The global surge in diabetes – in one map

Around the world, the number of people living with diabetes has quadrupled since 1980, and most of the burden of the disease is concentrated in poorer countries.


Click to enlarge

As this chart from Statista shows, many of the biggest increases in diabetes prevalence have happened in the developing regions of the world, such as the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia. In 2014, 422 million adults were living with diabetes, compared with 108 million in 1980, according to a new report from the World Health Organization.

For years, researchers and health agencies have warned that urbanization and the influx of cheap, sugary, and processed foods into low- and middle-income countries are linked to the surge in noncommunicable diseases, including diabetes and obesity…

❝ “If we are to make any headway in halting the rise in diabetes, we need to rethink our daily lives: To eat healthily, be physically active, and avoid excessive weight gain,” Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO director general, said in a statement. “Even in the poorest settings, governments must ensure that people are able to make these healthy choices and that health systems are able to diagnose and treat people with diabetes.”

Whether they’re poor or rich, countries are also going to have to find ways to counter the ​food marketing messages​ urging people to consume more if they want to turn the trend around.

Any Libertarians, liberal or conservative, on your block who will support that approach? The right to sell people crap food is as sacrosanct as “debate” anchors refusing to challenge political lies from presidential candidates.

Our government hands poultry inspection over to the plant owners!

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The Agriculture Department has released long-awaited poultry-inspection rules that will give plant operators the option of conducting their own inspections for bird defects and feces on the processing lines and allow government inspectors to concentrate on other food-safety issues in the plant.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the new rules were the most significant change in food-safety inspections in nearly 60 years. They “will increase the chances of us detecting problems by placing the burden of finding contaminates such as salmonella on the plants,” he said…

How gullible does that sound to you?

The department also announced that it would limit speeds on poultry plant lines to 140 birds per minute to protect workers from repetitive-stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. The current average is about 130 birds a minute, officials said, but food-safety groups were worried because earlier proposals indicated the limit would be significantly raised.

The increase is ruled OK because the plant owners wanted to make it even worse.

“The one U.S.D.A. inspector left on the slaughter line under this new rule will still have to inspect 2.33 birds every second — an impossible task that leaves consumers at risk,” Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said in a statement.

“This is not a meaningful victory because there are not accompanying worker-safety regulations to deal with the musculoskeletal disorders and other work-related injuries that both the plant workers and U.S.D.A. inspectors suffer every day working in the poultry slaughter plants,” she added.

Just in case you thought there was some interest in our government to protect the public and meatpacking workers from crappy working conditions, crap-laced food and crap-filled food products – our Department of Agriculture provides a public service announcement letting us know we’re on our own more than ever.

My family stopped buying chicken from the brands that raise and kill poultry as part of a grubby, unsafe packing process that treats consumers with as little care as the birds they’re harvesting. Years ago. These new rules ain’t about to change that.

Notes from a Nutritionists’ Conference

cda-mcd-sponsor

One recent Friday afternoon, in a Mariott Hotel ballroom in Pomona, California, I watched two women skeptically evaluate their McDonald’s lunches. One peered into a plastic bowl containing a salad of lettuce, bacon, chicken, cheese, and ranch dressing. The other arranged two chocolate chip cookies and a yogurt parfait on a napkin. “Eww,” she said, gingerly stirring the layers of yogurt and pink strawberry goop. The woman with the salad nodded in agreement, poking at a wan chicken strip with her plastic fork.

When I asked how they were liking their lunches, both women grimaced and assured me that they “never” go to McDonald’s. So why were they eating it today? Well, they didn’t really have a choice. The women were registered dietitians halfway through day two of the annual conference of the California Dietetic Association. They were hoping to rack up some of the continuing education credits they needed to maintain their certification. McDonald’s, the conference’s featured sponsor, was the sole provider of lunch. “I guess it’s good to know that they have healthier options now,” said the woman with the salad…

