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View Diary: GMO/Food Labeling - Let's get serious (278 comments)

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  •  Agree and disagree (6+ / 0-)

    Some of the arguments for labeling are absurd. I don't understand or trust why American food producers oppose labeling, except that I know Big Ag sure doesn't want it, but so many of the arguments for labeling are not just ridiculous, but embarassingly ignorant.

    •  I have no gripe with labeling (6+ / 0-)

      And I agree most of the arguments for it are simply embarrassing.

      But mostly I think it's a big tempest in a teacup. Back when requirements were being passed to label foods and menus with calorie counts, health groups fought for it as if it would alter the diet habits of the US population, while companies like McDonald's fought it tooth and nail predicting the collapse of western civilization or something. And after all the sturm und drag, the result has been . . .  nothing. Americans are just as fat and lazy as they ever were, and nobody standing in line at McDonald's can even tell you how many calories are in a Big Mac--they don't look and don't care.  (shrug)

      People who are really concerned about eating GMOs should,m as a matter of practicality, stick solely to foods that are labeled "organic" (which are not allowed to have any GMO). Given that over 80% of all corn and soy in the US are GMO, and virtually everything edible is made with either corn or soy, odds are very good that the ":organic" stuff is the ONLY non-GMO food available in the US.

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 06:55:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Disagree (14+ / 0-)

        It might be anecdotal, but posting calorie, etc., counts of labels and menus has made a profound difference in the way many people eat, including me. And I tend to be a health food person, but once labeling requirements were strengthened, I discovered some favorites I thought were one thing were actually another. I'm still even today finding nasty surprises.

        It's true, there are those who believe wholeheartedly in better lving through chemistry, and nothing will change their eating habits because they assume there is a pill or surgery that will fix it. There are also those who simply can't afford good, healthy food or who are dependent on the whims of a food pantry.

        However, those people don't compose the majority. Parents do care about what they're feeding their kids, etc., people like me do strive to stop the inevitable scars of the passage of time by avoiding certain substances, etc. etc.

        •  alas, if that were true . . . (5+ / 0-)

          McDonald's would be suffering a massive loss of business.

          There's no indication of any real change in American eating habits. People may SAY they are changing to be healthier, but actual figures show we are not. We're still just as fat and lazy as we always were.

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 07:08:14 AM PDT

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          •  Well (6+ / 0-)

            I teach and work at the college level, and I work with (and teach) a substantial number of single parents and impoverished young families for whom McDonals is cheaper than the grocery ... not to mention, a serious time saver for over-extended young parents who wake up, run their kids to daycares that cost an entire week's + salary (which is very common), go to their jobs, flee their jobs to pick their kids up before 5:30 (if they're late, it's not uncommon for kids to be kicked out of daycare or the parent(s) deemed unsuitable), run to McDonalds  elsewhere to feed them, drop them off at an aunt's or mother's  or ... house, then run to their second job or to night classes and get home finally around 10-10:30.

            Many of them are also working Saturdays or Sundays, and trying to do homework then.  Etc.

            That's for one.

            Me, I make enough money that I can afford to buy out the grocery once or twice a week. I can also do much of my job on the weekends online, so I can sit on the computer working while cooking for the week to come.

            Even me, however, when I'm teaching a full courseload AND working, which happens more often than I care to admit, I'll admit that I'm so desperate sometimes that I'll end up not in a McDonalds, but the equivalent ... and I'm often accompanied by people who are as diligent as I am in their food choices, but just as overwhelmed and lacking in time.

          •  We may be a small fraction of the (7+ / 0-)

            population, but indubitably is indubitably correct: some of us do pay attention to that information and are very glad to have it readily available.  (And in my case it didn’t affect MacDonald’s anyway, since I never was a customer.)

        •  ironically, on the individual level . . (3+ / 0-)

          calorie counts have changed a few things I eat too---to a HIGHER amount of calories.  I have a very high metabolism and burn calories quickly (which is why I still weigh the same at age 53 as I did in high school). So for me, diet is a matter of getting the MOST calories from the least amount of food.

