Friday Food News Round Up: Tips from the Coca-Cola and the animal kingdom


My favorite Food News blog, Food Politics, cued me into this sweet sip of misadvice. I can resist, I got to take another swig… I mean swing, at Coca-Cola.

The graphic to the right outlines some of the proposed causes of obesity in the United States. It has been provided by the Coca-Cola Company, which is selling more propaganda then Dr, Pepper these days. Sugar sweeteners everywhere are parading the overly simplistic calories in/energy out model as natural law.

Eating More + Doing Less = Obesity… Clear as Crystal Pepsi

Intuitively this makes sense, until you consider the litany of other factors connected to sugar sweetened beverages.

Here are a five:

1) The brain does not register fullness from sugared beverages
2) Thermic effect of food: Fibers in whole foods binds up a calories making our digestion work at them (
3) Insulin diminishes triglyceride breakdown by inhibiting lipolysis….huh? Basically, High Fructose Corn Syrup spikes insulin triggering fat storage
4) Refined Sugar Carbs spike serotonin leading to addiction
5) Whole foods demand more time to chew and eat allowing the brain time to signal fullness and prevent over-eating

Healthy creatures are run on healthy calories. Here are some lessons from the zoo.


1) Gorillas

Until recently Gorilla’s in zoo across America were surviving (barely) on diets of vitamin enriched sugary and starch grain and soy based fed. Sounds alot like the breakfast feed I once sustained myself on. Gorilla’s were obese, diabetic, and dropping dead of all to human heart conditions.


What reversed this trend, a transition back to a natural diet consisting of barrels of greens, barks, and some fruits, scattered about to encourage foraging behavior, also known as exercise.

Here is an enlightening excerpt:

“Before, gorillas only ate during a quarter of their day because the food was so packed with nutrients. Now at Cleveland, they spend 50-60 percent of their day eating which is the same amount as in the wild. With all this extra eating, the gorillas have doubled their caloric intake, yet at the same time have dropped 65 pounds each. This brings their weight more in line with their wild relatives.”

For Gorillas, Coke’s “Calorie is a Calorie” theory doesn’t stomach well.

1) Bears

Adorable yes, but not healthy

Adorable yes, but not healthy

Same story, just with four legs this time. Bears at the this Chicago Zoo were subsisting on diets of processed dog food, ground beef, old loaves of bread, iceberg lettuce and other supermarket produce… so hamburgers. Anyway, they were obese and behaving very unbeary.

What cured these tubby teddys, a diet of seasonal plants and animal protein closely resembling what was eaten in the wild. Hamburger was replaced with whole prey, such as fish and rabbits, which the grizzlies had to work harder to disassemble and eat. “environmental enrichment” tactics encouraged to bears to forage for their snacks and play a bit more.

Humans are a lot like bears. We tend to eat more when we are bored or anxious. Having activities that aren’t edible can keep us out of the honey pot when hunger really is not a factor.

O, yeah. The Grizzly’s gut flora got better to.

3) Rhinos

Researchers from my home town, San Diego, say they may have determined why the zoo rhino populations in managed-care facilities are declining. They hypothesize phytoestrogens in their diet might be contributing to reproductive failure in the females.

Who Remembers This?

Who Remembers This?

Phytoestrogens such as isoflavinoids found in soy based refined rhino feed may activate estrogen receptors. The same issues have come up in human soy food with possible links to breast cancer, but the verdict is still out.

I am not ready to jump on the no soy band wagon until a little more research is done. I love miso, eat tofu now and again, and eat tempeh more often then that. What I do avoid is processed food, and processed food is usually soy, corn, wheat, or some combo of the three. Variety is the spice of health. Be it rhinoceros or humanceros, mono-diets are never good.


What has this field trip to the zoo taught me, not much I did not already intuitively believe. Whole foods seem to promote better health than processed foods. It is good to move around a little and even bears need their greens. Humans are animals after all, the difference my DNA and a Gorilla’s is 1.75%. It might good if my diet were a little bit more similar as well.



Happy foragings, c ya soon.


One Comment on “Friday Food News Round Up: Tips from the Coca-Cola and the animal kingdom”

  1. […] is as a Calorie does, I discussed this on Friday in response to some Coked up press releases. Well the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is […]

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