Ryall says no to nanny state

December 16th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand is getting fatter – with three in every 10 adults now regarded as obese.

A leading diabetes researcher has called the new figures alarming and has accused the Government of failing to take the problem seriously.

However, Health Minister has rejected “” measures, instead arguing that providing information and support to people is enough.

“In the end, the Government can pass all the laws it likes but unless people eat less and exercise more, things won’t change,” Mr Ryall said yesterday in response to the new figures.

Exactly. The Government’s role is to inform and support, not dictate and ban.

The Government focus for new nutrition programmes has been on mothers and babies. It is also spending more on screening for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and on providing more “green prescriptions”, in which GPs and nurses encourage patients to get more exercise and improve their diet. Some health advocates have called for more radical action, including taxing sugary drinks and fatty foods.

The one and only fat tax implemented in the world was a disaster that was scrapped after barely a year. But that doesn’t stop the advocates.

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60 Responses to “Ryall says no to nanny state”

  1. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    “unless people eat less and exercise more”

    It can’t be that simple else everyone would be doing it.

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  2. ciaron (1,165 comments) says:

    “green prescriptions”

    look, I’m trying not to swear anymore but; What. The. Fuck.?!!!

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  3. Jaffa (67 comments) says:

    The skinniest people at the food bank, are the ones doing all the work!

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  4. Yoza (1,352 comments) says:

    The tax-payer is subsidising the shit-food industry through the public health service and welfare benefits. This sector of corporate New Zealand should be forced to contribute to the cost it imposes on society.

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  5. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    I did read an interesting article recently about “a calorie is not a calorie”. Not in the hippy sense of explaining some weird combination of carbs and proteins etc. But in the sense that we measure calorie intake based on drying out the food and burning it to ascertain energy content. When we do animal studies (e.g. measuring the nutritional content of grasses with cows), we also dry out cow pats and burn them, and subtract the amount that came out the bottom from the amount that went in the top. We know that the roughage that cows eat doesn’t all digest, there’s a reasonable energy content in the waste.

    So, it’s also true of humans. The sugary and over processed stuff that people eat more and more gets a very high ratio of conversion. Most of the energy is easily accessible. Raw foods and unprocessed foods (think carrots for example) have energy in them, but it both takes energy to digest them, and only a proportion of the energy ends up available.

    So, Paul’s Christmas message. Eat more raw foods, and you can eat more of it. Big Christmas dinners coming…..

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  6. redqueen (345 comments) says:

    On the one hand, the MSM bemoans how much pressure is on people (particularly the young) to ‘look the right way’, which generally is not fat and often athletic, but on the other hand we need to impose statist measures to tax or ban fatty foods…which one is it? If all the social pressure in the world isn’t making people put that drumstick down…then maybe the people in question just don’t care and this is a futile attempt…

    I agree that more information, if objective, would be good (not sure I want Captain Hook on food too…), but most people understand the difference between ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ food, and when I have a beer, sausages, and fried onions, followed by a nice serving of ice cream, tonight for dinner…I’ll reflect on my 10km run today (and five days a week) and enjoy my personal choice.

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  7. gump (1,231 comments) says:

    @DPF

    “Exactly. The Government’s role is to inform and support, not dictate and ban.”

    —————————-

    The Government has a legitimate role in regulating things that have a negative impact on public health.

    That’s why it regulates alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

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  8. tvb (3,945 comments) says:

    Yes but there are things that could be done like getting rid of foods that high amounts of sugar in them such as sugary soft drinks that have no food value at all. And some manufacturers are making fruit drinks that have much less sugar in them that needs to be encouraged and so on.

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  9. queenstfarmer (696 comments) says:

    @Yoza, please give us your definition of “the shit-food industry”. Or, are you incapable of doing that?

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  10. Yoza (1,352 comments) says:

    Tony Ryall is the nanny state in action, he is ‘nannying’ the right of big business to flood New Zealand with cheap toxic-slop by shielding them from criticism from the scientific community and consumer rights groups. As long as the New Zealand government acts as a facilitator for the rights of corporations to continue pumping edible products of dubious nutritional value into the population they are acting against the interests of ordinary New Zealanders.

    The very least the government could do is ban any advertising aimed at children, anyone who supports media conmen going after children is sick.

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  11. Ryan Sproull (6,661 comments) says:

    If anyone reading this is interested in healthy eating, I recommend Andrew Weil for food stuff.

