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These Were the 10 Biggest Food News Stories of 2018—According to a National Survey

These Were the 10 Biggest Food News Stories of 2018—According to a National Survey

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And the top story was more about the environment.

The survey, which was conducted online between October 25 and October 30 (which may be why romaine isn't on top), asked 1,001 American adults about the food news that had made headlines in the last 12 months. Thirty-five percent of those surveyed said that nutrition news was "very important" to them, which is up from 26 percent in 2017.

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From Starbucks to American Airlines, consumers heard announcements from many big brands and chains that promised to eliminate plastic straws from their businesses, bringing lots of attention to an environmental cause. This marks the first time that an environmental issue has led the results of the survey, which the PR agency has published annually since 2003.

Romaine lettuce recalls ranked third on the list, just after Dunkin' Donuts officially changing their name to just "Dunkin'" (they also decided to start marketing to health-conscious shoppers in 2018), which cinched the no. 2 spot.

More of the top news stories of 2018:

But how did people consume this news? According to the survey, TV remains the top source, with 45 percent saying they learn by watching television. Social media and websites accounted for 31 percent of responses.

The survey also asked adults if they post images of food—whether ordered at a restaurant or made at home—on their social media accounts. Nearly 47 percent of respondents say they do so.

You won't be surprised to hear that Cooking Light didn't cover some of the stories on the full top-10 list—like the launch of Heinz's Mayochup. But we're posting the full list here (with links to the ones we did cover!) for those who are interested.

The top 10 food news stories of 2018, according to the survey:

We're excited to cover more food news as it affects home cooks and shoppers in 2019. For the latest news from Cooking Light, follow us on social media, and sign up for our newsletters right here.

Best and worst fast-food restaurants in America

Americans are spending more than ever to dine out—topping $680 billion per year. And they are demanding more for their money, higher-quality fast food, and greater variety than can be found at titans such as Burger King, KFC, and McDonald’s. (Check our buying guide and Ratings for fast-food restaurants, and look at our gripe-o-meter to see what bugs Americans when they dine out.)

That’s according to Consumer Reports’ latest fast-food survey. After devouring 96,208 meals at 65 chains, our readers told us that quality of the food has become more important in their dining decisions, and convenience of location is less so than in our 2011 report. They could be reasons the traditional fast-food chains are losing their edge: Diners, especially younger adults in the millennial generation, may be more willing go out of their way to get a tasty meal.

Restaurants are a part of the millennials’ social structure, and they choose to spend less at meals so that they can eat out more often, says Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, a food-service research and consulting firm. “Fast-casual dining in places like Chipotle and Panda Express lets the consumer guide the staff to prepare their meal just the way they like it,” he adds. In contrast, he says many of the traditional chains have lagged in offering higher-quality ingredients. Chains such as Chipotle, Noodles & Company, and Panera are even offering meat that has been produced without the use of antibiotics in animal feed, an attraction for many health-conscious consumers.

Once you get past the big guys, you’ll find many fine national (defined as operating in six or more states) and regional restaurants. Some of the best are In-N-Out Burger, Jason’s Deli, Papa Murphy’s Take ’N’ Bake Pizza, Portillo’s Hot Dogs, and The Habit Burger Grill. Our survey also reveals the restaurants with the best and worst signature dishes. (Spoiler alert: You might be shocked what readers said about McDonald’s burgers.)

And breakfast is a new fast-food battleground, with more chains offering meals, includingTaco Bell, which has introduced the Waffle Taco to take on McDonald’s McGriddles. Take a look at our battle of the breakfast sandwiches.

Here you'll find our takes on burgers, burritos, chicken, and sandwiches and subs, as well a listing of readers' favorite alternatives to fast food.

Check our report on fast food fare that isn't picture-perfect. If you prefer to eat what you cook yourself at home, learn how to be a smarter supermarket shopper.

Was Abortion the ‘Leading Cause of Death’ in 2018?

On 31 December 2018, the website reported under the headline “Abortion Leading Cause of Death in 2018 with 41 Million Killed” that “there have been some 41.9 million abortions performed in the course of the year,” making abortion “the number one cause of death worldwide in 2018, with more than 41 million children killed before birth.”

That article spawned a ripple of similar reports on various other sites, most of which referred back to the Breitbart piece, which itself rested on a figure gleaned from Worldometers, a real-time tool that “analyzes the available data, performs statistical analysis, and builds our algorithm [to feed our] real time estimates.” Worldometers states that its abortion figures refer to induced abortions (as opposed to miscarriages), and that:

The data on abortions displayed on the Worldometers’ counter is based on the latest statistics on worldwide abortions published by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to WHO, every year in the world there are an estimated 40-50 million abortions. This corresponds to approximately 125,000 abortions per day.

