I just came across this article for a new show . Sweat Inc. It is a sort of Dragon’s Den/Shark Tank meets American Idol for new fitness gear. Here is the description of the show:
Jillian is taking on the business side of the fitness industry. In their search for the next workout phenomenon, Jillian and fellow judges, TRX founder Randy Hetrick and celebrity trainer Obi Obadike, will meet twenty-seven fitness entrepreneurs from around the country. The contestants will try to convince the judges that their exercise program has the most business potential. In anticipation of the October 20 premiere of Sweat Inc. on Spike, Jillian answered a few questions about her experience in the fitness industry and what we can expect from her new series.
As most of you know, I have had issues with Jillian in the past. Mostly based around her partnership with Giancarlo Chersich.
I find the man to be a bit of a dumbass. Watching these two discuss their strategy is painful. Agonizing even. I love how the pill pushing didn’t even come up as one of the largest failures for her. Just watching them together, knowing that Giancarlo is leading the team makes all of her miscues and failures make sense.
In any case, I am quite excited about this new show. I hope she sticks to the ‘tough’ trainer persona through this show and doesn’t try to push her other products.
So, a little more details on the show:
In the new Spike reality-competition series Sweat Inc., hosted by Jillian Michaels, twenty-seven aspiring fitness entrepreneurs compete to prove they’ve developed the most groundbreaking and effective exercise program out there. In the end, only one will have the business savvy and innovative program to land them $100,000, a feature in Women’s Health Magazine, and the opportunity to launch their fitness empire with Retro Fitness.
I am quite excited to watch this show, and very excited to see what these entrepreneurs have come up with. So many cool options. I am hoping for some Crossfit variations! I saw some obstacle race thing, and I am pumped for that! I would sign up for that today!! I am thinking of doing Battle Frog this year, and still going to go for the Spartan Trifecta in 2016.
In any case, it is on Tuesday October 20th, on Spike TV at 7:00.
Check it out!! Let me know what you think of it. Is anyone else excited for it.
I due find it odd though that the article is actually sponsored. This stuff scares the crap out of me.
Just so you know, my post is unsponsored… yep free advertising. I guess that won’t be happening for very much longer. You are welcome Spike TV.
I am actually floored. It has taken me a couple of days to get this post made as there are 3 extremely important stories that should have come out of Senate’s consumer protection panel that dragged Dr. Oz over the coals for his role as a snake oil pitchman (I don’t say salesman as he claims he does not make any money off of his recommendations). This story is probably the most important because it is points out the bizarre, and almost unbelievable laziness of the main stream press.
After the Senate’s panel there are thousands of stories posted to the internet, each with their own rewording of the same story. Each one parrots back the official story, with the same quotes and the same main points. I doubt any one of the journalists watched the entire video of the panel. But now, after a congresswoman chastised Dr. Oz, in much gentler words than I have ever used, it seems that for millions of people, Dr. Oz is clearly feeling the heat for his over the top claims of products.
That is the official story. It is missing the depth of incompetence that Dr. Oz has sunk to in including psychic healers and anti-vaccine nuts as legitimate health care providers. It is missing just how bad Dr. Oz’s claims have been, only glancing at the problems with his green coffee bean claims, but missing the entire part of the segment that includes Dr. Oz interviewing a fake doctor to support false claims of weight-loss on green coffee beans. Yes, the entire story was fabricated, most likely by Dr. Oz and sold to the public with a person who claimed falsely to be a doctor. Lindsey Duncan, who goes by the name, Dr. Lindsey was portrayed as a doctor while presenting to the Dr. Oz show the benefits of green coffee bean extract. In what appeared to be an infomercial for a company selling green coffee beans, Dr. Oz and Dr. Lindsey went on to give fallacious answers as to what to look for in dosage and timing of pills in what clearly appeared to be an attempt to market a specific brand of green coffee bean extract.
This is very important for several reasons. First, all of the official stories that are all over the internet refer to this current FTC action:
Within weeks of Oz’s comments about green coffee — which refers to the unroasted seeds or beans of coffee — a Florida-based operation began marketing a dietary supplement called Pure Green Coffee, with claims that the chlorogenic acid found in the beans could help people lose 17 pounds and cut body fat by 16 percent in 22 weeks.
The company, according to federal regulators, featured footage from “The Dr. Oz Show” to sell its supplement. Oz has no association with the company and received no money from sales.
Last month, the Federal Trade Commission sued the sellers behind Pure Green Coffee and accused them of making bogus claims and deceiving consumers. – ABC news
The FTC has brought a legal action against a company that is selling green coffee beans, about $15 million dollars worth from some estimates. This company came into being just weeks after the show came on. Their website and their ads show clips from Dr. Oz’s show. They don’t say that he endorses their products, but they do use the information that was presented on the show. This information is incorrect and would not stand up to scientific scrutiny. Dr. Oz and Dr. Lindsey Duncan still felt it was okay to share this information with the public, but it is apparently a crime to sell a product using these claims. If you go to the FTC and read the complaint against this company, there is no claim that their product is substandard. In many of the articles, journalists complain that the price for them is exorbitant, but it is actually the going rate for magic beans. The crime that they are guilty of is using Dr. Oz and Dr. Lindsey Duncan’s claims to sell their product. Additionally, they have several fake news sites that they use to help sell their magic beans, and this may be the magic bullet that will put them out of business but it is ironic because the more sophisticated con had a real news site (Dr. Oz) help it sell its product.
I am sickened by these companies that come into being and take advantage of the dimwitted Dr. Oz. Still, this is nothing compared to what the real crime should have been. Dr. Lindsey Duncan, who has shilled his products before on the Dr. Oz show, already owned one company that was already selling Green Coffee Beans on the internet before the show aired. He actually started another company in his wife’s name and launched it just weeks BEFORE the broadcast of the show. He has sold much more than the $15,000,000 of Green Coffee Bean Extract, and he actually misled the public about the dosage so as to give an advantage to his product in the marketplace. Further, he endorsed the sale of his product without informing the public at the time that he was selling the product and had no shortage of conflicts of interest.
