Next Big Thing? Weed Beer, Folks

❝ For large beverage companies, the push into pot is all about the fear of missing out. After getting beat on trends including craft beer, coconut water, and flavored seltzer, the drink giants don’t want to miss the next trendy ingredient: cannabis. Whether it’s the THC that gets you high or the nonpsychoactive CBD, weed components are being infused into drinks with an eye toward the mass market…

Legal marijuana sales are expected to rise to $11 billion in the U.S. this year, from $9 billion in 2017, and cannabis-infused beverages account for less than 1 percent of that. But a recent report from the bank Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. estimated that sales of drinks infused with THC or CBD, forecast to make up 20 percent of the edibles market, will reach $600 million in sales in the U.S. by 2022. In Colorado, which became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in 2014, sales of cannabis drinks almost doubled in 2017 and are up an additional 18 percent in the first half of this year, according to Flowhub LLC, which tracks marijuana sales data.

If you’re an investor don’t miss the chance to catch the next wave. Someone like me who doesn’t smoke ANYTHING and simply stopped drinking most anything alcoholic, as well, from lack of interest years ago is only interested in products which might make for tasty scones or Alice B Toklas brownies. Though I admit to owning a few shares of a leading grower in the Great White North.

Federal Judge clears the way for San Francisco’s sugary drink warnings

Soda pop manufacturers will be forced to include warnings about the potential dangers of their products on certain advertisements in San Francisco after a federal judge declined to halt a new law.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen refused Wednesday to block the measure from taking effect July 25, meaning the soda pop companies will be required to sound the alarm about the health effects of sugary beverages…

The American Beverage Association, California Retailers Association and California State Outdoor Advertising Association had filed a lawsuit seeking a temporary injunction blocking the rule from implementation. They argued it violated their free speech rights.

Supporters of the law say it’s critical to warn consumers about the connection between sugary beverages and health problems. The language that must be included on the ads states: “WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco.”

Chen wrote in his order: “The warning required by the city ordinance is factual and accurate, and the city had a reasonable basis for requiring the warning given its interest in public health and safety.”

Kudos to Judge Chen. A pleasant exception to business-as-usual judiciary and assorted political hacks too busy playing ring-around-the-rosie with fundraisers and lobbyists to give attention to health hazards affecting the nation’s population.

Phony anti-obesity organization fronting for Coca-Cola shutting down

The Global Energy Balance Network, an organization founded to help combat obesity, will be disbanding after months of criticism following a New York Times report…that revealed Coca-Cola had funded the organization.

The group wiped its website clean, leaving a post that said it was discontinuing operations “due to resource limitations.”

Following the August article, public health officials across the country argued that Coca-Cola had funded the group in an effort to play down the association between sugary soft drinks and obesity. While the group had previously claimed that Coke had given them an “unrestricted gift” and the company had “no input” on the research, the Associated Press reported last week that they had obtained emails between Coca-Cola and GEBN group leaders that showed the beverage company had both hand-picked GEBN’s group leaders and, “edited its mission statement and suggested content for the group’s website.” In response, Coke told the AP that its chief scientist, Rhona Applebaum, would be retiring as well.

The New York Times reported yesterday that in an email exchange between James O. Hill, GEBN’s president, and Applebaum, Hill had suggested a study to focus the blame for the rise in obesity on a lack of exercise, and keep it away from the rise in consumption of Coca-Cola’s soft drinks.

Credit where and when due. NY TIMES did the work that exposed Coca-Cola. They deserve measured applause.

Mail me a penny postcard when they stop fronting for the State Department in the Middle East and Asia.

Popular soda ingredient poses cancer risk

Public health researchers have analyzed soda consumption data in order to characterize people’s exposure to a potentially carcinogenic byproduct of some types of caramel color. Caramel color is a common ingredient in colas and other dark soft drinks. The results show that between 44 and 58 percent of people over the age of six typically have at least one can of soda per day, possibly more, potentially exposing them to 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI), a possible human carcinogen formed during the manufacture of some kinds of caramel color.