As I wandered the exhibition hall, I saw that McDonald’s wasn’t the only food company giving away freebies. Cheerful reps at the Hershey’s booth passed out miniature cartons of chocolate and strawberry milk. Butter Buds offered packets of fake butter crystals. The California Beef Council guy gave me a pamphlet on how to lose weight by eating steak. Amy’s Naturals had microwave brownies. The night before, Sizzler, California Pizza Kitchen, Boston Market, and other chain restaurants had hosted a free evening buffet for conference-goers…

This is not the only powerful nutritionists’ group with strong corporate ties. The sponsors of the School Nutrition Association’s 2013 annual conference included PepsiCo, Domino’s Pizza, and Sara Lee. SNA made headlines recently when it asked Congress to lift the rule that students must take fruits and vegetables on the lunch line, and to ease the rules around sodium and whole grains…

Toward the end of the day, I spoke to a 65-year-old retired dietitian from Orange County. She told me she’d been attending CDA’s annual conferences for 30 years. Shaking her head, she said that she didn’t approve of the trend of junk-food sponsors. “I guess they need the money, but this is pathetic,” she said, rolling her eyes. She found the McDonald’s lunch particularly deplorable. “A dietitian you’d expect to be principled,” she said. “But here I feel like we’re sleeping with the enemy.”

Well said.

The songs we sang 50 years ago about a plastic fantastic society are silenced.

Boring and snoring, the moneyboys turned journalists into marionettes, doctors into makeup artists, grassroots organizers into anarchist performance art. The professions are more thoroughly owned than ever before.

The remainder may speak reams of truth; but, they command no content providers. Peer reviewed journals and gallery openings haven’t yet turned undifferentiated anger into successful dissent.

But, keep on rocking in the Free World.

Shock and amazement! Fast food is saltier in the U.S.

It’s no secret that fast-food fare like burgers, french fries, and fried chicken tends to be high in sodium. According to a new study, however, American fast-food customers may be getting a larger dose of sodium than their counterparts in other countries — even if they order the exact same items off the menu.

In the study, published this week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers analyzed the posted nutritional information for more than 2,000 items sold in multiple countries by the world’s six largest fast-food chains: Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, KFC, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Subway.

Overall, the researchers found, fast food tended to be saltier in the United States than in the other countries included in the study: Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, and the UK. What’s more, the sodium content of the same menu items at the same chains varied by country, sometimes widely…

In some cases the difference was dramatic. The Chicken McNuggets sold in the United States contained 2.5 times more sodium than the McNuggets sold in the UK. Likewise, the sodium content of a Subway club sandwich was more than twice as high in the United States as it was in France…

…Joy Dubost, Ph.D., director of nutrition for the National Restaurant Association…then wastes space coming up with reasons why the study should be followed by another study.

Although they can’t pinpoint the reasons for the sodium disparities, Norm Campbell and his colleagues say the study findings show that limitations in food-processing technology are not a barrier to providing lower-sodium products, as the food industry has claimed.

“We found multiple examples of low-salt choices, and for the same product across different countries there’s variation in the amount of salt that’s added,” Campbell says. “From that perspective, it would appear that it’s not very challenging to lower the amount of salt in food products.”

“Most of the science says if you reduce salt by 10% it’s completely unnoticeable,” Campbell says. “What we really want is very gradual reductions which don’t affect the consumer base. Consumers enjoy the food and the health of the population improves.”

Getting away with serving crap for a long period of time, saving on the cost of preserving crap fast food – or even just believing the savings are there – is often adequate reason for the beancounters in charge of corporate food retailers to avoid change, responsibility or sensible decision-making.

Republican Governors try to rescue Pink Slime


Would you trust this man to protect you from food poisoning?

Governors of three states got up close with “pink slime” Thursday, touching and examining treated beef at a plant and eating hamburgers made with it in a bid to persuade grossed-out consumers and grocery stores the product is safe to consume…

“If you called it finely textured lean beef, would we be here?” asked Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. Several other leaders echoed his comments as they tried to smooth over consumer concerns about the product.

Beef Products, the main producer of the cheap lean beef made from fatty bits of meat left over from other cuts, has drawn scrutiny over concerns about the ammonium hydroxide it treats meat with to change the beef’s acidity and kill bacteria. The company suspended operations at plants in Texas, Kansas and Iowa this week, affecting 650 jobs, but defends its product as safe.