All of this is very apparent to anyone who does any research. It would only take a few minutes of watching the actual green coffee bean show and then doing a few minutes of research to find out that Dr. Lindsey Duncan has an illegal PhD from a school that does not exist any more, a school which has a startling number of criminals who also claim the honorific of doctor from the same school (feel free to research the Clayton College of Natural Health). It also takes seconds to find out that he sells green coffee beans. It takes more time to find that he created at least one additional company in a different state to increase the volume of product he could move, but that wasn’t the hardest thing in the world.
Still, not one report covers this. It only covers the public announcement that included the green coffee bean company that started a few weeks after the show aired. Dr. Oz goes on to suggest at the panel, that his biggest failure isn’t his use of the world miracle, or his misreporting of shaky scientific findings of products, but instead that he should be recommending sellers that he trusts. He apparently trusted as an expert, a fake doctor and presented this man to the world as a doctor. He doesn’t even see the irony of this when he is talking to congress about including his experts in his shows as if this gives validity to his false claims when he seems incapable of even vetting his experts.
Of course, if journalists were paying attention, something very interesting is happening over at the companies that Dr. Lindsey Duncan works for. Genesis Today has removed any and all mention of Dr. Lindsey Duncan from their website. At the same time, Dr. Lindsey Duncan has removed any and all use of the honorific Dr. from his websites. All of the mentions have been scrubbed of the words Dr. This has just happened in the wake of the lawsuit against the Florida green coffee bean sellers. I wonder what is up?
Today, I am bringing in a new feature as well as my first guest blogger. As most of you know, I spend a fair bit of time researching and inevitably debunking supplements, cleanses and weight loss cures. The thing is, to do a proper debunking you need to take your time and search for any and all research and this has in turn, left me reacting to salacious articles and outrageous claims, rather than systematically going through products and reviewing them on a regular basis. As well, I have focused on the ones that make the worst claims with regards to weight loss. So, from now on I am going to attempt to post a weekly analysis/review of a supplement. Sometimes it might be a generic product and on other times it may be a specific manufacturer or blend.
A blog reader and commenter, Dakota Redwine has supplied for us a review of 2 products from the MLM Line of Genesis Pure. So, without further ado, here are the reviews:
I’d like to share a some relevant information on two products Genesis Pure sells through its Sportsline. One being a less than your run-of-the-mill standard energy complex , E2, and the other being a “hidden secret” in the supplement industry, Moomiyo Edge. These two products sound promising on Genesis Pure’s website, or backed by a GP IBO with a financial stake in selling them, but if one breaks down the nutritional content in each product they’ll quickly find that you’d be better off flushing your money down the toilet.
Moomiyo, otherwise known as Shilajit, is a sticky tar or resin found in mountainous regions such as the Caucasa and Altais. Think about that, first off. This is resin found in rocks. As a nutritional supplement, Moomiyo doesn’t have much to fall back on. In the early to mid 1950’s, Russian scientists dove deep into the idea that Moomiyo may provide an athletic edge if consumed. Studies were done on rabbits and rodents to test liver enzymes and the overall effect on health. No clinical human trials have been verified with Moomiyo, and while the Russian’s thought highly of this new substance, these trials are widely considered dated and thus modern age clinical studies involving humans are required to ascertain the effects of Moomiyo. Here’s a breakdown of the Moomiyo itself followed by every other substance listed for “Moomiyo Edge” on Genesis Pure’s website:
Moomiyo (Shilajit): a sticky tar/oil found in the Caucasas and Altai Mountains. Ok…
“Mumijo/shilajit has been the subject of scientific research in Russia and India since the early 1950s. Though there is no clinical study to support any benefits to human health, some observed effects in animal models.”
So only “observed effects” on animals, huh? No clinical trials on humans? Ok.
Moomiyo Edge has Purple Orchid Extract (If you take a second to Google this you’ll find nothing but information that says POE is used in cosmetic appliances and eye serums.) Ok, so why is this going into my body, again?
Codonopsis Root (All I got were mass links to other scam companies selling this mystery root. Apparently it’s a Korean natural medicine. Found no verified studies on this. Google it.)
Golden Root Extract (Sorry, but this one is debunked)
“In a study sponsored in part by the American Phytotherapy Research Laboratory, a company with ties to the marketers of such supplements as Oxydrene and Ripping Gel, the herb rhodiola rosea was tested along with a stabilized oxygenated supplement in water to determine if either of these two could positively affect blood oxygenation in people put in a simulated environment of 15,000 feet altitude. Typically at this altitude, altitude sickness occurs and the treatment given (for prevention mostly) is acetazolamide and dexamethasone.
It’s important to recognize that the rhodiola herb used is also in the supplement Oxydrene. The study participants had to breath hypoxic air for an hour (13.6% oxygen balanced nitrogen at an ambient barometric temperature of 633 torr). The study participants did this breathing (hypoxic air) for three treatments and took the supplements for seven days.
The results strongly indicate that neither the placebo nor the two supplements tested had any effects on blood oxygenation levels (PaO2 and SaO2). The only thing that the study authors noted was that they found a valid method of simulating altitude. Based on this, it appears that rhodiola containing supplements only make the wallet lighter without having any benefit to the consumer.”’
Vasica Extract (This one really got me. Seriously, look this one up yourself. You’ll find nothing but nonsensical gibberish about suppliers, and worse, apparently, Vasica has only been tested and examined on usage through rabbits, guinea pigs, and rats to test coughing reactions and monitor biomechanical liver enzymes. So you’re taking something that has not even been tested for human consumption nor proven to be effective for anything. Why it’s in GP’s product is anybody’s guess.)
