Government, Parents, won’t regulate kids’ sugary drinks — Doctors will try taxes to cut consumption

❝ Pediatricians have long warned parents about the risks of consuming too many sugary drinks — including the link to Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Now, the nation’s leading group of kids’ doctors, the American Academy of Pediatrics, together with the American Heart Association, has endorsed a range of strategies designed to curb children’s consumption — including taxes on sugary drinks, limits on marketing sugary drinks to kids and financial incentives to encourage healthier beverage choices…

❝ While consumption of sugary drinks has declined in the U.S., kids and teens still consume about 150 calories a day, on average, from them. That’s about 12 ounces per day. But the heart association recommends that children consume no more than 8 ounces per week.

The pediatricians – in all sincerity – hope the White House and Congress will also aid in the reduction of kids’ sugar consumption. The fake president and his pimps in Congress will probably respond with free classes in using a machine gun. And give taxpayer dollar$ to the NRA to teach the courses.

Sugar industry hid evidence of negative health effects nearly 50 years ago

❝ A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago…

Researchers Cristin Kearns, Dorie Apollonio and Stanton Glantz from the University of California at San Francisco reviewed internal sugar industry documents and discovered that the Sugar Research Foundation funded animal research to evaluate sucrose’s effects on cardiovascular health. When the evidence seemed to indicate that sucrose might be associated with heart disease and bladder cancer…they found the foundation terminated the project without publishing the results…

❝ The results suggest that the current debate on the relative effects of sugar vs. starch may be rooted in more than 60 years of industry manipulation of science. Last year, the Sugar Association criticized a mouse study suggesting a link between sugar and increased tumor growth and metastasis, saying that “no credible link between ingested sugars and cancer has been established.”

Sugar can be part of a natural diet, one reflective of the gradual evolution of Homo sapiens. Want to get back to that situation? You’ll have to battle against the brainwashing you’ve been subjected to by decades of adverts on radio and TV, in movies – and, now, on the interwebitubes [thanks, Dave].

Nothing new about profiting from induced addiction.

Does sugar make you sad?


AP Photo/Kathy Willens

❝ Lately, the science has really been stacking up evidence against consuming sugars in excess.

In addition to being linked to conditions like obesity, diabetes, inflammatory diseases, eating high levels of sugar has been associated with mental illnesses like depression. In a study published July 27 in Scientific Reports that followed over 8,000 adults over 22 years, researchers from University College London found that men who reported consuming foods that contained 67 grams of sugar per day or more were 23% more likely to be diagnosed with clinical depression after five years from when the study began.

❝ For their work, researchers followed the a cohort called the Whitehall Study II, which tracked health and stress data for civil servants aged 35 to 55 in London beginning in 1985. Every few years, participants filled out surveys about their diets and other markers of health—including whether or not they had been clinically diagnosed with mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Participants didn’t have any mental illnesses diagnosed to start, and researchers used their food questionnaires to estimate how much sugar each person was eating per day.

❝ After the first five-year follow up, men who ate the most sugar, which the authors categorize as 67 grams or more per day—almost twice the amount of sugar intake recommended by the American Heart Association, and roughly three and a half regular sized Snickers bars—had higher rates of mental health diagnoses than those who ate less sugar, regardless of whether or not they were overweight. Even during years when participants reported eating less sugar, levels of mental illness stayed the same, which suggests that previous sugar habits had led to depression or anxiety and not the other way around. In this study, the relationship between sugar and mental illness wasn’t well-defined among women.

And the news didn’t get better.

RTFA for more details. No one’s saying eating sugar melts your brain. Yet. Laying the groundwork for illness is what any part of the whole of mediocre/lousy nutrition establishes.

Lousy nutrition will make you stupid as well as fat

❝ Being overweight can raise your blood pressure, cholesterol and risk for developing diabetes. It could be bad for your brain, too.

