Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sharp Promoting So-Called 'Healthy' Low-Fat/Low-Calorie Appliance

A good friend of this blog brought to my attention an intriguing story about a major worldwide company that is actively promoting a new product that offers a way to cook foods that are low-fat/low-calorie.

This press release from the Phillipines office of electronics giant Sharp details a new "breakthrough, multi-functional kitchen appliance that allows low-calorie and low-salt cooking."

It's called the Sharp Healsio Water Oven:

Here is the sales pitch that Sharp used to promote their "healthy" device to the people of the Phillipines:

"Too much fat and salt in a diet can cause damage to one's health. These have been linked to numerous illnesses such as hypertension, obesity, and heart diseases if consumed in high quantity ... This is guaranteed to make cooking and eating a better and healthier experience for Filipinos who can't stay away from fatty and salty foods."

The Sharp Healsio Water Oven boasts that it "helps in reducing fat and salt content of foods" and "turn them into a healthier, more sumptuous fare."

Describing their product as "a dream kitchen appliance for health conscious homemakers and individuals," Sharp is banking on great sales from this to consumers who desire a way to make their foods healthier.

But my very astute, low-carb loving reader said this "got my blood boiling" and decided to write the following "Jimmy Moore-like" letter of disdain to the offices of Sharp:


This is in reaction to your press release as of 04-08-2005 aimed at the Filipino population. This entails a low-fat, low-salt oven-type steamer that should produce extremely lean, and, "of course", very low-calorie foods.

Although it is my personal experience that such extremely low-fat foods most likely would be virtually inedible due to a lack of taste, as a researcher in nutrition, I was more unpleasantly surprised and concerned by Sharp's apparent belief in the low-fat, low-calorie dogma. This theorem, or rather, this fallacy, has been repeated over and over again in the popular media for over three decades now, and hence, most sadly can be characterized as the low-fat gospel - but certainly not as nutritional science. Let alone healthy dietary advice.

Simply put - it is a hard scientific and statistical fact that the low fat gospel has failed not only the test of time - it is an equally hard fact that there is most certainly not a shred (!) of scientific data to support it. Literally billions of research dollars have been spent to show the low fat gospel to be solidly founded in nutritional science - only to come up with evidence to the contrary. Likewise, it is hardly a secret these days that in countries where the least fatty foods are consumed, like the USA and the UK, the highest incidences of obesity and directly linked CVE's (Cardio Vascular Events) per capita are observed. Unfortunately in more recent times this obesity and the directly associated diabetes epidemic started to spread over Asia as well - not in the least due to dietary misinformation and rampant misrepresentation of facts.

The reality of the matter is that fat, in its many forms, is not the culprit at all. Literally mountains of clinical and scientific research data point to the real culprit in today's obesity epidemic: the excessive consumption of over-processed, empty carbohydrates like sugars, starches, corn syrups, and fabricated, engineered fats like trans-fats: corn- and vegetable based oils and margarines as well as over-processed, unnatural, sugar laden foods.

The real, indisputable and scientifically proven facts are that the human metabolism needs natural fats, salt and cholesterol in rather amazingly high quantities in order to function properly and remain healthy. Yes, indeed, these are the very fats that are demonized in the mainstream media these days. And incidentally: calorie counting has since long been proven to be total populist nonsense and even outright dangerous.

The traditional, natural human diet, the very diet on which humanity evolved and survived, is traditionally very high in fats and proteins from fish, fowl, poultry, eggs, meats, vegetables and fruits, and extremely healthy. I am very, very disappointed that a company like Sharp, which I personally regard highly for its innovative and high-quality products, now apparently feels compelled to lower itself to the type of dietary "advice" that is normally touted by misinformed, self-appointed "dieticians" in populist periodicals, not health- but profit-driven pharmaceutical conglomerates and degenerated government bureaucrats.

Sharp would be well-advised to steer clear of such total nonsense, let alone produce products that will, in all likelihood, compound and contribute to this very obesity epidemic. Instead of being "healthy", a low-fat, low-salt diet will without any doubt aggravate and compound modern obesity-driven illnesses like diabetes, heart decease, atherosclerosis and CVE's - not to mention the "usual", long and sad list of associated "modern" deceases.

