321012 March 2013 - FAB EVENT - London - SUGAR, FAT AND THE PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS - A Symposium with Professor Robert Lustig MDRobert Lustig, The Bitter Truth About Sugar12/03/201312/03/2013
THIS EVENT HAS NOW TAKEN PLACE BUT YOU CAN VIEW INTERVIEWS WITH PROF LUSTIG AND OUR OTHER SPEAKERS ON THE FAB RESEARCH YOUTUBE CHANNEL AT www.YouTube.com/FABResearch.
Full presentations and slides are also available in the FAB Research Associate Members' Audio/Video Library.
FAB Research is proud to be hosting the first visit to the UK by Professor Robert Lustig MD of the University of California, a specialist in endocrinology and pediatric obesity who is internationally renowned for his research into the hormonal and other effects of dietary sugar.
At this special symposium, we are offering you a unique opportunity to hear Professor Lustig explain the evidence behind his view that sugar – not dietary fat – is the primary driver of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and many other serious health problems, including mental health disorders. All of these diseases are associated with various hormonal and metabolic abnormalities known as ‘the metabolic syndrome’, which develops gradually over time and is known to be diet-related.
If Professor Lustig is right, then most of the public health advice aimed at reducing obesity and related chronic health conditions over the last forty years has had the wrong emphasis, because the ‘low-fat’ diets typically recommended for weight loss and heart health are almost always high in sugar and other refined carbohydrates.
Hear the scientific evidence, and join in questions and discussion with our panel of eminent speakers and commentators, all of whom are experts in their respective fields. Issues covered will include:
Why have obesity rates risen so dramatically in recent years – and why does this matter so much?
Has ‘healthy eating’ advice inadvertently been making matters worse?
What’s the evidence that mental health conditions such as ADHD and dementia may be diet-related?
‘Eating less and exercising more’ sounds very simple – so why do most people find it very difficult to lose excess weight and keep it off?
Which fats really are unhealthy, and which ones can actually reduce your risk of most degenerative diseases?
Is sugar really toxic and addictive – and if so, what can we do about it?
Dietary Fats, Sugar and the Mental Health Crisis Dr Alex Richardson (Founder Director, FAB Research; Senior Research Fellow, University of Oxford; Author of ‘They Are What You Feed Them’)
Sugar and Fat - Time for a New Food Policy? Prof Jack Winkler(Former Professor of Nutrition Policy, London Metropolitan University, Director of Food & Health Research, an independent consultancy on nutrition that works primarily with public interest organisations)
'Pure White And Deadly' - A legacy remembered Prof Michael Yudkin (Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry, University of Oxford; son of John Yudkin, the author of 'Pure, White and Deadly - How sugar is killing us and what we can do to stop it' which has recently been re-released by Penguin with a foreword from Robert Lustig)
An essential event for:
Public Health Policy Specialists | Health, Education and Social Care Professionals, Managers and Practitioners | Food Producers and Manufacturers | Food Industry Analysts and Decision Makers | Food Marketers | Researchers from Academia and Industry | School Food Providers | Media | Interested Individuals
For BANT Members this event is BANT CPD approved 3.5 hours.
FAB Research Certificate of Attendance also available to all when requested by email.
1.30pm to 5.00pmLondon, UKChurch House Conference Centre (Hoare Memorial Hall), Dean's Yard, Westminster SW1P 3NZFiona O'Feeadmin@fabresearch.org01463 667318Programme and Abstracts - London 12.3.13.pdfDownloadable Progamme and Abstracts from the eventFAB London Booking Form only.docRobert Lustig UCSF pic.jpgRobert Lustig
3652Petrof et al 2013 - Microbial ecosystems therapeutics: a new paradigm in medicine?Microbial ecosystems therapeutics: a new paradigm in medicine?Microbial ecosystems therapeutics: a new paradigm in medicine?Petrof EO, Claud EC, Gloor GB, Allen-Vercoe E11/03/2013Benef Microbes. 2013 Mar 1;4(1):53-65. doi: 10.3920/BM2012.0039
Increasing evidence indicates that the complex microbial ecosystem of the human intestine plays a critical role in protecting the host against disease. This review discusses gut dysbiosis (here defined as a state of imbalance in the gut microbial ecosystem, including overgrowth of some organisms and loss of others) as the foundation for several diseases, and the applicability of refined microbial ecosystem replacement therapies as a future treatment modality. Consistent with the concept of a 'core' microbiome encompassing key functions required for normal intestinal homeostasis, 'Microbial Ecosystem Therapeutics' (MET) would entail replacing a dysfunctional, damaged ecosystem with a fully developed and healthy ecosystem of 'native' intestinal bacteria. Its application in treating Clostridium difficile infection is discussed and possible applications to other diseases such as ulcerative colitis, obesity, necrotising enterocolitis, and regressive-type autism are reviewed. Unlike conventional probiotic therapies that are generally limited to a single strain or at most a few strains of bacteria 'Microbial Ecosystem Therapeutics' would utilise whole bacterial communities derived directly from the human gastrointestinal tract. By taking into account the intrinsic needs of the entire microbial ecosystem, MET would emphasise the rational design of healthy, resilient and robust microbial communities that could be used to maintain or restore human health. More than simply a new probiotic treatment, this emerging paradigm in medicine may lead to novel strategies in treating and managing a wide variety of human diseases.
Human gut microbiota, dysbiosis, complex probioticshttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23257018View this and related abstracts via PubMed here
3651Herberling et al 2013 - Hypothesis for a systems connectivity model of Autism Spectrum Disorder pathogenesis: links to gut bacteria, oxidative stress, and intestinal permeabilityHypothesis for a systems connectivity model of Autism Spectrum Disorder pathogenesis: links to gut bacteria, oxidative stress, and intestinal permeabilityHypothesis for a systems connectivity model of Autism Spectrum Disorder pathogenesis: links to gut bacteria, oxidative stress, and intestinal permeabilityHeberling CA, Dhurjati PS, Sasser M08/03/2013Medical Hypotheses80, Issue 3264-270Elsevier Limited
Autism Spectrum Disorders are neurodevelopmental disorders with symptoms that include cognitive impairments, stereotyped behaviors, and impairments in social skills. The dramatic increase in incidence of autism in recent years has created an increased need to find effective treatments. This paper proposes a hypothesis for a systems model of the connections between Autism Spectrum Disorder pathogenesis routes observed in recent studies. A combination treatment option is proposed to combat multiple pathogenesis mechanisms at once. Autism has been cited as being linked to gastrointestinal symptoms and is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. Neuroinflammation as a result of increased gastrointestinal permeability has been noted as being a likely cause of Autism Spectrum Disorders, with possible primary causes stemming from abnormal intestinal bacteria and/or sulfur metabolic deficiencies. Our pathogenesis model proposes a circular relationship: oxidative stress and sulfur metabolic deficiencies could cause changes in colonic bacterial composition; and environmental bacterial contaminants could lead to elevated oxidative stress in individuals. It would thus be a self-perpetuating process where treatment options with single targets would have short-lived effects. It is believed that bacterial toxins, oxidative stress and dietary allergens such as gluten could all lead to increased epithelial permeability. Therefore, we propose a combination treatment to combat intestinal permeability, abnormal bacteria and/or bacterial overgrowth, and sulfur metabolic deficiencies. It is our hope that the proposed model will inspire new studies in finding effective treatments for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. We suggest possible future studies that may lend more credibility to the proposed model.
