with my chosen lifestyle.

Here's a simple experiment in eating. Drink drink 128 ounces of water per day for one week. Start by doing it for one day. Everyone I know who has done this has noticed their tastes and desires for food change. They eat less, they eat better, and they don't feel they are giving up anything.

The body will also shed about five pounds as it gives up its reserve store of water. It doesn't need it since it is getting plenty of water on a regular basis.

We all choose our personal condition. All we have to do is acknowledge our choice.

12:42 PM, April 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do you think we have control over what look we find attractive? I acknowldedge we can intellectually render respect to people of all sizes and shapes, but can we turn off a natural attraction?

12:50 PM, April 08, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

anonymous 12.42

ok if you feel like you needed to give up meat, thats fine, theres an article i would like you to read,

and it is good to see that you accept that other people can choose how they live their OWN lives. there are only a few people who think that way

but thats your time, your life your reasons, i enjoy meat, and some vegetables, just because i eat differently, and because my bio chemistry is different to yours, i am very healthy even though i am fat. the best argument for a NON vegan diet is the vitamin b12.

if you look at the artists of the 18th and 19th centuries, you will discover more larger sized women, i myself am attracted to larger ladies, they are more sensual in my beleifs. i may find a thin girl attractive, but they dont really do anything for me.

3:32 PM, April 08, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

the problem with drinking that amount is that it can cause so many other problems, including death

The fact that water can cause fatal overdoses is not well known. Often called "water intoxication" or "hyponatremia" (low salt)1, water poisoning results when too much water is ingested in too short a time without replenishing electrolytes, particularly sodium and potassium.

The human body (as with other animals) maintains an equilibrium of electrolytes in the bloodstream as part of its normal operation. Sweating causes the body to lose salt, but the primary cause of hyponatremia is drinking enormous amounts of water, which dilutes the salt in the body to a dangerous level. As the electrolyte levels get dangerously out of balance, body systems begin to fail and the sufferer exhibits signs of crisis such as diarrhea, over-salivation, stupor, vomiting, muscle tremors, confusion, frequent urination and other general symptoms of illness, and their brain begins to swell. This swelling is called a 'brain edema' or 'cerebral edema' and can lead to brain damage, paralysis, and sometimes death.

How susceptible one is to the dangers of hyponatremia seems to be partially dependent on body weight, how much food is in the system, and other factors not yet understood which make up individual variation in response. The body has a system for regulating electrolyte balance and it eliminates excess fluids through urination. Some people's urine regulation systems (partially controlled by Anti-Diuretic Hormone [ADH], also called vasopressin) do not respond as quickly in some circumstances.

Health professionals recommend taking electrolytes dissolved in liquid or eating salty snacks when drinking large amounts of water to make sure that a proper balance is being maintained. For instance, sometimes when people are trying to avoid an alcohol hangover, they may drink (or have their friends force them to drink) more water than they would normally drink. In such cases, salty crackers, chips, or some other kind of salt source can help the body absorb the water and eliminate it properly without risking further throwing the electrolytes out of balance.

5:16 PM, April 08, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:36 PM, April 08, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

Mercurior said...
so 128 ounces of water a day, thats 3.785 liters a day, now that would destroy a persons kidneys or put it under a MASSIVE strain.. you wouldnt be eating much, as you would be filling up with water.

Most collapsed runners admitted to the emergency room would be thought to suffer from heart disease, so doctors might not suspect hyponatremia, especially since heart failure causes similar symptoms. But if they know to look for it by measuring blood sodium levels and giving a chest X-ray, doctors will be able to treat most cases of hyponatremia successfully, with a simple intravenous dose of high salt solution. Diagnosis is critical, Arieff said, because "most of these patients won’t survive if they are treated for heart failure."

5:45 PM, April 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Nonsense. Eight ounces of water per hour over the course of a 16 hour day harms nobody.

Do a simple test. Let's say someone has the following:

Two cups of coffee in the morning.
One twelve ounce Coke at 10am.
One twelve ounce coke at lunch.
One twelve ounce Coke at 2:30.
Two twelve ounce beers after work.
Two twelve ounce cokes in the evening.

