Tag: Big Food

Healthwashing: 7 tactics Big Food, Big Soda use to fool you

Healthwashing is a dirty business – a close cousin of whitewashing. Whitewashing is loosely defined as ‘a coordinated attempt to hide unpleasant facts, especially in a political context’. Healthwashing is the weapon food and soft-drink companies use to hide unpleasant, soiled facts about their products.

In 2015,  New York Times writer Anahad O’Connor showed that Coke spent billions over decades funding scientists and front organisations to shift the blame from sugar to fat for the global obesity epidemic. Now in the US, two pastors have filed a lawsuit against Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association. They say that the company has deliberately deceived customers about health risks through its advertisements. Coca-Cola vigorously disputes all claims. It has deep pockets to protect its profits.



Lifestyle medicine: front in Big Religion’s war on red meat?

By Marika Sboros

Lifestyle medicine sounds benign enough. It may be a new front that Big Religion has opened in its war on red meat, says Dr Gary Fettke.

Fettke is an Australian orthopaedic surgeon with a special interest in evidence-based nutrition. He spoke at the CrossFit health summit in Madison, Wisconsin on August 2, 2017.

His talk was on nutrition’s central role in everything. In other words, in health, politics, education, economics, environment and beliefs.

In the first of a two-part series, Fettke raised the taboo topic of religion and nutrition science. His focus was the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and its medical evangelism. In Part 2 here, Fettke looks at “unique” partnerships Adventists use to spread a belief-based anti-meat agenda.

The spectrum of partners is disparate. It veers from relationships with extreme animal rights groups to the World Health Organisation (WHO). It also now includes “lifestyle medicine”.



Medical evangelism: a hand out for bad diet advice?

By Marika Sboros

If nutrition science proves anything these days, it is that Karl Marx was right. Religion really is the “opium of the people”. It is a reason that bad dietary advice has spread globally, says Australian orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gary Fettke.

It’s why nutrition guidelines are increasingly vegetarian, or “plant-based” as some doctors and dietitians now call it. That distances them from overtly religious associations with vegetarian diets. That’s despite robust evidence on health risks of vegetarian and plant-based diets, says Fettke.

Fettke was a keynote speaker at the CrossFit Health Conference in Madison, Wisconsin on August 2, 2017. The title of his talk: The Central Role of Nutrition in Our Health, Education, Economics, Politics, Environment and Beliefs. (Scroll down for a link to his talk.)

It was seismic scientifically and ethically. In the first of a two-part series, Fettke raises a taboo in nutrition science: Big Religion. He shines a light on its right arm: medical evangelism.



TIME FOR BIG FOOD TO GET TASTE OF OWN MEDICINE?

By Marika Sboros

There’s something deliciously karmic about giving Big Food a taste of its own medicine.

Years ago, I interviewed the head dietitian for that Big Food stalwart, Kellogg’s. She tried hard to persuade me that Fruity Loops really are good breakfast foods for children.

‘Do you feed them to your children for breakfast,’ I asked, looking her straight in the eye. She stared back. To her credit, she hesitated long and hard before saying: ‘Yes.’ It was an awkward moment because she knew that I knew she was lying.

But then, she had a job to do. In the trade, it’s called ‘eating your own dog food’, or ‘dogfooding’ for short. The software industry adopted it years ago for the process of actually using your own product.

Below, one of my favourite nutrition blogger poses an intriguing question. What if, to rise up in the ranks, managers in food and soft drink companies had to make a simple commitment: to ‘dogfood’ from now on. In other words, Big Food executives would have to take daily doses of their own’medicine’.



RISE OF ‘MICROPOWERS’ – HOW TO EAT YOURSELF WELL

From Louise Stephen’s Eating Ourselves Sick blog

By Marika Sboros

Can you eat yourself sick? Of course, you can. But knowing that is liberating because if you can eat yourself sick, you can also eat yourself well. “Micropowers” show you the way. Ask Australian former corporate high-flyer Louise Stephen.

Stephen is author of Eating Ourselves Sick. The subtitle says it all: How modern food is destroying our health. She was just 33 when a life-threatening auto-immune disease abruptly ended her career. A kidney transplant allowed her to stick around to write this important book.

