Monday, January 30, 2017

Had To Adult Today

More than usual.  Is there a world out there?   What's going on besides the Muslim immigration ban that really isn't a Muslim immigration ban?

The latest attack on freedom that's getting virtually no publicity is a ban on free soda refills enacted in France.
Published in the government's Journal Officiel website on Thursday and in force since Friday, the ban applies to all soft drinks or soda "fountains" in areas open to the public, including restaurants, fast food-chains, schools and holiday camps.

Out of bounds are unlimited "flavoured fizzy and non-fizzy drinks, concentrated drinks like fruit syrups, drinks based on water, milk, cereal, vegetables or fruit", but also "sports and energy drinks, fruit nectar, vegetable nectar and similar products".
Despite the book promising, "French Women Don't Get Fat", France claims to be in the same obesity epidemic as the rest of the western world, and is responding by attacking sugar.  The article in the Telegraph (UK) offers this cringe-inducing paragraph:
A recent health study suggested that half of French adults are now overweight. However; only 15 are technically obese.
(The cringe comes from the quote that only 15 French adults are technically obese; I'd be willing to bet that was supposed to read 15%.  If there really are only 15 obese adults in France, the government should be flogged for enacting this rule; if it's really 15%, the author of the Telegraph article should be flogged.)

Let me be clear here: I think the French Health Minister is largely correct in assigning too much sugar as the likely root cause of "the spreading obesity problem".  Not in the sense usually offered, that it provides "empty calories" that lead to weight gain, but that sugar messes with the body's hormonal systems, primarily insulin, and obesity is a metabolic disease caused by improper hormone responses.  I notice that the ban includes fruit juices and other sources of "natural sugars" that are just as dangerous, as well as sports or energy drinks that are also high sugar, but the ban doesn't seem to specifically exclude artificially sweetened "diet soda".  That makes much less sense to me.  

Despite that, I completely disagree with the government's actions.  I'm all about personal responsibility, and it should be peoples' choice to take advantage of more soda for free if it's offered.  Like Bloomberg's New York City soda ban, the state never seems to think that people can simply buy another soda.  The state never seems to think that people might drink less soda if they weren't forced to buy a certain size.  The state never thinks that perhaps someone might feel like just a little more soda, perhaps they feel like they need another mouthful or two, but don't want and won't drink an entire next cup.  The state never thinks. 

This is the sort of thing that happens when a socialized health system is in place.  People can't say, "but it's a bargain!  I get more soda for the same price" because it suddenly becomes the state's business if the population gets fatter.  Every Aspect of Everyone's Lives suddenly becomes state business.  Line up in front of the monitors for your daily exercises.  We're sorry to tell you, but you are not allowed to get your arthritic hip replaced because you're obese by our standards. 

Glenn Beck's producer, Stu Burguiere, links the reduction of choice at the soda fountain to the FCC's "Net Neutrality" also denying benefits to consumers that businesses want to provide. 
Net neutrality technically would ban what I think T-Mobile has done, which is give you free streaming of Hulu and Netflix and Amazon Video and all these things. A great benefit to the consumer.

However, net neutrality says, “Well, you’re not treating all companies equally when it comes to data, so you can’t do that.”

And the activists have fought to try to get that overturned, so far unsuccessfully.

But, I mean, these are benefits. These are making your life better. You’re getting more for your money, and yet government wants to come out and take these things away from you.
Do you have one of these in a restaurant you go to?  A place where you buy a cup and take as much soda as you want?  These are illegal in France as of this week. 

Final words to Stu Burguiere:
“They’ve taken something that a business has done to help their customer have a better experience, and because they think the customer is using it incorrectly . . . they're taking it away”
Typical stupid, progressive, nanny-state government.


  1. Most of the non-sugar sweeteners trigger the same responses as actual sugar, IIRC.

    The only difference is they don't have calories.

    1. From my reading and researching, that's a confusing picture. In particular, different writers appear to have different ideas for the amount of reaction and which ones cause more reaction than others. It's quite a messy picture.

      Non-sugar sweeteners include all the sugar alcohols like sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, and erythritol, which are chemically rather different from aspartame, which is different from sucralose, different from saccharin and on and on. Chemically, things we call sweeteners can have almost nothing in common.

      I think some people say to avoid artificial sweeteners to break the habit of always having sweet-tasting foods. In general, that's not a bad idea.

    2. It gets kind of dense, but the shape of the compounds is what's important and how they key into receptors rather than their chemical composition.