Autism Spectrum Disorder, Neuroinflammation, Gastrointestinal permeability; Epithelial permeabilityhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23273906View this and related abstracts via PubMed here
329028 Feb 2013 - Still Believe 'A Calorie Is a Calorie'?Sugar and diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, not all calories are equal28/02/2013by Robert Lustig MD
If you do, you fly in the face of mounting and incontrovertible evidence that some calories -- in particular, "sugar calories" -- are jeopardizing both your and your family's health.
Physicians and politicians who cling to the dogma that "all calories should be treated equally" imperil our country's health care system, food supply and standing in the world for the next hundred years.
A calorie is a measurement of energy (a matter of physics), not a value judgment on where that energy goes (a matter of biochemistry). As my book Fat Chance explains, you get sick from inappropriate energy storage (in your liver and muscle), not defective energy balance (bigger love handles). Nonetheless, "a calorie is a calorie" continues to be promulgated by the food industry as their defense against their culpability for the current epidemic of obesity and chronic metabolic disease. But it is as dishonest as a three-dollar bill. Here are just four examples that refute this dogma:
Fiber. You eat 160 calories in almonds, but you absorb only 130. The fiber in the almonds delays absorption of calories into the bloodstream, delivering those calories to the bacteria in your intestine, which chew them up. Because a calorie is not a calorie.
Protein. When it comes to food, you have to put energy in to get energy out. You have to put twice as much energy in to metabolize protein as you do carbohydrate; this is called the thermic effect of food. So protein wastes more energy in its processing. Plus protein reduces hunger better than carbohydrate. Because a calorie is not a calorie.
Fat. All fats release nine calories per gram when burned. But omega-3 fats are heart-healthy and will save your life, while trans fats clog your arteries, leading to a heart attack. Because a calorie is not a calorie.
Sugar. This is the "big kahuna" of the "big lie." Sugar is not one chemical. It's two. Glucose is the energy of life. Every cell in every organism on the planet can burn glucose for energy. Glucose is mildly sweet, but not very interesting (think molasses). Fructose is an entirely different animal. Fructose is very sweet, the molecule we seek. Both burn at four calories per gram. If fructose were just like glucose, then sugar or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) would be just like starch. But fructose is not glucose. Because a calorie is not a calorie.
Up until now, scientists have shown that sugar is "associated" or "correlated" with various chronic metabolic diseases. For instance, the increase in sugar consumption over the past 30 years paralleled the increase in obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Areas that drink more soda (e.g., the American Southeast) experience higher prevalences of these diseases. But correlation is not causation.
Which direction do the data go? Does sugar cause obesity and metabolic disease? Or do obese people with metabolic disease drink soda? You can't tell, because you only have one point in time -- the snapshot, not the movie. In the February 27 issue of the journal PLoS One, my colleagues Dr. Sanjay Basu, Paula Yoffe, Nancy Hills and I put this issue to rest, because we now have the movie.
We asked the question, "What in the world's food supply explains diabetes rates, country-by-country, over the last decade?" We melded databases from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAOSTAT), which measures food availability, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), which measures diabetes prevalence, the World Bank World Development Economic Indicators, and the World Health Organization Global Infobase. We assessed total calories; meat (protein); oils (fat); cereals (glucose); pulses, nuts, vegetables, roots, and tubers (fiber); fruit excluding wine (natural sugar); and sugar, sugarcrops, and sweeteners (added sugar). We controlled for poverty, urbanization, aging, and most important, obesity and physical activity.
Bottom line -- only changes in sugar availability explained changes in diabetes prevalence worldwide; nothing else mattered.
Total caloric availability was unrelated to diabetes prevalence; for every extra 150 calories per day, diabetes prevalence rose by only 0.1 percent. But if those 150 calories per day happened to be a can of soda, diabetes prevalence rose 11-fold, by 1.1 percent (and Americans on average consume the added sugar equivalent of 2.5 cans of soda per day, so that's 2.75 percent!). And this effect of sugar was exclusive of obesity; controlling for body mass index did not negate the effect. Even more important, we showed that the change in sugar availability preceded the change in diabetes (that's cause, not effect); and we showed directionality -- those countries where sugar availability rose showed increases in diabetes, while those where sugar availability fell showed decreases in diabetes. This is a very robust signal, with little noise. While epidemiology can't prove scientific causation, the data allow for objective inference. Sugar drives diabetes worldwide, and unrelated to its calories.
When you do the math, fully one-quarter of the world's diabetes is explained by sugar alone.
The food industry has contaminated the American food supply with added sugar to "sell more product" and thereby uphold their Wall Street mandate to increase profits. Of the 600,000 food items in the American grocery store, 80 percent have been spiked with added sugar; and the industry uses 56 other names for sugar on the label. They know when they add sugar, you buy more. And because you do not know you're buying it, you buy even more.
The outcome: By the year 2050, one-third of all Americans will have diabetes. Trustees of the Medicare program predict that Medicare will be broke by 2024. No health care for you. Yet just six weeks ago, Coca-Cola had the temerity to introduce its two-minute ad "Coming Together," in which they say: "All calories count" because a calorie is a calorie; if you're fat, it's your fault (they claim no culpability); and because they make non-caloric drinks, they're part of the solution. The problem is that a calorie is not a calorie; if non-caloric drinks are the solution, then by inference they're saying that caloric drinks are the problem.
Sugar in excess is a toxin, unrelated to its calories. The dose determines the poison. Like alcohol, a little sugar is fine, but a lot is not. And the food industry has put us way over our limit.
The food industry will summon their spin doctors. They will yet again argue that the statistics are wrong, the interpretation is too broad -- but they will not be able to effectively refute the science. They haven't yet, and they won't succeed now. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and it's shining brightly on the food industry's practices. They will continue the propaganda, and try to sow the seeds of doubt. But they will be on the losing end of this battle. The UK and Australia have just this past week laid down stricter guidelines for sugar consumption. The people and scientists of the United States are onto them as well. It's just a matter of time before the politicians follow.
Robert H. Lustig, M.D., is Professor of Pediatrics at UCSF, and President of the Institute for Responsible Nutrition (responsiblefoods.org), at which the Doctors' Food Project is the first campaign. He is currently getting his Masters in Studies of Law at UC Hastings College of the Law. His YouTube lecture, "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" has been viewed over 3 million times. His book, Fat Chance: (Harper Collins 2012, Hudson St Press 2012), is in bookstores now.
328628 Feb 2013 - UCSF - Sugar Directly Linked to Diabetes Worldwidesugar, diabetes, metabolic syndromeDoes eating too much sugar cause diabetes? For years, scientists have said “not exactly.” The prevailing theory suggests that eating too much of any food, including sugar, can cause you to gain weight; and it’s the resulting obesity that predisposes people to diabetes. But now the results of a large new epidemiological study suggest sugar may also have a direct, independent link to diabetes.24/02/2013Press release
Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine, UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco examined data on global sugar availability and diabetes rates from 175 countries over the past decade. After accounting for obesity and a large array of other factors, the researchers found that increased sugar in a population’s food supply was linked to higher diabetes rates independent of rates of obesity. Their study was published on Feb. 27 in PLoS One.
