Democracy Now (English)
- Headlines for March 18, 2013
- Steubenville Rape Trial: Blogger Who Exposed Case Speaks Out After Ohio Teens Found Guilty
- Arundhati Roy on Iraq War's 10th: Bush May Be Gone, But "Psychosis" of U.S. Foreign Policy Prevails
- A New Intifada in Kashmir? Arundhati Roy & Sanjay Kak on the World's Most Densely Militarized Area
Watch part two of our interview with with author Melanie Warner, longtime food reporter and author of the newly published book, Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal. In our extended conversation, she examines a very common ingredient in processed food: soy protein.
Click here to see part one of this interview with Warner, when she describes how decades of food science have resulted in the cheapest, most abundant, most addictive and most nutritionally inferior food in the world.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. Melanie Warner is joining us, longtime journalist covering the food industry. Her new book is called Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal. Melanie, can you talk about soy products?
MELANIE WARNER: Yeah, I think soy is one of the more confusing products out there for people. I mean, there—and the problem is, there’s soy, and there’s soy. So you have traditional soy products that have been consumed in Asia for centuries, and these are things like miso and tempeh. These are fermented soy products that are actually quite healthy. Tempeh, for instance, has beneficial bacteria in it, much like yogurt does. People don’t always realize that. And then you have—
AMY GOODMAN: I’m a great devotee of tempeh. I love tempeh.
MELANIE WARNER: Yeah, and it’s actually quite delicious, more so than tofu. And so—
AMY GOODMAN: I agree.
MELANIE WARNER: Yeah. And then you have—and then you have the other kind of soy products, which is these highly processed soy products, which are very predominant ingredients in processed food.
So, for instance, soybean oil. Soybean oil has been the leading fat that’s been in processed food for the past five or six decades. It’s so prevalent that it consumes—my estimation was that it—we’re consuming 10 percent of our total daily calories from soybean oil, in part because it’s in—used to fry a lot of foods. So, soybean oil is something that when you go to the grocery store, I’ve seen—I’ve seen it listed on chip packages as a simple, natural ingredient. And if you look at bottles of cooking oil over in a different aisle, it’ll say "100 percent natural." But I spent a fair amount of time learning about how soybean oil is produced, and when you find out about it, you realize it doesn’t scream "natural" at all. The main process uses a chemical called hexane, which is known to be a neurotoxic chemical. And they use that to leech the oil out of the soybeans. It’s very efficient at doing that. And then they vacuum it off. So the idea is that no hexane remains in the final oil, or if any does, it’s small amounts. And then soybean oil goes through other processes, like bleaching and deodorizing. And this has the effect of removing some of the healthy things that would otherwise be in soybean oil, like vitamin E and compounds called phytosterols. So—and then sometimes there’s more processes, like hydrogenation, this relatively new process called interesterification. So this is a very processed processed oil that we’re consuming.
And then you could look at something like soy protein, which comes after the soybean oil production. And that is also something that, by the time it gets to be soy protein—I spent some time inside a soy protein manufacturing plant; this one was outside of—outside of Memphis—and saw these giant hissing and whirling machines and all these chemicals that go into the process in the making of this, that by the time it gets—and there are so many steps—that by the time you get to soy protein, you have almost no nutrition there. Soybeans are this tidy package of vitamins and minerals and fiber and phytosterols, and by the time you get to soy protein, really all you have left is protein, and everything else has been processed out.
AMY GOODMAN: So, how do you look for what’s good or bad when you’re buying food, in terms of the ingredient list? And let me go to a subject that might surprise people: Subway. You know, it’s being touted as the great both, yes, chain, but healthy alternative, because the bread is baked, you know, in the store, and there are a lot of vegetables that are included. I was shocked, on page 11 of "Weird Science," where you talk about the number of ingredients of a Subway sweet onion chicken teriyaki sandwich. And for folks who like little quizzes, guess how many ingredients there are in a Subway sweet onion chicken teriyaki sandwich. The answer would be 105. Fifty-five are dry, dusty substances that were added to the sandwich for a whole variety of reasons. I’m going to try to read some of these. "The chicken contains thirteen: potassium chloride, maltodextrin, autolyzed yeast extract, gum Arabic, salt, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, fructose, dextrose, thiamine hydrochloride, soy protein concentrate, modified potato starch, sodium phosphates. The teriyaki glaze has twelve: sodium benzoate, modified food starch, salt, sugar, acetic acid, maltodextrin, corn starch, spice, wheat, natural flavoring, garlic powder, yeast extract. The fat-free sweet onion sauce, you get another eight." And it goes on from there. I don’t have any of these ingredients in my cupboards, Melanie.