    There’s a good interactive food pyramid here – click on things to learn more about each element.

    http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02995/Dr-Weil-Anti-Inflammatory-Food-Pyramid.html

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  12. Gulag1917 (425 comments) says:

    The nanny state advocates would regulate our anuses if they had half a chance.

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  13. Simon (613 comments) says:

    This is for Yoza the people’s accountant.

    Fat people die earlier thus saving national super payments. Lets see 4 million people with 3 out of 10 dying say 10 years earlier than non fatties. national super is say $15,000 pa.

    Thats say 1.2 million people dying early for ten years at $15,000 pa. Saving $180 billion. Fuck.

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  14. Gulag1917 (425 comments) says:

    “The very least the government could do is ban any advertising aimed at children, anyone who supports media conmen going after children is sick.”
    but is ok for radicals to go after children to educate them sexually.

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  15. ciaron (1,165 comments) says:

    Simon, I don’t disagree but you have not factored in the extra health spending as these big boned people traverse the last bit of this mortal coil.

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  16. JMS (201 comments) says:

    Yoza is clearly having great difficulty understanding the meaning of ‘nannying’.

    I’m sure Tony Ryall is a nanny statist on some issues, but he isn’t on this one.

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  17. Zynic (1 comment) says:

    Combining studies of 2.88 miliion individuals, people who are overweight(bmi 25-30) have lower all cause mortality while grade one obesity( bmi 30-35) has no significant mortality from normal weight. JAMA 2013 309 p71-82

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  18. adamsmith1922 (879 comments) says:

    JMS

    Let’s face it Yoza has great difficulty understanding

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  19. Gulag1917 (425 comments) says:

    McDonalds compels fat people to purchase.

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  20. Yoza (1,352 comments) says:

    queenstfarmer (555 comments) says:
    December 16th, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    @Yoza, please give us your definition of “the shit-food industry”. Or, are you incapable of doing that?

    Try this on for size:

    The biggest problems are sugar-sweetened beverages, processed meats, snack foods and some of the lower-quality formula-type products marketed for infants and toddlers, says the convener of the panel, Dr Tracy Comans.

    Cooked food eaten away from the home is also a major concern.

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  21. wikiriwhis business (3,302 comments) says:

    ‘Fat people die earlier thus saving national super payments.’

    I have no problem with fat people dying earlier (double chin MP’s) if they will not make an effort to help themselves

    and take life and themselves with respect.

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  22. Yoza (1,352 comments) says:

    JMS (98 comments) says:
    December 16th, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Yoza is clearly having great difficulty understanding the meaning of ‘nannying’.

    I’m sure Tony Ryall is a nanny statist on some issues, but he isn’t on this one.

    adamsmith1922 (852 comments) says:
    December 16th, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    JMS

    Let’s face it Yoza has great difficulty understanding

    Corporations select the likes of Tony Ryall to ‘nanny’ their interests in parliament. Tony Ryall’s job is to protect the profits of big business from the demonstrably unhealthy consequences the activities of those businesses have on society.
    It should not be the least bit contentious to suggest our democratically elected officials should act in the interests of the public’s welfare, even if doing so may have a negative impact on corporate profits. That’s not too hard to understand is it, kiddies?

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  23. Yoza (1,352 comments) says:

    Gulag1917 (284 comments) says:
    December 16th, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    “The very least the government could do is ban any advertising aimed at children, anyone who supports media conmen going after children is sick.”
    but is ok for radicals to go after children to educate them sexually.

    Are you one of these nuts that opposes sex education in schools?

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  24. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    @Yoza: I wouldn’t disagree at all if that’s what you were asking for. But what you’re actually asking for is the right for the government to decide what I eat because other people are fat.

    How about a different policy. We’ll create “skinny people only” sections in supermarkets, and we’ll make people get an “I’m an adult and I control my own body weight” card before they’re allowed in there. Problem solved. Those who don’t have issues with self control and/or genes or whatever other reason they’re fat will have temptation removed. Those who don’t have those issues won’t have their freedom curtailed.

    At bottom the problem here is that you see the population as being stupid and needing someone else to make decisions for them. And as always, you’re removing options for people who are doing nothing wrong just so that you can get to the minority who are doing things you don’t like.

    I believe that the more you make decisions for people the less they take responsibility for themselves. We need to reduce the number of things that government intervenes in – our threshold for deciding the government would intervene should include both the direct benefits of this intervention, the unexpected consequences, and the expected consequence of removing people’s autonomy and training them to be idiots.