However, the most recent figure on abortions from WHO we could locate dated from 2014 and was slightly higher than Worldometers’ tally. WHO estimated that between 2010 and 2014, an average of 56 million induced abortions occurred worldwide each year.

If WHO’s estimate of 56 million abortions annually held steady through 2016, when they released their survey on the top ten leading causes of death globally, it would be true that the number of abortions worldwide outnumbered overall deaths from heart disease and stroke, the top two causes of death that year. In 2016, ischemic heart disease and stroke killed a total of 15.2 million people worldwide, according to WHO, noting that “These diseases have remained the leading causes of death globally in the last 15 years”:

We can infer from WHO statistics that the difference between the number of abortions worldwide versus the number of deaths from heart disease and stroke worldwide is not a new dynamic, although viral stories proclaiming that abortions “now” outnumber deaths from those other causes imply that fact is a recent development.

Stating that abortion is the “leading cause of death” worldwide (as opposed to a medical procedure) is a problematic pronouncement, because that stance takes a political position, one which is at odds with the scientific/medical world. The medical community does not confer personhood upon fetuses that are not viable outside the womb, so counting abortion as a “cause of death” does not align with the practices of health organizations such as WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as Heather Boonstra, director of public policy for the reproductive health research organization Guttmacher Institute, told us:

Abortion is a legal, constitutionally protected medical procedure in the United States. It’s not considered a cause of death by CDC, WHO and other leading authorities, and statistics on induced abortion are excluded in the CDC’s national fetal-death statistics.

The legal, philosophical, religious, and scientific arenas provide no definitive answers as to when personhood begins. Medical advances continue to push the stage at which a fetus can be considered viable outside the womb, as Wired reported in 2015:

When life begins is, of course, the central disagreement that fuels the controversy over abortion. Attacks on abortion rights are now more veiled and indirect — like secret videos pointing to Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue donations, or state legislation that makes operating abortion clinics so onerous they have to shut down. But make no mistake, the ultimate question is, when does a fetus become a person — at fertilization, at birth, or somewhere in between?

Here, modern science offers no clarity. If anything, the past century of scientific advances have only made the answer more complicated. As scientists have peered into wombs with ultrasound and looked directly at sperm entering an egg, they’ve found that all the bright lines they thought existed dissolving.

Concluding an entry on the topic, RationalWiki quotes developmental biologist Scott Gilbert in saying that “The entity created by fertilization is indeed a human embryo, and it has the potential to be human adult. Whether these facts are enough to accord it personhood is a question influenced by opinion, philosophy and theology, rather than by science.”

Although the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the landmark 1973 Roe. v. Wade case held that unduly restrictive state regulation of abortion was unconstitutional, fetal personhood very much remains a legal issue and not merely an abstract philosophical one. As the New York Times reported, the enactment of fetal personhood statutes in some states has resulted in the prosecution of women over circumstances that ended or endangered their pregnancies:

You might be surprised to learn that in the United States a woman coping with the heartbreak of losing her pregnancy might also find herself facing jail time. Say she got in a car accident in New York or gave birth to a stillborn in Indiana: In such cases, women have been charged with manslaughter.

In fact, a fetus need not die for the state to charge a pregnant woman with a crime. Women who fell down the stairs, who ate a poppy seed bagel and failed a drug test or who took legal drugs during pregnancy — drugs prescribed by their doctors — all have been accused of endangering their children.

So what motivates these prosecutions? The reality is that, in many cases, these women are collateral damage in the fight over abortion. As the legal debate over a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy has intensified, so too has the insistence of anti-abortion groups that fertilized eggs and fetuses be granted full rights and the protection of the law — an extreme legal argument with little precedent in American law before the 1970s.

Frustrated by the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, many in the anti-abortion movement hope for a sweeping rollback under a conservative Supreme Court — one that would block access to abortion even in states that protect women’s access to such health services.

World Health Organization. “Preventing Unsafe Abortion.”
19 February 2018.

How Covid-19 changed what Ireland eats and cooks

Irish people are cooking more at home, and from scratch with fresh ingredients, since the beginning of Covid19, and how we shop for food, cook and eat has changed significantly, according to an international survey led by Queen’s University Belfast and National University of Ireland Galway.

Lead researcher Dr Fiona Lavelle from the Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) at Queen’s says: “Before the pandemic, we were cooking less and less. Research suggests a decline was under way in home cooking, cooking skills and confidence in a number of countries including the UK, US, Canada and Australia. Public health agencies were increasingly promoting cooking from scratch because of its connection to better diets. However, a lack of time restricted people’s ability to use these cooking and food skills.”

The survey in May-June 2020, when many countries were under some form of lockdown, used a sample of 2,360 adults across four regions – the island of Ireland, Great Britain, USA and New Zealand. It shows the pandemic has led to a dramatic shift in food practices, says Lavelle, including freeing up time for food preparation.

