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Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

Posted February 26, 2014 8:31 AM by HUSH
Pathfinder Tags: additives food organic psuedoscience

One thing people seem to love to get their panties (and 'man-ties') in a twist over is the ingredients of their food.

Browse the Facebook and you'll see a dozen parents pledging to keep certain aspects of their kids' diet clean. From BPA, to GMO, to pasteurized milk, it seems like new-age adults must vilify any ingredient they cannot pronounce (Sooooo, anything over four syllables?) or do not understand. (Have you ever eaten a grapple? They're AMAZING.)

Last week there were two notable examples of how the media reports on ingredients found in everyday items and stores, but then leaves the results inconclusive. Once the general public draws its own assumptions, hysteria sets in.

For reference, please recall the adage that margarine is one molecule away from being plastic. When this rumor was first circulated many people promised to switch to butter and stay away from a food that was clearly a contaminant.

When viewed with a scientific critical lens, this claim is so dubious it can make your head hurt. Individuals on CR4 certainly know that one molecule, and more importantly how those molecules are arranged, have significant impacts on the final product. In fact, the only similarity between margarine and some types of plastic is that they both utilize vegetable oil, and we want plastics which use vegetable oil because the other options include crude oil or natural gas. So, yes please, I'll take extra plastic in my margarine.

Last week, seats on the food hyperbole train were full once again after Slate Magazine posted an article which claimed that 54% of grocery items sold at Wal-Mart would be banned at Whole Foods. Of course, that was the catchy lead of the article; only when you dig deeper does the foundations for Whole Foods' decisions seem precarious. (And how many objective people truly finished the article?) Whole Foods doesn't ban any particular item because of actual detriments to human health, but only because customers have expressed concern about ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and aspartame, all of which have been proven safe for human consumption. In total, there are 78 ingredients that Whole Foods outright bans, but not a single one has been proven to be harmful.

Some have speculated that Whole Foods and other organic and naturally-themed markets are hotbeds for pseudoscience. It's a place where well-meaning but ignorant grocery shoppers meet, talk about ingredient speculation, and reinforce beliefs not based on facts. It's hard to bring substantial scientific data into the national conversation about food purity when so many media outlets gloss over the unsexy (read: sciency) aspects of a news story, which then gets shared in social media a thousand times a second. Food controversy sells copy, and a biological breakdown of foodstuffs does not.

And it took place over the weekend after a food blogger "announced" that Subway has been using the ingredient azodicarbonamide to bake its bread. Just as with the Whole Foods example, the story spread quickly and unconstrained. The blogger mentioned that the same chemical is used to make yoga mats. Less than 48 hours later, Subway announced they would remove the ingredient from their bread in a move that justified the outrage. But azodicarbonamide is quite safe at the levels found in bread and anything else it's found in. In bread, it's used as an oxidizing and bleaching agent for flour. Its byproduct is biurea, which like urea is easily eliminated as biological waste.

Truthfully, the chemical has been exposed as a respiratory and skin irritant, but at such extreme levels that only front-line workers in an azodicarbonamide manufacturing center could be at risk. Azodicarbonamide is used during foam plastics manufacturing because as it is superheated, it releases nitrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and ammonia gases which become trapped in the polymer and create the foamy texture. As Popular Science writes, "We need to look at the chemistry to determine if the uses are appropriate."

I realize I'm likely preaching to the choir about making smart decisions on your own in regards to the food you purchase and consume. It's easy to blame our modern dietary deficiencies on companies skimping on nutrition to save some cash, but the reality is that it is only an excuse to cover up the lack of effort from food shoppers who don't want to make the decision themselves. That way when the newest alarming food trend arises they can take no responsibility.

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#1

Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

02/26/2014 10:37 AM

Polymers play a huge part in in foods we eat......... oh, oh......

But seriously, Whether using it as binders, for texture or thickeners. And these are natural and man-made...... ah, synthesized.

Casein is a good example. It's a protein found in milk. It's also used in paint and glue.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

02/26/2014 12:23 PM

But wait there more.

Many food items also contain Iron which can be found in industrial machines and Calcium which can be found in concrete plus Carbon that can be found in coal along with Magnesium which is used in fireworks.

How dare they put industrial machine parts concrete, coal, and fireworks chemicals in my cereal!

I want my cereal to be 100% natural as the air I breath. No wait. Air has Nitrogen Oxygen, Argon and CO2 in it which are well known industrial process gases.

How dare they expect me to breath industrial process gas with every breath I take. Our government should pass a law to make all of those illegal now.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

02/26/2014 12:32 PM

Well to keep this from getting absolutely silly, I not going to mention the gravel that's in foods........

I'll leave that to the government.......

But I will say, that the FDA does allow a certain amount of rat droppings, rodent hair not to mention frog legs, insects and other foreign material in the food supply.

I had coffee at Subway once........ I don't know but the way the coffee tasted, it was not right.

And on that note,....... I wish you Bon App├ętit.