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  25. dime (8,778 comments) says:

    this thread is LOL

    yoza clearly needs the state to tell him/her what to do

    also, LOL @ lefties pretending to care about taxpayers when it suits them

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  26. Nigel Kearney (747 comments) says:

    The Government has a legitimate role in regulating things that have a negative impact on public health. That’s why it regulates alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

    What alcohol, tobacco and other drugs have in common is proportionality between how much you use (and are taxed) and the resulting harm. Not an exact mathematical relationship of course, but a general tendency for the tax you pay to increase according to the costs imposed on others.

    But food is completely different because the consequences depend on how much you exercise and there is no way to directly tax a lack of exercise. So a tax on high energy foods would unfairly penalize active people which is the exact opposite of the intended goal.

    Also, the fat content of food depends on how it is cooked, unlike other substances where the magnitude of the adverse effect is known at the time of purchase.

    If the government is going to do anything in this area, taxing food cannot work. A better way would just be to tax everyone according to their BMI measurement. Which is what health insurers would effectively do anyway in a non-socialist system.

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  27. Gulag1917 (425 comments) says:

    Yoga,
    hi, anybody that disagrees with you a nut? Of course I believe that there should be sex education in schools but not education that makes children a recruiting ground for homosexuals and perverts.

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  28. wreck1080 (3,527 comments) says:

    i love carls jr.

    Hmmm.

    My bmi is 25.5, but actively trying to get it down to 23. that means, eating bugger all, and running 3 or 4 times a week.

    fat tax or not has little to do with motivation. This is an internal desire to improve health.

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  29. wikiriwhis business (3,302 comments) says:

    Gulag

    Absolutely. Keep the gay agenda out of schools.

    why are gays in schools preferable to Bible in schools.

    Outrageous!!

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  30. Gulag1917 (425 comments) says:

    Wreck, I am exhausted reading that.

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  31. wikiriwhis business (3,302 comments) says:

    ‘My bmi is 25.5, but actively trying to get it down to 23. that means, eating bugger all, and running 3 or 4 times a week.

    fat tax or not has little to do with motivation. This is an internal desire to improve health.’

    Don’t sound like a ‘Wreck’ to me

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  32. Yoza (1,352 comments) says:

    PaulL (5,580 comments) says:
    December 16th, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    @Yoza: I wouldn’t disagree at all if that’s what you were asking for. But what you’re actually asking for is the right for the government to decide what I eat because other people are fat.

    Not at all. I would argue that the government ensures unhealthy food is taxed to the point that more healthy food is a viable alternative. I am fairly certain this is what most public health advocates are campaigning for. It would not be hard to demand that before any processed food is sold publicly it must be classified first and, depending on the classification it receives, taxed accordingly.
    This is the job we for which pay our elected officials and public servants.

    Gulag1917 (285 comments) says:
    December 16th, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Yoga,
    hi, anybody that disagrees with you a nut? Of course I believe that there should be sex education in schools but not education that makes children a recruiting ground for homosexuals and perverts.

    Nah, you’ve lost me. I have three kids in school and I guess I missed that particular recruitment drive.

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  33. queenstfarmer (696 comments) says:

    @Yoza, that is not a definition. You said you want to tax “This sector of corporate New Zealand” that produces what you consider to be “shit food”.

    And you mention “snack foods” and “cooked food eaten away from the home”. Which means what, exactly? Of course, if you can’t define it, it means you are just having a hypocritical whinge.

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  34. Yoza (1,352 comments) says:

    queenstfarmer (556 comments) says:
    December 16th, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    @Yoza, that is not a definition.

    Yes, it is.

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  35. gump (1,231 comments) says:

    @Gulag1917

    “The nanny state advocates would regulate our anuses if they had half a chance.”

    ——————–

    The Government already does regulate our anuses.

    Try dropping your pants and taking a shit in the middle of Queen Street if you want to verify this.

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  36. Gulag1917 (425 comments) says:

    People have got an easy choice make their own food which requires time, energy and planning or live on takeaways/fastfood etc as some cultures do. Regulation and taxation will not improve the situation and will cause more problems than it solves.

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  37. gump (1,231 comments) says:

    @Gulag1917

    “but is ok for radicals to go after children to educate them sexually.”

    ——————-

    Yes – it is perfectly ok to educate children about basic sexual matters.

    Aside from providing answers to their natural curiosity about their bodies, children need to be educated about the difference between normal touching and sexual abuse – so they know to speak up if they are abused.