MELANIE WARNER: Amy, you did a great job pronouncing all that. I’m very impressed. I think it’s very important—I spent a lot of time looking at ingredient lists, and I think it’s very important to look at what goes into your food. It’s important to look at the amount of sugar and sodium in your food, but also look at the ingredients and see what’s in there. And if there are a zillion ingredients, 30 ingredients for a given product, that is a highly processed product. And if there are things that you don’t recognize, that’s something that you might—you might want to think about looking in the grocery store for things that have a lot more simple, simple ingredient lists. And think about, is this something—is this a real food, or is this a highly processed product that has a dubious relationship to something natural that once grew on a farm? And I think you can do that by using common sense and also by looking at the ingredient list and thinking, "Is this something that I could actually—that I could actually make at home?"
AMY GOODMAN: What about Gatorade?
MELANIE WARNER: Yeah, Gatorade was the subject of a recent controversy, where a teenager in Alabama discovered that there was an ingredient called brominated vegetable oil in her Gatorade. And she was—she was surprised to learn this because bromine, which is used to make brominated vegetable oil, is a flame retardant. So she circulated a petition, and as some petitions do nowadays, it became widely, wildly popular. And the result was that Gatorade removed brominated vegetable oil from their product, which was kind of amazing, to respond to a 15-year-old girl in Alabama, that she had this effect. So, Gatorade—I guess we can think of Gatorade as being slightly healthier. But still, it has an enormous amount of sugar, and it’s basically sugar water. And it’s unfortunate that Gatorade is often marketed to kids who are involved in sports activities, and people are convinced somehow that our kids need Gatorade after an hour soccer game instead of—instead of water, which is always the best way to rehydrate. I mean, you drink Gatorade, and you’re getting quite a lot of sugar.
AMY GOODMAN: I mean, this is amazing, a 15-year-old girl, this ingredient banned in other countries.
MELANIE WARNER: Banned in other countries. And it’s kind of a surprising ingredient, because it was—it was a subject of a number of concerning studies in the '70s. And the FDA looked at these back then and decided that, OK, we'll let this ingredient be on the market, but conditionally: only pending further studies to make sure that things are really OK. And those studies have really never been done. And it’s just one—it’s one illustration of the way that there’s a lot of ingredients that—there’s actually 5,000 additives that are allowed to be added to food in the United States. And there’s—it’s just one example of how there are a number of those ingredients that really slip through the cracks and are really not being subjected to a close, scrutinizing eye by the government, specifically the FDA, that people—that people might assume and that we might like them to be doing.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to go back to a few things. One is that Pepsi-Cola owns Gatorade. And then just what Sarah Kavanagh, this 15-year-old smarty pants—she’s remarkably smart—wrote. She said, "The other day I Googled 'brominated vegetable oil.' It was the last time I drank Orange Gatorade. I found out that this 'BVO' is a controversial flame retardant chemical that is in some Gatorade drinks! Who wants to drink that? Not me!" And, you know, she got this mega-multinational corporation to cave, saying they’re going to replace it with a substitute. But what’s the substitute, Melanie?
MELANIE WARNER: Oh, gosh, you know, I forget. It’s something—I’ve been meaning to look it up. It’s something—it’s another highly processed chemical that I had never heard of. And yeah, it’s worth looking—
AMY GOODMAN: I’m sure Sarah will be on it.