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#15
In reply to #2

Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

02/28/2014 4:57 PM

I'm not quite sure why they don't differentiate between sugar and HFCS, but here we are able to see the full circle...

1) Government raises taxes on sugar, and subsidizes corn, through farm subsidies.

2) Soft drink companies and food companies across the board, embrace HFCS as a very cheap alternative to sugar; it becomes the norm.

3) Studies indicate that HFCS is metabolized differently and causes people to get fatter, faster. They are buried...the studies; not the people. Not yet anyway.

4) Government vows to do something about obesity epidemic, including possibly placing a heavy tax on sweet drinks and foods...to protect us.

It's been done in NYC, and a national tax...(for our own safety), is next.

Here's a site with a handy tax calculator at the bottom:

http://www.cspinet.org/liquidcandy/

and an overall "fat" tax:

http://www.moneycrashers.com/how-do-you-feel-about-a-fat-tax/

Hmmm...........maybe they shouldn't have subsidized HFCS.

Maybe they should just stop trying to help us.

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#4

Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

02/26/2014 1:20 PM

Okay never cared for margarine so if that is what plastics would taste like won't like them either. I'll stick with butter.

As for the pseudoscience nuts I see it as they are doing us a favor. If some of the public did not object to what they put in our foods. Then there would be all kinds of chemicals in our food stuffs to shorted production, improve appearance and taste. Sure we can say that minuscule amounts of this or that won't harm any one. But do the really have to be there.

Most domestic beer in the USA has power fine silica put in it to give it body. Don't hurt any one. But if I go to a local micro brewery theirs don't have it. It has good body, taste better and quenches the thirst. So it's about producing on the cheap side.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

02/26/2014 1:28 PM

Hate to disappoint you.....Butter's polyphenols is just as close if not closer to plastic then margarine....

Just have to tweek this molecule..... just right.... There!

But I still love butter.

What I am surprised at, Coming off the farm and when I went to college and 15-20 years since. I always purchased whole milk.......... I started dating a girl that used maybe 2% milk at the most...... and since I designed dairy processing equipment, I knew the artificial thickeners, coloring and chemicals they added to the milk to give it texture.

I tried to explain it to her if she ever saw what 2% milk looked like before this was added. you'd never drink it. I started drinking it. And when I visited my dad or brother on the farm, and if it was the spring of the year where the raw milk Yes, we drink it unpasteurized. from the cows, the milk was testing over 4.0. It was so rich, (over 40% fat) I could not drink it.

I guess it was conditioning.

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#17
In reply to #5

Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

03/01/2014 8:02 AM

Brings back memories that sauce pan full of raw milk dipped from the tank after hot day of bailing hay. My uncle giving me heck for trying to drink all the profits.

Never cared for any of the skim milk. Mite as well pour water over your cereal.

We could tweek much of what we eat a molecule or two an come up with something we then can call plastic.

Never have found any of the spreads that compared to butter for taste. Nor store bought butter from what my grandmother churned up.

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#18
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Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

03/01/2014 8:57 AM

Dipping a cold cup of milk out of the cooler was so refreshing...... Never did it during the hot day of baling, it just made you thirstiest. But after milking when everything was winding down..... It became a great memory.

Brings back other memories..... There was a young Greek couple, that came over and got raw milk so that they could make yogurt., not to mention some neighbors that retired and needed their fresh milk fix.

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#6

Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

02/27/2014 6:50 AM

WE are living longer probably in part due to these food additives which tend to be almost homeopathic in the levels used...Why the hysteria over the additives ??..business opportunities in part imho....

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#7

Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

02/27/2014 10:12 AM

I have a pet peeve that is almost on topic. It is about critical thinking that affects our health. There is a growing number of persons that make life decisions with not enough information and not enough sense needed to make good decisions. They do not reach out to qualified professionals that have more information and more sense because they want to make these decisions themselves. They feel empowered by technology and the internet and rely on their own poor judgment to make life decisions that they may have left to a professional in years past.

I have read there are some immune system experts that believe a cause for the increasing autoimmune diseases is many moms 'protect' their children from germs too well. Our young tend to pick up small articles they have never seen before and put them into their mouths. This may be nature's way to ensure the young are exposed to plenty of different germs which strengthens their immune system. There is a theory that germaphobic mothers are so effective in reducing contact of different germs, that their children have faulty immune systems because their immune systems have not been trained enough to know what should be attacked and attack their own bodies. Their children will need to rely more heavily on antibiotics to fight infections.

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#8
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Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

02/27/2014 11:17 AM

....many moms 'protect' their children from germs too well.

That is a whole other subject and a good one....

But it not too far off either........ there are antibodies that are fed to animals that could get pasted on to people.

the BsT is another thing. And lets not get into GMO, theres plenty of those threads here now.

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#11
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Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

02/27/2014 1:42 PM

That one GMO discussion is still going strong! I wouldn't think of spinning that one up again.

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#13
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Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

02/27/2014 7:08 PM

Not to worry. Genetically modified foods and Roundup are not required to be listed in food ingredients, and never will be.