“It was quite a surprise,” said Sanjay Basu, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center and the study’s lead author. The study provides the first large-scale, population-based evidence for the idea that not all calories are equal from a diabetes-risk standpoint, Basu said. “We’re not diminishing the importance of obesity at all, but these data suggest that at a population level there are additional factors that contribute to diabetes risk besides obesity and total calorie intake, and that sugar appears to play a prominent role.”
Specifically, more sugar was correlated with more diabetes. For every additional 150 total calories, the prevalence of diabetes in the population rose 0.1%, but if those 150 calories were sugar (e.g. a 12-ounce can of soda), diabetes prevalence instead rose 1.1%, even after controlling for obesity, physical activity, other types of calories, and a number of economic and social variables.
Not only was sugar availability correlated to diabetes risk, but the longer a population was exposed to excess sugar, the higher its diabetes rate after controlling for obesity and other factors. In addition, diabetes rates dropped over time when sugar availability dropped, independent of changes to consumption of other calories and physical activity or obesity rates.
The findings do not prove that sugar causes diabetes, Basu emphasized, but do provide real-world support for the body of previous laboratory and experimental trials that suggest sugar affects the liver and pancreas in ways that other types of foods or obesity do not. “We really put the data through a wringer in order to test it out,” Basu said.
The study used food supply data from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization to estimate the availability of different foods in the 175 countries examined, as well as estimates from the International Diabetes Foundation on the prevalence of diabetes among 20- to 79-year-olds.
The researchers employed new statistical methods derived from econometrics to control for factors that could provide alternate explanations for an apparent link between sugar and diabetes, including overweight and obesity; many non-sugar components of the food supply, such as fiber, fruit, meat, cereals and oils; total calories available per day; sedentary behavior; rates of economic development; household income; urbanization of the population; tobacco and alcohol use; and percent of the population age 65 or older, since age is also associated with diabetes risk.
“Epidemiology cannot directly prove causation”, said Robert Lustig, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital and the senior author of the study. “But in medicine, we rely on the postulates of Sir Austin Bradford Hill to examine associations to infer causation, as we did with smoking. You expose the subject to an agent, you get a disease; you take the agent away, the disease gets better; you re-expose and the disease gets worse again. This study satisfies those criteria, and places sugar front and center.”
“As far as I know, this is the first paper that has had data on the relationship of sugar consumption to diabetes,” said Marion Nestle, PhD, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University who was not involved in the study. “This has been a source of controversy forever. It’s been very, very difficult to separate sugar from the calories it provides. This work is carefully done, it’s interesting and it deserves attention.”
The fact that the paper used data obtained over time is an important strength, Basu said. “Point-in-time studies are susceptible to all kinds of reverse causality,” he said. “For instance, people who are already diabetic or obese might eat more sugars due to food cravings.”
A weakness of the paper was its use of food availability data instead of consumption data, which was necessary because no large-scale international databases exist to measure food consumption directly.
Follow-up studies are needed to examine possible links between diabetes and specific sugar sources, such as high-fructose corn syrup or sucrose, and also to evaluate the influence of specific foods, such as soft drinks or processed foods.
Another important future step, Basu said, is to conduct randomized clinical trials that could affirm a cause-and-effect connection between sugar consumption and diabetes. Although it would be unethical to feed people large amounts of sugar to try to induce diabetes, scientists could put participants of a study on a low-sugar diet to see if it reduces diabetes risk.
Basu was cautious about possible policy implications of his work, stating that more evidence is needed before enacting widespread policies to lower sugar consumption.
However, Nestle pointed out that the findings add to many other studies that suggest people should cut back on their sugar intake. “How much circumstantial evidence do you need before you take action?” she said. “At this point we have enough circumstantial evidence to advise people to keep their sugar intake a lot lower than it normally is.”
Links between sugar consumption and both obesity and Type 2 diabetes have been recognised for years - but it has generally been assumed that diabetes is largely a consequence of obesity.
Findings from this new study suggest otherwise, as they show a direct link between sugar consumption and diabetes that is independent of obesity. Furthermore, these data support the view that 'not all calories are the same' - in that extra calories from sugar were associated with increased rates of diabetes (both across countries and over time, and controlling for obesity and other factors), while calories from other food sources were not.
Population studies like this can never actually 'prove' causation - but as with tobacco smoking and lung cancer, when randomised controlled trials are not an option, it surely makes sense to consider the totality of the evidence.
As Professor Marion Nestle (who was not involved with this study) said: "How much circumstantial evidence do you need before you take action?At this point we have enough circumstantial evidence to advise people to keep their sugar intake a lot lower than it normally is.”
327618 Feb 2013 - The Guardian - Obesity crisis: doctors demand soft drink tax and healthier hospital foodfat tax; soft drink tax; healthier hospital foodAcademy of Medical Royal Colleges puts forward 10-point action plan to help end UK's status as 'fat man of Europe'18/02/2013
Britain's 220,000 doctors are demanding a 20% increase in the cost of sugary drinks, fewer fast food outlets near schools and a ban on unhealthy food in hospitals to prevent the country's spiralling obesity crisis becoming unresolvable.
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges is calling for action by ministers, the NHS, councils and food firms, as well as changes in parental behaviour, to break the cycle of "generation after generation falling victim to obesity-related illnesses and death".
In a report spelling out the problem in stark terms, the academy says doctors are "united in seeing the epidemic of obesity as the greatest public health crisis facing the UK. The consequences of obesity include diabetes, heart disease and cancer and people are dying needlessly from avoidable diseases."
The academy castigates attempts by previous and current governments to counter obesity as "piecemeal and disappointingly ineffective", and woefully inadequate given the scale of the problem. One in four adults in England is obese, and the figures are predicted to rise to 60% of men, 50% of women and 25% of children by 2050.
Following a year-long inquiry the academy has drawn up a 10-point action plan – including health professionals routinely asking overweight patients about their lifestyle, and help for new parents with their babies' feeding habits – to end the UK's status as "the fat man of Europe".
The academy's chairman, Professor Terence Stephenson, said the report did not claim to offer a full solution to obesity, but "it does say we need together to do more, starting right now, before the problem becomes worse and the NHS can no longer cope". Obesity is estimated to cost the NHS £5.1bn a year.
The report puts forward measures it says "society as a whole needs to take to prevent the obesity crisis becoming unresolvable". Calling for a reversal of widespread unhealthy habits, it adds: "Just as the challenges of persuading society that the deeply embedded habit of smoking was against its better interests, changing how we eat and exercise is now a matter of necessity."
The academy wants a dramatic increase in anti-obesity efforts. Its 10 recommendations to end what it calls the "obesogenic environment" include backing for:
An experimental 20% tax on sugary soft drinks for at least a year, like that in operation in parts of the US, to see what effect it has on sales. The potential £1bn annual tax yield could help fund an increase in weight management programmes.
