Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Palm oil’

Why we have an obesity problem Part #2

A while back I posted Why we have an obesity problem.

If that was Part #1, this is Part #2.

I was visiting my local Post Office the other day. It’s a busy little sub-Post Office counter built at the back of a neighbourhood convenience store, as many Post Office counters are these days. It’s almost always busy, and customers form a queue along one of the aisles of the shop. Here is the view as I stood in the aisle awaiting my turn to be served.

cof

Great, ‘the £1 zone’ is right there, where folks who just want to post a parcel or buy some stamps or apply for a drivers licence, have to stand and wait to be served.

I grabbed a packet of cookies and turned them over to see the nutrition label.

Check this out:

cof

This twin-pack of ‘vanilla flavoured cookies with chocolate chips’ weighs 400 grams net weight. As you can see, the cookies deliver 495 calories per 100g. In round numbers, this is 2000 calories – for £1. (For my readers outside the UK, at current rates, £1 sterling is €1.14 Euros, or $1.29 USD at current, Feb 2019, exchange rates.)

2000 calories is the recommended daily intake for an adult female in the UK, wishing to maintain body weight (not gain or lose).

2000 calories, your entire daily intake, for £1.

Let’s just check the ingredients label to see what these cookies are made of.

cof

Now, remember the way an ingredients list works – the items are listed in descending order, from the item that makes up the greatest percentage of the contents, down to the minor items listed last.

These cookies are made of – refined wheat flour, palm oil, sugar, chocolate chips (which are made of sugar and more palm oil) and then some coca butter and then lesser items.

Broken out by macronutrient, the 2000 calories in this £1 pack consist of:

  • Just over 50% sugar – 262 calories of carbs out of 495 calories per 100g. (Carbohydrates contain around 4.1 calories per gram.) They list “of which sugars” as a sub-set of the carbohydrate, but given that the ‘non-sugar’ is just refined wheat flour, once inside your intestines it is broken down and absorbed as glucose just the same as the refined sugar, so to your blood, to your metabolism, it’s all sugar. Out of 2000 calories – approx 1060 calories of sugar
  • After the flour and refined sugar, the only other substantial ingredient is the palm oil (not the best thing to be eating) which contribute the overwhelming majority of the calories from fats in this product. (Fats contain around 9 calories per gram.) SO we get around 212 calories of fat (palm oil) per 100g. Approximately 43% of this product is fat
  • Out of the total 2000 calories in the pack…it’s 53% sugar, and 43% fat – and that fat is not a healthy fat like you get in fresh fish, olive oil or avocado, that’s fat from palm oil
  • As for this ‘food product’ providing any possible health benefits…like vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids…forget it

We have an obesity problem in this country, and that problem is a burden that is unfairly heaped onto low income families, and this is a big part of what is causing that problem. Crap food, refined sugar, refined plant oils, and cheap processed grains, are everywhere – cheap food, easy to buy, in our faces, tempting, tasty, packed and displayed to make our kids nag and pester for it.

While 90% of people I meet say they “can’t afford to buy organic” fruits and vegetables, but convenience stores are punting 2000 calories of sugar and fat for just £1, we are never going to solve the problem.

Public Health England needs to sort this out. Food manufacturers and mass market retailers are one of the most potent forces driving the obesity problem in the UK, and there can be no doubt that the abundant availability of cheap sugar is also exacerbating the type-2 diabetes problem too. This puts an increasing burden of poor health on to poorer families – the government should be subsidising bloody fish and vegetables, and taxing the hell out of sugar and palm oil. Clearly, with 2000 calories on sale for £1 (how do they even do that? The cost of overheads, the packaging, the shelf space, the store staff???) this is not happening, and we have a food system that enabled unscrupulous manufacturers and retailers to dump a mass of cheap, health-damaging ‘food products’ on to the market without any sugar taxes or other barriers to stop them.

Shame on you Public Health England.
Shame on you UK govt.
Shame on you food manufacturers.
Shame on you major food retailers.
Shame on all of you. Our NHS cannot afford to treat this burden forever. We have to rebuild a country that understands ‘prevention is better than cure’.

 

Palm oil, hype and misleading news…time to get the facts…

Social media in the week of 12th November 2018 = Palm oil and orangutans.

OMG, so much hype.

Seriously, it’s time to nail down the facts.

The British supermarket Iceland re-used an old promotional video made by Greenpeace some time ago. Iceland never intended or realistically expected this advert to run on British TV, and it was not banned because in fact, being of ‘political origin’ (that is, Greenpeace is a political activist group, not a commercial company like Iceland) the video in fact immediately contravenes advertising standards in the UK. It was never going to pass as an advert, Iceland knew this from the get-go, and to then suggest they made it as an advert and then it was banned, is, at best, disingenuous.