Findings for the island of Ireland include a significant reduction in using readymade ingredients for preparing dinner, in favour of more fresh or basic ingredients, in comparison to the other three regions.

Irish people also reduced the frequency of takeaways (Dr Lavelle points out the research was early in the pandemic and possibly due to fewer takeaway options). We’ve also thrown away less food in Ireland since the pandemic compared to the other three regions surveyed, a significant reduction in food waste .

The survey confirms what we know anecdotally, that we are baking more, but interestingly also says that those living in Ireland and Great Britain had significantly greater difficulty finding ingredients compared to the other regions.


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The research found many people across the world were guilty of bulk buying, especially early the pandemic, which may leave the most vulnerable short and puts pressure on the food system.

Saturated fat intake

While Irish people have eaten more vegetables since March, there was also an increase in saturated fat intake, which was higher for Ireland than other areas.

Irish respondents increased what are called organisational food practices (things like planning ahead, shopping with a grocery list and keeping basics in the cupboard), which helps to reduce time in supermarkets and stick to food budgets. But both Ireland and New Zealand, perhaps due to tighter restrictions and having time, didn’t increase their management food practices (preparing in advance and batch cooking and freezing), though these may become more relevant as time is reduced again, says Dr Lavelle.

The research was led by the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s in partnership with St Angela’s College, Sligo (part of National University of Ireland Galway). The findings, believed to be the first published research across multiple continents on changing food practices due to Covid-19, were published in the Nutrients journal.

The sample of 2,360 adults on the island of Ireland, Great Britain, US and New Zealand included 538 in the Irish sample (with more females than males in this sample, because of sampling restrictions due to Covid), recruited through social media and network connections.

The survey overall found there were fewer changes in food behaviours in the US compared with the other regions and the most marked differences between regions occurred between the US and elsewhere. For example, there was an increase in vegetable intake in all regions except the US, and an upturn in home-cooking and home-baking frequency in all regions except the US.

Some good news

Parents cooking (and baking) with children had increased in all areas except the USA (interestingly, parents who included their children in the preparation of family meals more frequently had a higher diet quality). On the other hand, an increase in saturated-fat intake was seen everywhere except the US.

Dr Lavelle said: “These findings not only provide crucial data for how our food behaviours and systems have adapted to the pandemic but they have important implications for public health as we continue to try to manage Covid-19 with ongoing lockdowns and restrictions. We wanted to find out what impact the pandemic and lockdowns were having on people’s health but we also wanted to try to find a way of measuring the effect on global food systems.

“Thankfully, there’s some good news in our findings and many people have benefited from cooking more at home and eating a better variety of fresh food. But there are some red flags in there too, such as the rise in saturated fat consumption, which may be down to ‘comfort eating’ during lockdown. It’s very important – especially during a pandemic, for obvious reasons – to maintain a nutritious, balanced diet.

It was interesting, she said, that cooking with children has increased, “which is good for the children – but our study highlighted potential positive benefits for parents’ diet quality too when children were involved. With continued lockdowns and perhaps more people working from home in the future, I believe including children in cooking activities should be a key public health message.”

The Top 10 Best Fast Food French Fries In The USA, Ranked

Fries are often regarded as the ho-hum side of fast food. They're the quintessential pairing to burgers, chicken tenders, hot dogs, and just about every other drive-thru item you can think of. Most places give them the basic treatment: strip, fry, salt, that's it. But some fast food spots give potatoes the attention they deserve and elevate the fast food Robin into the Batman role they deserve. No side piece is more perfect for on-the-go eating, and a great fry is key to a solid fast food experience. Out of all of those fries out there, these are definitely the 10 best that stand out, nationwide.

In considering which crispy spuds belonged on this list, sole fries were opted for rather than the whole fry experience (which is the only way In-N-Out makes it on here, sorry y'all). Tater tots, zucchini fries, and onion rings were not included, since they are not single cuts from a whole potato. Apart from that, all seasonings and types of fries (curly, criss-cut, wedge, etc.) were considered. Polling data, previous rankings, and our own tastings were used to make these rankings happen.

America’s Top Fears 2018 Chapman University Survey of American Fears

The Chapman University Survey of American Fears Wave 5 (2018) provides an in-depth examination into the fears of average Americans. In June of 2018, a random sample of 1,190 adults from across the United States were asked their level of fear about ninety-four different phenomena including crime, the government, the environment, disasters, personal anxieties, technology and many others.

Top 10 Fears of 2018

Below is a list of the 10 fears for which the highest percentage of Americans reported being “Afraid,” or “Very Afraid.”

