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Curmudgeon
Eating French Fries Is Linked to a Higher Risk of Death

This story caught my attention because I was trying to eat less in the hopes of losing weight, and I noticed that when I completely cut potatoes out of my diet, and made no other changes, it solved a medical problem I had dealt with for 71 years...and I have added twenty pounds over the past four months...

When I ordered a sweet potato with my dinner at a steak house one night, I thought that I had perhaps made a mistake. I went home, and when there was no adverse reaction, I went on line to see if sweet potatoes were really potatoes. The short answer is no, they are botanically unrelated. However, I did learn that fried potatoes, French fries, potato chips, etc. have been found to have acrylamide on the surface. That raised a red flag for me personally because when I worked in a factory that made polyacrylamide, I had to review on a regular basis the MSDS sheets for acrylamide. It was an odd chemical that was basically believed to be safe to ingest, but not to handle with dry skin. As a dry chemical, it is easily absorbed through the skin and acts as a neurotoxin. (When was the last time that you washed your potato chips and French fries before handling them?)

Paladin Elspeth just mentioned, "If you eat any food, you're going to die...and if you don't eat, you will of course die. I've decided I'd rather eat."

QUESTION FOR DEBATE:

HOW SHOULD WE REACT TO SUCH NEWS?

A ) Read up and make a personal decision on diet changes.

B ) Beat the drum loudly and ask congress to fund health care with a tax on tobacco and fried potatoes with warning labels in every fast food ad?

C ) Blame the group that funded the study?

D ) Petition your legislators to take what you view as rational action.

E) Do nothing and wait for a study that says that beer, cigarettes, and television (with a large helping of fried foods) will make your children wealthier if you keep up your life insurance payments?

F ) Try to prove that all of the people who died in the study might have lived had they not had Obamacare?

G ) Suggest other actions...

Personally, I'm going to study the insides of my eyelids. I juat noticed that it is nearly 2 AM...
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AuthorMusician
HOW SHOULD WE REACT TO SUCH NEWS?

My method has become no reaction until more sources support the same findings. I eat pretty much what I like, no kale! Yogurt sometimes, tofu rarely and usually in hot-sour soup. Just discovered carnitas in the meat section of Safeway, and this has improved the quality of our tacos and taco pies tremendously.

I made our own before. It cost a lot and was always too much, but I did figure out a great recipe with the pressure cooker. So what took a bunch of hours of slow cooking before was done in less than an hour. Pressure cooking has to be done at this altitude for beans, which is why we got it. But now it's become a more regular technique to slash cooking times.

The ancient advice of moderation in all things seems to be the best approach. Some of the nutrition claims really make me roll my eyes, such as gluten-free. Er, but I like my gluten. It makes the bread chewy, which is what makes a good pizza. There's a distillery that advertises on NPR, and its vodka is gluten-free thumbsup.gif Nothing's worse than chewy vodka.

The thing to watch out for, even with multiple sources agreeing, is that everyone could be wrong. There could be a sort of conspiracy to sell certain kinds of drugs, for example. Some of them do more harm than good for certain patients. I guess that's the medical industry's version of your gas mileage may vary.

Mrs. Pigpen
Hey! You've identified something that impairs your health and has for years. Now, you can eliminate it pretty easily and benefit. That's great! smile.gif

I identified something a few years back that caused me skin issues. If I eliminate wheat from my diet, my skin is clear. It's good to know not only for aesthetic reasons, but wheat causes obvious inflammation for me. That might not be the case for everyone. The inflammation is more like an allergy than a poison (but the results can be similar).

I think we'd all be better off if we paid more attention to what we eat. But, just like everything else short term benefit (in this case taste) often overrides longterm benefit (health, appearance, longevity). I still eat wheat, just not before any big event where I want to look my best. I shouldn't. But. I. Love. It. So.