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  38. dime (8,778 comments) says:

    “I would argue that the government ensures unhealthy food is taxed to the point that more healthy food is a viable alternative.”

    umm it is

    it blows Dimes mind whenever he goes to the fruit n vege shop. I rock up with a shit ton of food and the dude is like “19 bucks thanks”.

    Dime is eating clean at the moment, my food bill is bugga all.

    I know things like “3 giant ass bags of fat fuck monster munch” is cheap. but a lot of crap food isnt cheap. especially pre-prepared frozen stuff.

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  39. queenstfarmer (696 comments) says:

    Oh good Yoza, so you would put a tax on all businesses that sell (or produce? or import?):

    - “sugar-sweetened beverages” – the tax rate on your coffee will depend on whether you have sugar!
    - “processed meats” – is ground beef “processed”? Frozen chicken? Processed fish?
    - “snack foods” – not even going to start here!
    - “some of the lower-quality formula-type products marketed for infants and toddlers” – lower quality according to who?
    - “cooked food eaten away from the home” – so it’s taxed if I dine in, but if I drive home and eat it then no tax?

    LOL yes I’m sure that will be a great definition with no unintended consequences :-D

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  40. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    Yup. Orange juice higher sugar than coke. Gonna tax that? There’s no such thing as unhealthy food (ok, sure a few exceptions), there’s just unhealthy quantities. There’s no way to tax that, other than as Nigel says, tax fatness directly. Govt mandated weigh ins once a month, tax calculated based on how fat you are.

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  41. kowtow (6,717 comments) says:

    “Alcohol,tobacco and other drugs……”

    Newspeak.

    Alcohol and tobacco are not drugs.

    Placing alcohol and tobacco in the same league as “drugs” is just repeating the PC control merchants’ mantra of denormalising an integral part of western culture and tradition.

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  42. JMS (201 comments) says:

    Western civilization did just fine without a ban on Cannabis, until Progressives banned it in the early 20th century.

    Wow Kowtow the nanny-state Progressive.

    Truth hurts eh?

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  43. gump (1,231 comments) says:

    @kowtow

    “Alcohol and tobacco are not drugs.”

    —————–

    Uh huh. Dropped on your head as a baby were you?

    Alcohol and tobacco are legal drugs. That is literally what they are.

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  44. Miritu (23 comments) says:

    The side with the most consistent argument will win. The Left are more consistent than the Right in wanting state control over individual responsibility. Many on the Right still want state control over individual responsibility, only in areas they deem necessary.

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  45. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    “…..The Left are more consistent than the Right in wanting state control over individual responsibility….”

    No shit……..Mao…..Lenin…..Stalin…..Pol Pot…..Blair…..Clarke….Obama……Cunliffe.

    “….Many on the Right still want state control over individual responsibility, only in areas they deem necessary….”

    Utter Bullshit!

    Expecting all members of society to be ‘reasonably responsable’ is not ‘enforcing state control’ upon anyone…..if anything……it’s freeing people from the own self imposed constraints; ignorance and the unwillingness to co-operate more fully in open society.

    Where have you been since the Vietnam War…..they all fought to have their chains removed…..freedom a bit too hard for them now is it? :cool:

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  46. Johnboy (13,424 comments) says:

    It’s OK for a scrawny little prick like Tony to say that!

    Did he consult with Gerry first? :)

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  47. JMS (201 comments) says:

    Harriet,

    no not bullshit.

    If by reasonably responsible, you mean for example the state banning driving under the influence of intoxicating substances, then I agree.
    But any conservonutter who wants to tell me what I can and cannot smoke in my own back yard, is not one iota better than those nanny state socialists.

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  48. jakejakejake (128 comments) says:

    Instead of a fat tax just refuse treatment of the morbidly obese in our public health system.

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  49. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    JMS#

    I agree with you.

    I was implying that people should make a reasonably responsable effort in providing for themselves by working, education, bringing up kids properly…………. and smoking outdoors – and paying for their healthcare – yes, I agree – the high taxes on smokes is for ‘a smokers healthcare’ and not for the health depts ‘consolidated fund’.