      Organics get weird, fast.

      Again, recollection from ages ago, the shape is why we think they're sweet, and that pre-loads the "sugar!" response and then when they start being processed those same shapes click into the right receptors to cause a release of insulin.

      The controversial part when I read this was if insulin was reacting with the non-sugar compounds in a nastier way than with everyday sugar.

      Plus there's the recent study that says aspartame might be blocking an enzyme that would otherwise be helping you shed weight.

      That got me thinking that while sugar isn't good for me, at least it's something I've evolved to deal with.

      I add in all the recent stuff talking about how important our gut bacteria mix turns out to be and it really makes me wonder if the non-sugars poison stuff there we wanted to keep. This is a fairly young field, so no solid conclusions from them yet, but it appears promising.

    3. Yeah, the gut bacteria field is something that lots of people suddenly seem to be important, but nobody seems to quite understand what it all means. It's a very new field.

      One of the doctors I follow on this is Dr. Adam Nally who's a bariatric physician. He treats his patients with a low carb, high fat keotgenic diet. He says he personally drinks diet sodas with aspartame, but goes out of his way to avoid acesulfame K. There aren't many of those. I only know one: A&W Diet Creme Soda.

      Another doc is Eric Westman, who runs the Duke University Lifestyle clinic. He's in the "don't care" category. Yes, it would be better to avoid them, but if the artificial sweeteners help someone avoid the carbohydrates, it's really the carbs that matter.

      Right now, I can't recall who it was that said that saccharin was better than the newer sweeteners like aspartame. (Need more coffee)

      Others, like Dr. Jason Fung, (the Canadian nephrologist who teaches fasting - lots of videos on YouTube) is in the avoid all sweeteners category.

      Personally, my takeaway is a little is probably way better for you than actual sugar, but drinking a tub of diet soda probably isn't tremendously better for you than drinking a tub of HFCS sweetened soda.

      In my first iteration of college, I was a biochem major. Got knocked out of college by some "life events" in my senior year. In many ways, this stuff is like "home turf".

  2. Glenn Beck? I'm surprised you would be listening to anything associated with the guy. He's the leader of the Never Trumpers and told us voting for Hillary was the "moral" choice. Something is wrong with Glenn Beck.

    1. I ran into that piece from Stu while chasing a story down that went on the Blaze News site. I listen to Beck less than I used to, but still listen.

      But that story about him endorsing Hillary is false. Or, at least, he denied it from the time it first hit the web. Not that he wasn't Never Trump, but he said several times he couldn't vote for Hildebeest either, and implied he would either leave it blank and not vote or write in someone.

  3. This all political and superstition based and has nothing to do with science or health. 100% of the carbs you consume must be converted to sugar before it can pass through your intestine walls into your blood stream. In other words your body doesn't know if you ate a spoon full of sugar or a bite of potato. Sugar is the most studied food in history and the only thing that science has found that is harmful about sugar is it causes dental carries.

    Obesity is genetic, pure and simple. You don't get it from sugar you get it from your parents. Ditto for being overweight. Your body wants to be a certain weight range and given an abundance of food and lacking the necessity of vigorous exercise it will reach that weight. But the two are NOT the same. Being overweight can (usually) be corrected easily with modest dieting. Correcting obesity is much more difficult and literally requires a starvation diet to reach a more normal weight and after that a near starvation diet to sustain a normal weight.

    In 1998 the world switched to BMI as a measure of weight health. Immediately the numbers of people who were obese and overweight doubled because of this change. So don't put too much value in national obesity and overweight stats. While today there may well be more people who are overweight or obese that is simply a result of ample food and the decrease in the necessity of vigorous exercise and has zippo to do with sugar.

    1. I can't summarize whole books here, but that information is about half true, and jumbled together so that it misses the point.

      Yes, you get the tendency toward obesity from your parents, but there's a lot of good solid studies (I've heard around 70) backing up the observation that excess carbohydrate leads to the host of problems we're observing in every country since the medical establishments started pounding not to eat fat: things like fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, etc.. Yes, the glucose from a potato or apple is exactly the same as the glucose from table sugar, but that's the whole point. The apple, the potato and the table sugar should all be avoided. The fructose in the apple and table sugar brings its own problems that there's no room to get into here.

