Media Musings: The real poop on healthy eating

Editor’s note: This is another in my series of monthly musings on the news, published on the Sunday following the last Saturday of each month, except when it’s not.


© 2013 Tom Pfeifer

Current as of January 26, 2013


Like you, I resolved to live a healthier lifestyle in the coming year. Like you, I believed that a healthy lifestyle begins with eating less crap. Little did I realize that eating crap is good for me – and you.

You may have missed the crappy good news because it was gobbled up by news of President Obama’s second inauguration, the temporary settlement of the debt ceiling crisis, Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend and Lance Armstrong’s confession that he is, in fact, a dope. But that’s why I’m here: to give you the straight poop on the news that’s important to your daily life.

Food news, in fact, was hot this month. So hot that Gatorade contains flame retardant to cool it down. The flame retardant acts as a flavor emulsifier and goes by the name of brominated vegetable oil. But Gatorade execs are betting that food news won’t be so hot in the future, so they’re replacing the brominated vegetable oil with sucrose acetate isobutyrate. It’s a much tastier name.

Not to be outdone, Yum Brands Inc. found itself in hot water over sales of tainted chicken in its Chinese KFC restaurants. Yum also owns Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. About half its revenue comes from Chinese establishments. Most Americans believe fast food is crap, but the Chinese believe foreign fast food is healthier than eating native Chinese cuisine. One trillion Chinese can’t be wrong. And, as we’ll see, the Chinese are the gurus of the crappy health food movement.

But first, let’s consider Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola also is very popular in health-conscious China. Self-righteous Americans, however, slam Coke for its alleged role in the obesity crisis. For its part, Coke just drank the criticism all in and spit out a couple of commercials acknowledging its role in making people fat and happy. It won’t change its formula, but it did promise better marketing. The company also noted, correctly, that personal responsibility is the real cause of obesity.

A Los Angeles Times reporter regurgitated Coke’s ad titled “Coming Together”:

“‘Today, we’d like people to come together on something that concerns all of us: obesity,’ says a soothing female voice over images of smiling Americans and Coca-Cola products. ‘The long-term health of our families and the country is at stake.’”

Critics, of course, maintain Coke is just feeding us a load of guano. The geniuses at Coke don’t deny it. They already know guano is good.

The long-term health of our families and the country is the mantra of the Food and Drug Administration too. Earlier this month it proposed two new rules to protect Americans from food contamination.

One rule addresses the harvesting and production of fruits and vegetables to protect consumers from contaminants such as E. Coli, which is a feces-borne ailment.

In typical government hypocrisy, while the FDA is publicly badmouthing feces, it is quietly touting its benefits. It is even trying to classify it as a drug, which doctors believe will constipate its effectiveness.

The Chinese – those who already know American crap is healthier than indigenous consumables – have prescribed feces as a health food since the 4th century. But acceptance in the western world has been slow. Proponents of health by feces hope a study published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine will lift the cover and swirl the data.

Here’s how it works: A person with any number of intestinal ailments ingests poop from a healthy person, mixed up in a concoction that resembles chocolate milk. The good poop bacteria replaces the bad poop bacteria and, voila, there’s dancing in the streets.

The renewed interest in feces food could also explain an expected resurgence of stink bugs this year – and all the companies bidding to save Twinkies from the toilet.

I don’t know about you, but I’m relieved. I thought this was going to be yet another year that my resolutions were flushed. Now I know I don’t have to change my lifestyle. I was eating healthy all along. Well, not completely healthy. I still don’t drink chocolate milk.



Gibson, Caitlin. “Stink bugs could mount a comeback this spring in the Washington area.” Washington Post. 20 January 2013.

Grady, Denise. “When Pills Fail, This, er, Option Provides a Cure.” New York Times. 16 January 2013.

Hsu, Tiffany. “Coca-Cola addresses obesity, defends itself in TV ad campaign.” Los Angeles Times. 15 January 2013.,0,7945990.story

Hsu, Tiffany. “Gatorade pulls ingredient linked to flame retardant.” Los Angeles Times. 25 January 2013.,0,2176497.story

Morin, Monte. “Fecal transplants successful in treating intestinal ailment.” Los Angeles Times. 17 January 2013.,0,815232.story

Pierson, David. “Yum Brands apologizes for KFC chicken scare in China.” Los Angeles Times. 10 January 2013.,0,4410460.story

Strom, Stephanie. F.D.A. Offers Broad New Rules to Fight Food Contamination.” New York Times. 4 January 2013.

Whoriskey, Peter. “Can Twinkies make a comeback?” Washington Post. 24 January 2013.

Tom Pfeifer is the managing partner and chief strategist for Consistent Voice Communications. Reach him at


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