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Food

No slippery slope, nope, none at all

But in the 70s these companies were still making the uneasy transition between denial and nihilistic acceptance. The idea that you could make cigarettes healthier, that you could acknowledge the warnings but claim they did not apply to your own product, became a central defence and marketing ploy. New “filter” cigarettes (themselves sometimes tainted with dangerous chemicals) flooded the market, falsely claiming to protect against the worst harms of smoking. Thousands switched to “low-tar” cigarettes in an effort to make a healthy choice.

“Considering all I’d heard, I decided to either quit or smoke True. I smoke True” ran one advert in 1976, featuring a sporty-looking girl at a tennis net – “The low-tar, low-nicotine cigarette”.

And this is where we are, I think, in 2024, with what used to be called junk food, and which is now beginning to be called ultra-processed food. UPF is food that has at some stage been ground into unrecognisable pulp and bathed in additives, a definition that is gaining acceptance among experts. But it is nothing too new. We are now, and have been for years, talking about the kind of food that encourages us to eat vast quantities of salt, sugar and fat in one barely chewed gulp. It is hamburgers, crisps, chocolate bars, ice-cream, fizzy drinks and pappy processed cereal.

As with cigarettes in the 70s, much of the evidence is in. Junk food is linked to cancer. Two landmark studies last year showed UPFs caused heart disease and strokes. It is also beyond question that these kinds of foods cause obesity, a condition linked to 30,000 deaths a year in England alone. One in five children are obese by the final year of primary school and levels of obesity are spiralling upwards. Unhealthy diets are, worldwide, now killing more people than tobacco.

The second two paragraphs are wholly, entirely, bollocks.

But they’re going to try to ban tasty food all the same.

Good luck

Not in the sense of actually succeeding – we really don’t need another Les Miserables.

Hundreds of tractors laid siege to Paris on Monday as farmers furious at French and European rules said they intended to “starve Parisians”.

Long lines of tractors blocked motorways at eight entry points to the city as one militant union promised to take control of the world’s biggest fresh food market.

“[Blockading Paris] will happen naturally. Parisians are going to be hungry. The goal is to starve Parisians. That’s it”, said Benoît Durand, a grain farmer.

But you’re going to need luck to achieve that. Sure, cities depend upon food supplies. But I tend to think there are more than 8 entry points. At least, more than 8 viable ones.

Sorry Matey, sod off

“We’re fed up and exasperated,” says Bretagne, 38. “I love my job – I farm organically because it’s what I believe in and it’s the right thing ethically and in terms of health. In nine years of farming, I’ve never been on a protest; I’d rather be with my animals. But things are getting so difficult – we need decent prices that reflect not just the quality of our produce but the love we put into this job and into the countryside. This is a passion, a vocation, but we don’t get the recognition for it.”

If the consumers don’t give a shit then you get to fuck off.

Be interesting to see them try

Shoppers can expect less meaty sausages, boxes with fewer teabags and smaller crisp packets at the supermarket in a fresh wave of “shrinkflation”.

Less meat in the average British sausage? That would be something of a miracle of technology, no?

Astonishing, just remarkable

The Countess of the estate where Downton Abbey is filmed has criticised the Government’s rewilding policies, saying people “cannot eat trees”.

Lady Carnarvon, the 8th Countess of Carnarvon and chatelaine of Highclere Castle, near Newbury in Berkshire, said it was wrong to blame farm animals for contributing towards climate change and the focus should be on other factors harming the environment.

Writing for The Telegraph, she said that while rewilding schemes play a part in the countryside, the focus should be on growing more food in the UK and becoming less reliant on imports.

Can’t understand it at all. Landowner says we should adopt policies which made land worth more.

Yes, yes, we can see the truth of this

Meat eaters more likely to buy plant-based foods not marketed as vegan
Changing labels is a low-cost way for promoting healthy and environmentally sustainable meals across social groups, study finds

I like mushrooms. I eat mushrooms. I even go and buy mushrooms and cook and eat them. The mushrooms I buy are not marked as vegan. So, there we have it, proof perfect of the contention. I know that the marking – or not as it were – is correct too. For if the mushrooms were in fact vegan then they’d tell me in one of those certainties of the universe.

It’s not odd at all

Ultra-processed foods are viewed as no more appealing than less processed foods, research has found.

A University of Bristol study compared the taste perception of different food types to test the theory that calories and level of processing are key factors influencing how much we like and desire food.

The study’s lead author, Prof Peter Rogers, said the results “challenge the assumption that ultra-processed foods are ‘hyperpalatable’, and it seems odd that this has not been directly tested before”.

The whole idea’s made up bollocks meant to launch a few TED talks, no more than that.

Ignorant damn fools

Historians of sugar, beginning with Sidney Mintz’s landmark 1980s study Sweetness and Power, have noticed that the way children and nations become addicted to sugar follows similar paths. Just as a little sugar in an infant’s diet trains the child to become dependent on it throughout life, as an emotional reward and physiological prop,

Human breast milk is notably sweet as compared to other mamallian milk. Lactose and others, see?

The human desire for sugar is not something created, it’s something assuaged.

You only have to watch an infant greedily sucking down a sweetened pap (water mixed with flour or breadcrumbs) and making faces at the unsweetened one, he added, to know that it was a natural taste.

Err, yes, lactose.

Twats.