And finally, an Adaptogenic blend. No need to breakdown the two, because as far as adaptogenics are concerned:
“Adaptogens are plants that practitioners of herbal medicine claim decrease cellular sensitivity to stress. The adaptogen concept does not fit easily into the Western model of medicine, and the scientific community calls into question the validity of the concept. Most of the studies done on adaptogens were conducted in the Soviet Union (prior to its dissolution in 1991), Korea, and China during the 1980s, and they are not considered conclusive and have been criticized for having methodological flaws. Adaptogens have been claimed to treat a wide variety of medical conditions, from fatigue to cancer. However, no herbs that are considered adaptogens have ever been conclusively shown to be effective in treating any medical condition, and as a result, none of them are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to cure, treat, or prevent any disease.”
So WHAT exactly are consumers paying for in Moomiyo Edge? My research shows that nothing in this product is worth paying for and using.
Now, onto the energy complex that Genesis Pure likes to call “E2.” Anybody well versed in nutrition can attest that energy compounds, nitric oxide, pre workouts powders, and vasodilators are all highly debated as essential to a sports line. A simple low glycemic carbohydrate meal half an hour before a workout is more than enough for the average athlete. For the extra ambitious, a cup of black coffee should suffice. Regardless, there are still athletes, bodybuilders, fitness models, and the like who all swear by pre workouts and energy powders. So with that in mind, let’s dwelve into Genesis Pure’s “E2” and find out exactly what we’d be spending our money on:
240 mcg of Vitamin B-12. 4,000% of a standard daily value. Read the label, ladies and gentlemen. 4000%! Is GP trying to kill people? Read on.
“The non-toxic amount a day (b-12) is 100mcg a day. 100 mcg pr. day is actually a pretty high dose, unless you have a deficiency. The recommended dose for a normal adult is much lower then 100mcg.”
Symptoms of too much B-12:
“Even without having had any Vitamin B12 injections, individuals who run naturally high Vitamin B12 and cobalt levels (which may include patients with mitral valve prolapse), tend to frequently suffer from tachycardia, panic-anxiety attacks, or angina-like chest pains, that may be accompanied by numbness and tingling in the face or extremities.” No thanks, Genesis Pure.
The “Energy Complex” is full of crap. It’s supposed to be the central potency in the product – run of the mill micronutrients and overdosing of B-12 aside – yet the energy blend is CRAP. First of all, Glutamine (the main ingredient) has been widely, widely debunked across the fitness industry. It’s a miracle people are still buying it.
Then we move on to Tyrosine which isn’t even an essential amino acid. It’s non essential, which means our body produces it naturally and therefore supplementation is not required. There is no reason we need additional Tyrosine. It’s common filler as with a large percentage of supplements out there.
Next, we see Leucine and Isoleucine. While these are essential aminos, they are likely under-dosed being so far down on the nutritional list. After all, these things are displayed in the order of most to least. Even if they weren’t, they aren’t going to have any affect on energy levels because that isn’t what they do. And these aminos can both be found in wheat, milk, fish, beef, oat, peanuts, etc.
Taurine isn’t even an amino acid, to be technical. It’s just marketed as one. This is seen all the time. If you want Taurine, drink a Monster Energy drink (Then again, don’t drink a Monster Energy drink).
Malic acid. LOL.
“Valine is often used by bodybuilders, (in conjunction with leucine and isoleucine), to promote muscle growth, tissue repair and energizer, although little scientific evidence supports these claims.”
Basically, both of these products do absolutely nothing. So why are people buying them? It’s a scam. You can get the exact same health benefits out of a high protein, moderate carb diet with healthy fats and unprocessed foods. The overdosing of B Vitamins, product filler consisting of useless Glutamine and Tyrosine, and some vitamin A and C that you can get out of any off the rack health store?? Where’s the Iron? Where’s the Zinc? I mean, “E2” is a WORTHLESS MONEYPIT. Break down the nutrition label yourself if you don’t believe me. Look at what you’re paying for. It’s ridiculous.
The Moomiyo speaks for itself. There is absolutely nothing but insubstantial “myths” applied to the “science” of that product. Do the research like I did and see how worthless it truly is.
People can save a ton of money by doing research. A healthy diet, a reliable multivitamin, plenty of water, good sleep, and exercise is all you need. All of this damn tar found in Pakistani Mountain regions or Golden Root extract is not the “secret” to a healthier body. The unfortunate truth to this is that 90% of the supplement industry makes money by selling crap like this to the uninformed. Anybody that truly wants to dedicate themselves to a healthier life needs to invest the time and effort into researching what exactly they put into their bodies. Sure, the Moomiyo will likely not hurt you – after all it never harmed rodents -but why throw money away on a product that hasn’t been proven effective? Why take in an energy complex with twice the recommended dosage of B-12? It may hurt you. Let’s be smart here and not get trapped in the pit falls that are MLM schemes like Genesis Pure and the like. These “companies” aren’t looking to promote better health. They’re looking to make a quick buck.
This was just a friendly reminder that we, as fitness fanatics, need to understand the importance of proper research in the supplements we take in. And on that note, remember that they’re called supplements for a reason. They aren’t the benchmark of your training or nutrition. It all harkens back to the tried and true formula: a balanced diet of protein, low GI carbs, and healthy fats along with proper sleep, water, multivitamin intake and of course, a kick-ass workout. Rest easy, folks. Read this blog. Educate yourselves. And stay away from the scams of the industry like Genesis Pure. It has been exposed.