Local councils to limit the number of fast food outlets allowed to operate near schools, colleges, leisure centres and other places where children gather, to end the "paradox" of schools that try to get pupils to eat healthy lunches having their efforts undermined by council-licensed burger vans outside their gates.
NHS staff to routinely talk to overweight patients about their eating and exercise habits at every appointment and offer them help, under a policy of "making every contact count".
The NHS to spend at least £300m over the next three years to tackle the serious shortage in weight management programmes so many more patients with weight problems can be referred and helped "in a supportive and sensitive manner".
An expansion of bariatric surgery for more severe obesity, from the current total of about 8,000 NHS operations a year, to help those most at risk of dying.
Hospitals to adopt the same nutritional standards for the food they serve patients and staff that already apply in state schools in England, and an end to fast food outlets and vending machines selling unhealthy products on hospital premises.
Health visitors to advise new parents how to feed their children properly, to avoid them getting hooked on sweet or fatty foods while still very young.
All schools to have to serve healthy food in their canteens, including academies and free schools, which the education secretary, Michael Gove, has exempted from the requirement that applies in all other state schools.
A ban on television advertisements for foods high in salt, sugar and saturated fat before the 9pm watershed, as current restrictions to minimise children's exposure to them have not worked.
The report says it is "perplexing" to find canteens in hospitals, which should be setting an example, selling unhealthy dishes, and "even more astonishing that in many hospital receptions patients pass by high street fast food franchises or vending machines selling confectionery, drinks and crisps".
It is scathing of Gove: "It seems to represent the most extraordinary own goal on the part of the current government to exclude the wave of academies from the nutritional standards."
Stephenson told the Guardian the 20% tax increase on sugary soft drinks was justified because they represented "useless calories" and were "the ultimate bad food. You're just consuming neat sugar. Your body didn't evolve to handle this kind of thing."
The chef and anti-obesity campaigner Jamie Oliver welcomed the report as "the clearest warning sign yet that the medical profession is deeply concerned about obesity. We need action now to educate children and families on how to choose the right food to give them the best life chances."
The Food and Drink Federation, which represents produce manufacturers, branded the report a "damp squib" that added "little to an important debate". It said the report failed to recognise the role of alcohol in adding calories to adult diets, and said little about physical activity and "health in the workplace".
The federation's spokesperson Terry Jones said: "The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has presented as its recommendations a collection of unbalanced ideas apparently heavily influenced by single-issue pressure groups."
The Department of Health said it was studying the findings. "The threat posed by obesity in both adults and children represents one of today's most important public health challenges," said a spokesman. "This wide-ranging report recognises, as did our own recent call to action on obesity, that there is no single answer to the obesity problem.
"It is up to everyone – government, industry, health professionals and voluntary groups, as well as individuals themselves – to work jointly to promote healthy eating and healthy lifestyles." .
The British Retail Consortium said it was wrong to "demonise" its members, which include Burger King, McDonalds and KFC. Its spokesperson Richard Dodd said such chains offered a range of items to customers and had reformulated products to reduce fat, sugar and salt content.
"It's wrong to demonise any particular type of food or food outlet. What our members are hugely engaged in is encouraging healthy balanced diets and giving customers the choices and information they need," he said. I
t was also down to parents to help children"build a healthy and responsible attitude to eating a balanced diet overall".
Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drinks Association, said: "We share the recognition that obesity is a major public health priority but reject the idea that a tax on soft drinks, which contribute just 2% of the total calories in the average diet, is going to address a problem which is about overall diet and levels of activity."
"Over the last 10 years, the consumption of soft drinks containing added sugar has fallen by 9%, while the incidence of obesity has been increasing. And 61% of soft drinks now contain no added sugar. Soft drinks companies are also committing to further, voluntary action as part of the government's calorie reduction pledge."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/feb/18/doctors-soft-drinks-tax-obesityView this news item in The Guardian here
3278Blanchflower et al 2013 - Is Psychological Well-being Linked to the Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables?Is Psychological Well-being Linked to the Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables?Is Psychological Well-being Linked to the Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables?Blanchflower DG, Oswald AJ, Stewart-Brown S18/02/2013National Bureau of Economic ResearchWorking Paper No. 18469, first release October 2012,
Humans run on a fuel called food. Yet economists and other social scientists rarely study what people eat.
We provide simple evidence consistent with the existence of a link between the consumption of fruit and vegetables and high well-being. In cross-sectional data, happiness and mental health rise in an approximately dose-response way with the number of daily portions of fruit and vegetables. The pattern is remarkably robust to adjustment for a large number of other demographic, social and economic variables.
Well-being peaks at approximately 7 portions per day. We document this relationship in three data sets, covering approximately 80,000 randomly selected British individuals, and for seven measures of well-being (life satisfaction, WEMWBS mental well-being, GHQ mental disorders, self-reported health, happiness, nervousness, and feeling low).
Reverse causality and problems of confounding remain possible. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of our analysis, how government policy-makers might wish to react to it, and what kinds of further research -- especially randomized trials -- would be valuable.
fruit and vegetableshttp://www.nber.org/papers/w18469View this and related papers via the NBER website here
327517 Feb 2013 - BBC News - Tax fizzy drinks and ban junk food ads, say doctorstax fizzy drinksFizzy drinks should be heavily taxed and junk food adverts banished until after the watershed, doctors have said, in a call for action over obesity.17/02/2013
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, which represents nearly every doctor in the UK, said ballooning waistlines already constituted a "huge crisis".
Its report said current measures were failing and called for unhealthy foods to be treated more like cigarettes.
Industry leaders said the report added little to the debate on obesity.
The UK is one of the most obese nations in the world with about a quarter of adults classed as obese. That figure is predicted to double by 2050 - a third of primary school leavers are already overweight.
Doctors fear that a rising tide of obesity will pose dire health consequences for the nation.
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges is a "united front" of the medical profession from surgeons to GPs and psychiatrists to paediatricians. It says its doctors are seeing the consequences of unhealthy diets every day and that it has never come together on such an issue before.
Its recommendations include:
A ban on advertising foods high in saturated fat, sugar and salt before 9pm
Further taxes on sugary drinks to increase prices by at least 20%
A reduction in fast food outlets near schools and leisure centres
A £100m budget for interventions such as weight-loss surgery
No junk food or vending machines in hospitals, where all food must meet the same nutritional standards as in schools
Food labels to include calorie information for children
Prof Terence Stephenson, the chair of the Academy, evoked parallels with the campaign against smoking.
He told the BBC: "That required things like a ban on advertising and a reduction in marketing and the association of smoking with sporting activities - that helped people move away from smoking."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21478314Read the full news item on the BBC news website here
327412 Feb 2013 - WebMD - Folic Acid in Pregnancy May Lower Autism RiskFolic Acid in Pregnancy May Lower Autism Risk12/02/2013By Steven Reinberg
A new study suggests that women who start taking folic acid supplements either before or early in their pregnancy may reduce their child's risk of developing autism.
"The study does not prove that folic acid supplements can prevent childhood autism. But it does provide an indication that folic acid might be preventive," said study lead author Dr. Pal Suren, from the division of epidemiology at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo.
"The findings also provide a rationale for further investigations of possible causes, as well as investigations of whether folic acid is associated with a reduced risk of other brain disorders in children," he said.