Top Ten Fears of 2018 % Afraid or Very Afraid
1. Corrupt government officials 73.6
2. Pollution of oceans, rivers and lakes 61.6
3. Pollution of drinking water 60.7
4. Not having enough money for the future 57
5. People I love becoming seriously ill 56.5
6. People I love dying 56.4
7. Air pollution 55.1
8. Extinction of plant and animal species 54.1
9. Global warming and climate change 53.2
10. High medical bills 52.9

Government Corruption Tops the List Again

For the fourth year in a row the top fear of Americans is corrupt government officials. And as in the previous four years, the fear that our government is corrupt far exceeds all others we asked about. Nearly 3/4 of Americans said they are afraid or very afraid of corrupt governmental officials in 2018. By comparison, the next highest level of fear was more than 10 points lower at 61.6% (pollution of oceans, rivers and lakes).

Government corruption aside, our top ten list suggest that Americans are preoccupied by fears of three different types. Americans fear for the environment (#s 2, 3, 7, 8, 9), fear bad things happening to loved ones (#s 5 & 6) and worry about their finances (#s 4 and 10). High levels of fear of loved one’s becoming ill (#5) and high medical bills (#10) also indicate that health care remains a primary concern of Americans.

Fear in the age of Trump

We now have two years of data collected about American fears since Trump’s election. The table below presents the top ten lists for 2016, 2017 and 2018. Since 2016, there are two striking changes in American fears.

Top Ten Fears (2016-2018)
2016 2017 2018
1. Corrupt government officials (60.6%) Corrupt government officials (74.5%) Corrupt government officials (73.6%)
2. Terrorist attack (41%) American Healthcare Act/Trumpcare (55.3%) Pollution of oceans, rivers and lakes (61.6%)
3. Not having enough money for the future (39.9%) Pollution of oceans, rivers and lakes (53.1%) Pollution of drinking water (60.7%)
4. Terrorism (38.5%) Pollution of drinking water (50.4%) Not having enough money for the future (57%)
5. Gun control (38.5%) Not having enough money for the future (50.2%) People I love becoming seriously ill (56.5%)
6. People I love dying (38.1%) High medical bills (48.4%) People I love dying (56.4%)
7. Economic/financial collapse (37.5%) The US will be involved in another World War (48.4%) Air pollution (55.1%)
8. Identity theft (37.1%) Global warming & climate change (48%) Extinction of plant and animal species (54.1%)
9. People I love becoming seriously ill (35.9%) North Korea using weapons (47.5%) Global warming and climate change (53.2%)
10. The Affordable Health Care Act/Obamacare (35.5%) Air pollution (44.9%) High medical bills (52.9%)

Increasing Fear About the Environment

A striking difference between 2016 and 2017-2018 has to do with the environment. Since Trump’s election, Americans’ are increasing fearful of pollution, global warming and other environmental disasters. Not a single environmental concern made the top 10 list in 2016. In 2017, four of the top ten fears were related to the environment (#s 3, 4, 8 and 10). By 2018, five of the top ten fears were environmental in nature (#s 2, 3, 7, 8 and 9).

Fear on the Rise

The extent to which Americans are afraid, in general, also appears to be on the rise.

In 2016, the highest level of fear reported by our respondents was for corrupt government officials at 60.6%. From there fear dropped precipitously, with #2 on the list in 2016 (terrorist attack) down to forty-one percent and the rest of the 2016 top ten list all under forty percent.

By 2017, the top fear (corrupt government officials) was up to 74.5% and five of the top ten fears were expressed by more than half of the population.

By 2018 all the top ten fears were held by more than half of Americans. Put another way, by year, the top ten fears have ranged from:

Americans are becoming more afraid.

The Complete List of Fears, 2018

The following is a complete, list of all fears addressed by the Chapman University Survey of American Fears Wave 5 (2018), ranked by the percent of Americans who reported being afraid or very afraid.