Building on an analysis of 4-MEI concentrations in 11 different soft drinks first published by Consumer Reports in 2014, researchers led by a team at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) estimated exposure to 4-MEI from caramel-colored soft drinks and modeled the potential cancer burden related to routine soft drink consumption levels in the United States.

“Soft drink consumers are being exposed to an avoidable and unnecessary cancer risk from an ingredient that is being added to these beverages simply for aesthetic purposes,” says Keeve Nachman, PhD, senior author of the study…”This unnecessary exposure poses a threat to public health and raises questions about the continued use of caramel coloring in soda…”

While there’s currently no federal limit for 4-MEI in food or beverages, Consumer Reports petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to set limits for the potential carcinogen last year. It also shared the findings with the California Attorney General’s office, which enforces the state’s Proposition 65 law aimed at reducing consumers’ exposure to toxic chemicals. Under this state law, any food or beverage sold in the state that exposes consumers to more than a specific amount of 4-MEI per day requires a health-warning label.

Another one I don’t have to worry about. I actually keep most New Year’s Resolutions as long as I limit myself to one at a time. Make it simple. Make it achievable.

A number of years ago I stopped consuming any carbonated beverages.

Sugary soft drinks linked to accelerated aging

Consumption of sugary soda drinks such as cola and lemonade may be linked to accelerated DNA ageing, say researchers who have studied the impact of the drinks in more than 5,000 people.

High-sugar fizzy drinks have been under fire from campaigners for contributing to obesity and type-2 diabetes, but this is the first study to suggest a link with ageing. The researchers found that people who reported drinking a 350ml bottle of fizzy drink per day had DNA changes typical of cells 4.6 years older.

Yes, this sort of sugar consumption shortens your life much as smoking.

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, asked 5,309 healthy adults aged between 20 and 65 about their consumption of fizzy drinks and examined the DNA from each participant’s white blood cells.

The team found that telomeres – protective DNA caps on the end of chromosomes – were shorter in people who reported habitually drinking more fizzy drinks.

Telomeres are repetitive sections at the end of chromosomes that get shorter each time cells divide. They act as a kind of genetic ticking clock and in the past have been associated with human lifespan as well as the development of some forms of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Other studies have suggested a link between telomere length and lifestyle factors such as smoking and psychological stress.

Prof Elissa Epel, of UCSF, stressed that the study only showed an association and did not prove that sugary drink consumption caused cell ageing. If high soda consumption was to blame, it may be due to the huge rush of sugars into the blood after a drink, leading to oxidative stress and inflammation – “the perfect storm for degrading telomeres,” said Epel.

Next in line for study – a tighter focus on sugar. Overdue as far as I’m concerned.

Thanks, Mike

Drinking soda is even worse for you than you thought it could be

There are different types of sugar that we consume in our regular diets.

There is glucose, a not-too-terrible sugar that the body is decent at metabolizing. Then there is fructose, a more-terrible sugar that humans are not good at metabolizing. It’s fructose that research has linked to diabetes, obesity and liver disease.

Sodas, a new study shows, are loaded up on the latter type of sugar that our bodies are terrible at processing.

Soda manufacturers don’t have to disclose how much of their sugar is fructose or glucose, so a team of researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Los Angeles’ Public Health Division and University of Southern California decided to measure it. They went to a store in East Los Angeles and, as many consumers would, purchased some Sprite, Dr. Pepper, Pepsi and seven other popular drinks. And then they had three independent labs measure the fructose and glucose content of each.

Their analysis found that fructose makes up, on average, 59 percent of the total sugar in sugar-sweetened beverages. Beverage makers have previously claimed that their drinks are a pretty even balance between fructose and glucose. But in this study we’re learning, for the first time, that the sugar in soda is mostly sugar our body is terrible at processing.