Taking folic acid supplements during pregnancy is already known to prevent birth defects such as spina bifida, which affects the spine, and anencephaly, which causes part of the brain to be missing.
Alycia Halladay, senior director of environmental and clinical sciences at Autism Speaks, said that "parents always wonder what they can do to reduce the risk (of autism), and this (folic acid) is a very inexpensive item that mothers can do both before pregnancy and very early in their pregnancy."
As to why folic acid may be beneficial, Halladay speculated that the nutrient might blunt a genetic risk for autism or boost other processes during pregnancy that are protective.
Another expert, Dr. Roberto Tuchman, director of the Autism and Neurodevelopment Program at Miami Children's Hospital's Dan Marino Center, said, "This study suggests that in some kids autism spectrum disorders may be preventable. As a clinician who works with autism spectrum disorders it is exciting that we can look at potentially preventable factors in autism. This is really encouraging."
Still, Tuchman cautioned that the study findings are very preliminary, and it isn't possible to tell which autism spectrum disorders, if any, folic acid may prevent.
The study findings were published in the Feb. 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
To see whether folic acid might protect children from autism, Suren's team collected data on more than 85,000 children born in Norway from 2002 to 2008.
Over an average of six years of follow-up, 270 children were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, 114 with autism, 56 with Asperger syndrome and 100 with an unspecified autism disorder.
Among those mothers who took folic acid supplements, 0.10 percent of their children were diagnosed with autism, compared with 0.21 percent of children whose mothers didn't take folic acid. That's a 39 percent lowered risk for the neurodevelopment disorder, Suren said.
Women who took the supplements were more likely to be better educated and have planned their pregnancy. They were also likely to be thin and not smoke. For most, it was their first child, the researchers added.
Suren's group did not find a connection between folic acid and either Asperger syndrome or unspecified autism disorder. "For Asperger syndrome, the number of children was too low to obtain sufficient statistical power in the analyses," Suren explained.
The protective affect of folic acid seemed to work even if not taken until early pregnancy. No protection from folic acid was seen if taken at mid- pregnancy, the researchers noted.
"The results support the current recommendations of taking folic acid supplements during pregnancy and emphasize the importance of starting early, preferably before conception," Suren said.
Halladay said the study finding confirms the results of another study that showed that folic acid might reduce the risk of autism. "The benefits of prenatal care, including taking vitamins, has been well-documented for things like birth defects and even language delay," she said.
Whether or not folic acid supplementation will make a dent in the growing number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder isn't known. An estimated one in 88 children in the United States has been diagnosed with some form of autism spectrum disorder, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the United States and other countries many foods, such as breads and pasta, are fortified with folic acid to help prevent birth defects. But, it isn't clear yet how much folic acid might guard against autism, so a woman should discuss her options with her doctor, Halladay said.
327011 Feb 2013 - FoodNavigator USA - Is the “there is no such thing as bad foods, only bad diets” argument helpful?Healthy Eating, good foods and bad foods, conflict of interest, food industry, dietary recommendations11/02/2013By Elaine Watson
A new position statement from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) which can be paraphrased as “there is no such thing as good and bad foods, only good and bad diets” is eminently sensible, but will play into the hands of 'junk' food companies opposed to any government intervention in their industry, claims one academic.
The paper – published in the February issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – says that “Labelling specific foods in an overly simplistic manner as 'good foods' and 'bad foods' is not only inconsistent with the total diet approach, but it can cause many people to abandon efforts to make dietary improvements”.
It adds: “classification of specific food is good or bad is overly simplistic and can foster unhealthy eating behaviours.”
However, this argument has repeatedly been used by the food industry to justify its opposition to any government interference in the formulation, distribution or promotion of 'junk' foods and beverages, said Marion Nestlé, Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University.
While it is perfectly reasonable to argue that occasional treats can be part of a healthy balanced diet, she told FoodNavigator-USA, there is “no question (that) some foods are healthier than others and we all know what they are.”
She added: “the AND position may be strictly correct – “if in moderation, if combined with physical activity, etc.” – but that’s not how the soda and other junkfood industries will interpret it.
“This kind of position is what makes food companies so eager to pour money into AND sponsorship and what brings disrespect to the organisation for its openness to a conflict of interest.”
The food industry will no doubt be delighted by the latest 'position statement' from the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as it plays straight into the hands of the 'junk food' producers by claiming that there is no such thing as a 'bad food', only bad diets.
No one can seriously dispute the fact that what ultimately matters for health is the overall diet, rather than any individual foods or drinks. However, this kind of statement provides the perfect gift to producers of distinctly unhealthy foods and drinks, who will 'spin' it to their advantage in resisting any attempts by government to regulate or tax their products.
Professor Marion Nestle is a highly respected academic who knows all too well how conflicts of interest can distort supposed public health messages. She is to be commended for calling to attention the real implications of this kind of 'position statement', along with the fact that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics receives generous support from the food industry.
http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Science/Is-the-there-is-no-such-thing-as-bad-foods-only-bad-diets-argument-helpful/?utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=GIN_NId&c=ntB9Yoe71WbsLnyIJR2YJw%253D%253DRead the full news article on the FoodNavigator-USA website here
32426 Feb 2013 - BBC News - Study finds obesity can 'lead to lack of vitamin D'Vitamin D and obesityObesity can lower vitamin D levels in the body, a study suggests. 06/02/2013
The report, in the journal PLOS Medicine, analysed genetic data from 21 studies - a total of 42,000 people.
It found every 10% rise in body mass index (BMI) - used as an indicator of body fat - led to a 4% drop of available vitamin D in the body.
As vitamin D is stored in fatty tissue, the authors suggest the larger storage capacity in obese people may prevent it from circulating in the bloodstream.
BMI it is calculated by taking weight (in kilograms) and dividing it by height (in metres) squared. Those with a BMI of 30 or above are considered obese.
Lead author Dr Elina Hypponen, from the University College London Institute of Child Health, said the study "highlights the importance of monitoring and treating vitamin D deficiency in people who are overweight or obese".
Vitamin D is made in the skin after sun exposure and can be taken in dietary supplements.
Healthy levels are about 50 nanomole per litre - less than 30 nanomole per litre can cause the softening and weakening of bones, leading to rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.
Prof David Haslam, from the National Obesity Forum, said: "Food intake and genetics all play a part in obesity - but this research is a reminder that physical activity, like walking the dog or going for a run out in the sunshine, shouldn't be forgotten and can help correct both weight and lack of vitamin D."
32545 Feb 2013 - ScienceDaily - Vitamin D, Omega-3 May Help Clear Amyloid Plaques Found in Alzheimer'sVitamin D, Omega-3 May Help Clear Amyloid Plaques Found in Alzheimer's
A team of academic researchers has pinpointed how vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids may enhance the immune system's ability to clear the brain of amyloid plaques, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease.05/02/2013
In a small pilot study published in the Feb. 5 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, the scientists identified key genes and signaling networks regulated by vitamin D3 and the omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) that may help control inflammation and improve plaque clearance.
Previous laboratory work by the team helped clarify key mechanisms involved in helping vitamin D3 clear amyloid-beta, the abnormal protein found in the plaque. The new study extends the previous findings with vitamin D3 and highlights the role of omega-3 DHA.
