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Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?

By MARK BITTMAN from the New York Times

THE “fact” that junk food is cheaper than real food has become a reflexive part of how we explain why so many Americans are overweight, particularly those with lower incomes. I frequently read confident statements like, “when a bag of chips is cheaper than a head of broccoli ...” or “it’s more affordable to feed a family of four at McDonald’s than to cook a healthy meal for them at home.”

This is just plain wrong. In fact it isn’t cheaper to eat highly processed food: a typical order for a family of four — for example, two Big Macs, a cheeseburger, six chicken McNuggets, two medium and two small fries, and two medium and two small sodas — costs, at the McDonald’s a hundred steps from where I write, about $28. (Judicious ordering of “Happy Meals” can reduce that to about $23 — and you get a few apple slices in addition to the fries!)

In general, despite extensive government subsidies, hyperprocessed food remains more expensive than food cooked at home. You can serve a roasted chicken with vegetables along with a simple salad and milk for about $14, and feed four or even six people. If that’s too much money, substitute a meal of rice and canned beans with bacon, green peppers and onions; it’s easily enough for four people and costs about $9. (Omitting the bacon, using dried beans, which are also lower in sodium, or substituting carrots for the peppers reduces the price further, of course.)

Another argument runs that junk food is cheaper when measured by the calorie, and that this makes fast food essential for the poor because they need cheap calories. But given that half of the people in this country (and a higher percentage of poor people) consume too many calories rather than too few, measuring food’s value by the calorie makes as much sense as measuring a drink’s value by its alcohol content. (Why not drink 95 percent neutral grain spirit, the cheapest way to get drunk?)

Besides, that argument, even if we all needed to gain weight, is not always true. A meal of real food cooked at home can easily contain more calories, most of them of the “healthy” variety. (Olive oil accounts for many of the calories in the roast chicken meal, for example.)In comparing prices of real food and junk food, I used supermarket ingredients, not the pricier organic or local food that many people would consider ideal. But food choices are not black and white; the alternative to fast food is not necessarily organic food, any more than the alternative to soda is Bordeaux.

The alternative to soda is water, and the alternative to junk food is not grass-fed beef and greens from a farmers’ market, but anything other than junk food: rice, grains, pasta, beans, fresh vegetables, canned vegetables, frozen vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, bread, peanut butter, a thousand other things cooked at home — in almost every case a far superior alternative.



- Socialist is not Social Democrat

- Nazi stands for National Socialism

- Liberal in Canada are centrist

- Progressive Conservatism in Canada is right wing

- New Democratic Party in Canada is left wing

- Libertarian are not Liberal

- Socialist International is different from International Socialist

- Coffee Party and Tea Party are very different

- Radical in France is center-left

- Fascism and Communism are 2 extremes that are indeed very close.

No Missing Link! Peoples Is Peoples... And Apes Is Apes

from  Koinonia House
There were once a much wider variety of human beings on this planet than there are now, according to new genetic analyses of Neanderthals in Europe and Denisovans in East Asia. Modern humans once interbred with these other groups, apparently sharing genetic material that includes the ability to fight off certain diseases. Yet, not all creatures designated as "hominids" are related to humans. 
In 2008, a piece of bone and a tooth of what is believed to be a young girl were found in Denisova Cave in southern Siberia, along with stone blades and body ornaments. Twenty years ago the small bone and a tooth would not have been much to go on. These days, however, 40 mg of real bone from a fossil can tell researchers a great deal of information - if the bone contains enough genetic material for researchers to sequence the DNA. 
Researchers were able to compare DNA all around, and it turns out that the Denisovan girl and Neanderthals are related, but not directly. According to comparisons of genetic code, the Denisovan shared a common ancestor with Neanderthals and modern humans. 
"It amazed me that we found this other extinct group of humans," evolutionary geneticist Svante Pääbo at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology at Leipzig, Germany, told LiveScience. "When we got this little finger bone from Siberia, I was totally expecting it to be either Neanderthal or modern human. When it was something else, that was totally surprising and shocking to me." 
Ancient humans might bear some superficial physical differences from modern homo sapiens, but they were all still humans and able to breed with one another. In fact, interbreeding between modern-form humans and Neanderthals may have given us modern humans certain genes that helped boost our immune systems.
At the least, Neanderthals share key immunity genes with us, namely the HLA (human leucocyte antigen) class 1 gene. HLA proteins are important in helping the body defend itself against new infections. A variant called HLA-B*73 is found both in modern humans and Denisovans. 
There's quite a bit of Neanderthal DNA floating around out there in the population. According to researchers, up to four percent of Neanderthal DNA and up to six percent of Denisovan DNA have survived in modern humans. It's been known for some time now that Neanderthals bred with the people whose descendants are now found in Europe and western Asia. Denisovan genes can also be found in the population of Europe and especially in the people of Asia and the oceanic islands.