03 October 2011

Something Rotten in the State of Denmark

What I wrote Trick & Treat for
I imagine there can be few readers of this blog who are not aware that ther Danish government has begun to tax 'saturated fat' If you haven't seen it in the news, here is an example from the Daily Telegraph

This move to price healthy foods beyond the reach of the poorer members of Danish society will undoubtedly make the manufacturers of junk foods very happy because, of course, their products contain very little saturated fat - just hydrogenated polyunsaturated fat! And, of course, as we know, it will have an effect that is exactly the opposite of what they hope to achieve. But when you have ignorant politicians who are influenced by Big-Food and let down by incompetent nutritionists, this is exactly the sort of lunacy that results.

I can understand their motives but, surely, someone must have spoken out against this move before it happened.

But there could be a wider problem: The domino effect. Now that one country has gone mad, it could prove to be contagious, with other countries caught up in the lunacy.

One can't help but wonder how this hydra that saturated fats are in abny way harmful has kept sprouting heads for many decades after it was shown to be based on deception. And, as the Danes have made this move "to counter the growing trend of obesity", how does taxing the only fat which has been shown not to cause obesity and which actually has the lowest calorific value of any fat - only about half as many calories as polyunsaturated fats - going to help.

Our politicians are probably no better informed than the ones who have let the Danes down so abysmally, so I'm not holding my breath that ours are not equally gullible and we won't see such stupidity here.

For my part, my MP, David Cameron, the Prime Minister, together with his Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, both have a copy of my Trick & Treat. One can only hope one or other of them has read it.

Barry

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Barry forgive me if I'm wrong but I thought all fats contained nine calories per gram? This would give saturated fat the same calorific value as polyunsaturated, not half.

Barry Groves said...

Hi Anon

The WHO says that all fats have 9 cals (more accuarately, kcals) per gram, but this is not accurate.

This is because the calorific value depends on the numbers of the various atoms a fatty acid contains and the constituent fatty acids in any fat or oil.

Thus, while the WHO are fairly accurate with polyunsaturated oils as they have about 9.1 kcals/g, they are way out on the more saturated fats: animal fats have between 6.5 and 8.0 kcals/g and cocoa butter has just 5.5 kcals/g

Barry

Anonymous said...

Hi Barry,
I'm sure I read a few years ago that Denmark actually banned hydrogenated fat.
Do you know anything about this?
Steve

Barry Groves said...

Hi Steve

Yes, they did. see http://www.stop-trans-fat.com/ban-trans-fats.html.

Now all we need is for the Danes to ban polyunsaturated fats because of their carcinogenic effects, and food will be entirely unpalatable in that country - or expensive.

Incidentally, I don't think the Danes have thought their latest tax-raising scam through. How on earth are they going to police it and enforce it? Let's face it, while butters may be roughly similar, no two animals will have exactly the same fat content and neither will two cheeses, even from the same batch. Who is going to measure it?

The more I look at the lunacy that the Danes have perpetrated on their citizens, the more clear it seems how stupid these politicians are.

And on that note, have you read the Five Basic Laws of Stupidity?

Barry

Anonymous said...

You have to wonder if there is some sort of conspiracy going on. How can supposedly intelligent people get it wrong time after time? We can't just keep blaming big business.........politicians are supposed to have minds of their own .I was brought up on butter, lard and dripping and the weekly treat of lamb fat from the stews my dad used to cook and I've never been fat!!!

Anonymous said...

Further to an earlier comment that I made, why doesn't the Government put a tax on processed foods with all those unhealthy fats , sugars and disgusting GMOs ? It's obvious to me that the Government wants to encourage an unfit non thinking generation.........makes life easier for them and their vested interests no doubt.

Dave P said...

Well it seems that if a lie is told well enough and often enough as someone once said.

The powers that be cant retract their Nutritional Advice cos they cant be seen to have been wrong or they would face Class Law Suites ad nauseum.

So hit the enemy where it hurts. Tax the "Unhealthy Fats " even though they are vital nutritionaly and they are on a winner.

Its as Big a SCAM as Global Warming.

Barry Groves said...

Dave

I couldn't have put it better myself. Except, perhaps, to add:
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it"
which further inhibits the ability of those in the 'health industry' to see what is happening.
Although, of course, the longer they put off learning what everyone else seems to understand, the more likely it is that any class action law suit would win.

Barry

Anonymous said...

Barry, You claim animal fats have less kcal than PUFA. Where can I read more about saturated fat vs PUFA in regards to calorie differences ?

Barry Groves said...

Hi Anonymous

You can read about differences in the calorific values of fats in: Lars A Carlson and Sven Lindstedt, The Stockholm prospective study. 1: The initial values for plasma lipids published by Almqvist & Wiksell, Stockholm, 1968.

Barry

Anonymous said...

France is getting on this bandwagon and soon the UK will follow suite! How absurd.

Anonymous said...

FRANCE? As in France, Europe? I am speechless. What will they make their croissants with in the future then? Sunflower Oil? I am not surprised about the UK joining the forgotten few - the government there is already doing it's darndest to make everyone fat fast.

Anonymous said...

Barry, is Atora suet a healthy option versus white flour for my kids' puddings? Your comments would be appreciated.