Per potatoes, I don't eat much of those and rarely have french fries.
I might mention it to the boys but I think PE is correct when she says pretty much everything these days will eventually kill you.
I'm reminded of an old soldier (prior enlisted, father of a friend). He was of advancing years and the doctor told him he needed to change his eating or he would die.
The man turned to the doctor and said, "I'd rather die tomorrow than live to be 100 and die with the smell of tofu on my breath".
He didn't live long after that...
Curmudgeon
QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Aug 13 2017, 06:35 AM) *
There's a distillery that advertises on NPR, and its vodka is gluten-free thumbsup.gif Nothing's worse than chewy vodka.


My research into gluten was a result of a lifetime of making my own bread, and having two children that are extremely allergic to it. ( Celiac Disease )

My recollection is that it is created by two proteins found predominately in wheat, and less so in rye and oats which need to combine with water and salt to create gluten.

Vodka is a distilled beverage traditionally made from fermented potatoes. My personal opinion is that selling "gluten free vodka" may be akin to the ads that Garrison Keillor used to create for A Prairie Home Companion. (I just noticed that you were listening to NPR...)
AuthorMusician
QUOTE(Curmudgeon @ Aug 21 2017, 06:46 AM) *
QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Aug 13 2017, 06:35 AM) *
There's a distillery that advertises on NPR, and its vodka is gluten-free thumbsup.gif Nothing's worse than chewy vodka.


My research into gluten was a result of a lifetime of making my own bread, and having two children that are extremely allergic to it. ( Celiac Disease )

My recollection is that it is created by two proteins found predominately in wheat, and less so in rye and oats which need to combine with water and salt to create gluten.

Vodka is a distilled beverage traditionally made from fermented potatoes. My personal opinion is that selling "gluten free vodka" may be akin to the ads that Garrison Keillor used to create for A Prairie Home Companion. (I just noticed that you were listening to NPR...)

I don't mean to deride people who are truly gluten intolerant, just the ad campaigns that try to make gluten into some sort of nutritional boogey dude. Another technique is to sell us waste materials as extra special nutrition, like oat bran. Overall, it's the creation of health food fads that crack my cork.

Listen: The lack of food is unhealthy. We who have an abundance of food all around us have the luxury of worrying about the details. It is otherwise irrelevant in the vast majority of cases. So eat the damn fries. What will truly shorten the lifespan is not eating anything.

I personally prefer a deeply baked spud over your typical fast-food fake fries. Or roasted chunks with olive oil. Anyone remember the Mediterranean diet fad? Olive oil good, Crisco bad. I just think olive oil tastes better.

Powdermilk Biscuits rock, and I make sure that I get my daily requirement of ketchup in order to be Minnesota nice more often. I do miss raw bits for breakfast. Fun fact, my hotdish attempts absolutely suck, and for that I am eternally grateful.

I hear that Garrison is hitting the road for the summer tour. Kinda miss that guy on the weekly shows. His replacement is okay, very good musician, not very funny. Garrison is a terrible musician and hilarious. He surrounded himself with the greats, like Chet Atkins (the country gentleman guitarist) and of course Rich Dworsky. Ah well, it was a mighty fine run while it lasted. The new show might someday become as good, maybe better. Or it might have been a one-time deal, the success of a two-hour radio variety act in an age of television. I'm okay with it either way -- yay for continued success or yay for having been alive while it happened.

And it lasted a whole lot longer than the total eclipse of the sun (do-wop, oopsie do, Audrey Two). "It's between me and the vegetable," best line ever (squeak!) in a horror musical about a little shop.
Julian
G ) Suggest other actions...

Lament the state of science journalism in the popular press, and the quality of sub-editorship in both the press and scientific journals.

The Time article's headline is, as you have linked, "Fried potato consumption is linked to a higher risk of death" (emphasis mine). It does go on to say at the bottom that:
QUOTE
For now, the link is merely an association, and more research with larger groups of people is needed to investigate the link before saying that overeating fries causes an increased risk of death

But that's buried in the article. One of the things I've learned since the dawn of the interweb is that most people don't read articles, they react to the headlines (you only have to read the comments section on most news websites to know that), and the modern nature of the web is such that the success of a page (important for selling advertising on it) depends on how many people click, and sensationalism wins every time.

