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.