      The inherited genetic tendency means not everyone is susceptible, but just looking at the western population, I'd guess on the order of 65 to 75% is susceptible; that is, they do have that genetic tendency. "Dieting" in the sense of "eat less and move more", has been demonstrated to be singularly ineffective at getting susceptible people to lose weight and keep it off. In head to head studies, low carbohydate diets outperform calorie restricted diets. (See the A to Z study). Furthermore, looking at apparent weight is a bad judge because there are people who have the metabolic problems but are not obese ("fat on the inside, skinny on the outside"). Physicians are switching over to treating obesity by carbohydrate restriction because it's working and getting people off medication.

      If you look at pictures of normal people, crowds at fairs and pictures of people at home, from the 1850s forward, parents aren't shaped the same as their children. Adults are thicker bodied than children. The idea that we shouldn't change our body composition as we age, embodied in the BMI, is relatively new, but that isn't exclusive to the BMI values. That was also the message in the old Metlife Height/weight tables. There were no exceptions for age in those.

    2. Metabolic syndrome is a made up condition. All it really means is some of your lab tests fall outside or near the edge of what has been determined to be normal. You could be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome at age 18 and live to be 100, it is largely meaningless. It is used as a scare tactic by doctors to encourage you to change bad habits but by itself it means nothing. The rate of type 2 diabetes has not changed. There are two things going on that have allowed through the magic of statistics to make you believe that the rate of diabetes has changed: 1. Some years back science acknowledged that about half of the people with diabetes were undiagnosed. And that since early treatment is beneficial it is worth the effort to test more people and at younger ages to find those undiagnosed diabetics. But as soon as they began diagnosing them it increased the number of people with diagnosed diabetes and parts of the medical community ran with that claiming that the rate of diabetes was increasing. A lie! 2. Different ethnic groups have different rates of diabetes . Not surprising since diabetes is genetic (not caused by eating carbs). The U.S. population is gaining an increasing percentage of those ethnic groups with higher rates of diabetes (Blacks and Hispanics). Thus as a result the overall rate of diabetes in the entire population of the U.S. is increasing slightly. The rate for Northern Europeans, Africans and Hispanics hasn’t changed but the percentage of each of these groups in the population has and thus the apparent rate has increased slightly.

      Fructose and glucose are the two predominant sugars in our diet. Glucose is absorbed directly and easily converted to glycogen for essential body functions. Fructose is easily converted to glycogen by the liver. Both of these processes are normal and correct functions and present zero harm to people with normal health. Sugar is essential. You cannot maintain body temperature, think or perform physical activity without it. If you do not consume carbs your body will convert fat and protein to glycogen. If you do not consume any food your body cannibalizes itself turning muscle and fats into glycogen.

    3. SOME physicians are switching over to treating obesity by carb restriction certainly not all. It is a fad and not a healthy fad. Dieting does work but it requires will power. Since your weight is in a large degree determined by genetics everyone who diets will experience different results. I am lucky, I eat everything and eat four meals a day plus snacks and my weight is normal for my height. I have been the same weight for 50 years. My wife recently decided to lose 60 lbs and did it in 6 months by merely cutting her meal portions and sticking to it. Arguably she could have done the same with any fad diet (i.e. low fat, vegan, Mediterranean, etc.)

      That there are more ‘fat’ people today I would not argue against. The reasons are really simple. I blame welfare and it’s associated programs for a lot of it. And of course the more obvious one is simply the low cost and ready availability of food in Western society. I am 73 and I agree that there are more fat people today, especially more fat young people than there was 70 or 50 years ago. I also grew up poor and I could write a whole book about what we ate and how often we were hungry. Also when I was a kid we were moving all the time during our waking hours. Not so today, between TV and computers kids today are 10 times more sedentary than 50 years ago. This takes a toll.

      The problem with the BMI is it is totally arbitrary. It was established long ago in a small population of people during a time when humans were shorter and food was harder to get. I doubt there is any value at all to BMI except as a scare tactic. It shouldn't be necessary since your eye can tell you if someone is overweight or obese. What the BMI and your eye cannot tell you is if someone is healthy. Oddly there is something called the obesity paradox where statistically people who are overweight (according to the BMI) by the same factor as a group that is underweight are statistically healthier.

    4. We're about a mile from the original topic of the article, which is my disagreement with the French (or Blooomberg's) interference in peoples' lives by outlawing sodas, so I'll just leave it here. You say an awful lot that I've never heard anyone else say. No offense, but my motto is always, "in God we trust, everyone else bring data and keep your hands where I can see them". Let's just leave it there.