Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
by Fran on Tue May 5th, 2009 at 01:42:01 PM EST
What's Really in Many 'Healthy' Foods - WSJ.com

A lot of Americans think they're eating a healthy diet these days. But it's easy to be fooled by our assumptions and the ways that food manufacturers play on them.

Take chicken. The average American eats about 90 pounds of it a year, more than twice as much as in the 1970s, part of the switch to lower-fat, lower-cholesterol meat proteins. But roughly one-third of the fresh chicken sold in the U.S. is "plumped" with water, salt and sometimes a seaweed extract called carrageenan that helps it retain the added water. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says chicken processed this way can still be labeled "all natural" or "100% natural" because those are all natural ingredients, even though they aren't naturally found in chicken.

Many Americans assume they are on a healthy diet these days. But it's easy to be fooled. WSJ's Health Columnist Melinda Beck looks at whether some products are really as healthy as they say they are.

Producers must mention the added ingredients on the package -- but the lettering can be small: just one-third the size of the largest letter in the product's name. If you're trying to watch your sodium to cut your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, it pays to check the Nutrition Facts label. Untreated chicken has about 45 to 60 mgs of sodium per four-ounce serving. So-called enhanced or "plumped" chicken has between 200 and 400 mgs of sodium per serving, almost as much as a serving of fast-food french fries.

by Fran on Tue May 5th, 2009 at 01:42:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
tutoring a Nutrition/Metabolism course at Sac State this term.  Example.  Many of the soft margarines in tubs have water whipped into them during processing so they can take on the term "Lite".  One student informed me that up to 50% of the mass may be water so I'm back to using butter.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 08:27:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Check out Benecol.

I switched from olive oil to virgin cold pressed rape oil a few years ago for almost all cooking use including deep fry.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 08:52:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW afew, I still like olive oil a lot, but having tasted the good stuff in Provence, I found it quite expensive to get the same quality and taste in Finland. It makes sense to use a 'local' product like rape oil.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 10:43:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I quite agree, and it's what we do here too - local rapeseed and sunflower, €4 and €3 per litre respectively through our locavore co-op. Organic cold-pressed olive oil is darn expensive even here (not an olive region). A litre or two for summer salads is as far as we go.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 11:09:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whether ""Lite" or not, margarine is water-whipped fat.

Margarine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In terms of microstructure, margarine is a water-in-oil emulsion, containing dispersed water droplets of typically 5-10 µm diameter. The amount of crystallizing fat in the continuous oil+fat phase determines the firmness of the product. In the relevant temperature range, saturated fats contribute most to the amount of crystalline fat, whereas monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats contribute relatively little to the amount of crystalline fat in the product. Mono- and polyunsaturated fats and oils can be transformed into suitable substrates by the chemical process of hydrogenation, which renders them solid at room temperature. Full hydrogenation results in saturated fats only, but partial hydrogenation will lead to the formation of trans-fats as well.

Health implications of partial hydrogenation:

Hydrogenation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A side effect of incomplete hydrogenation having implications for human health is the isomerization of the remaining unsaturated carbon bonds. The cis configuration of these double bonds predominates in the unprocessed fats in most edible fat sources, but incomplete hydrogenation partially converts these molecules to trans isomers, which have been implicated in circulatory diseases including heart disease (see trans fats). The catalytic hydrogenation process favors the conversion from cis to trans bonds because the trans configuration has lower energy than the natural cis one.

What about trans fats?

Trans fat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Trans fat is the common name for a type of unsaturated fat with trans-isomer fatty acid(s). Trans fats may be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated but never saturated.

Unsaturated fat is a fat molecule containing one or more double bonds between the carbon atoms. Since the carbons are double-bonded to each other, there are fewer bonds available for hydrogen, so there are fewer hydrogen atoms, hence "unsaturated". Cis and trans are terms that refer to the arrangement of chains of carbon atoms across the double bond. In the cis arrangement, the chains are on the same side of the double bond, resulting in a kinked geometry. In the trans arrangement, the chains are on opposite sides of the double bond, and the chain is straight overall.

The process of hydrogenation is intended to add hydrogen atoms to cis-unsaturated fats, eliminating a double bond and making them more saturated. These saturated fats have a higher melting point, which makes them attractive for baking and extends their shelf-life. However, the process frequently has a side effect that turns some cis-isomers into trans-unsaturated fats instead of hydrogenating them completely.

There is another class of trans fats, vaccenic acid, which occurs naturally in trace amounts in meat and dairy products from ruminants.

Unlike other dietary fats, trans fats are not essential, and they do not promote good health[1]. The consumption of trans fats increases one's risk of coronary heart disease[2] by raising levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and lowering levels of "good" HDL cholesterol.[3] Health authorities worldwide recommend that consumption of trans fat be reduced to trace amounts. Trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils are more harmful than naturally occurring oils.[4]

So consume cold-pressed virgin vegetable oils (rapeseed/canola is very rich in mono & polyunsaturated fats, olive oil is very good), and, if you need something to spread, butter.

Don't consume the processed products of the agro-food industry.

Hope you're feeling better, Twank ;)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 09:28:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most products in stores label trans fats, partially hydrogenated oils, etc.  They are big no nos.  So the packaged supermarket brands are eliminating them.  What they are replacing them with and what the labelling guidelines are, I don't know.  It's very suspicious to see mass manufactured doughnuts and chips being touted "trans-fat free!" like they are healthy or something.

I only use extra virgin olive oil (liberally) and real butter (in moderation, but, seriously, I refuse to make an omelette with olive oil...)  But now I see that the US has no regulations about what can be called "extra virgin olive oil."  I've probably been eating bad stuff.  :(  But, it's still olive oil, right?  Still good for you...