Please get the facts on this issue from this excellent and clear post from Suw Charman-Anderson on Facebook.
My thanks to her for this post.

This whole ‘Iceland banned advert’ thing is just a huge, clever, relatively inexpensive bit of PR for Iceland.
You may like to know that formerly, on a previously published (early 2018) version of this list, from Ethical Consumer magazine, Iceland featured as worst British supermarket for palm oil products.
The list now shows no mention of them on “Best…” lists, but notes that they have made a commitment going forwards…I suspect, this whole PR stunt is in danger of backfiring on them, and this is a rapid knee-jerk reaction to mitigate it all turning into a car crash of negative publicity. I hope to see them hold strong on their promises in 2019.

What we need is a clear understanding of the facts.
This WWF blog is clear, balanced, and free from hype. Please read it and understand the issue.

Fact: It’s a freakin’ disaster to be chopping down forests in the tropics to make chocolate spread and peanut butter for the rich in Europe and North America, and causing the extinction of the Sumatran tiger and orangutan along the way.
But, ditching palm oil and switching dumbly to other oils will only make things worse!

Guess what…there is a solution.

Wanna know?

Stop eating ****ing chocolate spread!!!!

Wow, revolutionary!

Now let’s see, all those millions of folks out there on social media sharing posts about how much they care about orangutans…do they (you?) all care enough to just stop buying chocolate spread?

Boycotting palm oil is not the answer, it’s just not that simple

The answer is to buy sustainably-farmed palm oil, or, even better, reduce your consumption of processed foods to a minimum thereby reducing the need for the palm oil, or any other oil, in the first place!

See, who knew (I bloody did) that once again, the correct, and best solution is sustainable agriculture not ‘herd mentality bulls**t’ that might do more harm than good.

For what it’s worth, Mother Nature’s Diet is pretty close to an “as low as you can go palm oil content” lifestyle.
Core Principle 3: minimise processed foods (there goes the chocolate spread)
Core Principle 2: eliminate refined sugar (there goes the confectionery)
Core Principle 7: eat plants and animals (we base our diet mainly on fresh whole foods)
You see, the Mother Nature’s Diet way eliminates many of the products that include palm oil from our shopping trolleys, our use of the stuff is minimal, just a bit of shampoo or washing powder…that’s about it.

Once again, Mother Nature’s Diet and sustainable agriculture: good for you, good for the planet.
See how this works?

You can reduce demand for palm oil by eating local, seasonal, fresh whole foods, by eating the Mother Nature’s Diet way.
Less processed food, less imported food, more seasonal fresh whole foods.
As I always say in my seminars and webinars, the Mother Nature’s Diet way is the best combined lifestyle approach to optimal good health, and care for the environment and animal welfare, farmed animals and wild animals, all in one, it’s all in the 12 Core Principles of Mother Nature’s Diet. 

Why not learn how to change your life, and our planet, for the better, and remove most of your demand for palm oil products at the same time?
Just get yourself a copy of the book, read up, and make some simple diet and lifestyle changes. 

And no, I’m not “hijacking the palm oil hype” this week just to try to sell a few copies of my book. I started Mother Nature’s Diet and wrote my book in the first place because of the damage being caused – to our health and our planet – by the modern Western diet and the unsustainable nature of intensive industrialised agriculture.

So, now you know the facts.
If you care about the rain forests, if you care about the Sumatran tiger, if you care about the orangutans, it’s time for you to prove it.

To your good health!

Karl

Vitamins, minerals and orangutans…

The Mother Nature’s Diet healthy lifestyle is built around the 12 Core Principles, an easy-to-follow set of nutrition and lifestyle guidelines – not hard rules, but guidelines to help you find the optimum diet and lifestyle for you, so that you get the best results.

In conversation recently, someone asked me ‘Why Core Principle 3, why do we have to cut down, or cut out, processed foods?’

I’ll answer that question now. Firstly, one reason we strive to minimise processed foods in our diet is in order to help us comply with Core Principle 1 (grains and excess starchy carbs) and Core Principle 2 (refined sugar).

We can walk the aisles of a modern supermarket and succumb to the illusion of choice – row upon row of different shapes, sizes and flavours; all the brightly coloured attractive packaging; it’s easy to think the 50,000 foods in a modern supermarket are all different. But in reality, many of them are actually just variations of the same thing. The truth is that a lot of processed foods are made from a basic starch (wheat, corn, rice, oats) with added soy and sugar. Then oils are added, such as palm oil or various vegetables oils, and then small amounts of other ingredients are added and finally artificial flavours, colours and preservatives round out the manufacturing process to create the final ‘food’.

It’s only in this final stage – adding the artificial colours, flavours and individual shapes and sizes, that many of these foods are differentiated from each other. There may appear to be 138 different breakfast cereals in your local supermarket, but if you break them down and look at them nutritionally, they are Read more