Sorted by Percent Afraid/Very Afraid

Complete List of Fears (2018) % Afraid or Very Afraid
1. Corrupt government officials 73.6
2. Pollution of oceans, rivers and lakes 61.6
3. Pollution of drinking water 60.7
4. Not having enough money for the future 57
5. People I love becoming seriously ill 56.5
6. People I love dying 56.4
7. Air pollution 55.1
8. Extinction of plant and animal species 54.1
9. Global warming and climate change 53.2
10. High medical bills 52.9
11. Cyber-Terrorism 52.5
12. The U.S. will be involved in another world war 51.6
13. Islamic extremists 49.3
14. White supremacists 49.3
15. Economic/financial collapse 49.2
16. Identity theft 46.6
17. Corporate tracking of personal data 46.3
18. Government tracking of personal data 46
19. Being hit by a drunk driver 45.3
20. Biological warfare 44.7
21. Becoming seriously ill 44.1
22. Oil spills 44
23. Terrorist attack 43.8
24. Widespread civil unrest 43
25. Nuclear weapons attack 42.9
26. Credit card fraud 42.6
27. Extreme anti-immigration groups 41.6
28. Random mass shooting 41.5
29. Terrorism 39.8
30. North Korea using nuclear weapons 39.2
31. The collapse of the electrical grid 39
32. Pandemic or a major epidemic 38.6
33. Government restrictions on firearms and ammunition 37.8
34. Devastating drought 37.7
35. Iran using nuclear weapons 36.4
36. Losing my data, photos or other important documents in a disaster 36.3
37. Nuclear accident/meltdown 36
38. Break-ins 35.1
39. Devastating tornado 34.7
40. Being unemployed 34.4
41. Heights 33.6
42. Theft of property 33.3
43. Devastating hurricane 32.8
44. Government use of drones within the U.S. 32.3
45. Militia/patriot movement 31.3
46. Devastating flood 31.1
47. Devastating earthquake 30.9
48. Computers replacing people in the workforce 30.7
49. Devastating wildfire 30.7
50. Murder by a stranger 29.7
51. Sharks 29.2
52. Mugging 28.6
53. Racial/hate crime 28.6
54. Dying 27.9
55. Financial fraud (such as a Ponzi scheme, embezzlement, etc.) 27.2
56. Sexual assault by a stranger 27.1
57. Devastating blizzard/ winter storm 27
58. Police brutality 26.6
59. Public speaking 26.2
60. Deep lakes and oceans 25.7
61. Abduction/kidnapping 25.1
62. Reptiles (snakes, lizards, etc.) 24.1
63. Stalking 23.7
64. Hell 23.7
65. Walking alone at night 23.5
66. The Devil/Satan 23.1
67. Insects/arachnids (spiders, bees, etc.) 22.6
68. Illegal immigration 21.5
69. Murder by someone you know 21
70. Demons 20.8
71. Antifa 20.7
72. Small enclosed spaces 19.8
73. Sexual assault by someone you know 19.2
74. Large volcanic eruption 18.6
75. Technology I don’t understand 17.8
76. Being fooled by ‘fake’ news 17.5
77. Extreme environmentalists 16.4
78. Apocalypse/Armageddon 16.4
79. God 14.2
80. Germs 13.2
81. Needles 12.9
82. Flying 12.7
83. Significant other cheating on you 12.1
84. Extreme Animal Rightists 11.3
85. Sharing a restroom with a transgender person 9.5
86. Whites no longer being the majority in the U.S. 9.4
87. Zombies 8.4
88. Ghosts 8.3
89. Sexual harassment in the workplace 7.5
90. Clowns 7.1
91. Strangers 7
92. Others talking about you behind your back 6.7
93. Blood 6.3
94. Animals (dogs, rats, etc.) 3.7

Sorted Alphabetically

Complete List of Fears (2018) % Afraid or Very Afraid
Abduction/kidnapping 25.1
Air Pollution 55.1
Animals (dogs, rats, etc.) 3.7
Antifa 20.7
Apocalypse/Armageddon 16.4
Becoming Seriously ill 44.1
Being fooled by ‘fake’ news 17.5
Being hit by a drunk driver 45.3
Being unemployed 34.4
Biological warfare 44.7
Blood 6.3
Break-ins 35.1
Clowns 7.1
Computers replacing people in the workforce 30.7
Corporate Tracking of Personal Data 46.3
Corrupt government officials 73.6
Credit card fraud 42.6
Cyber-Terrorism 52.5
Deep lakes and oceans 25.7
Demons 20.8
Devastating blizzard/ winter storm 27
Devastating drought 37.7
Devastating Earthquake 30.9
Devastating Flood 31.1
Devastating Hurricane 32.8
Devastating tornado 34.7
Devastating Wildfire 30.7
Dying 27.9
Economic/financial collapse 49.2
Extinction of plant and animal species 54.1
Extreme Animal Rightists 11.3
Extreme Anti-Immigration Groups 41.6
Extreme Environmentalists 16.4
Financial fraud (such as a Ponzi scheme, embezzlement, etc.) 27.2
Flying 12.7
Germs 13.2
Ghosts 8.3
Global Warming and Climate Change 53.2
God 14.2
Government restrictions on firearms and ammunition 37.8
Government Tracking of Personal Data 46
Government Use of Drones Within the US 32.3
Heights 33.6
Hell 23.7
High Medical Bills 52.9
Identity theft 46.6
Illegal immigration 21.5
Insects/Arachnids (spiders, bees, etc.) 22.6
Iran using nuclear weapons 36.4
Islamic Extremists 49.3
Large volcanic eruption 18.6
Losing my data, photos or other important documents in a disaster 36.3
Militia/Patriot Movement 31.3
Mugging 28.6
Murder by a stranger 29.7
Murder by someone you know 21
Needles 12.9
North Korea using nuclear weapons 39.2
Not having enough money for the future 57
Nuclear accident/meltdown 36
Nuclear weapons attack 42.9
Oil Spills 44
Others talking about you behind your back 6.7
Pandemic or a major epidemic 38.6
People I love becoming seriously ill 56.5
People I love dying 56.4
Police brutality 26.6
Pollution of drinking water 60.7
Pollution of oceans, rivers and lakes 61.6
Public speaking 26.2
Racial/Hate crime 28.6
Random Mass shooting 41.5
Reptiles (snakes, lizards, etc.) 24.1
Sexual assault by a stranger 27.1
Sexual assault by someone you know 19.2
Sexual Harassment in the workplace 7.5
Sharing a restroom with a transgender person 9.5
Sharks 29.2
Significant other cheating on you 12.1
Small enclosed spaces 19.8
Stalking 23.7
Strangers 7
Technology I don’t understand 17.8
Terrorism 39.8
Terrorist attack 43.8
The collapse of the electrical grid 39
The Devil/Satan 23.1
The U.S. will be involved in another world war 51.6
Theft of property 33.3
Walking alone at night 23.5
White Supremacists 49.3
Whites no longer being the majority in the U.S. 9.4
Widespread civil unrest 43
Zombies 8.4