To whom it may concern,
I would first and foremost like to thank you for the wonderful creation that is the Chopped Chicken Salad. This is a marvel of paleo food creation in what is nearly a desert of refined-carb free offerings. It is so rare that dropping the bun on anything in life actually makes for a better tasting food item, but you have done it. Part of that might be the fact that you need a chemist to make your bread rather than a baker, but this is the case of any fast food bread like substances:
ITALIAN (WHITE) BREADEnriched wheat flour (wheat flour, barley malt, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, yeast, sugar, contains 2% or less of the following: soybean oil, wheat gluten, salt, dough conditioners (DATEM, sodium stearoyl lactylate, ascorbic acid, potassium iodate, azodicarbonamide), yeast nutrients (calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate),wheat protein isolate, yeast extract, vitamin D2, natural flavor, enzymes. Contains: Wheat
I have been aware that you offered a salad of sorts for quite awhile, but I had no faith in this creation. It may have been your marketing or the fact that I just imagined cold cuts, laying flaccidly out on a bed of shredded lettuce, but whatever the case, I have never desired a salad at your establishment. Of course that all changed when you added chopped to the name and tossed up all the ingredients in a huge new bowl!
I first tried the chopped chicken salad about 3 months ago, right after I had decided to truly go paleo (you can find out more about a paleo diet here if you are curious). You see, I finally decided that being in good shape was nice, and not being fat had its advantages, but I really wanted to shoot for cut. I mean ripped!! I knew the only way to do this was to eliminate all starches and refined carbs from my diet. So, one night as I was starving and the kids were jumping around on trampolines at a trampoline center, I headed out into the urban landscape to find something paleo I could eat. After a lot of searching, I had given up and was honestly just going to get a cookie at Subway when I saw your salad on the menu. I figured that if I didn’t like it, I could always have that cookie, so there was nothing to lose. Trust me when I say my expectations were low, and not because you don’t make good food. You do. I have enjoyed your Italian BMT on wheat for years, just I had low hopes for your salads.
I ordered it with roast chicken. Of course, I use the term ‘roast chicken’ loosely, very loosely. Roast chicken loaf appears to be some sort of pressed chicken pieces, formed into a chicken breast like shape with grill marks painted on for ‘authenticity’ (even though it is roast chicken, not grilled chicken… explain that one). I have generally been turning a blind eye to the chicken potion of the salad, happy for the protein, but thanks to this letter I had to look up the ingredients, and they made me shudder:
CHICKEN BREAST (pdf of all ingredients of foods at Subway can be found here)PATTYChicken breast with rib meat, water, seasoning (corn syrup solids, vinegar powder [maltodextrin, modified corn starch and tapioca starch, dried vinegar], brown sugar, salt,dextrose, garlic powder, onion powder, chicken type flavor [hydrolyzed corn gluten, autolyzed yeast extract, thiamine hydrochloride, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate]), sodium phosphates
The AMA called and they have asked for their self respect back!
I had intended to find a recent article that I had written about how ridiculous the stars of The Doctors are and add some new points with their recent humiliating display of stupidity with respect to how full of preservatives fast food burgers must be to not rot.
I honestly don’t think this new level of unpreparedness, complete lack of science and general clamouring for camera time deserves a whole blog post of its own, but I realized I have started to write a number of articles about these idiots but haven’t posted any. This is because I get a press release every week about their show, complete with links to tune in to segments before they air, so I as a healthcare writer can help promote their show. I get a ton of ridiculous press releases and introductions to writers and products like this every day. The Doctors are some of the worst. The 4 people you see in the picture above could be the 4 dumbest doctors alive. I find it astounding that they got through university. I am sorry if you like them, and I don’t doubt that a lot of people do. They are a very attractive group and I am sure they earn good money playing doctors on TV, but seriously, the four of them barely make one Doctor Oz and we all know how little respect I have for that man!
Each and every time one of the cast of The Doctors opens their mouth I am astounded by their stupidity, but I have to tell you, I don’t think I was ever as surprised as I was with this broadcast:
Firstly, how in the world they are just finding out about the dried out burger craze is beyond me. It went viral years ago. It was on Yahoo Health’s front page. Hell, my burger experiment alone got tens of thousands of hits that day and it was just a small link in that story.
Did you notice how Dr. Stork said the word Kept when he said”So this has been kept for 14 years by David Whipple”? It sounded like he was suspect of how Mr. Whipple kept his burger, and he should have been, but it turns out, Dr. Stork isn’t that bright.
As soon as they open the burger, literally, all of the standard lines that have been repeated over and over again come out, as if there is some talking points for the anti-hamburger movement. “It looks just like the one I bought a few days ago”, “It is completely preserved”, “How can it not be moldy?” “I will give you an idea… preservatives”, “If the mold won’t eat it, if the fungus won’t eat it, bugs won’t eat it, maybe we shouldn’t be eating it”.
These statements are amazingly stupid as statements. The only intelligent thing said is, ‘How can it not be moldy?”, but it shouldn’t have been a statement, it should have been a question. These are doctors for the love of god! They should want to get to the bottom of the issue. They should ask some questions, shouldn’t they? I am sure they knew about this piece before the burger was rolled out. Why didn’t any of them actually ask the question? Why didn’t one of them notice that there were no condiments on the burger? Who, other than a 4 year old kid, orders a perfectly plain hamburger? Actually, even a 4 year old orders ketchup on it! When Dr. Stork said that Mr. Whipple ‘kept’ the burger, why didn’t it cross his mind to wonder where Mr. Whipple kept his burger? How did he store it?