MELANIE WARNER: Yeah, it’s worth looking into that. But the point is—and the thing that Sarah discovered—is that it’s not used in other countries, specifically in Europe, and the companies find alternatives in other countries. The same is true of food dyes. It’s considered—food dyes, like Red 40 and Blue 1, you see on ingredient lists. They are considered to be linked to hyperactivity in children in Europe. And so, if you go to Europe, you see products that have warning labels on them indicating this. And actually, the food companies—there are not very many products in Europe that actually contain these ingredients, because food companies don’t want to put that kind of a warning label on their products. So they’re able to—they find alternatives. They use more natural food colorings.
AMY GOODMAN: Melanie, talk about extrusion machines.
MELANIE WARNER: Yeah, extrusion machines. This is—these are one of the—the type of machinery that the food industry uses that nobody has in their home kitchen. The closest thing you could compare it to is maybe a homemade pasta maker, but that’s a very far cry. These are highly efficient machines. They are—they have steel, really heavy screws inside them that turn, create enormous amount of pressure and what food scientists call "shear." And they’re very effective. You can put a whole bunch of ingredients into one side of an extruder, and it pops out, or extrudes, on the other side. There’s a die. You can have it in any kind of shape you want. You could have it for—shape of a—letters of the alphabet, like for alphabet cereal, or honeycombs. Or you could have it for Chicken McNuggets. And out on the other side pops a pretty much fully formed product. And one of the unfortunate thing about extruders is that they’re very good at efficiently making products—you can zip things in and out of there in a minute—but they are fairly damaging to nutrition, particularly certain vitamins and also sometimes—sometimes fiber.
- Headlines for March 15, 2013
- On Uprising's Anniversary, a Syrian Opposition Voice Says Country is Victim of a Global Proxy War
- 2 Years After Invasion to Crush Uprising in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia Helps Fuel Conflict in Syria
- Teaching Men Not to Rape: Survivor Zerlina Maxwell Defies Threats After Speaking Out on Fox News
- Pink Smoke at the Vatican: Women Demand a Voice in Catholic Church Led by "Old Celibate Men"
While the world waited for white smoke to flow from the Sistine Chapel chimney to indicate a new pope had been chosen, smoke of a different color began billowing into the sky over the Vatican. It was released by protesters demanding a greater role for women in the Catholic Church. On Wednesday, Democracy Now! spoke with protest organizer Erin Saiz Hanna, executive director of the Women’s Ordination Conference, and with Janice Sevre-Duszynska, an excommunicated Catholic priest. "Jesus, I mean, he was certainly a feminist for his time," Sevre-Duszynska says. "He welcomed women, along with the rest of the marginalized and outcasts, at his table fellowship."
ERIN SAIZ HANNA: My name is Erin Saiz Hanna. I’m the executive director of the Women’s Ordination Conference. We are the oldest and largest national organization network for ordained women priests into an inclusive and accountable Catholic Church. And we are here in Rome today with our coalition partners of women’s ordination worldwide. As we had waited for a new pope, we have been doing vigils every day here of pink smoke. As the world waited for white smoke, we were raising pink smoke to bring attention to the lack of women’s voices in the conclave and in the decision making of the Roman Catholic Church.
Yesterday, we did it as just a small vigil outside, you know, with St. Peter’s in the background. So pink smoke literally just lifted right over the sky over St. Peter’s. It was just this beautiful visual of this pink smoke all over the Vatican. And then today was a smaller pink smoke here in Rome where we lifted it just during mass. So we gathered in community with men and women who all agree that women deserve and are simply in need of a more inclusive role in the church. So we all gathered in prayer, and we lifted pink smoke in a very prayerful way then, as well.
There are so many women who have been marginalized in our church, not just women who seek larger roles like ordination, but women who’ve been divorced, lesbian women, girls who want to serve at the altar, women who use birth control. There are so many women who are left outside of the church and who have no place. So, our hope is, you know, Pope Francis will be a peacemaker, live up to his name, and really reach out to women. That would be a huge start. In 1994, Pope John Paul II closed officially any discussion on women’s ordination, and people can be fired from even discussing that. So, our hope is Pope Francis, you know, will even open the doors just to discuss it.
