Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Is fake meat good for both you and for the environment?

It is too early to draw firm conclusions but there are significant problems with it

A new generation of plant-based meat alternatives (PBMAs) has entered the market. These products are specifically designed to mimic the taste and experience of eating meat, while being marketed as a way to accelerate the shift away from animal-based products. But should PBMAs be considered part of a healthy low-carbon diet (one that aims to reduce greenhouse gases due to the methods of production, packaging, processing, transport, preparation, and waste of food) that can help reduce reliance on industrial meat production? The answer to that question remains far from clear given the lack of rigorously designed, independently funded studies.

At this point, 2 companies dominate the PBMA landscape. Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat both offer burger patties, which are now available in numerous fast food restaurant chains, supermarkets, and other food entities primarily in North America. Designed to imitate the taste and experience of eating meat, these novel products are aimed to appeal to a broader consumer base than the relatively smaller vegan or vegetarian demographic that had more often been the target of earlier animal product alternatives.

For their touted climate and natural resource benefits and their unique mimicry of meat, PBMAs have garnered significant consumer attention. A recent Life Cycle Assessment commissioned by Beyond Meat found that the Beyond Burger generates 90% less greenhouse gas emissions and requires 46% less energy, 99% less water, and 93% less land use compared with a burger made from US beef,4 leading to the conclusion that PBMAs are likely to have less environmental effects than industrial beef production based on the metrics analyzed. However, the robustness of this conclusion warrants further studies.

While environmental factors can and should be strong motivators of food choice, it is equally important to consider the effects of PBMAs on human health. It is important to be cautious in directly extrapolating the potential benefits found in previous research on plant-based foods and dietary patterns to PBMAs, given their highly processed nature. Randomized clinical trials have demonstrated that replacing red meat with nuts, legumes, and other plant-based protein foods reduces levels of total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.5 Long-term epidemiologic studies have also shown that this shift from red meat to plant foods is associated with lower risks of chronic diseases and total mortality.6 However, PBMAs incorporate purified plant protein rather than whole foods, with Beyond Burgers using pea protein isolate and Impossible Burgers using soy protein isolate and concentrate. A recent short-term controlled feeding study found that consuming diets high in ultra-processed food causes excess caloric intake and weight gain.7 Beyond the creation of calorically dense and highly palatable products, food processing can also lead to the loss of some nutrients and phytochemicals naturally present in plant foods.

While Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods burger patties are lower in total and saturated fat than a beef burger patty and contain zero cholesterol (they are similar in calories and protein), they are also both higher in sodium. Without further studies, there is no evidence to substantiate that these nutrient differences alone offer a significant health benefit. In fact, PBMAs are higher in saturated fat compared with most minimally processed plant-based protein sources, such as beans and lentils.

When assessing the health effects of PBMAs it is also necessary to consider how these products are consumed. For example, these popular PBMA burgers are often consumed in fast food settings where they may be placed on a refined grain bun with an array of toppings, served with french fries and even a sugary beverage. Thus, it is not possible to assume that substituting a PBMA patty for a beef patty improves overall diet quality.

In addition, another concern that is unique to the Impossible Burger must be considered. This product contains high amounts of heme (an iron-containing molecule) from soy plants added to the burger patty to enhance the product’s meaty flavor and appearance. Higher intake of heme iron has been associated with increased body iron stores and elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes.8


Pope Francis Calls for ‘Drastic Measures’ to Combat ‘Climate Emergency’

He is tying the church to a Satanic lie

Human beings have caused “a climate emergency that gravely threatens nature and life itself,” Pope Francis said Sunday before urging “drastic measures” to fight global warming.

In his Message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, the pope adopted the apocalyptic language encouraged by climate alarmists to frighten people into taking action.

“Too many of us act like tyrants with regard to creation,” he declared. “Let us make an effort to change and to adopt more simple and respectful lifestyles!”

“Now is the time to abandon our dependence on fossil fuels and move, quickly and decisively, towards forms of clean energy and a sustainable and circular economy. Let us also learn to listen to indigenous peoples, whose age-old wisdom can teach us how to live in a better relationship with the environment,” he said.

The pope has apparently joined the climate alarmists in employing more incendiary language, dropping his former references to climate change to speak of a “climate emergency” and an “environmental crisis” in Sunday’s message.

He also underscored the forthcoming United Nations Climate Action Summit as of “particular importance” while proposing that governments will have the responsibility there of showing the political will to take “drastic measures to achieve as quickly as possible zero net greenhouse gas emissions.”

Referring specifically to fires in the Amazon region, Francis called on everyone to “take up these opportunities to respond to the cry of the poor and of our earth!”

“Egoism and self-interest have turned creation, a place of encounter and sharing, into an arena of competition and conflict,” he said. “In this way, the environment itself is endangered: something good in God’s eyes has become something to be exploited in human hands.”

“Deterioration has increased in recent decades: constant pollution, the continued use of fossil fuels, intensive agricultural exploitation and deforestation are causing global temperatures to rise above safe levels,” he said.

The pontiff went on to enumerate the effects of climate change: an “increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather phenomena,” the “desertification of the soil,” “melting of glaciers, scarcity of water, neglect of water basins and the considerable presence of plastic and microplastics in the oceans.”

All of these “testify to the urgent need for interventions that can no longer be postponed,” he warned.


CNN falsely pushes claims that ‘climate crisis is making hurricanes more dangerous’

CNN’s fall from a purveyor of news to pure propaganda organ of the Left was vividly displayed yesterday.   An anchor named Ana Cabrera accused an expert of “sidestepping” the purported issue of global warming making hurricanes more dangerous. She didn’t interview the guest herself, but rather commented on a previous interview done by her colleague in which the other CNN anchor tried to bait guest Peter Gaynor, acting FEMA director, into blaming global warming:

"Researchers say that we’re going to see even more very intense hurricanes due to the climate crisis. Do you agree with that?"