For more information and articles, visit

“Shell of a shell of a shell”

Public records suggest Cascade Investments has bought its farmland through a web of at least 22 limited liability shell companies across the country. These shell companies have made it difficult to find out where and how much farmland the Gateses own even for local farmers, like John S. Quarterman, a farmer and landowner who grows okra, corn, squash and other vegetables in Lowndes County on the southern edge of Georgia.

That’s where the Gateses began buying land in 2013 through two limited liability corporations registered to an address in Kirkland by Derek Yurosek, then head of agriculture operations for Cascade.

When Quarterman first heard about Gates’ firm buying land in the area, he began digging through local property records, linking addresses and business records from registered owners to Kirkland-based companies, until he was able to piece together that the companies buying multiple tracts of land in the Suwannee River Basin were all a “shell of a shell of a shell company investing for Bill Gates.” NBC News’ independently confirmed that there were, in fact, shell companies tracing back to Gates’ firm that purchased 6,021 acres across four counties in Georgia.

In Georgia and Florida, NBC News independently confirmed through research of property records that the Gateses’ investment firm owns more than 7,000 acres through two limited liability companies, Lakeland Sands and Lakeland Sands Florida, LLC. Both companies were founded in 2012 with the same address as Cascade Investments in Kirkland, which later changed its mailing address to a Louisiana post office box assigned to Oak River Farms, another subsidiary of Cascade.

NBC News also found that another 6,500 acres in north Florida are owned by yet another company, Suwannee River Terra, which was also started with an address in Kirkland and an email address from the Bill and Melinda Gates Investment Firm, which is now registered to the current chief counsel of Oak River Farms with a mailing address in Kansas, according to property records.

In every state where the Gateses own land, a tangled web of locally registered limited liability companies follow. While those companies don’t explicitly name Cascade Investments as the owner in their public records, they do share the address of Cascade in Kirkland, Washington, or the address of a Cascade subsidiary, list the names of Cascade employees who registered the companies and sometimes even email addresses from the Bill and Melinda Gates Investment Group.

1. Inflation is ridiculous

The biggest problem facing Venezuelans in their day-to-day lives is hyperinflation.

According to a study by the opposition-controlled National Assembly, the annual inflation rate reached 1,300,000% in the 12 months to November 2018.

By the end of last year, prices were doubling every 19 days on average. This has left many Venezuelans struggling to afford basic items such as food and toiletries.

The number of bolivars - the national currency - needed to buy US$1 has also rocketed.

13 Effective Tips To Control Obesity

Obesity is a condition where the body accumulates excess fat which has a negative impact on health. Genetics, overeating and certain psychological factors are some common causes of obesity. It is no longer a concern that the west is grappling with. It has found its way onto Indian shores and it is a battle that many of us face today. "In this world replete with diabetes and heart disease it is important to prevent obesity from childhood to stop these diseases from happening. It is important that we influence school children so as to increase their knowledge about nutrition and physical activity, in an effort to change their attitude and practices for life". - Dr.Anoop Misra Executive Chairman, Fortis C-DOC Healthcare LtdGlobal DataWHO global estimates state that in the year 2014 1.9 billion adults worldwide were overweight and of these 600 million were obese. Overall, about 13% of the world's adult population (11% of men and 15% of women) were obese in 2014. The worldwide prevalence of obesity more than doubled between 1980 and 2014. Not just adults, in 2013, 42 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese.