And I don’t want to question Mr. Whipple… but seriously… how would a plain hamburger help you show people how enzymes work? It hasn’t been touched? That seems like the oddest explanation on earth. He even said he used it for a month. Why would someone buy a burger and then use the same burger for a month in some vague display of enzymes, especially when literally nothing is happening to the burger… I can’t imagine a much worse explanation, or maybe I can. “Yes officer, you see I bought the hooker because I was trying to teach my friends about gravity.” Oh, well, it couldn’t be that Mr. Whipple had maybe seen something about these burgers that had been dried out 10 years before Mr. Whipple had even purchased his burger could it? Strangely after putting the burger back in the original bag after using it for 1 month (why he has the original bag is beyond me as well) along with the original receipt, he puts it in his coat pocket and it isn’t discovered for at least a year. If you watched the video on Len’s website you will notice it is the same story, minus the receipt and bag. Could he have gotten the simple instructions from Len Foley. By the way, notice in the instructions there is a note about putting them in a fairly dry location:
Put your hamburgers in a fairly dry location and let them sit for many, many years.
With the following Warning:
WARNING: Do not put your hamburgers in any sealed containers, like jars. The moisture needs to escape the food naturally, so letting them breathe in the open air works best.*
Hmm… I think Len gets what is going on… but not the doctors…
I cannot believe that between going through hair and makeup for a few hours and then costumes to put on the ‘TV doctor’ scrubs and lab coats so that they can have an air of legitimacy, that these 4 people would not suggest that maybe they should test the conclusion that they jumped to regarding the preservatives in a burger.
A while back when this story was trending with a one year old happy meal I became so frustrated that I did the burger experiment for myself. I compared a McDonalds Cheeseburger, with a Burger King Cheeseburger with as nearly an identical home made organic burger. I stored them together in a small greenhouse and they all rotted at about the same time. There was no difference.
It was good science, not great science. Another website took another tact and had more variation of storage, and they got the same results. Each of these experiments can be found all over the internet and my experiment continues to be a very popular page. It would have taken the simplest amount of research to discover some science behind this story and maybe share that with us instead of ridiculous conclusions about preservatives.
I am still not convinced these aren’t just actors playing doctors on TV….
So, recently I have been seeing a lot of discussion about how disgusting a food item the McRib is. Plainly it isn’t food, it is just a combination of chemicals, preservatives and hate, all pressed together into a rib resembling product. In fact, the hubbub recently has been about how many ingredients you will find in a McRib and how some of them are banned!!
As many of you know, I am not a fan of McDonalds. Okay, that isn’t quite true. I do love the food. When I say I am not a fan, it would be more correct to say, I am fully aware of the role that fast food plays in our current obesity crisis in general and my obesity crisis in specific. This last 5 to ten pounds I cannot get off my body may as well have McDonalds, A&W, and Taco Time logos on it. Still, it isn’t just the fact that fast food is so rich in calories, fats and refined carbohydrates that has me mad at the companies behind it. It is actually, the fact that they work so hard to protect their pitch, to protect the access to their markets. They have kids meals in party boxes with toys, they have kids playgrounds and clowns and cartoon characters directly marketed to children. They pay good money to hide the damage that their food does (#10 on the dirty dozen of 2010). In other words, they feel that doing whatever they can to misinform you about what is healthy is okay because they make money from it. It isn’t.
But the reverse is more infuriating to me. Much more. In fact, this is one of my pet peeves. It is terrible when a corporation goes to lengths to hide the damage their products do, but I believe it is more damaging when zealots and opportunists create false stories about these same products, but with the opposite intent because these urban myths become part of our ethos, our belief system and they seem to never die, just like the burger that people still wrongly report will not rot. People begin to believe that fast food is bad because it is made of chemicals and it doesn’t have any nutrition. They believe that we are getting fat because we are eating foods that are entirely bereft of nutrients and therefore we need to eat more of them. They believe that the chemicals are causing us to be fat and if we just ate organic we would be fine. The end product of this is a misinformed public that eats organic oreos and organic chocolate cake, thinking that these are in fact healthful, when the opposite is true.
What has occurred is a level of disingenuous reporting, combined with a nearly pathological prejudiced hatred of mass production and food standardization mixed with a huge dose of a misguided sense of health. The fact is, some people hate McDonalds and their hatred leads them to jump to conclusions that do not exist (fast food does not rot) or equally as bad, causes them to fabricate a crisis where one does not exist (McRib). When this happens, people end up believing that specific ingredients or methods of preparation are causing obesity problems or health problems. We have seen this absurd reporting for margarine, cheez whiz, cool whip, and swiffer, and now we have the McRib.
The McRib case in point.
We can begin with the article titled: McDonald’s McRib Sandwich a Franken Creation of GMOs, Toxic Ingredients, Banned Ingredients,
The article is essentially a mix of lies and hyperbole which culminate in an expose that misses its own point entirely. Some of the misinformation is below:
1. “The McRib is the result of intensive marketing by McDonald’s.”
The McRib is not the result of intensive marketing by McDonald’s. In fact that doesn’t even make sense. You might be able to say that about The Olive Garden and their focus tested menu, but the invention of the McRib was actually just the creation of a pretty incredible chef. Really…
The McRib itself was the brainchild of Rene Arend, a native of Luxembourg who first appeared in the Chicago area not as McDonald’s first executive chef, but as a 31-year-old night head second cook at the Drake and a protege of “great chefs in Strasbourg, France.” Arend won a 1959 gourmet contest at the Drake with his supreme de poularde Amphitryon—chicken in sweet butter with cognac Martell, Madere sauce, cream, and goose liver, accompanied by veal dumplings and hearts of palm covered in orange hollandaise sauce—”fixed up for tastes of American people,” Arend told the Tribune. Arend moved to the Whitehall Club before being lured away by the hours, benefits, and challenge of McDonald’s in the late 1970s by Ray Kroc, a Whitehall regular.
The McRib, patterned after the pulled-pork barbecue Arend ate in South Carolina—pork barbecue itself being a means of dressing up low-cost meat in the impoverished South—was an initial failure, but it’s obviously popular enough maintain a large cult following. (source)
Given that Chef Rene is a native of Luxembourg, a graduate (first in his class) of the College Technique Hotelier de Strasbourg, and a man who has prepared dinners for such luminaries as Queen Elizabeth II of England, the king of Belgium, and Sophia Loren and Cary Grant, we asked him why the McFood at McYou-Know-Where’s doesn’t exactly taste like European gourmet cooking.