Does that sound unusual? That adds up to 100 ounces. Many office workers routinely ingest that.

I'd suggest anyone look at their own daily fluid intake and see what it totals from all sources. What sounds unusual is taking water instead of coffee, tea, coke, beer, or wine. When one drinks the water, they will not be comsuming the other stuff.

Mercurior, what do you think is the safe upper limit of daily fluid ingestion?

9:22 PM, April 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A safe amount of fluid also depends on body weight. There is no one right amount of daily water intake that is best for everyone.

The average is probably two quarts (half gallon/eight glasses) but at my weight (BMI 30 and dropping) I drink three quarts most days. I also don't count coffee and soda in my water tally. They give your body moisture but they add things that you need water to wash away.

So I am probably going over a gallon in total beverages, and I am most certainly not in danger of hyponatremia.

11:58 PM, April 08, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

i drink what i need, and what i feel i need, that should be the baseline, my system isnt like yours, and yours isnt like mine, so why should it be one size fits all.. i drink when i am thristy and i dont when i am not.

i live in the UK, we dont drink coke all day long, i have 1 maybe 2 cups of coffee in the morning, one at 12, and one at 6. thats it.. but then again depending where you live, and the heat in that area.. (it snowed today here)

3:22 PM, April 09, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Is your total fluid intake limited to four cups of coffee per day?

You told us, "so 128 ounces of water a day, thats 3.785 liters a day, now that would destroy a persons kidneys or put it under a MASSIVE strain"

So, what is the safe limit. If you can tell us 128 is not safe, then what is safe?

3:47 PM, April 09, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I agree no food in the world can make one immune to disease, aging and dying. However, some eating regimens can increase imminuty, lessen the effects of aging, and increase longevity. Others have the opposite effect.

3:51 PM, April 09, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

there is no safe and unsafe limits, it depends on the person, their activity, other bio chemical and pysiological conditions.

you cant say one person needs 128 ounces a day, when they may have a heavier exercise routine (work related).. or an undiagnosed kidney problem. the safe limits is WHAT you NEED,

i dont need much liquids due to my genetics, and the way life is lived here..

drinking that much, to stop eating foods, which would put weight on, is very close to an eating disorder. just substituting fluids for food. this can cause kidney damge and dependent on what you are drinking liver damage. this is without knowing of any prior kidney problems.and it also depends on what you drink,

a few years ago it was 64 ounces of water.. (emphasis on WATER)

check these sites out

However, the guidelines go on to state that most of that amount -- 64 ounces to 80 ounces, on average -- can be obtained in prepared foods that are rich in fluids.

Items like juice, milk, soda and coffee are almost entirely water and may be reasonable substitutes for glasses of the plain stuff, Valtin says.,1370,-1019-6852,00.html

WHERE is the proof that 128 ounces of water is healthier than 64.

as i have said it all depends WHERE a person lives, in hot climates you need MORE water, in cooler climates you need less. (as you are losing it in sweat).

have you told a doctor that you drink 128 ounces a DAY.. and see what they say.

anonymous 3.51

but we all die. why suffer needlessly watching what we eat and drink all the time, when we could be enjoying LIFE.

4:23 PM, April 09, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


I agree with you--I think it is more important to enjoy the time we have here than focus in some absurd way on everything we eat and drink. I think it is a way to feel immortal and "pure." People think, "If I eat and drink the right things--all will be well." I say bullshit. Yes, eating and drinking in moderation is fine and probably healthy but thinking that there is a magic bullet out there that will have you living until 90 or 100 is absurd. Most 90 year olds I talk to tell me they "eat what they feel like (within moderation).

Like you say, our bodies are all different. I do well with tons of protein--mainly in the form of meat, chicken and fish. I feel sick if I eat too many vegetables and later found out that I am very allergic to many of them--so they are terrible for me. I think we have to tailor our diet to what is right for us, our genetics and our life. I don't much listen to what people tell me about diet.

6:52 PM, April 09, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


If I eat and drink the right things all will be better. You are arguing the extremes. I don't know who holds, "If I eat and drink the right things--all will be well." Can you tell us?