HFCS is not only considered "all natural", but the government manipulated it into our diets. Neat history.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-fructose_corn_syrup

Now we've got an engineered panic going on, over childhood obesity and diabetes.

But don't worry...the government is on the case. They will put bigger writing on labels, and change the portion sizes into something you can comprehend.

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#9

Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

02/27/2014 12:22 PM

Ah the natural life....but the halfway measures show a lack of commitment, if you're gonna' do it, then do it right....

Abandon it all and live off small rodents and grass.....after a year of that you won't be so picky about what's in your clean, processed, inspected food.....I'll wager

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Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

02/27/2014 12:30 PM

Yes, Here they are discussing who forgot the grocery list at home.

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Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

02/27/2014 5:44 PM

That way when the newest alarming food trend arises they can take no responsibility.

According to the queen, we are incapable of critical thinking.

Probably the single best way to prevent twisted panties, is to expose the fear mongers, and crush them.

Haven't you heard?

There is a brand new epidemic, and it must be met with a brand new, (expensive), war, that will accomplish nothing.

http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/02/michelle-obama-unveils-food-label-future/

Oh joy!!

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Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

02/28/2014 1:06 PM
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#16

Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

02/28/2014 5:04 PM

CBS news touches on how our tax money is divided up between a few corporate giants:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/in-latest-farm-bill-a-billion-tax-dollars-per-page/

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#19

Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

03/02/2014 5:14 PM

BPA (Bisphenol A) is really a toxic substance known as endocrine disruptor..

Obviously each toxic sustance have different toxicity in relation to the dosage/route of somministration.

In 2004 the estimated production in the world was more than 2 million of ton.

We ingest routinely BPA. Bisphenol A is released by plastics, lacquer coatings of food, dental sealants.

Polycarbonate food storage and beverage containers are re-usable and repeated use increase the leaching of BPA. Heat increase release of BPA (microwave containers). The leaching can vary in relation to pH of contents.

In canned food stuff (from inner plastic coating) the concentration of BPA was in range of 4-23 micrograms/can.

European Union established a migration limit in food of 20 microgram/kg. For EPA a dose of 50 micrograms/ kg of body weight is acceptable.

Experimental data demonstrates BPA interaction with ormones and its weak estrogenic activity (endocrine disrupting chemical), antiandrogenic activity,

BPA can induces behavioural alterations in the male offsprings (rats). Bisphenol A induces insulin resistance. Perinatal and postnatal exposure to Bisphenol A increases adipose tissue mass and increases serum cholesterol level (mice).Etc.

A gate between humans and other animals?

'Bisphenol A (BPA) pharmacokinetics with daily oral bolus or continuous exposure via silastic capsules in pregnant rhesus monkeys: Relevance for human exposures'

In press in : Reproductive Toxicology http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.reprotox.2014.01.007

Also for humans BPA can be associated with adverse effects: for adults i.e. on reproductive function, for childrens (exposition before or after the birth) on neurodevelopment.

A new source od BPA is the thermal receipt paper. Handling for 2 hours receipts (without gloves) increase strongly urinary levels of BPA. Level in microgram/liter: 2.1 before handling, 6 at 4 hours, 11.1 at 8 hours, 10.5 at 12 h., 4.7 at 24 hours.

You can read the paper 'Handling of Thermal Receipts as a Source of Exposure to Bisphenol A'

here . http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1832525

Sorry for my english.

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#20
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Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

03/02/2014 5:28 PM

Your English is fine.

I think adults can handle a certain amount of different chemicals, with no adverse effects, but little ones, probably not so much.

I read about BPA when my daughter was a baby, and switched over to glass bottles. It seemed like the right choice, especially since we warmed the formula in the microwave.

I try to track things that may impact my daughter's long term health, and eliminate things that may be bad. When I share any of the information, it tends to make me enemies.

There are a lot of people that have 100% faith in government.

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#21

Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

03/10/2014 6:12 AM

One worst thing more about Bisphenol A…..

Bisphenol A was suspicious also for carcinogenic activity. Was..

Now I can read a new paper (March 03) about correlation between Bisphenol intake and prostate cancer….The study talk about correlations between urinary levels of BPA and prostate cancer. Bisphenol A act as promoter in prostate carcinogenesis.

Experimental study in animals? No. Is a study on 60 human patients.

Title: Exposure to Bisphenol A Correlates with Early-Onset Prostate Cancer and Promotes Centrosome Amplification and Anchorage-Independent Growth In Vitro

The paper, open access, free to read and download, is published here:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0090332

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#22

Re: Latest Food Ingredient: Poor Critical Thinking

05/13/2014 6:29 PM

"... but only because customers have expressed concern about ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and aspartame, all of which have been proven safe for human consumption."

Bollocks. I react very badly to aspartame and to Red #40, as do my children - both additives deemed 'safe' by the FDA as the result of 'studies.'

Aspartame has been proven safe for human consumption? By whom? Perhaps that question can be best answered by following the money.

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