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Sugary lies

In the current issue of NewScientist it is reported that in 2013 the US Sugar Association applied pressure on the US Congress to drop US funding of the WHO because its new food guidelines included strict suggested limits on the role of sugar in the diet.  More information is in this Guardian report.  Sugar is a nutritionally useless commodity – unlike fats, proteins and other components of food it is nutritionally redundant.  There are strong beliefs however that it is addictive and hence fosters the global obesity problem as well as nasty metabolic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.  I have not intentionally added sugar to my food for 40 years.

The nasty lobbying here is yet another example of the way corporations suppress knowledge to promote profits.  The cigarette companies lied their heads off for 60 years and large fossil fuel energy companies spread lies about climate change links with carbon fuel-based consumption.  Groups such as the IPA and the Libertarians help to spread such lies – typically campaigning in ways that reflect the lies/marketing efforts fostered by corporate interests – we still have doubts, it is unproven, smoking is a “freedom of choice” issue etc.

A more trivial but still nasty episode was revealed again today when it was found that the Coalition’s Fiona Nash and her chief-of-staff Alastair Furnival pulled down a new “health star” rating site that provided ratings of different types of foods.  Alastair Furvival is married to a lobbyist for the junk food industry.  The Public Health Association and Choice have condemned the decision to take down the site.

OK maybe it is a coincidence but I am suspicious.  Also I am becoming increasingly paranoid about the role of corporate interests in manipulating information flows that affect our health and well-being but which deliver private profits.

3 comments to Sugary lies

  • Michael

    This is not a new development. The sugar industry has been fighting this for decades and they have been extraordinarily successful. I cancelled my membership of Bicycle Victoria over their partnership with Coca Cola to fight obesity! It seems money is even more addictive than sugar.

  • derrida derider

    We’ll make a lefty of you yet, Harry. Of course one way we could act to offset the lies and naked abuse of power by corporations is to provide an offsetting source of power (inevitably with offsetting lies and abuses, of course).

    Now if only their employees could get organised together to do this. They’d have to be fairly united about it of course, so perhaps we could dub these new organisations something like “unions” …

    /end trolling

  • Alastair Furvival has now resigned. Though of course protesting that he did nothing wrong.

    But some of my friends who keep up with things scientific have been spouting anti-sugar shoots for some time now. One, making an attempt to cut down on sugar, noticed that he seemed to rather like putting tomato sauce on his food – only to find that sugar was pretty much its main ingredient.

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