The actual study is headed "Fried potato consumption is associated with a higher risk of mortality: an 8-y longitudinal cohort study". The phrases "is linked to" and "is associated with" may be synonymous in ordinary usage, and "is linked to" is snappier and easier to picture to a lay audience than "is associated with" - even more true of the full headlines. Time is reporting a 'story' to it's (mostly non-scientific) readers in a language it thinks they will understand, as all news outlets must.

The trouble is, "is associated with" doesn't mean the same thing as "is linked to" in a scientific context*. The source study is basically a bunch of scientists who have done a bit of work and found something interesting that may turn out to be nothing, but think it is interesting enough to be worth publishing so that anyone else who is interested can fund the larger study to find out if there really is a causal link rather than just an apparent one.

Even the scientific paper is guilty to a degree - 20 years ago, they wouldn't have said "is associated with" in the headline or the abstract, but would have said "is significantly correlated with but not directly proportional to" or words to that effect, but the large scale withdrawal of state funding of science worldwide means that most academic scientists have to compete even harder for research funds. In turn that's driven by the science community's own elevation of published research as the measure of success (that's what gets scientists, and academics generally, promoted and headhunted) rather than the teaching or administration that all their students (and their fees) that underpin the whole university system think they are paying for.

But at root, the point of this study not to tell people that if they eat fried potatoes more than three times per week that they will die earlier. They might, but this study doesn't say whether they will or they won't.

As a personal aside, I've been doing a UK-based diet club thing called Slimming World and I've lost about 60 pounds since my first weigh in with them at the end of last September. Yes, I feel great**, thank you, and no, I won't be posting before and after pictures (at least not until I reach my target, which is still another 40 pounds and, I'm guessing, 3-4 months, away). It's not rocket science, it's just a socially-enforced incentive to eat the way we all really know we should anyway; the biggest changes in my diet have been not to eat any food that is pre-prepared by someone outside my immediate family more than a couple of times per month. Fast food, labour-saving TV dinners, ready meals, takeaways, chocolates and candy, snacks that come in a packet - all that sort of thing is not good for a person beyond moderation. And, crucially, here 'moderation;' doesn't mean "more than once per day" it means "more than once or twice per month".

That's a digression, but it's relevant in as much as the people who really need to be told "stop eating fried potatoes so much" are not the ones eating three packets of potoato chips per week, it's the ones eating two with every meal plus another five as snacks during the day, and they aren't going to be killed by the possibility of a slightly elevated risk of cancer from the chemistry of the Maillard reaction in potato starch. No, they're going to die of the morbid obesity they've probably already had for two decades without even noticing how they got there. Eat less crap food and more freshly-prepared food, comprising much more fresh fruit and vegetables at every meal than you currently have in your house, is what the Time article should be telling them. But I know, from my own experience, that no amount of "being told" works until you see it for yourself - by, for instance, not being able to keep up with a bouncy and energetic pre-schooler. What's saddest to me about that is the number of parents of pre-schoolers I see who go the other way, and instead of getting themselves healthier to keep up with a healthy child, instead ingrain their own habits of emotional or comfort eating in their kids and end up with an obese pre-schooler. Not because they are weak and foolish and I am strong and wise (though obviously that's entirely the case *ahem*), but that I could have gone down that road myself.

Sorry for the lengthy and personal rant - I guess this is a current sore spot for me.

*In just the same way that "theory" doesn't mean the same thing in common usage as it does in science - something creationists often use as an argument against "the theory of evolution" is "it's ONLY a theory" as if that means it's shaky and has no predictive power. Newton's Theory of Gravitation doesn't mean that your car is likely to float off your driveway overnight because "it's ONLY a theory".