So the definition is useless then

Some ultra-processed foods increase the risk of developing cancer, heart disease and diabetes – but others are good for you, new research into the demonised foodstuffs suggests.

A major new international study has found that regular consumption of meat products – such as sausages – and sugary drinks make it more likely that someone will get those diseases.

But bread and cereals actually reduce someone’s risk of them – because they contain fibre – despite also being ultra-processed foods (UPF), the same researchers also concluded, in findings published in The Lancet.

If some UPFs are good and some UPFs are bad then hte designation of UPF doesn’t mean much, does it?

Sure, we’ve all known it was toss all along but noice to have The Lancet proving it.

Surprise!

Children who drink caffeinated drinks such as Coca-Cola are at greater risk of future addictions as their brains develop differently, new research suggests.

A study of 2,000 children aged nine and ten in the United States found that having daily caffeinated fizzy drinks was associated with poorer memory and greater impulsivity.

Analysis of brain scans by a team of addiction experts indicated that these children would be more susceptible to “harder drugs” including alcohol in the future.

The surprise is they didn’t mention either sugar or ultraprocessed foods. Terribly behind the fashions these septics.

‘Allo? ‘Allo?

The Observer thinks this is a French baguette:

Umm, no. Perhaps a baguette rurale, or paysane, but not the standard Frenchie baguette at all.

So, who’s with me on this?

Cakeism

They’re really trying to have it both ways:

What exactly is it that 14% of us are addicted to? Food that is high in refined carbohydrates and/or added fats. UPFs – which the authors define as “industrially produced foods containing ingredients not available in home kitchens” – are the main source of such food. Not all UPFs trigger addiction. Sweets and salty snacks, which are designed for pleasure (and therefore profit), are more likely to be addictive than, say, plant milks and meat alternatives, which are also ultra-processed but are designed for a purpose, in this case replacing animal products.

Things that are morally good aren’t addictive. But things that aren’t morally good are addictive. By whatever standard we decide to use as morality, of course. And it’s *our* standard not your.

Wouldn’t it just be easier to say that plant milks and meats aren’t addictive because they taste like shit?

OK

New farming subsidies aren’t fit for purpose – I might as well get a job in Asda’

Off you go then.

He is a seventh-generation dairy farmer who has been organic since 1997, produces antibiotic-free milk, and “likes the feeling of working with nature, not trying to beat it”.

If the costs of doing that are higher than the value of having done that then stop doing that.

This really is very simple.

Note also. Antibiotic free organic milk is rather a virtue signal for the upper middle classes. So, the real demand here is tht everyone should pay taxes to fund the subsidies for upper middle class virtue signalling. Another reason to tell ’em all to bugger off.

When do we get to shoot them?

An analysis of 281 studies from 36 different countries, published in the BMJ, found that “ultra-processed food addiction” was estimated to occur in 14% of adults and 12% of children.

The academics said that if some foods high in carbohydrates and fats were to be officially categorised as “addictive”, it could help improve health through changes to social, clinical and political policies.

Before or after they succeed in banning tasty food?

I guess this could be true, yes

Salt-free diet ‘can reduce risk of heart problems by almost 20%’

A salt free diet will kill you, stone dead. Which is one way of avoiding heart attacks.

And as someone who happily goes off and cycles 40km in 33 oC heat (well, happily, there can be some grumbling at points but the overall is joyfully undertaken) I’m really very certain indeed that salt free would not be health enhancing.

Eh?

Here are the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s “essentials”, calculating £120 a week as the barest minimum for one adult: £37 for food, £35 for energy, £6 for clothes and shoes, £8 communications (phone/internet), £16 travel, £13 everything else – toiletries, bank charges, cleaning materials.

£5 a day on food? Bare minimum? Really?

I’m absolutely certain that I could eat healthily on half that even at English prices. Boringly, perhaps, but healthily.

The end of cheap food

Food price inflation peaked at 19.2pc in March, a 45-year high, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It has eased sharply in recent months, but remained stubbornly high at 17.3pc in June.

Retailers told the Bank that food prices were still expected to rise at an annual pace of “around 10pc or slightly lower” by the end of 2023.

Barret Kupelian, a senior economist at PwC, said: “The bad news is that even though food inflation is expected to moderate, food prices will remain high and not decrease. This means that the era of cheap food has probably come to an end in the UK.”

Food bills are still 10 to 12% of household income. As opposed to the much higher levels of only a few decades back.

This just isn’t the end of cheap food at all.

Hmm, OK

A social media influencer who extolled the virtues of a vegan diet of raw tropical fruit has died, reportedly of malnutrition, exhaustion and infections.

Add that to our list of diets that don’t work therefore.

Local food production, eh?

Marks & Spencer has been criticised for boasting its crisps are made from British potatoes, when it has also used spuds from abroad.

Supermarkets are keen to highlight the British provenance of food, knowing it has a halo effect for shoppers who prefer homegrown produce.

Packs of M&S crisps say on the front: “Made using British potatoes specially selected each season so we are always using the best variety.”

But confused shoppers have discovered some of the same packets stamped with the words “contains non-British potatoes”.

Sometimes local production just doesn’t exist. Which is why it’s such a joy that we can buy from Johnny Foreigner, right?

And tatties are a good example too. The value is so low that large scale international trade doesn’t really happen – transport costs are high as a portion of that low value. So the international trade tends to happen when there is an actual shortage….