          So i guess you and I cancel each other out.  ;)

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 07:10:45 AM PDT

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          •  My husband of 45 years (4+ / 0-)

            and I both weigh exactly the same in our mid-60s as we did in high school. He has a very fast metabolism, mine is considerably less wasteful. He needs lots of carbs (beans and pasta) in regular large-portion meals, I'm a fruit/nut/veggie grazer, preferably raw.

            Genetics, I suspect. He's been skinny as a rail all the years I've known him, not even Super Supplement Weight Gain stuff will put an ounce on him. Makes his health a consideration because he can't lose pounds fighting off an illness without losing muscle and stamina generally. Daughter is the same way, can eat three times a 'normal' portion of any food you can name, and still be lean and mean. I, like my sisters, tend to gain weight if I'm not careful - have one sister at over 300 pounds and she doesn't eat more volume than I do, just eats the wrong damned things.

            We have found our medians and function accordingly just fine. Planning on an actual wedding for our 50th (we eloped back in the day). I'll be nicely fitting into daughter's wedding dress, thanks. He'll need some padding to look good in son's tux...

            There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

            by Joieau on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 10:21:29 AM PDT

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        •  It's pretty anecdotal (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mikidee, indycam, aimeehs

          And pretty wrong.

          I'm a type one diabetic. I need to know how many carbs are in the food I eat. That's an example of a good use of labeling - it's allowing me to make an informed choice on my health, on an issue that has actual ramifications for my health.

          Numerous studies, and several national and international health organizations, have proven that GMOs as a whole carry no greater risk than "normal" foods. Therefore, it's not something the government is responsible for. It has no business labeling products unless those products represent an especial danger for a significant number of people (i.e. peanut allergies). Certainly not to satisfy the whims of the latest "natural foods" craze using dubious science.

          •  Same was also said about trans-fats (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest, ZhenRen, CenPhx

            For example:

            ... CSPI’s endorsement of trans fats during the 1980s was largely consistent with most contemporaneous scientific authorities,including the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine. CSPI’s Jack Sprat’s Legacy stated that “[h]ydrogenation . . . is often misun-derstood”
            and continued:
            Critics of hydrogenation claim that the process creates an unnaturalform of fat, known as transfat or as
            transfatty acids. . . .

            Transfats have been charged with contributing to atherosclerosis, but not yet with convincing documentation. A recent review by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology concluded that there is no evidence that transfats are more harmful than other fats.

            The "safe," heart-healthy alternative to saturated fats, however, turned out to be a disaster for heart health.

            We don't yet know the same is or isn't true for GMO's.

            •  Sounds like the same argument.. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lenny Flank

              climate change deniers use.

              "First it was global warming, then it was global cooling, now it's back to global warming, now it's climate change! Science sucks!"

              •  ::sigh:: (4+ / 0-)

                I'm sorry you don't understand the evidence I presented.

                You didn't adequately understand my original post, either.

                I don't however, have time to get into a pissing match with you. I suggest there are other people on DKos at this time who would be perfectly happy to engage you.

              •  alas, the very nature of science is what makes it (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                serendipityisabitch

                so vulnerable to ideological abuse. Science is by its nature tentative and it NEVER claims to have the final answers.

                So for ideologues there's ALWAYS an out if they want it.  If the scientific consensus agrees with what they ideologically want to hear, they can point to it triumphantly and say "See?" If, on the other hand, the scientific consensus does NOT agree with what they ideologically want to hear, they can point to the scientific tentativeness and the debate that is always a normal part of science, and say "See, it might be wrong!". It's a win-win. Any ideologue can always window-shop for the scientific argument they like so they have an excuse to reject the science they DON'T like.

                In the end, reality always wins.

                by Lenny Flank on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 10:38:16 AM PDT

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      •  Agree with your last paragraph (6+ / 0-)

        concerning organic, but only because there is no other assurance available. I eat organic to avoid the pesticide residue. Avoiding genetically modified foods is a bonus.