”We have to cater to the American public,” he replied. ”I am 31 years here, nearly as long as McDonald’s. I have also become Americanized. McDonald’s is perfect American food, you see. But never are any restrictions put on me when I do a product.” (source)
2. Utilizing the basics of supply and demand through creating scarcity over the McRib by only unleashing the culinary abomination for a fraction of the year that is only known once it is released
Although there certainly is a lot of marketing surrounding the McRib and every successful company utilizes the basics of supply and demand (for whatever that is worth), creating scarcity isn’t part of the marketing, it is apparently a fact of scarcity of pork trimmings.
And to this day, the McRib comes and goes from the McDonald’s menu for reasons that have to do with its intense popularity and a national supply of pork trimmings that’s typically a lot more limited than the supply of beef trimmings.
“If you suddenly start to buy a large amount of that material,” said Mandigo, “the price starts to rise.”
As the cost to McDonald’s rises, the McRib tends to go out of circulation again. And then the same parts of a hog tend to flow back into the processing lines for Spam, Vienna sausages and other specialized products. (source)
Above is just the coles notes version of the supply and demand problems with the McRib. If you want to get deep into the research you can read a fascinating article A conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Arbitrage.
This isn’t to say that McDonald’s doesn’t use the scarcity to help market the McRib, just that they don’t create the scarcity in the first place. This works well for the McRib because according to Chef Rene Arand, ”We discovered that people would not eat pork every day” (source).
3. McDonald’s even made McRib fans sign a petition to ‘save the McRib’ online
The petition signing was clearly just a marketing technique for a sandwich they were keeping. I don’t think anyone was MADE to sign a petition. That is extreme hyperbole. Seriously, did they kidnap people and torture them until they signed the petition?
They can also sign the “Save the McRib” petition and explore the BPFAA (the Boneless Pig Farmers Association of America) website,bonelesspigs.org, a fictitious organization that promotes the good will of boneless pigs. Hmm. OK. Why spend all this money if the product is just going to be dumped? Oh wait, silly me, they’re not dumping the product, they’re renewing demand by making us feel sorry for a bunch of boneless pigs. That’s it. (source)
4. it’s a combination of unwanted animal scraps processed down in major facilities and ‘restructured’ into the form of a rib.
This one is sort of true, just not in the important way. The meat is restructured, a technique created by a man who sits in the Meat Industry Hall of Fame:
In 1972 Professor Roger Mandingo of the University of Nebraska received a grant from the National Pork Producers Council to work on a process to create restructured meats. He developed a technology to bind small pieces of meat together in different shapes using salt and mechanical action. The results of his work can be seen today in such items as dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and the famous McRib” Sandwich. (source)
Restructured meat products are commonly manufactured by using lower-valued meat trimmings reduced in size by comminution (flaking, chunking, grinding, chopping or slicing). The comminuted meat mixture is mixed with salt and water to extract salt-soluble proteins. These extracted proteins are critical to produce a “glue” which binds muscle pieces together. These muscle pieces may then be reformed to produce a “meat log” of specific form or shape. The log is then cut into steaks or chops which, when cooked, are similar in appearance and texture to their intact muscle counterparts. (source)
While it is true that the meats used in the McRib are lower valued, they are NOT animal scraps. We in North America have no value for organ meat and tripe and find it disgusting, but we are the minority in the world. As I was reminded in my trip to China, most cultures in the world value these meats very highly and consider them a delicacy. While in Beijing, my brother and I were very excited to go to a world class duck restaurant. Our hosts happily obliged and asked us to do the ordering. All we cared about was the duck, and we were not disappointed. It may very well be the best meal I have ever eaten. We noticed though, as soon as we had ordered, our hosts looked sad, more than sad, crestfallen. They wouldn’t tell us what had upset them, but we knew we made a mistake. We quickly realized that they were as excited to be eating in this restaurant as we were, but they didn’t care as much about the duck as the organ meat. We quickly got the waiter to come back and we ordered some things that I still have no idea what part of what animal they were from, but it made all the difference to our hosts as their faces glowed and the night was a success.
According to Mandigo:
“Most people would be extremely unhappy if they were served heart or tongue on a plate,” he observed. “But flaked into a restructured product it loses its identity. Such products as tripe, heart, and scalded stomachs are high in protein, completely edible, wholesome, and nutritious, and most are already used in sausage without objection.” (source)
According to Chicago Magazine:
In other words, the McRib, or at least the restructured meat products like it, consists of staples—or even specialties—of other cuisines. Take pig heart, for instance. If you’d like to cook it yourself, here’s a 1945 recipe from Gourmet: Coeur de Porc en Civet à la Pompadour, i.e. stewed pig’s heart à la Pompadour, or bopis, a Filipino pig heart recipe. These sorts of things being unappetizing to the American palate, they’re shredded and restructured into an obviously fake rib. (source)
The most important point is that these parts of the pig have been used in sausage forever. I love sausage. Nobody thinks that an organic, butcher made sausage is frankenfood, but by most of these damning accusations above, it is.
5. 70 additives, chemicals, fillers, and GMO ingredients later, you have a ‘meat’ product that tastes like ribs.
The original claim of the article is that the McRib is made up of about 70 ingredients in total. How in the world would all 70 ingredients, even if you exclude the pork, be chemicals, fillers and GMO ingredients? That doesn’t even make sense, unless you are trying to fool us into thinking that the McRib is just chemicals and fillers and has no natural products in it. Even using the graphic that the author supplies, you can quickly see that some of the ingredients are not chemicals, nor are the fillers or ‘common’ GMO ingredients. Bleached Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, reduced Iron, Riboflavin, Water, salt, Malted Barley Flour, Pork, Tomato Paste, Spices, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Chili Peppers, cucumbers and slivered onions to name a few.