The Vatican is very much a monarchy, and they have a seat at the U.N., and they make very important decisions that affect women on a global level. There’s a lot of policy making. It’s more than a religion; it’s a government. And that government really affects the lives of millions of Catholic women around the world, when it comes to birth control, when it—you know, reproductive healthcare, condoms, LGTB issues. They were against the Violence Against Women Act last week. So these are all issues that I feel that women must have a stronger voice in. These statements cannot be coming from a leadership that is all old, celibate men.
JANICE SEVRE-DUSZYNSKA: I’m Janice Sevre-Duszynska. I’m an ordained Roman Catholic woman priest. I was ordained August 9th, 2008.
We had a pink smoke event at the Piazza Garibaldi here in Rome, and there were lots of people that attended it. It had rained before. And why did we shoot off the pink smoke? The pink smoke was to show—the white smoke we saw tonight at the St. Peter’s Square, but the pink smoke is about women’s decision making and leadership in our church, which is so desperately needed. We need to hear voices of women. We need to hear the interpretation of the gospel, of the gospel, from women, living and dying. We need, as we have in our women’s masses, feminine images of God, who is beyond gender. But if we’re going to speak of God in anthropomorphic terms, it is sinful and idolatrous to speak of God in only masculine imagery.
And Jesus, I mean, he was certainly a feminist for his time. He talked to women when it was really, you know, a huge taboo for a man to talk to women. And he welcomed women, along with the rest of the marginalized and outcasts, at his table fellowship. So, you know, there’s much that the holy spirit has been bringing to the forefront that has been denied by the one aspect of our church, which is the hierarchy. But meanwhile, the church has been rising up, in the grassroots, from the bottom up, with the people of God, and that is with the ordination of women priests and inclusive liturgies and people giving homilies and a fruitful example of a great blessing in our tradition of our church.
- Headlines for March 14, 2013
- Pope Francis: First Latin American, Jesuit Pope Picked to Head Church; Praised for Work with Poor
- Pope Francis' Junta Past: Argentine Journalist on New Pontiff's Ties to Abduction of Jesuit Priests
- A Social Conservative: Pope Francis Led Effort Against Liberation Theology and Same-Sex Marriage
- Headlines for March 13, 2013
- Over 100 Guantánamo Prisoners on Hunger Strike, Citing Threat of Return to "Darkest Days Under Bush"
- As Gitmo Prisoners Revolt, Obama Admin Challenged on Indefinite Detention at OAS Hearing
- Overturning Citizens United: Is a Constitutional Amendment the Best Path to Limit Dark Money?
- Headlines for March 12, 2013
- Bradley Manning Speaks: In Leaked Court Recording, Army Whistleblower Tells His Story for First Time
- Daniel Ellsberg: In Hearing Bradley Manning Act Out of Conscience, Secret Tape Refutes Media Slander
- "This War is Continuing": As U.S. Prepares 2014 Pullout, No End in Sight to Afghan Occupation
- After Vowing Greater Transparency, Obama Admin Increasingly Censoring, Withholding Info from Public
- Headlines for March 11, 2013
- Anwar al-Awlaki: NYT Details How Obama Admin Justified & Carried Out the Killing of U.S.-Born Cleric
- White House Changing Story on Anwar al-Awlaki? A Debate on NYT's Inside Account of '11 Drone Strike
- Fukushima Meltdown's 2nd Anniversary Brings Protests Against Japan's Reliance on Nuclear Power
- Headlines for March 08, 2013
- Hugo Chávez Funeral: Derided by US Media, Venezuelan Leader Uplifted Poor from Caracas to the Bronx
- New Violence Against Women Act Includes Historic Protections for Native American and LGBT Survivors
- Vandana Shiva on Int'l Women's Day: "Capitalist Patriarchy Has Aggravated Violence Against Women"
- Headlines for March 07, 2013
- Operation Condor Trial Tackles Coordinated Campaign by Latin American Dictatorships to Kill Leftists
- The Girl: Abbie Cornish Stars in Film About Tragic Smuggling of Immigrants Across US-Mexico Border
- Headlines for March 06, 2013
- Hugo Chávez Dead: Transformed Venezuela & Survived U.S.-Backed Coup, Now Leaves Uncertainty Behind
- Headlines for March 05, 2013
- Glenn Greenwald on Bradley Manning: Prosecutor Overreach Could Turn All Whistleblowing into Treason
- New Funding Group Calls for 100 More WikiLeaks to Offset Unprecedented Gov’t Secrecy
- Importing the War on Terror: Glenn Greenwald & Activist Trevor Timm on Domestic Drone Surveillance
- White House Denounces Cellphone Unlocking Ban Hours After Petition Backer Appears on Democracy Now!