9:40 PM, April 09, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1. I asked a nephrologist what he thought about drinking 128 ounces of water per day. He said it was a wonderful idea. He said a common cause of kidney disease was insufficient water. He did not agree with you that it would lead to kidney failure.

2. We do all die. Some people might consider eating a healthy mix of food suffering. Perhaps for them enjoying life means eating. For others they choose to enjoy the days up until their deaths pushed back from the table doing other things. It's a choice.

9:53 PM, April 09, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

i do eat a healthy mix of foods, i prefer meat, my cravings are for meat, but should you be focused on i need to eat 2 ounces of chicken, with no salt, and.. so on.. or should you be saying, mm that was nice.

but that nephrologist, is stating a one size fits all, if my kidneys are not as strong as yours, then drinking that much would be dangerous. its a personal thing, depending on genetics and general health. (REGARDLESS of weight)

ok, anonymous 9.53

the government, here in the UK they are saying only eat 6 grams of salt.
As such, the government has embarked on an effort to control individuals' personal lifestyle choices, as well as accusing the fast-food industry of causing obesity.

The UN's World Health Organization and its Food and Agricultural Organization issued a draft report making the case that various restrictions must be imposed on everything from soda to snack foods in order to save the world from fat people. The UN report manages to ignore the estimated 815 million undernourished people in the world

4:20 AM, April 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1. Fast food doesn't make anybody fat. Eating too much of it does.

2. The government isn't trying to save the world from fat people, it is trying to save fat people from themselves. Do fat folks vote?

3. How is the government controlling anybody's salt intake? Is it on the shelves at the store? Can one buy a box and chow down on as much as he wants? Doesn't sound too controlled.

2:25 PM, April 10, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

they are putting pressure on manufacturers to reduce the salt added to the food. and why do fat people need saving from themselves? are the fat so stupid, or morons. no we arent we are as human as you, and we are all sizes, and some are healthy even though fat. just like i dont say all skinny people are healthy, i CANNOT make that broad categorisation.

if you CHECK it was on that LINK. but its nonetheless true, but as i said, there are many reasons why say you, need things differently than say bush. biochemistry of that person, genetics, where they live, the culture they live in.

the point about voting is that a lot of people, dont vote, due to apathy due to being told men are scum, fat people are somehow evil or lazy or slobs, why vote for either when both will be on at you about your lifestyle choices.

and you dont vote for the heads of the medical groups, many of whom have been paid to find results for some focus groups, and what a surprise they always find an answer thats correct for the group that pays for it.

3:34 PM, April 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1. When the government forces manufacturers to curtail salt in their products, I will readily admit they are trying to control salt intake.

2. The government is trying to keep people from getting fat. They see this as a health risk, and correlate increased medical costs to obesity. This is an example of the nanny state, and that's why I asked if the fat people vote.

3. Who pays the heads of medical groups to say salt is bad? Who benefits from that payment?

4. There are two separate questions here. First is there a level of salt intake that results in poor health? Second, if so, is that any of the government's business?

4:40 PM, April 10, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

the people who run these medical organisations, most of them are consultants in medical research, and they get paid by focus groups, to prove scientifically that they are right, and the invariably do.(sometimes with altered findings, or the premise is set up to be biased towards one result). some of these people have government jobs too, so they can link results to political parties).

there is a salt level thats bad, is but that depends on the person, too much salt and that alters the electrolyte levels in the brain and can cause problems, too little salt same thing.

4:56 PM, April 10, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

its another case of one size fits all.. you may need more salt than me, or less..

WASHINGTON - A prominent group of doctors and scientists is suing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for not regulating salt, saying 150,000 people in North America die prematurely every year from eating too much sodium.

The consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest launched the lawsuit in Washington on Thursday, arguing the U.S. government should require food manufacturers to lower their
sodium levels.

The Food Standards Agency carried out a survey in July. It found that many popular food brands contained unhealthy levels of salt.

The recommended daily intake of salt for is 6g for adults, which is about a teaspoon. It is lower for children.