"Our new study sheds further light on a possible role for nutritional substances such as vitamin D3 and omega-3 in boosting immunity to help fight Alzheimer's," said study author Dr. Milan Fiala, a researcher at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
For the study, scientists drew blood samples from both Alzheimer's patients and healthy controls, then isolated critical immune cells called macrophages from the blood. Macrophages are responsible for gobbling up amyloid-beta and other waste products in the brain and body.
The team incubated the immune cells overnight with amyloid-beta. They added either an active form of vitamin D3 called 1alpha,25–dihydroxyvitamin D3 or an active form of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA called resolvin D1 to some of the cells to gauge the effect they had on inflammation and amyloid-beta absorption.
Both 1alpha, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 and resolvin D1 improved the ability of the Alzheimer's disease patients' macrophages to gobble-up amyloid-beta, and they inhibited the cell death that is induced by amyloid-beta. Researchers observed that each nutrition molecule utilized different receptors and common signaling pathways to do this.
Previous work by the team, based on the function of Alzheimer's patients' macrophages, showed that there are two groups of patients and macrophages. In the current study, researchers found that the macrophages of the Alzheimer's patients differentially expressed inflammatory genes, compared with the healthy controls, and that two distinct transcription patterns were found that further define the two groups: Group 1 had an increased transcription of inflammatory genes, while Group 2 had decreased transcription. Transcription is the first step leading to gene expression.
"Further study may help us identify if these two distinct transcription patterns of inflammatory genes could possibly distinguish either two stages or two types of Alzheimer's disease," said study author Mathew Mizwicki, an assistant researcher at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
While researchers found that 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 and resolvin D1 greatly improved the clearance of amyloid-beta by macrophages in patients in both groups, they discovered subtleties in the effects the two substances had on the expression of inflammatory genes in the two groups. In Group 1, the increased-inflammation group, macrophages showed a decrease of inflammatory activation; in Group 2, macrophages showed an increase of the inflammatory genes IL1 and TLRs when either 1alpha,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 or resolvin D1 were added.
More study is needed, Fiala said, but these differences could be associated with the severity of patients' nutritional and/or metabolic deficiencies of vitamin D3 and DHA, as well as the omega-3 fatty acid EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).
"We may find that we need to carefully balance the supplementation with vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids, depending on each patient in order to help promote efficient clearing of amyloid-beta," Fiala said. "This is a first step in understanding what form and in which patients these nutrition substances might work best."
According to Fiala, an active (not oxidized) form of omega-3 DHA, which is the precursor of the resolvin D1 used in this study, may work better than more commercially available forms of DHA, which generally are not protected against the oxidation that can render a molecule inactive.
The next step is a larger study to help confirm the findings, as well as a clinical trial with omega-3 DHA, the researchers said.
The Alzheimer's Association contributed to the initial phase of the study. Fiala is a consultant for the Smartfish Company that is producing a drink with an active form of omega-3 DHA.
Additional study authors include Guanghao Liu, Larry Magpantay, James Sayre, Avi Siani, Michelle Mahanian, Rachel Weitzman, Eric Hayden, Mark J. Rosenthal, Ilka Nemere, John Ringman and David B. Teplow.
32435 Feb 2013 - The Telegraph - Celebrity chefs unite to fight obesity and malnutritionobesity and malnutritionBritain’s children are in the midst of a major nutritional crisis. Celebrity chefs, executives from the top British food brands, and Olympians have united to demand action from the Government.05/02/2013
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tom Aikens, and food-world chiefs including the founders of Ella’s Kitchen, and Leon are calling for a “food manifesto for the under-fives”, in order to fight the dietary “crisis” among Britain’s children.
Childhood obesityand dietary-related diabetes are rising, yet there is also increasing evidence of malnutrition and thousands of children going hungry.
The current economic climate has seen a 25 per cent decrease in the purchase of fruit and vegetables by Britain’s poorest households, and just over a quarter of parents said that the price of buying fresh ingredients was the main barrier to children’s healthy eating.
Diet-related disease costs the NHS an estimated £6 billion a year.
“We currently have an epidemic of obesity, which in five years will turn into an epidemic of diabetes and in another five years will turn into an epidemic of heart disease,” said Professor David Haslam, a GP and chairman of the National Obesity Forum.
Paul Lindley, founder and CEO of Ella’s Kitchen, the children’s food maker, is leading theAverting a recipe for disaster campaign, which calls for a cross-party, 25-year plan to improve nutrition for under-fives. Also backing the campaign are Alex Partridge, the Olympic rower, Tom Aikens, the chef and restauranteur, and Samantha Hyde, acting director of UK programmes for Save the Children.
“The issues around diet-related health facing our children are broad and multi-faceted. They require a coordinated and long-term strategy, that will address the challenges of both obesity and malnutrition,” says Mr Lindley.
“To have any meaningful, sustainable impact, we must focus on newborn babies and children under five, who are developing food habits today.”
“All the political parties have to wake up and recognise the seriousness of the threat to our society, its health and its economy, that diet-related illness in our children will cause.”
Among the group’s suggestions, which they would like all three parties to adopt for their 2015 manifestos, are:
Compulsory nutritional education for children in school (According to the group’s survey, 87 per cent of parents and 70 per cent of primary school teachers think that cooking and nutrition education should be a compulsory part of the curriculum. But nearly half of teachers do not believe that the Government is doing enough to support schools in encouraging healthy eating);
A “food enthusiast in residence” in every school who would help coach parents and students on healthy eating;
A free, healthy breakfast for every primary school child;
Open up Britain’s professional kitchens to teach parents of young children how to cook.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/mother-tongue/9850663/Hugh-Fearnley-Whittingstall-and-Tom-Aikens-unite-to-fight-obesity-and-malnutrition-in-Britain.htmlView this news item in The Telegraph here
323029 Jan 2013 - The Guardian - Tax sugary drinks to boost child health, says reporttax sugary drinks, soda tax, soft drinks, sugar addictionBudget should raise £1bn a year to pay for free school meals and encourage children to eat fruit and vegetables, urges charity29/01/2013
Sugary drinks should be subject to a new tax, which could add 20p a litre to their price with the proceeds going towards child health, a report says.
The report by food and farming charity Sustain says the government could raise £1bn a year from a duty on sugary drinks to pay for free school meals and measures to encourage children to eat fruit and vegetables.
The levy would also help save lives by cutting consumption of sugar-laden drinks, according to the report, which has been backed by more than 60 organisations including the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Friends of the Earth, the National Heart Forum and the Royal Society for Public Health.
Diet-related illness costs the NHS £6bn every year, it adds.
Sustain urged the chancellor, George Osborne, to introduce a sugary drinks duty in his budget on 20 March and to channel most of the cash raised into a Children's Future Fund for programmes to improve children's health and future well-being.
Charlie Powell, the group's campaigns manager, said: "Sugar-laden drinks are mini health timebombs, contributing to dental diseases, obesity and a host of life-threatening illnesses which cost the NHS billions each year.
"We are delighted that so many organisations want to challenge the government to show it has a public health backbone by including a sugary drinks duty in budget 2013.
