Thursday, August 18, 2011

The evil of food labeling

Today's trip down memory lane is another post from Grant Harrison on the lamentably lost  Grant's wry wit is clearly displayed here; you'd never know that his ancestors were shipped from Millbank Prison to Australia generations before. [Note: This is not true.  Not every Australian emigrant was a criminal.  Especially the ones from New Zealand.]
The evil of food labeling
By: Grant Harrison.  Originally posted on December 7, 2008

the evil of food labeling

If you’ve ever studied any foreign languages it will probably have dawned on you that there’s a link between the language itself and the character of the peoples who use it.
German is a very structured and precise language and breeds a very structured and precise population. People we want to build our cars and nuclear reactors. French is very lyrical and beautiful language but you can’t tell what they mean till they get to the end of the sentence. Even the varieties of English around the world can tell us about the character of the speakers or users. George Bush relishes his capability to present every idea using only ten one-syllable words. We can see how this simplicity has been reflected in US foreign policy!
My point is that the language used affects the ideas that tend to be generated by it. Take this thinking and apply to food labeling. Have you noticed that water has no nutritional value at all? Zero percent of what you need daily in carbohydrates, protein and fat.  
So water doesn’t really matter?
Well… actually, according to the Feinberg School at NorthWestern.
“Water is considered an essential nutrient because it must be consumed from exogenous sources to satisfy metabolic demand. Water constitutes approximately 60% of adult body weight. It is a catalyst for a majority of enzymatic reactions including those involved in nutrient digestion, absorption, transport, and metabolism. It is also required for facilitating excretion of metabolic waste by the kidneys. Inadequate intake of water compromises cell functions by contributing electrolyte imbalances, contraction of plasma volume, and inability to regulate body temperature”
It seems to me that water is an important part of nutrition. In fact we should be consuming approximately 2.5 to 3 liters (10.4-12.5 cups daily) to be healthy.
I suggest that our food labeling is not working right. The nutrition facts on my bottle of water (Im recycling the bottle as a Christmas decoration) says there are zero grams on trans fat and sodium – that’s good news. However, given that the water gives me 0% of what the label says I need in my daily 2,000 calorie diet I have to question why I'm bothering.  
I just checked my Czechvar beer bottle – while it has 5% alcohol, it says nothing whatsoever about nutrition values. I have to assume it’s similar to water. Hurrah!

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