A diet high in saturated fats and sugars, the so-called Western diet, actually affects the parts of the brain that are important to memory and make people more likely to crave the unhealthful food, says psychologist Terry Davidson…

❝ He didn’t start out studying what people ate. Instead, he was interested in learning more about the hippocampus, a part of the brain that’s heavily involved in memory…He did that by studying rats that had very specific types of hippocampal damage and seeing what happened to them.

In the process, Davidson noticed something strange. The rats with the hippocampal damage would go to pick up food more often than the other rats, but they would eat a little bit, then drop it.

Davidson realized these rats didn’t know they were full. He says something similar may happen in human brains when people eat a diet high in fat and sugar. Davidson says there’s a vicious cycle of bad diets and brain changes. He points to a 2015 study…that found obese children performed more poorly on memory tasks that test the hippocampus compared with kids who weren’t overweight.

❝ He says if our brain system is impaired by that kind of diet, “that makes it more difficult for us to stop eating that diet. … I think the evidence is fairly substantial that you have an effect of these diets and obesity on brain function and cognitive function.”…

❝ Davidson is…moving forward by studying how to break the vicious cycle of a Western diet, obesity and brain changes. But he says the underlying idea that obesity affects the brain is clear.

“It’s surprising to me that people would question that obesity would have a negative effect on the brain, because it has a negative effect on so many other bodily systems,” he says, adding, why would “the brain would be spared?”

Another smartass scientist who lets sound logic and data get in the way of profits from corporations producing and selling crap food. Will they never learn?

RTFA for a range of studies that move from correlation to causation.

Sugar was/is used to hook Americans on cigarettes

❝ …The connection between junk food and cigarettes runs…deep…as Gary Taubes details in a revelatory chapter of his book The Case Against Sugar, set to be released on Dec. 27.

Taubes…argues that sugar is the main driver of the chronic diseases plaguing Western civilization in the 21st century, including (but not limited to) diabetes, heart disease, and obesity…

But wedged between chapters on the long history of humans’ insatiable lust for sugar…and the economic resilience of sweets is a little-known story: the alliance between the sugar and tobacco industries.

❝ Tobacco itself has a natural sugar content, which curing alters. While flue-curing increases the sugar content, making the tobacco more palatable for smokers, it also results in lower content of nicotine, an addictive stimulant. By early in the 20th century, the industry had found a way to make its product both more enjoyable to smoke and higher in nicotine. Air-curing Burley tobacco creates relatively high levels of easily absorbed nicotine; sugar-soaking, which follows, enhances flavor.

Soon, “sugar-sauced” Burley tobacco was being blended into R.J. Reynolds’s Camels, and other manufacturers followed suit, Taubes writes. By 1929, more than 50 million pounds of sugar a year were being used to “candy up” the tobacco in more than 120 billion American cigarettes…

❝ For this chapter, Taubes relies largely on Tobacco and Sugar, a 1950 report by the Sugar Research Foundation, the industry trade group at the time, that openly celebrated the union.

“Were it not for sugar,” said Wightman Garner, a former U.S. Department of Agriculture tobacco official quoted in the report, “the American blended cigarette and with it the tobacco industry of the United States would not have achieved such tremendous development as it did in the first half of this century.” Later in the report, the author refers to the development as “this most promising field of sugar utilization.” The combination, the report says, was a “stroke of genius.”

Recent industry-funded research has found that the added sugar doesn’t increase the toxicity of the cigarettes, but other studies confirm that it does make cigarettes taste better, getting people to smoke more of them.

Disgusting way to maintain, encourage, an addiction.

The sugar industry paid for distorted health science for more than 50 years

❝ The sugar industry has a long history of shaping nutrition policy in the United States, working to mask the potential risks of consuming too much of the sweet stuff.

It wasn’t until this year, for instance, that the US Dietary Guidelines finally recommended people keep their consumption of added sugars below 10 percent of their total calorie intake — decades after health advocates began pressing for the measure. The sugar lobby had fended off this recommendation all the while.

❝ New research, published…in JAMA Internal Medicine, shows that Big Sugar may have done more than just advocate for favorable policies. Going back more than 50 years, the industry has been distorting scientific research by dictating what questions get asked about sugar, particularly questions around sugar’s role in promoting heart disease.