In my humble opinion, and, as I happen to know, with me most nutritional researchers and scientists, Sharp would be wise to continue to develop and produce word-class products in electronics, multimedia and the like, but not play doctor when you clearly are not.

I couldn't have said it better myself! My reader has so eloquently said everything that I feel about this issue, but perhaps you have something you would like to say in reaction to Sharp's marketing of this product.

You can e-mail Sharp with your response directly at Of course, you can also comment about this by clicking on the link below.

What's your reaction to this?


Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Hi Jimmy,

As you may recall, I personally have been working and living amoungst Asians for quite some years now, in almost every country in the Asia/Pacific region, and from my own experience and observations I can assure you that in most Asian countries the people, especially women, have such slim and slender figures that it would make most (starving) Western models green with envy. So what do they normally eat? What is their secret? Do they exercise like demons?

The common blah-blah of our wonderful friends, the pseudo-scientific fat-fobists is, of course, that all Asians (one diet fits all, right?) consume mountains of steamed rice and follow strict high carb/low-fat diets, right? And exercise more, right?

Wrong. First of all, exercise is very rare in those parts. Most cannot afford exercise and certainly don't have the time. Some athletes do exercise, but hardly anybody else - in stark contrast to Western countries. Mountains of rice? Nope... not true as well. Sure, they consume SOME rice - but I can assure you the slim and slender ones (most of them) eat very little portions, a few spoonfuls and most consume even less. Also, the rice consumed in Asia is not the same as the overprocessed white rice we Westerners consume.

In Asia, only those that cannot afford anything else out of monetary reasons consume rice by the bucket - as it is extremely cheap. Most of those poor souls suffer from vitamin A deficiency and deficiency of fat-soluble vitamins - and it is mostly in these people, the poor people, AND the very wealthy, that obesity and related illnesses are observed. The poor for excessive consumption of rice, the wealthy for switching to the "healthy" Western-oriented lifestyle and dietary habits.

So what does the common man and woman consume, then, if it isn't rice or very little rice?

Lots of fish of all sorts, fried, steamed, sauteed - much poultry, most meats (almost nothing of the animal is not consumed), lots of cheap, green leafy vegetables (like Kangkong - somewhat related to spinach), a little rice and some fruits. Those vegetables are subsequently consumed with lots of shrimp or chili paste mixed with lots of oil and tons of garlic. That is the normal Asian diet, supplemented with lots of spicy condiments, peppers, garlic, oils as well as generous useage of butter and lard.

How do we call such a diet? Erm, not low calorie... Errr, certainly not low-fat either... uh oh... these people remain healthy, slim and slender on a LOW CARB/HIGH FAT diet!

Unfortunately, the fat fobist era convinced many to slowly switch from super-healthy saturated fats like coconut oil to shortenings, margarines and vegetable oils, as well as fast foods - where, again under pressure of "health groups", healthy natural oils also have been replaced by shortenings and artery-clogging, cholesterol-raising transfats (soy- and corn based oils, et cetera: you know, the "healthy" stuff).

The more wealthy they are, the more people are likely to follow the "healthy" Western lifestyle: plenty of flour, starches, transfats, et cetera.

Hence, and to my horror, the "big FAT lie" is finding some ground in Asia since the past decade or so, and, as could be predicted, the "standard" Western dietary-related illnesses are on the rise; obesity, diabetes - in other words: "all the significant advantages of the Food Pyramid" are observed there too. Our Western "dieticians" and other self-proclaimed health "experts" sure would be proud.

Luckily, it is still in much smaller numbers as seen in the USA and UK, but those numbers are creeping up steadily. Some professionals are currently ringing the alarm bell - the only problem is that the same (our) health "experts" subsequently repeat the same lame story we hear in the West too (eat even less fat and more carbs) and of course, again with predictable results. Obese persons are still relatively rare in Asia compared to Western countries but diabetes mellitus is already showing its ugly head.

Luckily, there are some signs that the fat-fobists are losing ground, and that is heart warming (not to mention heart-healthy!). But I do hope that most of these countries will revert to their traditional diets.

But sometimes I wonder how many more people have to die from obesity- and diabetes-related illnesses before finally somebody starts THINKING...

