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Contents page
Feb 1-15, 2009

Cover Story

What does 'healthy oil' really mean? It is difficult to tell.

The Centre for Science and Environment studied branded edible oils to understand what companies mean in their claims. It found the science to prove a cooking medium's healthiness just isn't there.

Consumers are largely unaware that cooking mediums used outside their kitchens, especially to make certain packaged foods, are chock-a-block with the unhealthy trans fats. The lab analysis of various brands of vanaspati, the semi-solid cooking medium sold in India, confirmed the presence of trans fats.

Consumers can be hoodwinked easily because of the confusion in regulating these cooking mediums. The government is going greasy on trans fats regulation.

And the government-approved nutrition labelling allows companies to make claims that do not stand the test of analysis

A DOWN TO EARTH primer to crack this matrix

Editor's page

Which cooking oil is best for us? Why do I ask? Are we not bombarded with advertising messages telling us there is a healthy oil that is good for the heart? They talk of monounsaturated fatty acids (mufa), and polyunsaturated fatty acids (pufa) and of course, catch-us-words like omega properties. I am sure you, like me, try to understand this scientific jargon and conclude that any oil that has all these elements, must be good. Then we presume if we are being told the product is healthy, somebody must have verified the claim. If not, we depend on food regulators of the rich world.

Utility, too, lies in the eyes of the beholder



THERE is a sweet irony in farm labourers earning from harvest and sale of weeds--as medicinal plants to Ayurved practioners. It is not every day that labourers, often landless and among the most vulnerable of India's poor, offer to weed a farmer's field for free or lower their wage rate
(See Weeds of fortune)
.

Indore and Mysore do not want to face the challenge of urban governance



USUALLY it is in the summer that water appears in newspaper headlines. Spring is yet to arrive--although the blooming rhododendrons in Uttarakhand

Feature

Leader

Utility, too, lies in the eyes of the beholder



THERE is a sweet irony in farm labourers earning from harvest and sale of weeds--as medicinal plants to Ayurved practioners. It is not every day that labourers, often landless and among the most vulnerable of India's poor, offer to weed a farmer's field for free or lower their wage rate
(See Weeds of fortune)
.

Indore and Mysore do not want to face the challenge of urban governance



USUALLY it is in the summer that water appears in newspaper headlines. Spring is yet to arrive--although the blooming rhododendrons in Uttarakhand

Review

Book>> The Little REDD Book--can we learn from a review of proposals and positions for developing a global system of payments for maintaining and increasing forests Global Canopy Programme 2008

Book>> The Ascent of Money, A Financial History of the World By Niall Ferguson, Allen Lane London 2008 Price Rs 595

Letters

Hype about nuclear power

Anil Kakodkar's interview 'Nuclear power is a must' (December 16-31, 2008) should be read along with the interview of Tilman A Ruff, Australian head of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons ('Nuclear arms race will trigger nuclear terrorism') in the same issue. I see this as the beginning of a debate on nuclear energy in India to re-evaluate the Indo-US civilian nuke deal.

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