Medium100lbs (45.5kg) for the first 5 feet (152cm) height, plus 5lb (2.3kg) for each additional inch106lbs (48kg) for the first 5 feet (152cm) of height, plus 6þlbs (2.7kg) for each additional inch
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Source: Adapted from the 1977 publication by the American Diabetes Association and the American Dietetics Association.Urbanization, mechanization and affluence have collectively led to an increase in the consumption of unhealthy fast food. With no time on hand to prepare meals from scratch, processed and ready-to-eat foods have replaced our traditional eating habits. Physical activity has taken a backseat with every convenience available on the tap of a button. With adults leading unhealthy and inactive lives, their children aren't exposed to or taught healthy lifestyle habits. Due to paucity of space, schools too do not focus on physical exercise and have very small or no playgrounds. Tuitions and studies have taken precedence over everything! In India, we face the ironic double whammy of malnutrition related public health issues and an alarming rise in Non Communicable Diseases and over nutrition at the other end. Indian National Family Health Survey 2005-2006, NFHS-3 data showed that “12.6% of Indian women were obese (23.5% urban and 7.4% rural). Among men, the total prevalence of obesity was 9.7% (15.9% urban and 5.6% rural). The percentage of ever-married women age 15-49 who are overweight or obese increased from 11% in NFHS-2 to 15% in NFHS-3. The percentage of women who are overweight or obese is highest in Punjab (30%), followed by Kerala (28%) and Delhi (26%). Similar variations are seen by state in the percentage of men who are overweight and obese According to NFHS-3 data 1.7% male children and 1.4% female children were overweight (+ 2SD), 2.5% belonged to urban and 1.2% belonged to rural areas. Most of the overweight and obese were found in well educated, urban households with a high standard of living.(Regular Exercise Does Little to Undo the Effects of Prolonged Sitting: Study​)

If you too are faced with obesity, here's help. Consensus Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Living and Prevention of Obesity, Dr.Anoop Misra et all include reduction in the intake of carbohydrates, preferential intake of complex carbohydrates and low glycemic index foods, higher intake of fiber, lower intake of saturated fats, optimal ratio of essential fatty acids, reduction in trans fatty acids, slightly higher protein intake, lower intake of salt, and restricted intake of sugar.What does this mean? Let's simplify, not for being fashionably thin but for being healthy. Remember food is good, food is healthy, our choices and our selections are what decide our own health as well as that of our family. To ensure a healthy life, free of all types of malnutrition or over-nutrition, we need to eat healthy daily.Steps you must take if you're overweight:A family is made up of individuals at different stages of life, of different ages but to promote health, what better way than re organizing your kitchen. Here are some pointers:1. Whole grain and not processed cereals provide energy to sustain and grow and are also a major source of all essential nutrients. Stock up on whole grains like Bajra, Ragi, Maize and Jowar, use them often. Try red and black and brown rice instead of white rice .Use these whole grains for breakfast porridges, they taste great.2. Buy whole dals in addition to the staple washed dals. Fill up your shelves with Rajma, Chana, Soy, Bhatt dals. Add these as sprouts or cook them for your meal at least once every two days. When buying meat, choose the lean, low fat cuts. Add a protein in every major meal. Proteins are essential for the body.3. Ensure 3 servings of seasonal vegetables per head and 2 of whole fruits per day. They provide both soluble and insoluble fibre in addition to vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. We need about 25-30gms of fibre per day, one apple provides only 1gm.

4. 15% of one's total calories come from visible Fats. Invisible sources include fatty meat, butter, ghee, cheese, lard, cream. Limit their use, Choose low fat milk, double toned. Poly unsaturated fats from vegetables are recommended. One oil may not provide all essential fats so use different combinations.5. Keep the trans fats away. There is a chance that industrial trans fats would be present in fast foods, snack food, fried foods cookies, margarine and spreads). Read the labels, if there is no label, find a better substitute.6. Keep the intake of sugar to less than 10% of your total calories, for a normal weight woman who needs 1900Kcal/day this is about 10 -11 teaspoons of sugar. Below 5% would be better. Sugar doesn't refer to added refined sugar that you put in your tea/ coffee only. A lot of foods have natural sugar hidden in them too.7. Do not skip meals. Eat three balanced meals. Take a standard dinner plate, fill ½ with vegetables, 1/3rd with cereal, 1/3rd with the protein, add 150 ml of milk/dahi/dessert. You have a healthy meal.8. Snack on seasonal fruits, keep whole fruits easily available for the family members to pick up.(The Ideal Balanced Diet: What Should You Really Eat?​)