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  50. Johnboy (13,424 comments) says:

    “and smoking outdoors”

    Heres a role model for you Harriet! :)

    https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=the+marlboro+man&tbm=isch&source=iu&imgil=H5gz4xQgxf78pM%253A%253Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fencrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com%252Fimages%253Fq%253Dtbn%253AANd9GcTy6d2E_jLrI8CvEDbAQefV9QCUDIovJOk2HJYJW-XS1lHnd4bMWA%253B1250%253B795%253B-BvdOzcw5nT1ZM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fblindflaneur.com%25252F2008%25252F10%25252F03%25252Fwhere%25252525E2%2525252580%2525252599s-my-pack-of-mavericks-i-need-a-smoke%25252F&sa=X&ei=F6iuUuHgG6ySiAfozYGoDw&ved=0CDwQ9QEwBQ&biw=1105&bih=600#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=H5gz4xQgxf78pM%3A%3B-BvdOzcw5nT1ZM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fblindflaneur.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2008%252F10%252Fmarlboro_man.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fblindflaneur.com%252F2008%252F10%252F03%252Fwhere%2525E2%252580%252599s-my-pack-of-mavericks-i-need-a-smoke%252F%3B1250%3B795

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  51. transmogrifier (518 comments) says:

    Given that as people get older, they become more prone to disease in general, the fact that the overweight may die earlier and save the country on pensions may in fact be of economic benefit to society overall.

    I mean, if some overweight guy gets treated for diabetes now but eventually dies before getting, say, cancer, which also would have cost money to treat…..

    Also, some obesity related diseases that cause sudden deaths, like heart attacks, would in fact be “cheaper” in the long run, wouldn’t they?

    Yes, it’s ghoulish to consider, but it’s something a government has to calculate before it starts restricting freedoms for no tangible value.

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  52. transmogrifier (518 comments) says:

    Of course, this is only a consideration if the government provides healthcare; private medical insurance would solve a lot of these headaches.

    And my reasoning above is based on situations where individuals are essentially choosing to place themselves at risk. It’s not an argument against, say, drink driving laws, which I think are valid in that their primary purpose should be preventing drunk idiots from putting OTHERS at risk.

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  53. Johnboy (13,424 comments) says:

    I like your thinking transmogrifier. Perhaps we could find some fat in the health budget to subsidise breakfast steak and cheese pies for folk with a BMI over 30 and a bad family health history instead of blowing all the surplus dosh on ad’s about exercise and getting your lumpy bits tested regular! :)

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  54. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    High sat fat-Low carb diets people…its sweeping the world…

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  55. Left Right and Centre (2,397 comments) says:

    High sat fat-Low carb diets people…its sweeping the world…

    It’s one of Ken Ring’s mates….

    No-one with any braincells recommends the high sat fat part loser. Or even just high fat.

    When are you going to demonstrate that eating 250g-350g+ of sat fat per day without gaining weight scone ? Still waiting for that.

    When are you going to show that fat ‘passes straight through the system and out the other end’. I don’t think so.

    When are you going to fuck off and leave the food and drink threads alone ? You’re a fly waiting to land on shit.

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  56. Left Right and Centre (2,397 comments) says:

    Zynic – really? The fatties are the same as the non-fat, and overweight people are better off ? Nah.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11169391

    That’s probably about right. Healthy obesity is a myth. Something fatties would dearly love to be true. Wishful thinking.

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  57. Left Right and Centre (2,397 comments) says:

    PaulL – you could eat your own shit – there’s quite a lot of kilojoule energy leftover in it, or so I read anyway.

    I love your comment at 3:39pm but the earlier one – nah. It’s a set of complicated issues and when mixed in with the science… what a fucking mess.

    Ok – starting with a calorie is not a calorie. First off is Aus and NZ kilojoules is the dominating unit of measurement for food energy values. That’s a confusing start. The masses might think a ‘kilojoule’ is some type of really cool bling.

    Protein and carbohydrate are both assigned a kilojoule value of around 17kj each. The thermic effect of protein is a lot higher than carb, something like 30% vs fuck all % for carb. Unless you know that…. the 17kj per gram for both protein and carb is a wee bit meaningless.

    There’s some views out there that the values for carb, protein and fat are wrong or in fact plain bollocks based on the burn tests used. hmmm. I hope not anyway.

    Something else: From a purely weight management perspective… you’re going to kill yourself if you don’t give yourself a pleasure food. What do you choose ? Chippies or boiled sweets ? The second one. Why ? Because from the objective of keeping energy intake lower, sweets (non-chocolate coated) are sugar = carb = 1 700kj per 100g maximum. The chippies with a high fat content are in the low 2 000s… 2 200-2 300kj per 100g, that sort of range. From a dietary intake perspective, you might as well go with the chippies. Fat at least has nutritional value, whereas the sugar in the sweets is empty energy.

