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Daily Archive: 21/12/2014



December 2014



Pure, White, and Deadly

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Three Stars

Last week I purchased four books on sugar. Motivated by all the holiday sweets around, I remembered the last book I read last year – Good Calories, Bad Calories – and thought maybe I needed a bit of a refresher on nutrition. I searched for a few books, and I decided to start here.

The book is heavily academic, and focuses mostly on the author’s own research. Although much of it describes scientific study, it isn’t hard to read. Dr. Yudkin is interested in the effects of sugar not just as a cause of diabetes (and it’s important to note my use of the word “a” and not “the”) but as a factor contributing to the increase of heart disease and many other ailments. His research runs in direct opposition of Dr. Ancel Keys, who claims that dietary fat is the cause of heart disease, not. I have to say that Dr. Yudkin’s research is, when coupled with what I read last year in Good Calories, Bad Calories, more convincing.

Dr. Yudkin’s research is especially interesting because it focuses on sugar and not all refined carbohydrates; he is not making the argument that white bread is going to cause illness. And he backs that up with research. In many studies he compares rats fed the same diets except in one group they have added sugar and in the other they have added carbohydrates; in the former the rats have adverse reactions whereas in the latter they generally do not.

I appreciate the book because Dr. Yudkin is quite clear in his arguments that sugar is not the SOLE cause of really much of anything – and even some people who the evidence would suggest should get illnesses based on their consumption of sugar won’t because of other environmental factors. It’s interesting, because the way I read the book, it seems like Dr. Yudkin’s critics want him to only make his claims if he can show sugar is the sole cause of something, or that sugar will definitely cause it. Which is ridiculous, considering smoking is definitely a cause of lung cancer, but not everyone who smokes will get lung cancer.

The book’s last chapter is sort of fascinating, because Dr. Yudkin discusses the ways in which the sugar industry – either directly or via allegedly independent nutrition councils – has tried to discredit or silence Dr. Yudkin. It’s distressing, but it reminds me a bit of when I worked at a pharmaceutical company, and they spent a lot of time trying to discredit an author of a book critical of the industry before the book even came out. When money is involved, people get really defensive.

The main reason I don’t give this book a higher rating is because I think there are others out that that do it better. The book itself is also quite old; I believe this version is from the 80s. Based on other books I’ve read it appears his theories have been supported with evidence since then, but it seems like the best bet is to read a more recent version to have a better picture of why I really need to cut as much sugar out of my diet as possible. But probably not during the holidays. That’s just asking for failure.



December 2014



What I’m Reading – December 21, 2014

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading

Rape Culture

– “At what point do people stop denying the heat, the smoke and the shouts of burning victims before finally acknowledging that, yes, there is a fire here?” Beverly Johnson is the latest woman to accuse Bill Cosby. Are you ready to believe women’s stories? (via @SaraJBenincasa)

– “And Morris felt like she was alone. “All of the people that were there,” she says, “were his friends and were wrestling members. I didn’t have a single person on my side in this case. I didn’t have my family there. I didn’t have many friends in town. I was basically by myself besides my roommate.” All of this made her keenly aware that she was not emotionally ready to enter a criminal justice system that would scrutinize her life and choices. “I just didn’t feel ready then,” she says.” The Wrestler and the Rape Victim (via @scATX)

Reproductive Health

– “The spending bill includes a provision to extend abortion coverage for Peace Corps volunteers in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment — bringing volunteers’ coverage in line with the health care that all federal employees receive.” Government Spending Bill Quietly Resolves Peace Corps Abortion Coverage Debate (via @ThinkProgress)

– “The law is not only incarcerating a handful of new mothers but affecting many more women, as evidenced by months of interviews with women, doctors and health workers. Pregnant women are diving underground in an effort to avoid the fate they’ve seen in mug shots on the local news. They are avoiding prenatal care—and when they do get it, they are switching hospitals at the last minute, leaving the state, or giving birth outside of hospitals in the hope of avoiding prosecution and keeping their children.” The State Where Giving Birth Can Be Criminal (h/t @WentRougue)