The common GMO heading is a bit of a misnomer because as far as I can tell, they are suggesting that items such as distilled vinegar are commonly sourced from GMO products. This doesn’t mean that this specific vinegar is GMO, just that it is likely GMO, as would be the distilled vinegar in your cupboard. I hate the fact that GMO products do not have to be labelled as such, but that really has very little if anything to do with McDonalds and the McRib.
In fact, it has almost nothing to do with the McRib, because, as you can see, it really isn’t the McRib patty itself that has all the ingredients, or even many of the ingredients. It is the bun. As we discovered with the McDonalds hamburger, when we looked into it, the meat is relatively straightforward. It is the bun that is bad. But it isn’t just McDonald’s buns. It is all buns. To keep bread fresh and white, the amount of crap that is put into the bread is disturbing. If you think the McRib is bad, take a look at the much loved and health conscious Subway bread:
How many ingredients are in that Deli Style Roll? In a quick count I would say more than in the McRib bread.
Of the over 70 ingredients in a McRib, more than half of them are in the bun. More than 40! The McRib itself has 6. The McRib sauce has 19 ingredients. Is that a damning number by the way? Is the number of ingredients in barbecue sauce a bad thing? If you look at Bull’s eye barbecue sauce you get the following 17 ingredients: Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Sugar, Vinegar, Molasses, Brown Sugar, Salt, Contains Less Than 2% of Modified Food Starch, Spice, Mustard Seed, Dried Onions, Natural Flavor, Dried Garlic, White Wine, Fruit Pectin, Tartaric Acid, Citric Acid. Similar to the McRib sauce, although no sodium benzoate or High Fructose Corn Syrup. If you look at Rufus Teages sauce, you get this:
There are more than 30 ingredients in that list and I have to tell you, it does look like the more the merrier there. That list of ingredients actually makes my mouth water.
The most frustrating thing about the quoted line above is that they suggest that the 70 ingredients are used to make the McRib patty, something that they think deserves to have quotes around the word meat, taste like a rib, when even a 2 year old would realize that most of those ingredients aren’t used in the meat. The McRib actually tastes like a pulled pork sandwich, I would guess about as much as a chicken nugget tastes like a chicken strip, because it is made from pork and covered in barbecue sauce and served on what is probably the very same bun as your pulled pork sandwich is.
6. Out of the 70 ingredients that make up the ‘pork’ sandwich, a little-known flour-bleaching agent known as azodicarbonamide lies among them.
The thing is, azodicarbonamide is actually not a little-known (it actually appears well known) flour-bleaching agent. Even according to this article it is known to mainstream media:
mainstream media outlets have generated content revealing how azodicarbonamide is actually used in the production of foamed plastics. Foamed plastics like yoga mats and more.
You can read all about azodicarbonamide here. The fact that a food additive is used in an industrial purpose is clearly fear mongering and a ridiculous attempt to make you associate the additive with the product that uses it, as many food additives are used in industrial processes. Did you know that citric acid has industrial uses, yet it is used in the most organic breads you can imagine. Azodicorbonamide is banned in many countries and has warnings in others. It is believed to be a respiratory sensitizer, which means that it could cause asthma. Apparently it does this by being inhaled, which would be impossible when it is in the bread, as all studies done on it have been in powder form. Some people argue that the FDA is behind the rest of the world in not banning Azodicorbonamide, and they may be. Certainly we can all agree that we don’t need this many chemicals and additives in our bread, whether they are believed safe or not. This seems excessive. The problem is, even though the media totally neglected to pick up on this fact, bloggers didn’t, Azodicorbonamide is in MOST commercially available breads (here).
According to this blogger, who won’t eat fast food now because he or she is convinced that burgers taste like gym mats, “The big story was NOT that it was in the McRib bun. The big story is that it is in almost every bun. However, it seems journalism standards have dropped these days.”
The most annoying thing about this one article that is so full of misinformation is that almost all of the sources that I used above to counter these statements of hyperbole were from his article in the first place!
Not only does Mr. Mercola fall for the unrotting burger: “We’ve also learned that fast food fare such as McDonald’s hamburgers contain so many chemicals and so few real food ingredients that a burger fails to show signs of decomposition after more than a decade…”
To add to the 70 ingredient story that we talked about above, we get the chemicals aren’t food line:
So, is McDonald’s fare really food?
When you consider the fact that a large number of the ingredients in a fast food meal exist nowhere in nature, but are rather concocted in a lab, the answer would have to be ‘no.’
Obviously the title of this article is a little misleading. You really don’t need to know anything about the McRib. It isn’t going to kill you, at least not on its own, but I have to tell you, the actual story behind the invention of the McRib and the invention of meat glue is great reading and I would recommend it to anyone.
You should know though, the bun for the McRib is terrible. Most commercial bread is terrible. In fact, if you could just cut ALL bread out of your diet you would be a much healthier person. Don’t buy the whole wheat scam either. Just kick the bread to the curb.
I know you all know this as well, but you would be much healthier if you stopped eating fast food. Not because some people believe it is a science experiment gone wrong, but because it is full of calories, mostly derived from fats and refined carbs. The calorie density of fast food is terrible. The McRib patty itself is probably very similar to the sausage patty that McDonald’s serves for breakfast, both of which are calorie bombs.
Please though, whatever you do, don’t listen to the health food quacks who try to convince you of things about fast food that simply aren’t true. They do us all a great disservice because by lying and exaggerating their claims they somehow make the fast food restaurants into the victims and misinform people about what makes us fat and unhealthy. The battle to lose weight is so hard, even when you know exactly what to avoid and WHY. It is nearly impossible when you are being constantly misinformed by the corporations and their massive advertising budgets and by zealots and their misguided ideologies.