- Sharing the Internet: "Commotion Wireless" Technology Lets Communities Create Free Webs of Access
- Headlines for March 04, 2013
- "After Aaron": Late Activist's Campaign for Open Internet Continues at Freedom to Connect Conference
- GOP "Rising Star" Derek Khanna Fired After Penning Controversial Copyright Reform Memo
- 5 Years in Jail for Unlocking a Phone? Petition Led by Former GOP Staffer Prompts Probe of New Ban
- Municipal Broadband Networks Bridge the Digital Divide as Telecom Industry Tries to Block Them
This Monday and Tuesday Democracy Now! will broadcast live from F2C: Freedom to Connect, and host a livestream of the event for both days on our website. The conference brings people together to promote internet freedom and preserve internet values such as universal connectivity. Aaron Swartz, the late Internet freedom advocate who took his own life earlier this year, gave the keynote address here in 2012. This year’s event is "dedicated to the work Aaron still had left to do."
Tune in to see Democracy Now! from 8-9am ET onsite at the conference for our regular show each day, which will feature guests at Freedom to Connect. Afterward we will livestream the panels and speeches, including an address by Aaron’s partner, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman. On Tuesday Glenn Greenwald gives the keynote address.
- Headlines for March 01, 2013
- WikiLeaks Whistleblower Bradley Manning Says He Wanted to Show the Public the "True Costs of War"
- Salt Sugar Fat: NY Times Reporter Michael Moss on How the Food Giants Hooked America on Junk Food
- Pandora's Lunchbox: Pulling Back the Curtain on How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal
- Headlines for February 28, 2013
- A Racial Entitlement? Supreme Court Threatens Voting Rights Act, One of Civil Rights Era's Key Gains
- Fascism in the Church: Ex-Priest on "The Pope's War," Clergy Abuse and Quelling Liberation Theology
- After 40 Years in Solitary, Angola 3 Prisoner Albert Woodfox Ordered Freed for 3rd Time in Louisiana
- Headlines for February 27, 2013
- ACLU Blasts Supreme Court Rejection of Challenge to Warrantless Spying Without Proof of Surveillance
- Obama's Chilling Secrecy, from Denying Drone Program's Existence to Stonewalling on Legal Memos
- Selling the White House? Obama-Linked Group Promises Top Donors Access to President
- Behind the Brands: On Food Justice, Oxfam Gives Coca-Cola, Kellogg's, Nestlé & Pepsi Failing Grades
- Headlines for February 26, 2013
- Billionaires for Austerity: With Cuts Looming, Wall Street Roots of "Fix the Debt" Campaign Exposed
- "Makers: Women Who Make America": New Film Chronicles Past 50 Years of Feminist Movement
- United by Loss, Israeli & Palestinian Dads Call for a Joint Nonviolent Intifada Against Occupation
- Headlines for February 25, 2013
- EXCLUSIVE: Rarely Seen Film "King: A Filmed Record" Traces MLK's Struggle from Montgomery to Memphis
- Headlines for February 22, 2013
- Torture at Guantánamo: Lt. Col. Stuart Couch on His Refusal to Prosecute Abused Prisoner
- "The Terror Courts": An Inside Look at Rough Justice, Torture at Guantánamo Bay