The politicians who toured the plant…all agree with the industry view that the beef has been unfairly maligned and mislabeled and issued a joint statement earlier saying the product is safe…

The officials asked about the added ammonia, which Letch said is used as an extra safety precaution against E. Coli…

The officials donned hard hats, hair nets and goggles for a brief walking tour through the facility. Workers manned conveyor belts of meat cuts that ran from one side of the room to the other in the chilled room; the ammonium hydroxide treatment process was not visible; plant officials say that’s because it binds with moisture in the meat in an aerated process.

Afterward, Perry, Branstad and others ate burgers made from the plant’s meat at a news conference…

National Meat Association spokesman Jeremy Russell…said the outcry has already hurt BPI and other meat companies, and could eventually hurt the price that ranchers and feedlots receive for cattle.

And we all know that’s more important than any other factor in the equation.

RTFA to hear the predictable rationales – including backup from the backslapping yahoos in the USDA. There’s another clot of flunkies ready to spend their time after 20-and-out working for the Feds to follow the bureaucrats favorite career path of double-dipping in the industry they were supposed to be regulating.

Child Nutrition Bill finally clears Congress

Congress gave final approval on Thursday to a child nutrition bill that expands the school lunch program and sets new standards to improve the quality of school meals, with more fruits and vegetables.

Michelle Obama lobbied for the bill as a way to combat obesity and hunger…Mrs. Obama said she was thrilled by passage of what she described as a groundbreaking piece of legislation.

By a vote of 264 to 157, the House on Thursday passed the bill, which was approved in the Senate by unanimous consent in August. It goes now to President Obama, who intends to sign it.

On the final roll call, 247 Democrats and 17 Republicans voted for the bill. Four Democrats and 153 Republicans voted no…

Democrats and a few Republicans praised Mrs. Obama. “She has been an incredible champion for our children, particularly in the areas of nutrition and obesity,” said Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts.

Mr. McGovern, who is co-chairman of the House Hunger Caucus, said: “Hunger and obesity are two sides of the same coin. Highly processed, empty-calorie foods are less expensive than fresh nutritious foods.”

School meal programs have a major impact on the nation’s health, and supporters of the bill said it could reduce the prevalence of obesity among children. The lunch program feeds more than 31 million children a day.

You can RTFA if you think you need to discover why Republicans and Blue-Dog dipshits opposed the bill. We don’t need the federal government blah-blah-blah, parents rule their children’s precious lives blah-blah-blah God’s will.

Meanwhile, it’s a start to kicking out the fat and sugar-ridden crap that has wormed its profitable slimy way into the arteries of every school system in America over the past three or four decades.

No more fries with your war!

Fast food joints where soldiers wolf down burgers and pizza will soon be a thing of the past at bases in Afghanistan, as the U.S. military reminds soldiers they are at war and not in “an amusement park.”

In the sprawling military base at Kandahar, the fast food outlets facing the axe include Burger King, Pizza Hut, and the U.S. chain restaurant T.G.I. Friday’s that features a bar with alcohol-free margaritas and other drinks — all set along the bustling “Boardwalk” area of the base.

On any given day, the giant square-shaped walkway features the surreal sight of soldiers sipping gourmet coffee and eating chocolate pastries with guns slung across their shoulders, while Canadians play ice hockey at a nearby rink and fighter jets thunder overhead.

The U.S. military says its beef with the burger joints is that they take up valuable resources like water, power, flight and convoy space and that cutting back on non-essentials is key to running an efficient military operation.

This is a war zone — not an amusement park,” Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Hall wrote in a blog earlier this year.

“Supplying nonessential luxuries to big bases like Bagram and Kandahar makes it harder to get essential items to combat outposts and forward operating bases, where troops who are in the fight each day need resupply with ammunition, food and water…”

A motley crew of other stores selling Afghan books, jewelry and phone cards and the busy Canadian Tim Horton’s outlet that sells coffee and doughnuts will stay on.

Har!

The shops run by locals will continue. You know – the people we’re there to save? The Tim Horton’s is run to benefit a charity dedicated to Canadian vets.