In it, Stephen documents the rise of “micropowers”. These are are “digital Davids” that challenge once-dominant mega-players in all fields of human endeavour. They also counteract the insidious influence of food and drug industries on dietary advice.



DAA TALKING HEADS: TIME FOR NEW CONVERSATION?

By Marika Sboros

One reason for the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) credibility problem, say critics, is its public face. They say that by default or design, DAA media spokespersons regularly dispense low-fat, high-carb dietary advice that serves the interests of food-industry partners. Such advice lacks evidence for safety and efficacy to treat or prevent obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

DAA spokespersons also regularly show special antipathy towards Paleo and low-carb diets to treat these conditions, despite growing evidence. As well, some spokespersons are prominent university academics. Thus, critics say this leaves DAA open to a common industry tactic. It is the “halo effect” that results from “eminence-based” rather than evidence-based nutrition information. It helps to embed unhealthy products as healthy in public consciousness

In Part 2 of this series, Foodmed.net takes a look at some of those talking heads. We also look at why critics say that the conversation needs to change.



IS DOWN UNDER’S DAA REALLY IN BED WITH BIG FOOD?

By Marika Sboros

Is the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) in bed with Big Food? It’s nearly two years since US public health lawyer Michele Simon first raised the question. She worded it slightly differently at the time. Her answer was an unequivocal “yes” in And Now A Word From Our Sponsors in February 2015. But has anything changed in the interim?

DAA says that it is not in bed with Big Food now and never has been. It claims that its sponsors – “partners”, it prefers to call them – have no influence on the advice it dishes out.  It also claims to take “great care to guard against conflict of interest”.

Its critics say otherwise. They say that DAA is heavily conflicted and has been for decades. Critics also say that DAA is little more than a front for the food industry. Read on and make up your own mind.



NOAKES VS ILSI ‘QUEENPINS’ TRYING TO NAIL HIM

By Marika Sboros

So, it has taken a brilliant US investigative journalist to expose all the food industry’s “biggies” trying to silence scientist Prof Tim Noakes. True, signs of food industry involvement were there from the start. CrossFit’s Russ Greene joins the dots to confirm it.

However, Greene adds damning dots that don’t just implicate Big Sugar and Big Soda. He joins them in one straight line leading to a big food industry arm. It’s the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) that influences global food and health policy. (Scroll down for a link to Greene’s report. It’s long but well worth the read.)

The kindest thing Greene says about ILSI is that it’s a “Coca-Cola proxy organisation”. He also says ILSI is a “money launderer for purveyors of toxic substances”. And it’s a proxy for other food-industry giants, such as Kellogg’s, Unilever and Nestlé. One of Greene’s many strengths is that he shows all ILSI’s links to doctors and researchers driving the HPCSA case. I call them kingpins – or in this case one kingpin and many “queenpins”. There also appears to be a reigning queenpin. Here’s my review of what Greene shows they’ve all been up to, trying to nail Noakes.



Noakes guilty of ‘remarkable patience in face of profound silliness’

tim-noakesBy Marika Sboros 

Here’s another doctor who doesn’t think that world-renowned scientist Prof Tim Noakes is the devil incarnate of nutrition science. Psychiatry professor Michael Simpson is withering about the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) case against Noakes.

Simpson describes the HPCSA as “totally unfit for purpose” and “Alice in Wonderland living in Pretoria”. He says that it is acting “bizarrely and improperly” in going after Noakes. “Nobody who has paid intelligent attention to the proceedings and the evidence could find (Noakes) guilty of anything at all,” Simpson says.

If Noakes is guilty of anything, it’s “remarkable patience in the face of profound and consistent silliness”. There’s more.



Will pasta make you thin? Fat chance!

PASTABy Marika Sboros

Italian scientists say they have proved that eating pasta won’t make you fat. That it actually helps you to get thin.

That’s how media across the globe heralded a new study published in Nutrition and Diabetes. That’s how the researchers themselves have happily punted it .

Can a pizza study be far behind? 

The research is grist to the anti-low-carb mill. A knock-out blow to the low-carb side of the UK “fat wars”. It sabotages a powerful “Martin Luther moment”. It supports Public Health England’s much maligned Eatwell Guide. 