"It's a simple and easy-to-understand measure which will help save lives by reducing sugar in our diets and raising much-needed money to protect children's health."
The Sustain chairman, Mike Rayner, of Oxford University's department of public health, added: "Just as we use fiscal measures to discourage drinking and smoking and help prevent people from dying early, there is now lots of evidence that the same approach would work for food.
"This modest proposal goes some way towards making the price of food reflect its true costs to society.
"Our obesity epidemic causes debilitating illness, life-threatening diseases and misery for millions of people. It is high time government did something effective about this problem."
Gavin Partington, the director general of the British Soft Drinks Association, said: "Obesity is a serious and complex problem, but a tax on soft drinks, which contribute just 2% of the total calories in the average diet, will not help address it.
"Over the last 10 years, the consumption of soft drinks containing added sugar has fallen by 9% while the incidence of obesity has increased by 15%.
"We all recognise our industry has a role to play in the fight against obesity, which is why soft drinks companies have already taken action to ensure they are playing their part. Sixty-one percent of soft drinks now contain no added sugar and we have seen soft drinks companies lead the way in committing to further, voluntary action as part of the government's Responsibility Deal Calorie Reduction Pledge.
"These commitments include, for example, reducing the sugar content in their products and introducing smaller packs.
"At present, 10p out of every 60p can of drink already goes to the government thanks to VAT. Putting up taxes even further will put pressure on people's purses at a time when they can ill afford it. It's worth noting that Denmark recently scrapped such a tax."
A Department of Health spokesman said: "Our primary responsibility is to help the nation to be healthier.
"We keep all international evidence under review. But we believe the voluntary action we have put in place is delivering results."
The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said he would not rule out legislation but said it was a "very blunt tool".
Speaking to the Agenda on ITV1, he said: "I'm sceptical of legislation … in the end this is a matter of individual choice. It's a matter of people making decisions about their own lives but I don't rule it out and there are things that we're doing.
"For example, we have this thing called the responsibility deal, which is basically us saying to manufacturers and supermarkets, look you've got to help in this otherwise we really are going to legislate."
Pressed about the likelihood of legislation, Hunt added: "It's a possibility. I just think that it's a very blunt tool because in the end you can say we want to have certain children's cereal have less sugar content and people will find another something that calls itself a cereal that has more sugar content in it.
"Much more important is things like the way that supermarkets present fresh fruit, and do they have offers on fresh fruit and fresh produce as they do on sugary products."
The UK Charity Sustain have proposed that a tax on sugary drinks should be introduced in the UK to protect public health, with the proceeds ringfenced for projects that will improve children's health.
In a very well-researched report, they spell out and reference the scientific evidence for the public health benefits this measure would have. These include savings to the NHS of £6 billion each year (from reduced costs of treating diet-related illnesses like obesity and diabetes), as well as the £1billion per year it could raise to improve child health and welfare.
Their campaign already has the support of over 60 not-for-profit organisations - including FAB Research - who were consulted during the development of these proposals.
Predictably enough, the soft drinks industry opposes such a move. And the government still claims that 'voluntary action' by the food industry is working, and that we should rely on 'individual choice' - ignoring the mounting evidence that refined sugar (like alcohol and tobacco) is both addictive and harmful.
3232The Case for Taxing Sugary DrinksThe Case For Taxing Sugary Drinks - Sustain's 'Children’s Future Fund 'A Children’s Future Fund, Sustain, sugar tax, soda tax, Robert Lustig
Food and Behaviour Research, along with more than 60 other organisations interested in public health and wellbeing, is lending its support to a new report by the UK charity Sustain that calls for a tax on sugary drinks to be imposed in the next UK budget.
This evidence-based report argues that a duty of 20p per litre on sugary drinks could be used to create a 'Children’s Future Fund' which would invest in programmes to promote children’s health, and the health of the environments in which they grow up.
This call for action is obviously very timely, with pressure on public finances reaching critical levels and the UK government’s annual budget fast approaching. Effective action is urgently needed, as it is clear that current attempts to combat obesity and related health problems just aren't working.
As Mike Rayner, Professor of Public Health at Oxford University and Chair of Sustain, said in a statement:
"Just as we use fiscal measures to discourage drinking and smoking and help prevent people from dying early, there is now lots of evidence that the same approach would work for food.
"This modest proposal goes some way towards making the price of food reflect its true costs to society. Our obesity epidemic causes debilitating illness, life-threatening diseases and misery for millions of people. It is high time government did something effective about this problem."
FAB Research and 60 other organisations interested in promoting public health agree.
WHY TAX SUGARY DRINKS?
Sugary drinks provide ‘empty calories’ (i.e. they have no nutritional value beyond the ‘quick energy’ they provide). This means that they either replace more nutritional foods and drinks (increasing the risk of essential nutrient deficiencies), or they provide excess calories (increasing the risk of obesity).
Increasing evidence suggests that the simple sugar fructose (which makes up around half of both sugar and high-fructose corn syrup) can be both ‘addictive’ and toxic when consumed in excess. (Fructose found naturally in whole fruits and vegetables does not appear to cause the same problems, as the fibre and other nutrients have protective effects).
If any substance is addictive, then ‘freedom of individual choice’ really does not apply. If that substance is also harmful, then any such ‘freedom of choice’ for the individual needs to be balanced against the costs that it inflicts on society as a whole (as well as on those who ‘choose’ to consume it). In particular, policies to reduce consumption – and to protect children in particular – are needed.
Any such proposals are of course always met by powerful lobbying by the food and drinks industry - and as the Sustain report points out, the enormous scale of their advertising and marketing of unhealthy foods and drinks outweighs any public health messages aimed at encouraging healthy food choices by a factor of 100 to 1.
With that kind of imbalance, it it any wonder that diet-related problems just keep getting worse?
HEAR THE EVIDENCE ON SUGAR FOR YOURSELF, AND JOIN IN THE DEBATE
Professor Robert Lustig spoke in the UK for the first time in March 2013 at two special events organised by FAB Research.
As a specialist in neuro-endocrinology (the study of hormones and brain function) Robert Lustig has spent the past sixteen years treating childhood obesity and investigating the effects of sugar on the central nervous system and metabolism. His book Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar was published in the UK at the start of 2013, and you can watch a short interview with him at the FAB YouTube channel here.
Associate members of FAB can watch full versions of Robert Lustig’s presentations as well as other presentations made by FAB’s expert speakers over both days by following the links in the members' area. If you’re not already a member, find out how to join FAB Research, by following this link to the membership page.
In his book, he explains in detail the damage caused by sugary foods and drinks – arguing that fructose (too much) and dietary fibre (not enough) are the most important contributors to the epidemic of obesity and related diseases via their effects on insulin and other hormones.
He also explains why current advice to 'eat less and exercise more' misses the point and simply doesn't work unless sugary foods and drinks are avoided, because fructose bypasses the normal mechanisms that help us to regulate our appetite.
The serious health risks from excessive consumption of refined sugar were first highlighted 40 years ago by the pioneering British scientist John Yudkin in his book ‘Pure White and Deadly’.