Barry Groves said...

Hi

Suet, which is the fat around the kidneys, is a great source of healthy fat. And shredded suet has been staple food for hundreds of years.

When I was young, the bits of shredded suet stuck together to form a lump making it difficult to use. The answer which Atora found was to dust it with flour. It is this which is sold in supermarkets today (or should be - don't go for the 'lite' version).

I don't know, offhand, what the proportion of flour is in Atora, but it shouldn't be much. No doubt the label will tell you. If it is just a dusting, it should be okay - unless you are intolerant to wheat.

There is an alternative: I ask my butcher for the suet in chunks and shred it myself either with a course cheese grater or a mincer. Butchers are usually glad to get rid of it, so it is very cheap.

Barry

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that Barry. Much appreciated.

George Henderson said...

The calories per gram figure is just an average across each food category; the caloric value of an amino acid (protein) for example depends on the proportion of CHO to N in its structure, which varies considerably. And varies even more depending on whether one is in positive or negative nitrogen balance when consuming it (energy balance is negative if amino acid is being used to rebuild protein, which uses up ATP).
However, this is surely a red herring, unless you believe that calories in-calories out hokum.

George Henderson said...

The Hungarian government has taxed sugar and other junk food markers and left saturated fat alone.
Not all Europeans are idiots.
Frankly I expected better of the Danes.
Mind you the Hungarians I think also included salt, which is a hard one to justify.

George Henderson said...

Elites convincing poor people to eat sub-nutritious food is as old as history. The ancient Chinese elite invented rape seed oil for the peasants; the elite only used this oil for lamps while eating lard themselves.
Today fashionable people are being tricked into eating like medieval peasants. They should expect much the same outcomes.

Growly said...

I've always believed the calorie measuring system was grossly inappropriate for determining how much energy food would provide a person. The original method of measuring calories was through use of a bomb calorimeter. This basically burnt the food entirely, both organic and inorganic elements to some extent would be burned and the resulting change in temperature of the water which surrounds the burnt material (in it's sealed container) was measured to calculate the energy held within the food. Yet this system could also determine the calorific content of a cereal box, or tobacco and a packet of matches just as easily. The human body on the other hand isn't so indiscriminate about which food materials it can extract energy from, and it uses a different method to do so. Dissolving food with acid is not the same process and burning it with fire or through heat combustion. Personally I find the 2 systems so different that the data revealed is virtually worthless when considering how much energy a human being might actually get out of something. I am doing some research online and see that the bomb calorimeter system of measuring has been superseded by another system called Atwater. I'm not sure yet if this is any better or not, but what I've read so far mentions that the fibre content is usually extracted from carbohydrates before being processed. This has got to be an improvement on it's accuracy for a start, and also significantly reveals just how useless fibre really is in a human diet.

Anonymous said...

The price of butter and cream has increased by almost 50% in the supermarkets in the last few months. It's not going to stop me buying it...I'll probably just eat less but if it carries on like this it will definitely be priced beyond the reach of many families.

Barry Groves said...

The trouble is, of course, we have let the big industries take over our health and our lives. We (not you who are reading this) have been effectively taught not to think. We blindly buy whatever is advertised on TV, oblivious to its CQ (crap quotient). We don't consider the harm, just the convenience.

We take a similar line when voting in government elections. If you are not well off, you vote for whichever party promises you, personally, the most money, with no thought at all about where that money is going to come from. And, because of the general lack of common sense, we all end up with the lunatics running the asylum.

That is why the world's finances are in such as mess, why governments borrow far more than they can ever pay back, and why health is taxed to pay for the effects of ill health - thus exacerbating the problem!

As George Henderson says, not all European cuntries are run by incompetent imbeciles. As well as Hungary, the rest of Scandinavia is promoting high-fat diets for weight loss and health in general. One can only hope that other countries bent on social engineering follow their lead.

But don't hold our breath. There is less money for industry if people follow that trend - and the health and food industries rule government in many coutries.

Barry

Rex Duis said...

Has everyone seen this? It made me laugh. I love the way they lumped olive oil and sunflower into the same category as 'unsaturated fats' as though they are both the same thing. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-16691754

Yes, let's swap butter, which has been consumed for centuries for sunflower oil which needs to be extracted by machines. Chucking it in with olive oil which is genuinely good is rather evil I think.

George Henderson said...

In the late middle ages, travellers from Italy and Spain who had reason to visit Northern Europe were very concerned to bring enough olive oil, because they thought butter increased the number of leprosy cases in those parts.
Whereas the Northeners probably had similar theories about olive oil.
I heartily recommend digging up a copy of Capitalism and Material Life 1400-1800 by Fernand Braudel, which has detailed and illuminating descriptions of food habits in those days.
One section is headed "carnivourous Europe".
Menus supplied 7217 calories per capita per diem in Pavia, 1613-1614.
Loving the book Barry.
FYI, only Holick still uses vitamin D2 for supplementation, and other researchers question this choice.
But seriously loving it, and it does seem to get through to people less technically minded than me.

Anonymous said...

Barry, you are right when you say it will spread to other countries. The message not to eat saturated fat is already loud and clear in this country. Your message needs to ring loud and clear so that people can be more aware of what is happening.