Recommended daily salt intake
0 - 6 months: less than 1g
6 - 12 months: 1g
1 - 3 years: 2g
4 - 6 years: 3g
7 - 10 years: 5g
11 years and up: 6g
Source: Food Standards Agency
On average, British adults consume about 9.5g of salt a day. An estimated 75% of our daily salt intake is hidden in processed foods.

Earlier this year, Public Health Minister Melanie Johnson wrote to 27 leading food manufacturers, including Heinz, calling on them to do more to reduce salt levels in their food.

5:00 PM, April 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


In the US a focus group is a group of consumers who are paid to provide their opinions on products or promotions. Typically they will gather in a room for afew hours and listen to a pitch or look at a product. The group pays nobody.

What is a focus group in the UK?

10:31 AM, April 11, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

sorry i meant pressure groups, i blame lack of sleep

4:06 PM, April 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Pressure groups operate on all kinds of issues. However, I question if science has been bought.

Let's say a scientist publishes in Nature or Science. The first thing the rest of the scientists in his field do is try to replicate the results. They would also love to refute the results. As they move dowwn one path or the other the number of people, labs, institutions, etc. becomes unmanagable for the pressure group trying to purchase specific results.

In terms of salt, the only pressure group I can think of might be someone who makes artificial salt. Is there such stuff?

5:27 PM, April 11, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

but, look at how many scientists that are hired by these pressure groups, and they generally find the "proof" of that thing..

the salt pressure group is generally the ones who want everyone to be the same, the anti fat brigade, the everything must be standardised,

Eat less salt and you will lower your blood pressure and live a longer, healthier life. This has been the message promoted by both the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National High Blood Pressure Education Program (NHBPEP), a coalition of 36 medical organizations and six federal agencies
a lot of these agencies are pressure groups in themselves, pushing for their own power base

Graham MacGregor and Peter Sever, the convenors of the pressure group Consensus Action on Salt and Hypertension (CASH), are also highly critical of the salt and processed food industry which, they say "has fought a careful, expensive and largely successful public relations convince the rest of the food industry, food suppliers, politicians, nutritionists and doctors that the evidence for salt is not substantial or at least that it is not sufficient for any action and more studies are required

5:44 PM, April 11, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

In Finland, government intervention to set levels in some foods, together with voluntary changes by the industry, has led to an overall reduction in salt consumption. A salt substitute (Pan SaltTM, made by Kallo Group Ltd) is now being used by manufacturers. In 1996, Pan SaltTM was used in around 500 products in Finland and at the end of 1998, in at least 200 products in the UK. In addition, Lo-SaltTM (manufactured and marketed by Klinge Foods Ltd) is a blend of 66.6 % potassium chloride and 33.3 % sodium chloride, claimed to reduce the dietary intake of sodium while promoting that of potassium. Experiments are also underway using starch-coated particles with a thin layer of salt for surface flavouring - 'mock salt'. As salt is a low cost item, any replacement needs to compete effectively on price; many of those examined to date are too expensive for manufacturing use.

5:48 PM, April 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Keep in mind that science may be different from what people claim is science. A pressure group can hire only a small fraction of scientists in any one area, and it can't control the widespread research efforts all over the world.

10:44 PM, April 11, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

exactly, and thats my point. people assumes these scientists work for the common good, some do, a lot are only feathering their nests. some use discredited research, they change the rules half way through the test.

for example, there is a chemical known to cause cancer its in bread, fine, they have given it to mice and yup they got cancer, unfortunatly its a MASSIVE dosage, equivalent to you and men eating 14,000 peices of bread a day.

but they are planning on banning it. same with a lot of these health crusades. they work off a false premise. like everyone is the same. anonymous 10.44, your not like me, for whatever reason, so why should you need the same things as me. thats the problem a standardisation of human life. when human life is many and varied, we should be celebrating all life regardless, however people are afraid of being different, and this is infecting the governments policies.

THIS is whats wrong with the western world today, one size doesnt fit all..

4:15 AM, April 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Who plans on banning the chemical in bread? Is it advocated by the team that did the research, or someone else?