9. Keep your fridge free of sugary aerated drinks and processed fruit juices. Keep fresh aam panna, jal jeera , kanji, buttermilk, as per season . Involve your family in making them.10. Nuts and Seeds make a good healthy snack to. One fistful a day is a good way to start your day.11. Boil, Bake, Shallow fry, and roast instead of deep frying.12. Meals are to eaten on the dining table not in front of the TV.13. Exercise daily. A minimum of 30-45 minutes daily @ 5-6km/hr for people below 40 years and free of any disease. Children need to be exposed to a lot of physical activity. Tuitions, studies are important but so is maintaining weight and promoting health. Also, you need to work with children and facilitate their needs.For Infants and ChildrenWHO has given clear guidelines for food given to babies and children. The first two years are crucial to a child's growth, healthy dietary habits will lay the foundation for a healthy life.WHO recommendations:
• Infants should be breastfed exclusively during the first 6 months of life.
• Infants should be breastfed continuously until 2 years of age and beyond.
• From 6 months of age, breast milk should be complemented with a variety of adequate, safe and nutrient dense foods. Salt and sugars should not be added to complementary foods.Achieving and maintaining weight is an ongoing process for most of us, we are human, we will slip, but those that get back on the saddle faster are winners. So next time your clothes are tighter, do not buy the next size, start your health programme. As parents all you can give your children is good education and health. Work with them, seek professional help when confused but start today.

Food for Thought: The spicy, juicy, history of hot chicken

In this Friday, March 22, 2013 photo, Keith Graham sprinkles hot seasoning on an order of chicken at Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish restaurant in Nashville, Tenn. Hot chicken — fried chicken with varied amounts of seasoning that make the heat level run from mild to extra hot — is a signature dish of Nashville. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — If we are what we eat, then there’s a lot to be written about those of us who prefer our food fried with a little flame.

From popular franchise competitions between the best spicy chicken sandwich to the origin of Nashville Hot Chicken as a domestic punitive measure, spicy chicken is part of the American palette and psychology.

Food preference is determined by cognitive mechanisms that have evolutionary benefits. For example, we’re naturally averse to foods that are spoiled or toxic, protecting us from becoming ill, while sweet foods originated from calorie-dense items that were luxuries generations ago because of the scarcity of sugar.

But why do we spice up our lives?

Preference for spicy foods isn’t so much about satisfying nutritional needs but rather because humana adapted to take advantage of the cleansing properties in plants that are spicy.

“If these chemical weapons are damaging to our bodies — as evidenced by the painful or unpleasant tastes that accompany them — it stands to reason they are also damaging to some pathogens which might reside in our food as well. Provided our bodies are better able to withstand certain doses of these harmful chemicals, relative to the microbes in our food, then eating spicy foods could represent a trade-off between the killing of food-borne pathogens against the risk of poisoning ourselves,” reports Psychology Today.

One study tested an adaptive hypothesis of spicy food across the world by examining recipes found in 93 traditional cookbooks from 36 countries.

The study found that more than 40 spices were added to meat dishes and that 93 percent of dishes called for at least one spice. The data suggests correlations between recipes from warmer climates calling for more spices in its meat dishes, most likely to preserve meat dishes from spoiling in the heat.

Spiciness in food has other evolutionary indications, such as tolerance for heat correlating to masculinity.

A 2015 study by Pennsylvania State University looked at the ways gender and personality differences might sway a person’s influence in taste.

Researchers questioned 246 subjects on their favorite foods, administered a personality survey, and later asked subjects to sample a smorgasbord of flavor-rich foods, such as capsaicin-filled chile peppers.

The study found that men were much more likely than women to claim to love spicy food in the survey, but the taste test revealed women reported enjoying spicy food more than men.

Other studies have associated spicy-flavored preferences to traits like risk-taking and attention seeking, which leads to Nashville Hot Chicken.

Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack is the cornerstone of hot chicken in the U.S. with an origin story as spicy and juicy as the beloved chicken itself. During the 1930s a woman in Nashville was fed up with the womanizing ways of her partner, Thornton Prince.

According to lore, Prince cheated on his partner on a Saturday night so she soaked his fried chicken in hot pepper on Sunday. Prince apparently enjoyed la douleur exquise of the chicken and decided to open up Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, which still boasts long lines for those ready to taste fire.

The same chemical properties in spices mentioned earlier that help preserve meat also cause a chemical reaction in our mouth that people find irresistible.

Capsaicin stimulates certain receptors in the mouth that make your brain believe your mouth is on fire. We feel heat when we taste spice.

It’s obviously stressful if the brain believes any part of the body is on fire and the stress produces endorphins to help alleviate the pain/heat in the mouth, which causes the rush often felt when eating spicy food.

Whether you seek the pain or pleasure of spicy food or hot chicken, here are some places in El Paso to try:

  • Roasted red chile chicken
  • Green chile chicken and waffles
  • Spicy chicken tenders
  • El Patron sandwich
  • Chicken buffalo ranch sandwich
  • Crispy and spicy chicken sandwich
  • Buffalo ‘chikn’ sandwich (V)

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