Or does it? Is this just Big Carb fighting back – and losing? Here’s look at what the researchers really say and what their data really show: 



UK Eatwell Guide leads to ‘food industry wealth not public health’

British poundsTHIS POST WAS UPDATED  ON OCTOBER 3, 2016 WITH NEW RESEARCH.

By Marika Sboros

Is the UK government dishing up bad dietary advice to its citizens? Has it wrongly demonised fat, glorified carbohydrates and harmed people’s health for decades? Is Public Health England’s (PHE) Eatwell Guide really the Eatbadly Guide,  as obesity researcher Dr Zoë Harcombe dubs it.

So is it really a guide to food industry wealth rather than public health?

Well, yes, yes, yes – and yes. That’s if Harcombe’s new systematic review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) is anything to go by.  The findings come at a time when PHE is facing mounting criticism for its links with the food industry. Critics also say the industry has had undue influence on government dietary guidelines. PHE now calls them  the Eatwell Guide (formerly the Eatwell Plate): 



WHY SO MANY DIETITIANS HAVE ‘HITS’ SYNDROME

Picture: YINGYING ZHANG https://www.instagram.com/yingyingzux

Picture: YINGYING ZHANG https://www.instagram.com/yingyingzux

UPDATE: HITS (Head In The Sand ) syndrome is infecting dietitians. It’s a global problem, say nutrition researchers. It’s the basis for the belief these dietitians have that low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diets are dangerous, despite evidence to the contrary. In particular, it feeds their fear of dietary saturated fat. The experts say that fat phobia is simply from a lack of understanding of the difference between correlation and causation in science.

Another sign of HITS syndrome is the latest anonymous statement from the Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA) and the Nutrition Society of SA. It went out to doctors and dietitians in South Africa in March 2016. It is premised on conventional nutrition low-fat, high-carb “wisdom”. Here, Eategrity consumer activist Sonia Mountford looks at why ADSA risks becoming increasingly irrelevant based on the advice it dishes out.  – Marika Sboros 

By Sonia Mountford

Dieticians wedded to old nutrition paradigms still like to tell people all they have to do to lose weight is …



Can you trust dietitians who are in bed with Big Food?

Weight Loss Signpost Showing Fiber Exercise Fruit And CaloriesShould you follow advice from dietitians who are bed partners with the food industry? Even when they say it’s just for the sponsorship money, and food companies have no influence on their advice whatsoever? 

The spotlight falls often on the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA), but it’s  a global concern. Food companies exert influence subtly through orthodox-trained dietitians who act as proxies whether by default or design. British investigative health journalist Jerome Burne has written a scathing blog on it: Cuddly dietitians in cosy embrace of industry fat cats.

In the first of a two-part series, Eategrity consumer activist  Sonia Mountford looks at ADSA’s links with Big Food and what effect this may be having on the advice it gives. But do you really need independent dietary advice? As an ancient Ayurvedic sage once said: When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use; when diet is right, medicine is of no need. – Marika Sboros

By Sonia Mountford*

Like many consumers, you are likely to be more aware these days than you were in the past, of what certain foods or food components may be doing to promote your health, and reduce your



NOAKES: LEGAL TEAM FIGHTS ‘TRIAL BY AMBUSH’ – PART 1

The November 2015 session of the hearing against Prof Tim Noakes was a trip through ethical landmines territory. In the first of a two-part series, I give my impressions of what went down this time round. Like all good whodunnits, it had twists and turns. His legal team has called it ‘trial by ambush’.

By Marika Sboros

Here’s a shocker for the legal and ethical books. The Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) admits to procuring secret reports to charge health professionals. In other words, it doesn’t give the accused a chance to respond to all evidence before being tried. It has done so in its case against University of Cape Town emeritus professor Tim Noakes.



Dr Jason Fung on doctors who betray patients’ trust

Doctors moneyYOU don’t expect your doctor or dietitian to collude with food companies in spinning yarns about health benefits of their products. It’s called ‘healthwashing’.  Many doctors and dietitians collude by accepting sponsorship from Big Food for research or to run their voluntary associations.

Dr Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University has said that ‘sponsorship perverts science’.

Here, Canadian nephrologist Dr Jason Fung takes an even bleaker look. He unravels how and why doctors, by default or design, regularly betray patients’ trust. – Marika Sboros