The research is perfectly good. It adds to our store of knowledge about some chemicals. So, I have no problem with the science. It's important to determine exactly who is advocating for a policy change, and it is not valid to presume it is the scientists whose work is being cited.

As for the notion that one size fits all, there are many areas of life where one size fits almost everyone. We can probably find individual exceptions, but is it reasonable for 99% to cater to the one percent?

For example, some people have a deadly allergy to peanuts. A very small amount can kill them. Should we allow peanuts to be sold even knowing some kids will die from them? By allowing peanuts, we have an implicit "one size fits all" situation. Should the rest of us give up peanuts because some will surely die when they eat a candy bar?

But, suppose 99% of us die when we eat peanuts. That leaves one percent who enjoy them and live. Should we allow peanuts in food? This is another "one size fits all" situation.

2:50 PM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

they have stopped giving peanuts on planes for this reason,

New awareness of sensitivity to peanuts and the disastrous effects of eating peanuts or even breathing peanut fumes or touching peanuts has caused parents to request accommodations for their children with these severe allergic sensitivities

i was giving the chemical in bread, as a false premise just recently in the UK they banned all and got recalled food with a certain food colouring in it, as in HIGH i mean very high does it could cause cancer, but then again it may not.

the advocates are sometimes charities sometimes government ministers who have been given misleading information about certain substances. sometimes its pressure groups, they want the power thats involved mostly, (i agree some charities do this stuff for the benefit of everyone) the more a pressure group/organisation pushes for a change in the law, that means that organisation can make more requests at a later date and so on.

and yes one size fits all in some cases, but not in others. thats the problem, treating people as identical when it comes to health needs. health is a purely individual thing. not all fat people are slugs, some do exercise, some do, some dont, same with thinner people.. but is there a point when the government needs to say its your choice how you live your life, so long as it doesnt hurt others.

3:43 PM, April 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Should the government pay the medical costs of people whose ailments are caused by their lifestyle choices? Lung cancer for smokers? Diabetes for the obese? Artery disease for people who consume lots of fat?

Those people will tell us it is a personal choice. I agree. But who should take responsibility for those choices?

4:08 PM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

but if you start doing that, where would it end. blaming people for going outside if people got skin cancer and refuse them treatment, people with aids, refuse them treatment due to they didnt protect themselves. and so on..

there should be a reasonable amount of care, regardless, so would you say someone who is fat, shouldnt get any health coverage at all. and they should be allowed to die. once you turn people, into figures and diseases, then you will get euthanasia. this person is too old, and it would be too expensive to save their life.. should we let them die. this is a very grey area

5:27 PM, April 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I bring up health care due to your objections to government interference in the processing of food.

We can make a reasonable case that if the government is going to pay for the health care of the population, it can also regulate harmful additives so fewer get sick. That is also a means of health care.

People who do not take care of themselves become a burden on the rest of us. We all may need assistance in health care, but we all may need it to very different degrees. If reducing salt content can reduce sodium related diseases, and health care is paid for by the government, I'd say it is reasonable to regulate salt content.

8:57 PM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

apart from the fact there is no direct evidence of it, and there is no counting on individual needs. but its not just in the processing of foods, government interference is spreading into every sector. thats the thing thats bad, they take a certain amount of people, and extrapolate the results into a major crisis.

ok this is from the salt institute but it does bring up certain valid points

“In fact, the only evidence we have is from observational studies. There are no clinical trials at all. And, worldwide, there have been only a dozen observational studies reported. Eleven of the twelve show just the opposite of what Mr. Jacobson is saying

there has been no clinical trials, only observational these are the studies about it only 12 and 11 of those disagree..

i agree too much salt is bad for a person, as is too little. too much water is bad and too little is bad. a fair few of these so called panics over salt and fat etc.. begin with a faulty premise. until there have been clinical trials of the effects, and they rely only on observational, then shouldnt we take these panics lightly.

remember sars, how it would kill hundreds of millions, they extrapolated from victims, and deaths. (not taking into account other conditions)

4:46 AM, April 13, 2006  
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