1 1. Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies okays junk food tax
“New taxes on high-calorie foods and sugary drinks were approved by Mexico's lower house of Congress in a marathon 18-hour session that ended Friday, and are likely to become law... The legislation taxes high-calorie foods, defined as those providing 275 calories or more per 100 grams, at 5% of the ticketed price and chewing gum at 16%. Soft drinks would go up in price about 8 cents per liter... But there is a downside. The items likely to be subject to new taxes are those that the poorest consume, and they will pay disproportionately...The business community also says that mom-and-pop stores, like that of Blas Luna, will be hurt the most. ‘The little stores rely on soft drink sales to keep their doors open," said Cuauhtemoc Rivera, spokesman for the Alliance for the Protection of Jobs.’ “
The bill is expected to pass through the Mexican Senate also. I am conflicted on this issue of junk food tax and admit I haven’t read enough to comment. But alarm bells do go off for me when a measure is put in place to deal with a health crisis that will disproportionately take money out of the pockets of the poorest as intuitively looks true of a junk food tax, if it is done in isolation from strategies that support sustainable food habit changes that would ameliorate the financial impact. This article doesn’t say whether that will happen. That goes for both the consumers and also the ‘mom-and-pop’ stores if indeed they cannot keep their doors open if there is a downturn in sales of food that will be caught under a junk food tax.
I would welcome links to other articles that look at the social justice implications of a junk food tax.
2 2. Is this the stomach-turning truth about what the Neanderthals ate.
“The crucial point about the stomach contents of grazing animals is that they are filled with fragments of the plants that those herbivores had consumed shortly before they were stalked and killed. When those contents are then chewed and eaten, the tiny pieces of grass and herbs are transferred to their hunter's teeth and get embedded there. Then, when their devourers are themselves killed, or die of natural causes, shortly afterwards, those plant fragments are preserved in their teeth for later analysis by modern palaeontologists.”
Can’t wait to see how this gets translated into a new diet :).
3 3. Paleo for sane people
Meanwhile, here is an article on the paleo diet written by a young journo mate of mine. I love it that one of the pro paelo’s thinks we’ve only been eating grains for 10000 years and so our tums ain’t adapted to eating them.
4. The art of cooking (images from Nathan Myhrvold's The Photography of Modernist Cuisine)
The exploding egg is pretty wonderful, but it’s the cutaways of cooking equipment that really got me gasping.
5 5. Food eco-labelling – green credentials or green mail
Because it’s complicated, as is calculating the water footprint, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make ever better attempts to get it right. I do think having more than 50 organisations in Oz that are eco-certifying products is absurd.
6. (a) Fructose health claims ignores evidence of harm
“The European Union’s approach to food regulation, then, is very reductionist. The EFSA has taken one short-term impact of a food component (the glycemic index) to justify a health claim for fructose, and ignored all the science that indicates its adverse impacts on long-term health in relation to over-consumption, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and liver disease. This is yet another victory for the powerful processed food and beverage lobbies over advocates for public health.”
(b) Catalyst: Heart of the Matter Part 1
(c) It’s not even debatable, saturated fat is bad for you
“Earlier this week, the BMJ published an article claiming advice that saturated fat intake should be minimised to reduce heart disease is flawed. While this may sound tempting, it’s just not the case. The author of the BMJ article notes that despite four decades of dietary advice against saturated fats, obesity, which he equates with cardiovascular risk, has been increasing. In fact, the rates of cardiovascular disease have fallen in countries where efforts have been made to reduce saturated fat intake, but have risen in developing countries where consumption has increased... It’s curious that there seems to be a sudden campaign to exonerate saturated fat.”
I put these three articles together because they frustrate the hell out of me as a person who is trying to make simple changes to my diet to cope with Type 2 diabetes and a family history of cardiovascular illnesses. I feel like big science and the food industry are whacking me back and forth across the net in a particularly nasty grudge match and the score is never gonna be to my advantage.
7. Local gal makes good
Chris Manfield’s Tasting India has just scooped it at the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) book awards in New York City - the first award for Best Culinary Travel book and the second award - the overall winner - Best Cookbook of the Year.Congrats Chris – well deserved, I love the book.