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 11:33:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The trick is to have at least 3 types of olive oil of different tastes like we do.

We've got the stronger cooking stuff, the lighter for subtle cooking and dressings, and the light and sweet for the delicate breads...all extra virgin, first pressing.

Seems ridiculous, but we just seem to buy something that we try at some market and tend to use is for its specialness, then when it is gone we gravitate towards buying it again. But it is an advantage of being able to visit local markets in Italy and here in the So of France.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 01:48:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ancient but deadly: the return of shastar vidiya - This Britain, UK - The Independent

In a fluorescent-lit sports gymnasium at a sprawling sixth-form college in Hounslow, west London, three turbaned Sikh warriors are frantically battling each other with razor-sharp swords. Draped in flowing blue robes and sporting chest-length beards, the three men cavort, twist and counter-attack each other in a blur of clashing blades and skilled confusion.

Watched by scores of eagle-eyed students, the two younger combatants use elegant curved swords and small circular shields to attack a taller and older man who is armed with a long double-edged blade and a simple dagger. Each time his opponents bring their weapons down, the lone warrior nimbly dodges the blow by sidestepping away or deflecting it back on to one of his opponents.

After a brief pause the tall man walks forward, runs a hand through his thick beard and announces with a slight hint of a Black Country accent: "The next technique I'll teach you is one that can break both a man's arms in just three moves. In real life of course, once you've broken the first arm your opponent is not getting back up. But when you're practising it's best to learn how to break both."

by Fran on Tue May 5th, 2009 at 01:43:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Balmedie Journal - Debate on Trump Project Takes the Low Road - NYTimes.com

BALMEDIE, Scotland -- Since refusing to let Donald Trump buy his house, inconveniently located in the middle of Mr. Trump's planned $1.5 billion development in the countryside here, Michael Forbes has had an unusual number of visits from local enforcement officers. Skip to next paragraph Enlarge This Image Ed Jones/Agence France-Presse -- Getty Images

Michael Forbes on the 23-acre property near Balmedie, Scotland, that he has refused to sell to Donald Trump. Even without the parcel, the project has been approved. The New York Times

Mr. Trump will build two golf courses, housing and a hotel.

One, he said, came to see whether he was abusing his hens, his geese or his horse (he was not). Another came to see whether he had an unlicensed shotgun (he did not). And a third came to investigate reports that there was a flammable substance in an old tanker on his land (there was not).

Mr. Forbes, a fisherman and granite quarry worker who has lived here for 41 years, since he was 15, said he did not care and would not move, no matter who wanted him to. But the unpleasant attention he is getting, regardless of who is behind it, comes as no surprise to the scattered, battered opponents of Mr. Trump's grand golf-and-housing project, which already has preliminary approval and may start construction early next year.

by Fran on Tue May 5th, 2009 at 01:49:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scientists reveal face of the first European - Telegraph

The head was rebuilt in clay based on an incomplete skull and jawbone discovered in a cave in the south west of the Carpathian Mountains in Romania by potholers.

Using radiocarbon analysis scientists say the man or woman, it is still not possible to determine the sex, lived between 34,000 and 36,000 years ago.  

Europe was then occupied by both Neanderthal man, who had been in the region for thousands of years, and anatomically-modern humans - Homo sapiens.

Modern humans first arrived in Europe from Africa.

by Fran on Tue May 5th, 2009 at 01:52:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Student's Wikipedia hoax quote used worldwide in newspaper obituaries

Mr Fitzgerald said he placed the quote on the website as an experiment when doing research on globalisation.

He wanted to show how journalists use the internet as a primary source and how people are connected especially through the internet, he said.

He picked Wikipedia because it was something a lot of journalists look at and it can be edited by anyone, he told The Irish Times.

Fitzgerald posted the quote on Wikipedia late at night after news of Jarre's death broke. "I saw it on breaking news and thought if I was going to do something I should do it quickly. I knew journalists wouldn't be looking at it until the morning," he said

The quote had no referenced sources and was therefore taken down by moderators of Wikipedia within minutes. However, Fitzgerald put it back a few more times until it was finally left up on the site for more than 24 hours.

Doing something repeatedly until you finally achieve the desired result is not much of an experiment.

by det on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 03:12:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, but it does show how the Right Wing Repub propaganda machine works.  Keep repeating lies over and over until idiots start repeating them.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 08:30:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IOTD @ Patrick Andrews
#861: Pirateyes Filed under: Possible inventions - 13 Apr 2009

There has recently been much discussion, in the news media, about the new era of piracy in which we find ourselves -not the digital `piracy' invented by greedy media moguls but the real thing -complete with AK47s and speedboats. (According to the BBC, piracy cost the world $60 - 70m in 2008, so I'm not clear why this is even seen as an important issue, given that banking costs the world this amount every few minutes).

The pirates' modus operandi is to board vessels without warning and hold their crew and cargo for ransom.

Today's invention is a way to provide the crew with more notice of an attack. Each ship travelling in a region subject to piracy (maybe a few hundred vessels) would be equipped with a set of cameras capturing both visual spectrum and infra red images. These would constantly scan the ship's surroundings and beam images to a webpage for the ship in question.

These pages would be displayed 24/7 on screens in prominent locations...(perhaps in railway stations and supermarkets, where large numbers of people have nothing better to do than watch displays as they wait).

This crowdsourced vigilance would result in mobile phone calls to a displayed number in the event that enough people detected some suspicious behaviour and acted to warn the ship in question. Prizes for accurate warnings might be offered.

this guy puts up a 'nutty' invention every day for free, to protest copyright, very fertile imagination.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 11:37:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series