Letters to the editor, July 2005

This article was originally published in July 2005

Sugar cravings

I’m a loyal and longtime PCC customer. I live south of Tacoma and travel quite a distance to shop at PCC. My family and I have been doing so for 16 years, since we moved to Washington. I want to say that the lead, front-page article in the “Sound Consumer” (June), entitled “Kick the Sugar Craving: Strategies for Health,” by Tom Ballard, is excellent. From my perspective, it’s very well written and one of the best I’ve read on the subject — concisely and efficiently bringing forward and expressing well some truly important personal health concerns and solutions.

I thank you at PCC for putting this story out for everyone to read on the front page. I feel that by publishing this article, PCC has provided a significant public service. It’s important and I appreciate it. I mean to call Dr. Ballard and compliment him as well .Thanks for all that you do for us, PCC!
— Matthew St. Germain, Steilacoom, Wash.

This is in response to the June article; “Kick the Sugar Craving” which condemned sugar and other items as being health and life threatening. May I humbly suggest that the average life expectancy is and has been continuously rising since the advent of refined sugar. That is not to say that sugar is the cause of that happy event, but the fact is that we are living longer. Okay, just for the sake of discussion, let’s say that we stop consuming sugar and that it would add a couple of years to our lives. From 80 to 82, so what? As far as we know, we only live once, so let’s enjoy ourselves. BRING ON THAT “BABY RUTH”!
— Martin Paup, Seattle

The Future of Food

Just a few more thoughts about Friday’s film and discussion (PCC event showing “The Future of Food”). I was surprised that it was after 9 p.m. when I left. The evening went fast and I wished there was more time for discussion. The film provides a lot of information and much of it is disturbing. I want to know more and wonder if there is any interest to have a discussion group? I think the more we learn about these issues, the better action we can take to channel our anger to do something productive.

One thing I so appreciate about PCC is the education for consumers it provides. What could be more basic to our health than the quality of food we consume? Thanks again for sponsoring the showing of this film. This is a great public service!
— Loreen Lee


I was a bit suspicious of the editor’s response to Chuck Hanna-Myrick’s June letter touting biodiesel: “… there are a couple downsides to consider …” For we biodiesel users, what’s not to love about a fuel that’s domestically made, no war required, reduces greenhouse emissions, solves a waste disposal problem, and smells better? Let me guess where you are going to go.

  1. Biodiesel is still diesel and particulates from diesel engines are bad.

    The American Lung Association and the California Air Resources Board rightfully have pointed to studies that show harm from fine particulates. But when you look into the studies, you find that assumptions made are based on old technology diesels burning high sulfur fuels. Biodiesel has no sulfur and far fewer particulates than petro fuel.
  2. Biofuels don’t give a positive environmental return because the energy (needed) to produce them is more than the return.

    This again is based on outdated or inaccurate assumptions. Because lobbyists for the big industrial corn and soybean suppliers have been successful in obtaining subsidies for non-organic corn and beans, the energy return has been negative. The investment in alternative fuel streams has been tiny. Imagine using wastes from consumers and industry to produce alcohols and biodiesel.

Biodiesel. No war. Reduces waste. Greenhouse-gas neutral. Uses present infrastructure. Healthier than what we have today. What’s not to love?
— Edward Lowe, Seattle
   82 Westy Diesel upgraded to 1.9 lt. turbo
   92 Cabrio 1.8 lt gas
   97 Passat TDI
   02 New Beetle TDI

Editor replies: I totally agree about the bum data, no war, less waste, greenhouse neutral and use of present infrastructure. Biofuels are a viable improvement over petrol. But they’re not 100 percent positive given today’s dominant agricultural model. The crops used to produce biofuels are mostly genetically engineered. (See Home-brewing energy independence, Sound Consumer), July 2005. Also, some Web sites argue that biofuels are a feel-good distraction, diverting attention from analyzing our lifestyle, allowing us to believe there’s always a technological answer to save the world, without pulling back on excessive consumption.

I have hope, however, that PCC can help shape the future of biofuel farming by encouraging use of non-genetically engineered seeds through continued dialog with our premier agricultural institution, Washington State University.

Also in this issue

News bites, July 2005

Parents and diet, Nike says no to GE cotton, New York City phases out pesticides, and more