    I love knowing all of that stuff – but we’re talking about the KISS classes here. Keep it simple for simple people (morons).

    There’s for and against when it comes to raw food. Cooking at certain temperatures releases certain nutrients not available when a vegetable is eaten raw. It’s also easier on your bloody teeth. Desmond Morris will try to tell you that humans like cooking food because it is reminiscent of the temperature that a freshly killed animal would’ve been – when humans hunted old school styles. And on and on it goes.

    When I lost 15-20kg in three months – the only thing I really understood at the time 100% was the energy values. Low numbers good, big numbers bad. That lead to things like – yeah, losing weight like a mofo for sure – but – cutting fat right the hell out. That goes against health advice, and it was later ‘re-inserted back into the matrix’ when I ‘refined’ my health and fitness knowledge. It even lead to me allowing myself a certain amount of ‘junk food’ as I thought I must be able to have a more exciting option for taking in fat apart from say 50g of butter per day. You don’t need extensive detailed layers of knowledge about physiology to learn how to have a crack at weight management. It can’t hurt though. It’s only going to confuse a lot of ‘less blessed’ folks out there I’d say. :)

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  58. Left Right and Centre (2,397 comments) says:

    Re fat tax – I’m thankful for the commenters who are able to sum up better than I ever could why it’s such a stinking shitarse of an idea.

    Food is enjoyable in a way that nothing else is. Life is short. You could in theory be dead tomorrow. Don’t think so ? Neither did people you see in the news.

    I love being in shape, love having 10-12% bodyfat abs – love it, love it, love it. But when I was overweight – eating shit like there’s no tomorrow was fucking good too. And I miss it. I get fat people, I really do. Eat, drink and be merry. A shorter life of hedonistic ecstasy versus a longer life of puritanical wowser misery.

    And just to give some of the downsides of losing weight and high levels of physical activity – sex drive can go AWOL, boring strict diet with only a small space for any junk, the feeling that you’re serving a ‘food prison sentence’ and severe intensity cramp in legs. Also – other people just don’t get it, so you end up feeling like a freak for wanting to be in the healthy weight range.

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  59. Weihana (4,475 comments) says:

    kowtow (5,925 comments) says:
    December 16th, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    “Alcohol,tobacco and other drugs……”

    Newspeak.

    Alcohol and tobacco are not drugs.

    Placing alcohol and tobacco in the same league as “drugs” is just repeating the PC control merchants’ mantra of denormalising an integral part of western culture and tradition.

    Surely you must know you are literally incorrect in that a “drug” is any substance introduced into the body to produce a physiological effect. However, it would be reasonable to distinguish recreational drug use from other drug use.

    A recreational drug is any drug that produces a psychoactive effect for the purposes of enjoyment. Alcohol and tobacco meet this definition. They are recreational drugs every bit as much as any other drug. They both have a high potential for addiction, especially tobacco, and are associated with a range of health risks (up to and including death) and social harm.

    While it is true there is a long history of such drug use in western culture, such use has by no means been without controversy and there have been various attempts at prohibiting or restricting such drugs. It should also be noted that Cannabis too has a very long history of use dating back at least 4000 years. From the BBC:


    The use of cannabis is believed to stretch back 4,000 years. The compound which gives cannabis its mood-altering properties is known as THC. Cannabis has been used as a medicine for thousands of years all over the world including India, China and the Middle East. In China, it was used to treat conditions such as malaria, constipation and rheumatism. But it was not until the middle of the nineteenth century that doctors in the west began to take an interest.

    Syringe

    Even Queen Victoria was given it by her doctor to relieve period pain and in the United States it could be bought freely in shops. It was the invention of the syringe towards the end of the 19th century that marked an end to its widespread medicinal use. Injecting drugs meant they could take effect a lot faster. Cannabis cannot be dissolved in water, so therefore cannot be injected.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/panorama/1632726.stm

    It appears that your perception of “western culture and tradition” is a narrow one.

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  60. Left Right and Centre (2,397 comments) says:

    Weihana – when most people hear talk of someone who is described as a ‘heavy drug user’ – what comes to mind, hmmm ?

    Get your head out of your fucking arse :) :)

    Oh, they must be an alcoholic or have a tobacco addiction. Yeah right. I don’t think so.

    It don’t matter what your fancy pants smart prick edumacated bullshit hair-splitting advice might be… hahahahahahaha

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