Just my two cents worth...

12/19/2005 11:48 AM  
Blogger LindaLCforLife said...

I am definitely going to email Sharp about their appliance. This is disgusting. I'll stop buying their products if necessary.

Science4u is right about the way Asian people eat. I have worked with a lot of Chinese people in the past and it was really interesting to observe that most of them refused to eat in the cafeteria and brought their own food, which consisted mostly of chicken, pork or beef and vegetables and some white rice. They always had fruit for desert. They were all slender. They wouldn't touch junk food. Those who did eat our diet, who ate in the cafeteria, were mostly overweight. One of my coworkers who was born in China brought an authentic Chinese dish that mostly consisted of beef with vegetables, a mild sauce and very little rice. She was actually very upset because her in-laws accidentally threw away the fat drippings from the meat which she planned to include in sauce, however it was still delicious. This was just like a favorite low-carb recipe I use that consists of mostly chopped meats, beef, chicken or fish, scrambled eggs, vegetables and a small amount of wild rice with a little low carb teriaki sauce. It was just like low carb.

I get so sick of all the lying, I could scream.

12/21/2005 7:48 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

This brought a smile to my face:

This evening I have been out for dinner with my Filipina girlfriend, her elderly parents, and a visiting US consultant and his wife. Both of them are charming people but both quite overweight.

Out of respect we had the parents order dinner. After the meal was served, Bob, the consultant, remarked sub-rosa to my girlfriend: "I can't eat any of this, I am on a diet. Can you get me some noodles or so".

Guess what diet he was referring to? Yep, the tried-and-true low-fat fallacy. Obviously it didn't work for him... I was ready to comment on his request when it actually became quite funny.

My girlfriends elderly parents apparantly overheard what he said, and commented: "You should start with the fishsoup, then eat the meat, have some of those green vegetables with shrimp-paste and don't eat any rice or noodles. Do that every day for a few weeks and you will feel better and definitely lose weight".

Bob responded "But this is quite fatty food! My doctor said..." but he couldn't finish the sentence, as Grandpa, who is 82 and quite outspoken, remarked: "Listen. This is the kind of food our people grew up on and they never got ill. All this modern nonsense is untrue. Especially your body needs this food. Forget what your doctor said, he's an idiot".

Needless to say I almost fell of my chair laughing. But Grandpa is right, of course. His father lived to the age of 107, by the way... he was a local fisherman. His wife is 81 and has a better figure than most Western teenagers. Both of them consume fish, fish and some more fish, plus meats, veggies - no bread, milk, or comfort foods. The only thing I ever saw was noodles on his birthday - a cup full.

After dinner, Bob, still rather flabbergasted, came to me and said "Do you think the old man is right?". I said yes, of course, and remarked that this was the way these people always ate - essentially a low carb diet. He then said: "Low carb? But that's dangerous!"... my tortured cries were audible for miles, of course.

We spent quite a bit of the evening explaining a low carb diet to him. Let's hope he will try it, I think he will.

Josef Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda minister, used to say: "if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe and accept it as fact". Although this was a funny dinner, it also shows how true that statement is...

12/22/2005 1:58 PM  
Blogger LindaLCforLife said...

Science4u: What you said about Hitler's propaganda minister, I believe that's also called brainwashing. It sounds like that's whata happened to your consultant friend, along with three-quarters of the country.

I was pretty much raised on a low-carb diet, but got sucked into the lies for a while too.

My paternal grandfather (whose parents were imigrants from Norway) and grandmother also stuck with their traditions and shunned sugar and junk. They ate a high fat, high protein diet all their lives. My grandmother never made cookies for the holidays or baked. One dish we had that came from my grandparents was smoked butt and apagrat (spelling?), I think was a traditional Norwegian dish. It's fatty meat with mashed turnips. I never remember my grandparents ever being ill, they were never hospitalized or obese. Unfortunately my grandfather smoked heavily and when he was almost 80 died from lung cancer. He had a battery of tests at that time and was in perfect health otherwise. Unfortunately, my grandmother died from an accident at 62, but she was never ill either, and her mother, who was in her 90s, attended her funeral.

When will the lying end?

12/24/2005 2:42 PM  

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