**It's nice to be able to tie my own shoelaces or cut my own toe nails without having to hold my breath; I used to have asthma and needed to use the inhalers daily and now haven't needed them since February this year and counting; my hips don't ache after standing or walking for more than a few minutes; I don't get out of breath after a single flight of stairs or a short run trying to catch Kitty before she runs off the edge of a cliff/into traffic/into the lion enclosure at the zoo/etc.
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(Julian @ Aug 23 2017, 12:18 PM) *
As a personal aside, I've been doing a UK-based diet club thing called Slimming World and I've lost about 60 pounds since my first weigh in with them at the end of last September. Yes, I feel great**, thank you, and no, I won't be posting before and after pictures (at least not until I reach my target, which is still another 40 pounds and, I'm guessing, 3-4 months, away). It's not rocket science, it's just a socially-enforced incentive to eat the way we all really know we should anyway; the biggest changes in my diet have been not to eat any food that is pre-prepared by someone outside my immediate family more than a couple of times per month. Fast food, labour-saving TV dinners, ready meals, takeaways, chocolates and candy, snacks that come in a packet - all that sort of thing is not good for a person beyond moderation. And, crucially, here 'moderation;' doesn't mean "more than once per day" it means "more than once or twice per month".


Congrats on the healthy new you, Jules! flowers.gif

I thought the above (bolded) was pretty key.
Humans are social creatures and we mimic. Most of our mimicry is completely on the subconscious level. For example, the reason people who have been married a long long while are said to start to resemble each other: They actually start to mimic each other's micro expressions. Through time, that effects the muscle memory/wrinkle pattern on the face.
Weird stuff..
But we can easily observe this with weigh gain as well. Fat people tend to be fat together...and vice versa.
Society is going toward fatness for a number of reasons but in some part it's social acceptance and a gradual process of mimicry.
So, healthy families are important. I'm kind of lazy but grew up in an active home.
And we have a very active home, so we're all in pretty good shape. By comparison to the rest of society (and adjusted for age), seriously good shape.
Before our oldest left for college, we used to do a family workout three nights a week. Most of the time I didn't feel like doing it, but when you have hecklers (ever hear that baseball chant, "hey batta, batta, swing batter!" in our house it was like, "Hey mamma mamma! Move Mamma!"), you get your backside up and do it.
Been about a year since we stopped that family workout habit pattern (due to a move) and I feel the effects of lazy. So, this is a good reminder I need to get back to it. smile.gif
AuthorMusician
QUOTE(Julian @ Aug 23 2017, 01:18 PM) *
One of the things I've learned since the dawn of the interweb is that most people don't read articles, they react to the headlines (you only have to read the comments section on most news websites to know that), and the modern nature of the web is such that the success of a page (important for selling advertising on it) depends on how many people click, and sensationalism wins every time.

Careful there, what you really mean is that of those who comment, some often don't read past headlines. The majority of readers might decide not to comment, which strikes me as likely true. It takes extra effort, so my thinking goes, and people are generally not going to take action unless there's something in it for them.

But of course I could easily be wrong.

Meanwhile, there are click-bait headers that become quickly identified as click bait and ignored. Nothing new about that, just a shift from selling more papers to increase circulation numbers and thereby profits from adverts, to encouraging clicks for the same reason. Our information sources are largely the same in this respect: Profits must be made. It's just business.

My take is that the key is in understanding business. Individuals may be concerned about your wellbeing, but the businesses that they work for are not. Money means more than you do, as you're just a number in spreadsheets and accounting applications. The only times that businesses become concerned about customers are when negative reports hurt profits. Or when they get caught gaming the system, for example using software to hide true emission figures.

Bottom line becomes that we really don't know a whole lot other than what we're fed. Some might feel superior or special for having rejected main-stream media, but that just means a clueless consumer has discovered cluelessness, not truth.

It is the first step in critical thinking, so yay for that. Trouble is, most humans get this, or did in the past, by the time puberty begins. What has arrested so many people's development?

What has caused people to suspend their skepticism or direct it away from what otherwise stinks of bull crap?

My vote goes to propaganda. The Information Age has brought with it more efficient propaganda, similar to how TV did but with the added benefits of a worldwide network and lowered production costs.

And now we have extremely high levels of gullibility, such as the idea that Mexico will pay for the wall and that coal jobs will be coming back.

Suddenly I have a craving for junk food fries. Huh. Whatever they're doing seems to be working. Wonder if we have any old Raw Bits in the cupboard?
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