I am as shocked as anyone to have to bring up Dr. Oz again, so quickly after the last time he humiliated himself recommending ‘miracles in a bottle’ for weight loss. Just the fact that he has recommended so many miracles recently is enough to make it clear that there is something wrong with him. Either he doesn’t know the definition of miracle or he is an idiot. Here is the definition of miracle… you decide which it is:
an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.
In any case, this current blunder of his has nothing to do with miracles (and if I was being honest, I am not surprised at all that he is back here). It has to do with his complete lack of research. I have no idea if some idiot in his staff picks some crazy idea and Dr. Oz just reads the cue cards. I saw his over selling of palm sugar today and I cringed through the whole thing. You can see some quotes from the clip below:
I have something new today that will change everything you know about baking and sweetening coffee and tea. This delicious simple switch can prevent the sugar crashes that make you hungry and then cause you to gain weight. There is a new tropical sweetener to hit the market and doctors are taking notice. It can help stabilize your blood sugar.
Why Coconut Sugar Really Isn’t Anything New
Those are pretty bold words… change everything I know… This must be a pretty impressive sugar. And listening to Dr. Oz, it seems like it is. Look at this chart:
Holy Crap!! Look at the difference between the table sugar and the coconut sugar! Of course there is no scale on the blood sugar axis so the image is literally meaningless, but if I didn’t know better I would say that the coconut palm sugar will actually single handedly reduce the GI response of foods that you have eaten, at least it appears to judging by Dr. Oz’s graph…
Of course coconut sugar does no such thing. Coconut sugar is simply a version of unrefined table sugar taken from coconut flowers. It is made up mostly of sucrose, which is the same substance that makes up table sugar. Sucrose is an equal combination of a glucose molecule and a fructose molecule. Sucrose typically has a GI range of 58 to 65. Understanding that Glucose is pretty much defined as being a GI of 100 (it is what the whole scale is based on), and fructose, which has a GI range of 12 to 25, it makes sense that sucrose falls right in between. Do remember though, sucrose is very refined.
Palm sugar is not and is often quoted as having a GI of 35, but that is the first warning sign. There is no way that any food product has one GI number. There are so many variations between people that multiple studies of any product will produce multiple numbers, or a range. These ranges are reported for almost all sweeteners, but quite often the extreme in the range is suggested to prove a point. Here the Sugar Association reports sucrose at 58, while here they report it at 80. The bias of each of these people is clearly evident in the evidence they chose to present. That is the problem with the GI of 35 for coconut sugar. The number comes from a study done in the Philippines that measured 10 test subject. The description of the test can be found here. There is nothing particularly wrong with the study, except the low sample size. Of course, the location of the study is important because, according to Wikipedia:
The world’s largest producers of coconuts are the Philippines. and Indonesia
I am not accusing them of wrong doing, it is just there is clear motivation for the country to select the best data and we have seen poor data done in countries that had a benefit from the outcome. Remember Dr. Oz and the African Mango that had research done in Cameroon, the largest producer of African Mango?
In fact a little more digging turns up a range of 35 to 54 for coconut sugar, based upon tests from the Philippines, USA Australia, and Japan. With these new figures, we are getting awfully close to sucrose, which makes sense. What makes even more sense is when you look at evaporated cane juice (which is what coconut sugar essentially is), it has a GI of 55 (I can’t find a range for it by the way, so I am a little skeptical of how much research has been done on it). 55 is awfully close to 54. Beyond the lack of refining, another explanation of the lower GI could be the amount of fructose to sucrose. Maple syrup has a GI of 54, honey has a GI of 30 and brown rice syrup has a GI of 25 so, lower GI sweeteners have been around for awhile, it doesn’t change what we know about sugar at all.
What Makes This Segment Offensive
Fructose has a GI of 22, yet nobody is recommending using it as a miracle sweetener. We know that Fructose is dangerous when consumed in moderate to large quantities because it is not absorbed and used in the blood stream but instead is metabolized by the liver and stored as fat. You can read all about it here (and if you don’t understand what fructose is and what it does, I highly recommend you read that article, it sums it up well). The point is, fructose is dangerous and it has a low glycemic index so you would have to be an idiot to recommend a sugar just because it has a low glycemic index, especially when you point out that it has the same calories as table sugar! This is what Dr. Oz does with coconut sugar. If that wasn’t bad enough, then he gets a self professed sugar addict and the rest of his audience to eat blondies (light coloured brownies) and cupcakes baked with coconut sugar instead of table sugar. The level of cognitive dissonance is astounding. It really appears that he is promoting eating baked goods just so long as they are made with coconut sugar (Try to cut out baked good entirely)!!!! This is INSANE!! Almost as insane as the line he uses to close his bit on coconut sugar:
Next, would you like to put your coconut palm sugar in a special tea that will help you lose weight all day long?
Don’t put sugar in your tea. Tea and coffee are excellent opportunities to cut your sugar dependence. I did it. It was hard, one of the hardest things I have done. It took awhile, to get used to it, but now I would never go back. It was a necessary first step in cutting my dependence on sugar and if you want to get fit, you are almost guaranteed to have to go down this road, oh and drinking tea won’t help you lose weight, no matter what the crackpot on TV says.
Early next week, Dr. Oz is going to have Kirstie Alley on his show and I cannot imagine how that is going to go. Here an actual doctor will have the opportunity to ask her about her missing science behind your ridiculous product, a product which has no explanation whatsoever as to how it works. Of course Dr. Oz is the last doctor on earth I would want conducting this interview so I am guessing there will be some crazy demonstrations/props, a lot of hand holding (am I the only one who is creeped out by how he has to grab onto every girl on the shows hand and not let go no matter what?), and dancing. After all, who needs evidence and science and answers when the two of them can get fabulously wealthy and dance around the stage….