Gaynor refused to agree. When the recording of the interview was done, Cabrera blatantly stated (with prepared-in-advance slides with the text):

"Here are the facts we know that the climate crisis is making hurricanes more dangerous. Here are the top ways listed in order of scientific confidence. The sea level rise is making storm surge more dangerous and making storms wetter, increasing the rainfall rate, as well as the amount of precipitation a storm can produce. Strong storms are getting even stronger because of warmer oceans. And storms are rapidly intensifying more frequently. So we are seeing this play out in real time with hurricane Dorian, the strongest hurricane to ever hit the Bahamas on record."

What makes this so shameful is that there is no evidence at all that global warming has anything to do with Hurricane Dorian or any purported increase in hurricane activity. The National Atmospheric and Oceanographic Administration (NOAA) has officially debunked such claims. Today, Dr. Brian Joondeph presents charts he’s made from historical records of hurricanes showing absolutely no trend in per-decade hurricane activity:

It is obvious from the fact that both anchors went out of their way to make a fatuous point that Jeff Zucker or his minions have imposed a party line on the on-air personalities. They want to punish Acting Director Gaynor and anyone else who fails to deliver their talking points, by slurring him not once but twice on air for the same interview.

But in the end, it is CNN that is being punished by viewers, who have reduced its audience share dramatically. AT&T, which owns CNN, is now robbing its shareholders of revenue that would be theirs if CNN hadn’t shirked its role of news presenter in favor of blaring phony propaganda.


Media drown the truth with alarmist flooding claims

The climate media complex is making new claims about global warming causing increases in flooding, but objective evidence clearly contradicts the claims. Perhaps the media should check actual scientific evidence before making false global warming claims. Or maybe they do, but simply prefer not to report the truth.

The UK Guardian published an August 30 article, “What 500,000 Americans hit by floods can teach us about fighting climate change.” Claiming that global warming is making floods worse, and telling personal interest stories about people who have dealt with floods, the article’s sole scientific authority cited to support its claim is data showing more people have filed flood insurance claims in recent years, especially in comparison to the Reagan administration years.

The problem with such an assertion is that there are many more people living in the United States now than during the Reagan administration. When Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980, there were 227 million people living in the United States. Currently, there are 329 million people living in the United States.  More people living in America means more people will likely file claims of every sort – including flooding claims – regardless of whether there is any global warming or any increase in floods.

Also, urbanization and changes in policies to remove dams and otherwise restore rivers and streams to more natural conditions have also increased the frequency of flooding events.

So how can we discern a climate signal – or lack thereof – regarding flooding?

To solve this challenge, scientists have identified and studied the water volume history of primarily natural rivers and streams versus, to discern any changes in water flow and flooding events that may be caused by climate. The studies show there has been no increase in flooding events in such rivers and streams.

A 2009 study in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Water Resources Association reported, “There is broad evidence … for increased magnitudes of low and moderate flows both regionally and nationally.” In other words, there is some increase in streamflow during periods of drought and other times when streamflow has been low. But these are not periods of floods. More streamflow during times of drought is actually a good sign.

And what about during times of high streamflow? The study reports, “trends in high flows have been much less evident.”

The study further reports, “At a national scale, only a small proportion of the gages measuring dominantly natural streamflow … show upward trends in the annual maximum average daily discharge.”

Those results were confirmed four year later in a 2013 study published in the peer-reviewed Hydrological Sciences Journal. “It has not been possible to attribute rain-generated peak streamflow trends to anthropogenic climate change over the past several decades,” the study reported.

Moreover, the study observed “no gauge-based evidence has been found for a climate-driven, globally widespread change in the magnitude/frequency of floods during the last decades.”

Funny how the Guardian failed to mention that actual scientific evidence debunked the notion that global warming is causing more floods. But that would interfere with a good alarmist climate scare, wouldn’t it?


AOC’s Green New Deal Posters Look Like Soviet Union Propaganda

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is usually pretty good with her marketing. You may not like what she has to say, but she at least has style.

That’s why it makes it all the more bizarre that she chose posters to advocate for her Green New Deal which as if they are right out of the Soviet Union’s propaganda machine.

AOC first revealed the posters on Twitter on Friday, and conservatives were quick to point out their likeness to communist flyers of old.

“Surprise! I am thrilled to announce the launch of our #GreenNewDeal art series with custom Bronx & Queens GND posters. The Bronx edition poster will be given for free as a limited release to the public at our Pelham Bay Nature Day & Backpack Giveaway in the Bronx tomorrow,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

“These posters push us to imagine our future with a Green New Deal in two of our beloved NY-14 parks: Pelham Bay & Flushing Meadows,” she added. “All our #GND posters are made in the US, union-printed & will be available for purchase soon, but available at organizing events now.”

The Bronx edition poster will be given for free as a limited release to the public at our Pelham Bay Nature Day & Backpack Giveaway in the Bronx tomorrow.

All our #GND posters are made in the US, union-printed & will be available for purchase soon, but available at organizing events now.

Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk pondered, “Why does this seem like something the Soviet Union would post throughout the Red Square?”

The Daily Wire’s Harry Khachatrian tweeted, “@AOC shares Soviet Union inspired propaganda posters to promote her ‘Green New Deal'”

The Washington Examiner’s Tom Rogan observed, “These posters have a weirdly Soviet/Maoist/NoKo quality to them.”

Even BuzzFeed’s Miriam Elder noticed the similarity. “I’m not saying the Green New Deal poster that AOC just tweeted reminds me of the WWII statue in Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) but here we are”



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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