– “The proposed measure reads, “No abortion shall be performed or induced unless and until the father of the unborn child provides written, notarized consent to the abortion.” The bill contains exceptions for women who become pregnant as the result of rape or incest—but there are caveats.” This GOP Lawmaker Wants a Woman to Get Permission From the Father Before Having an Abortion (h/t @MsFoundation)

Police Violence

– “In the current climate of protests in New York City that the commanding officer chose to post this to the verified Twitter account of the precinct for motivation is just flat-out tone deaf and shocking, if not revealing.” Midtown NYPD commanding officer posts, then immediately deletes, outrageous tweet (via @shaunking)

– “McElroy first contacted police Sept. 11, four weeks after Wilson shot and killed the 18-year-old Brown during a confrontation – and after the officer’s version of events had been described in media accounts.” Hannity favorite ‘Witness 40′ in Wilson grand jury is a liar and convicted felon: report (h/t @AngryBlackLady)

– “Furthermore, Sandy McElroy, beyond being a convicted felon, had a record in St. Louis of interfering with investigations and making preposterous claims about connections she had to cold cases. All of this was known to St. Louis officials. Her extreme racism was not private, but public, and was discussed at great length with the FBI before she was ever allowed to testify before the grand jury.” How Sandy McElroy and Prosecutor Bob McCulloch colluded to destroy the case against Darren Wilson (via @shaunking)

– “All we want is justice for John Crawford, and everyone responsible for John Crawford’s death should be held responsible,” Crawford family attorney Michael Wright said at a Tuesday press conference, numerous outlets reported. “The criminal justice system refused to hold those accountable so the civil system must.” John Crawford’s family sues Wal-Mart, Ohio town police for wrongful death (h/t @JamilSmith)

– “Currently awaiting Obama’s signature, it mandates that states receiving federal criminal justice assistance grants report, by gender and race, all deaths that occur in law enforcement custody, including any while a person is being detained or arrested.” Congress Is Finally Going to Make Local Law Enforcement Report How Many People They Kill (via @MotherJones)


– “The letter calls both the lifetime ban and the one-year deferral policies “discriminatory” and “unacceptable.” The lawmakers urged an end to the lifetime ban by the “end of 2014,” while also pushing for a less-stringent restriction than the one-year celibacy requirement.” Elizabeth Warren Says Gay Men Should Be Able To Donate Blood (via @MotherJones)


– “This—this—is how megaprojects turn into boondoggles: Politicians say they’re willing to keep throwing money at a construction project no matter how much it costs, no matter how long it takes, regardless of how much the facts change or how bad the news gets. That’s preposterous.” Guest Editorial: Seattle, Pull the Plug on the Tunnel Unless You Can Answer These Seven Questions (via @strangerslog)

Trans Rights

– “This important shift will ensure that the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are extended to those who suffer discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status,” Holder said in a statement. “This will help to foster fair and consistent treatment for all claimants. And it reaffirms the Justice Department’s commitment to protecting the civil rights of all Americans.” The Justice Department Just Announced a Big Step Forward for Transgender Rights (via @PolicyMic)


– “At a more basic level, any document dump beckons to a basic reportorial instinct. Everybody we deal with – politicians, cops, big media empires — wants to show us the stage-managed version. We want to see what came before that, what happened when they thought no one was looking.” Aaron Sorkin’s masturbatory falseness: Sony’s stolen emails, “The Newsroom” and a bankrupt NYT Op-Ed (h/t @thewayoftheid)


– “Recently released documents detail how the the United States charged hundreds of Japanese military officials and prison guards with war crimes for abuses against American prisoners of war, including waterboarding.” New Documents Show the US Called Waterboarding Torture During World War II (h/t @blogdiva)


– “Recommendations made on medical talk shows often lack adequate information on specific benefits or the magnitude of the effects of these benefits,” the article said. “… The public should be skeptical about recommendations made on medical talk shows.” Half of Dr. Oz’s medical advice is baseless or wrong, study says (h/t @DrJanChi)

– “Ignoring the complexity of body size, importantly, nowhere in the ADA definition does it say “unless the impairment is the fault of the person, in which case no accommodations shall be given.”  I assume that’s because the idea that we should try to determine if a person’s disability is their fault before providing  accommodations that allow them to be a welcome part of society is absolutely horrifying.” Is “Obesity” a Disability (via @DancesWithFat)