        As for the calorie labeling, those that have the means and the desire to avoid those high calorie foods now have an easier way to tell whether they should, and I don't think because overall Americans are still overweight should discount the value of that.

        •  Agree 100% esp. last sentence. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Burned, serendipityisabitch, CenPhx

          Overweight is a consequence of many factors, the least of which is modern work habits which require sitting ... and sitting ... and sitting ... and sitting for the majority of the day. There is simply no way to counteract that with calorie counting, imo.

          •  Well technically (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            indubitably

            you could eat just the right amount of calories to keep your body running.
            But that would be a very unfun and hard way to eat and I do like food and dislike hard if it can be avoided..

            •  I've tried it. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Burned

              Unfortunately, due to the nature of my work, I can get trapped in a chair for 9-10 hours a day. Yea. I even have trouble getting out of the office to pee.

              I have an alarm to make me get up every 15-20 minutes, but sometimes even that isn't feasible.

              I count calories to try and counteract the effects, in addition to trying to run around like a maniac when I'm not at work (believe it or not, going to Big Box stores has been a lifesaver for me because I can park at the far end of the lot, run into the store, go all the way to the back, come back going through every aisle, etc., and get a fair workout at 10 pm w/o buying anything, lol). Still, there is simply no way to eat few enough calories unless I were to resort to under 1000 cals a day (I'm a bit of a shrimp, so I don't even have height on my side). 1000 and fewer cals a day is simply unsustainable when you have to be not just functional, but high functioning most of the time.

              •  Not sure what type of work you do (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                indubitably

                but a standing desk maybe for part of the day?
                five health benefits of standing desks

                I have the exact opposite problem and sometimes put in as much as 10 miles of walking around just at work. Unfortunately that doesn't include many bathroom breaks either, so I sympathize.

                •  Actually, that works (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Burned

                  I stood for almost an entire year, and it had incredible results! My goal is to get back to that, but there has been some chaos at my work that has required me to take on some really picky work I don't normally do. Okay, didn't require me to sit again---more like, so much was going on, I had to find some easy outs, and sitting was one.

                  So I began sitting again.

                  My hopes are, come August, I began standing and working again.

                  Oh, and piles of books, wooden boxes, etc., are much cheaper than standing desks!

                  •  Maintaining superhero status (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    indubitably

                    is tough, especially in education. :)
                    Easy outs are sometimes worth the mental easing.
                    Hope you get back to where you need to be.

                    Sadly, I just burnt four loves of bread so I'm off to begin again.

                    •  lol! (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      BMScott, Burned

                      And, trust me, with all the chaos going on, this has required near superhero powers!

                      However, I made a New Year's promise to myself, which was, for as much as I love my students and the institution, I have to love myself, as well ... and that means my resolution is to take care of myself, too. Last year almost killed me, or better said, would kill me quickly were I to maintain it. I've been shedding things one by one, and stopping sitting all day is one of the icings on the cake.

        •  oh, I don't discount the value of it (0+ / 0-)

          But the fact remains that overall, it has no effect. Americans are still just as fat as they ever were.

          Hooray to all the individuals who have changed to more healthy eating habits.  Most Americans haven't. They just keep on eating the same things they've always eaten. And I suspect that they'll do the same thing with GMO labels. (shrug)

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 07:48:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  why do you hate americans? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        i saw an old tree today
      •  Never Say Never, Lenny (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lenny Flank, ZhenRen, CenPhx

        One of our local-to-Portland-OR markets (New Seasons) has been introducing house brand products that are not labeled "organic" but specifically state, in the case of their house corn chips, "...locally made with non-GMO ingredients and safflower oil."
         

        God's preference is for more people to be included, (not excluded through doctrine),...whenever the circle is shrinking, where people are being excluded or disliked, God is not served. -Rev. Alice Connor

        by paz3 on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 11:51:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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