“Given that Americans drink 45 gallons of soda a year, it’s important for us to have a more accurate understanding of what we’re actually drinking,” says Michael Goran, one of the researchers on the study.

One of his suggestions: adding information to soda labels about the fructose and glucose content of the beverages, to give consumers a better idea of what they’re actually drinking.

There is a distinct possibility that given regulations like this being instituted by the FDA – more Americans will start to peer at the print on food labels. It may take 20 years or so; but, it will happen.

I hope.

Researchers prove behavioral problems in young children from consuming soft drinks

destruction, aggression

Americans buy more soft drinks per capita than people in any other country. These drinks are consumed by individuals of all ages, including very young children. Although soft drink consumption is associated with aggression, depression, and suicidal thoughts in adolescents, the relationship had not been evaluated in younger children. A new study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics finds that aggression, attention problems, and withdrawal behavior are all associated with soft drink consumption in young children.

Shakira Suglia, ScD, and colleagues from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, University of Vermont, and Harvard School of Public Health assessed approximately 3,000 5-year-old children enrolled in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a prospective birth cohort that follows mother-child pairs from 20 large U.S. cities.

Mothers reported their child’s soft drink consumption and completed the Child Behavior Checklist based on their child’s behavior during the previous two months. The researchers found that 43% of the children consumed at least 1 serving of soft drinks per day, and 4% consumed 4 or more.

Aggression, withdrawal, and attention problems were associated with soda consumption. Even after adjusting for sociodemographic factors, maternal depression, intimate partner violence, and paternal incarceration, any soft drink consumption was associated with increased aggressive behavior. Children who drank 4 or more soft drinks per day were more than twice as likely to destroy things belonging to others, get into fights, and physically attack people. They also had increased attention problems and withdrawal behavior compared with those who did not consume soft drinks.

According to Dr. Suglia, “We found that the child’s aggressive behavior score increased with every increase in soft drinks servings per day.” Although this study cannot identify the exact nature of the association between soft drink consumption and problem behaviors, limiting or eliminating a child’s soft drink consumption may reduce behavioral problems.

Dr. Suglia makes the critical point. Though researchers haven’t yet identified the qualitative link between drinking this crap – and self-destructive behavior – the correlation is specific. “Aggressive behavior scores increased with every increase in soft drinks servings per day”.

‘Nuff said.

One soft drink a day increases Type 2 diabetes risk by 22%

Drinking a can of cola a day increases the risk of developing diabetes by a fifth, according to research.

The largest study of the link between soft-drink consumption and Type 2 diabetes in Europe has found that the sweetened beverages not only cause weight gain, which is associated with a higher rate of diabetes, but also increase the risk of the condition independently…

Researchers from Imperial College, London, led the study of more than 12,000 people with Type 2 diabetes whose diets were compared with 16,000 controls in nine European countries, including the UK.

The results showed that people who drank one can of sweetened soft drink a day had a 22 per cent increased risk of diabetes…

Sweetened soft drinks contain a lot of calories which contribute to overweight and obesity, which in turn is a cause of diabetes. But the drinks appeared to increase the risk separately from this effect, possibly by triggering insulin resistance, reducing the body’s ability to use glucose…

Dr Dora Romaguera, of Imperial College, who led the study published in Diabetologia, said: “There was an association in normal weight individuals, overweight and the obese. Even in normal weight individuals, those who drank a glass of soft drink a day were more likely to develop diabetes.”

Dr Romaguera said: “The hypothesis for fruit juice is different. We know they naturally contain sugar but fruits are not associated with an increase in diabetes, rather they are protective. It may be the anti-oxidants they contain that counter the effect of the sugar.”

Sugar has to be the most widely consumed poison in our culture – and corporate profiteers love it. If they could figure out some easy way to combine sugar with driving overpowered automobiles or getting a new credit card I think they’d be in hog heaven.