❝ The paper focuses on a debate that first popped up in the 1950s, when the rate of heart disease started to shoot up in the United States. Scientists began searching for answers, and zeroed in on dietary saturated fat as the leading contributor. The energy we get from food comes in three kinds of nutrients: fats, carbohydrates, and protein…

Today, scientific consensus related to the role specific macronutrients play in the diet has shifted. Researchers have come around to the view that a person’s overall eating habits probably matter more for health than the particular percentages of carbs, fats, and proteins taken in. But they also generally agree that some kinds of fats are less damaging to health than others. (In particular, unsaturated fats appear to be better for one’s cardiovascular disease risk than saturated and trans fats.) And that too much sugar can be just as bad as too much fat for the heart.

❝ The new JAMA paper reveals why the public may know less about the sugar-heart link than it ought to…

Beginning in the 1950s, notes the JAMA paper, led by Cristin Kearns of UC San Francisco, a trade group called the Sugar Research Foundation was concerned about evidence showing that a low-fat diet high in sugar might raise cholesterol levels in the blood.

If sugar turned out to be a major driver of heart issues, the group surmised, that could be devastating for sugar producers…So the Sugar Research Foundation aligned itself with leading Harvard nutrition professors, and paid them the equivalent of $48,900 (in 2016 dollars) for a two-part research review, later published in the New England Journal of Medicine, that would discredit the link between sugar and heart disease.

It ain’t just ancient history. A couple generations of nutritionist were taught to believe the skewed analysis was holy writ, a premise so well established it must serve as the starting point for all following work.

RTFA for details. Yes, there’s nothing new about money buying results. Sometimes in science, though more rarely, say, than in American politics.

Preservatives won’t harm you — just look at this 40-year-old Twinkie!

In a glass box in a private school in Maine sits a 40-year-old chemistry experiment still going strong: A decades-old Twinkie.

The experiment started in 1976 when Roger Bennatti was teaching a lesson to his high school chemistry class on food additives and shelf life.

After a student wondered about the shelf life of the snack, Bennatti sent the students to the store with some money. When they returned with the treat, Bennatti ate one and placed the still-surviving Twinkie on the blackboard.

Bennatti has since retired, but the snack now resides in the office of George Stevens Academy’s Dean of Students Libby Rosemeier.

Rosemeier told ABC News she isn’t sure who will inherit the Twinkie when she retires, but joked that the Smithsonian hasn’t called yet.

Eeoouugh.

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.

Americans eat too damn much crap food


Scott Olson/Getty Images

A new study thinks it knows the culprit fueling America’s bad eating habits: ultra-processed foods.

That category includes foods like frozen pizzas, breakfast cereals, and fizzy sodas. Researchers at Tufts University and the University of Sao Paulo analyzed the eating habits of more than 9,000 Americans and concluded that about 58 percent of the average American’s calories come from ultra-processed foods every day.

The study, which was published in the medical journal BMJ Open, drew findings from in-depth interviews with the study’s participants, who were asked to recall every item they’d eaten over a 24-hour period. On average, they consumed about 2,070 calories per day.

In addition to the ultra-processed foods, participants took in about 28 percent of their calories from unprocessed foods, such as eggs, milk, vegetables, or fresh fish. An additional 10 percent came from regular processed foods – items like cheese or cured meat.

But ultra-processed foods carry a particular risk: They contain significant amounts of added sugars, the sweeteners that food production companies artificially add to their products. Overall, ultra-processed foods contribute 90 percent of the added sugars Americans consume each day…

Of course, the problem with this heightened sugar intake is that it makes Americans more likely to be overweight or obese. That, in turn, increases the chances of developing serious health problems like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

If Americans want to cut back on those risks, the researchers conclude, they’ll have to take in a lot less added sugar – which means they’ll need to cut way back on ultra-processed foods.

Here’s a link to the Harvard School of Public Health and a post about added sugars – including all the names camouflaging the real deal.