His scholarly work has stood the test of time, and the evidence against sugar has continued to mount, as highlighted very recently in the British Medical Journal: see ‘Science Souring on Sugar’
But over that 40 years, public health advice has instead blamed ‘dietary fats’ - and recommended ‘low-fat’ diets for weight loss and heart health - which are almost always high in sugar and other refined carbohydrates.
Meanwhile, rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes have continued to rise dramatically, along with the ‘metabolic syndrome’ that underlies not only these conditions but also heart disease, stroke and many other chronic health conditions. All are now occurring at younger and younger ages.
In addition to its damaging effects on physical health, excessive sugar consumption has also been linked with a wide range of mental health problems, most notably addictive disorders (including some forms of eating disorder), antisocial behaviour, depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Research in these areas remains more limited, but the existing evidence is already enough to merit serious concern – particularly given that refined sugar has no nutritional benefits.
323528 Jan 2013 - Omega-3 rich diet can boost children's IQ, says meta analysisOmega-3, IQ, children28/01/2013by Nathan Gray
Supplementing children's diets with fish oil is one of several effective ways to raise a young child IQ levels, according to a new report.
The meta analysis, published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, finds that supplementation with omega-3 rich fish oil is one of several effective methods to help boost children's intelligence measures.
Led by John Protzko: from New York University (NYU), USA, the research team found that fish oil consumption, along with enrolling children in a quality preschool, and engaging in interactive reading, are all effective at increasing IQ measures.
Protzko and his colleagues analysed the best available studies involving samples of children from birth and kindergarten from their newly assembled "Database of Raising Intelligence" – finding that omega-3 supplementation can boost IQ measures by more than 3.5 points.
"Our aim in creating this database is to learn what works and what doesn't work to raise people's intelligence," said Protzko.
"For too long, findings have been disconnected and scattered throughout a wide variety of journals. The broad consensus about what works is founded on only two or three very high profile studies."
"The larger goal here is to understand the nature of intelligence, and if and how it can be nurtured at every stage of development," added Prof Joshua Aronson, also of NYU – senior author of the study.
"This is just a first step in a long process of understanding," he said. "It is by no means the last word."
As this news article makes clear, dietary omega-3 (in the form of fish oils) was only one of several interventions that appear to be capable of boosting the general intelligence of children, according to this new study that combined data from many different sources using complex and detailed meta-analysis.
Other interventions with a significant positive effect on IQ included encouraging parents to engage in interactive reading with their children, and pre-school education.
What the Nutraingredients article does not make clear is that the 'omega-3 trials' included in this meta-analysis involved supplementation of the diets of pregnant mothers or young infants, not older children (for whom insufficient data were available).
Read the full press release at the Association of Psychological Science website here.
http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Omega-3-rich-diet-can-boost-children-s-IQ-says-meta-analysis/?utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter%2BDaily&c=ntB9Yoe71WYmjrgLfFkVkQ%3D%3DRead the full news article on the Nutraingredients website here
325127 Jan 2013 - Don't worry - eat: Study shows fruits and veggies make you happyeat more fruit and veggiesNew Zealand study published in the British Journal of Psychology reports eating certain foods could elevate your mood. Study found that participants were happier, calmer and had greater energy on days they ate fruits and veggies.27/01/2013
For 21 straight days, the researchers from the University of Otago, had 281 participants, young with a mean average age of 19.9 years, keep a daily diary of their positive and negative feelings and of their consumption of 5 specific foods. Dr Tamlin Conner, lead researcher, said fruits and vegetable consumption had results that suggest they are not just good for overall health, but good for day to day health, in particular day to day mental health.
3250White et al 2013 - Many apples a day keep the blues away - Daily experiences of negative and positive affect and food consumption in young adultsMany apples a day keep the blues away - Daily experiences of negative and positive affect and food consumption in young adultsMany apples a day keep the blues away - Daily experiences of negative and positive affect and food consumption in young adultsWhite BA, Horwath CC, Conner TS24/01/2013Br J Health Psychol. 2013 Jan 24. doi: 10.1111/bjhp.12021
Prior research has focused on the association between negative affect and eating behaviour, often utilizing laboratory or cross-sectional study designs. These studies have inherent limitations, and the association between positive affect and eating behaviour remains relatively unexplored. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the bidirectional relationships between daily negative and positive affective experiences and food consumption in a naturalistic setting among healthy young adults.
Daily diary study across 21 days (microlongitudinal, correlational design).
A total of 281 young adults with a mean age of 19.9 (±1.2) years completed an Internet-based daily diary for 21 consecutive days. Each day they reported their negative and positive affect, and their consumption of five specific foods. Hierarchical linear modelling was used to test same-day associations between daily affect and food consumption, and next-day (lagged) associations to determine directionality. Moderating effects of BMI and gender were also examined in exploratory analyses.
Analyses of same-day within-person associations revealed that on days when young adults experienced greater positive affect, they reported eating more servings of fruit (p = .002) and vegetables (p < .001). Results of lagged analysis showed that fruits and vegetables predicted improvements in positive affect the next day, suggesting that healthy foods were driving affective experiences and not vice versa. Meaningful changes in positive affect were observed with the daily consumption of approximately 7-8 servings of fruit or vegetables.
Eating fruit and vegetables may promote emotional well-being among healthy young adults.
STATEMENT OF CONTRIBUTION:
What is already known on this subject? Laboratory and cross-sectional studies have found a strong link between experiences of negative affect and food consumption. These studies generally show that people eat more food and less healthy food when experiencing negative affect; however, there is less evidence of this association in a natural setting. Moreover, the association between positive affect and eating remains relatively unexplored. Some studies have found stronger links between negative affect and unhealthy food consumption among women and individuals with higher BMI. Conversely, the foods people eat may influence their affective experiences. Cross-sectional research has shown that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower lifetime prevalence of depression and anxiety, but it is not known whether healthy food consumption may also influence affective experiences on a day-to-day basis. What does this study add? Using online daily diaries for three weeks, we found strong relationships between daily positive affect and fruit and vegetable consumption. Lagged analyses showed that fruit and vegetable consumption predicted improvements in positive affect the next day, and not vice versa. Gender and BMI were not major factors in these associations. Fruit and vegetable consumption may promote feelings of well-being among healthy young adults.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23347122View this abstract and related citations on PubMed here
323622 Jan 2013 - Nutraingredients - Researchers call for holistic approach to children's additive exposure riskFood additives, children, artificial food colourings, AFC22/01/2013by Caroline Scott-Thomas
Pre-school children may have the highest exposure to food additives, but researchers should take a more holistic approach to assessing risk, according to a new paper published in Proceedings of the Nutrition Society.
There are currently 322 different food additives approved for use in the European Union, with a rapid increase in the number in recent years. Globally, there is a complex framework of regulation and ongoing assessments of additive purity and maximum allowed levels in different foods and drinks.
But there are different risks to take into account when assessing children's exposure to additives, including children's rapid development, higher intake of foods in relation to body weight, and often a greater number of frequently consumed foods, the paper's authors write.
However, while many researchers have focused on artificial colours as a particular potential hazard for children, the paper's authors suggest: "Future assessments should, where possible, examine a range of food additive types rather than food colours exclusively."
They added: "it is important to consider the limitations of the available scientific studies when interpreting results."
http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Researchers-call-for-holistic-approach-to-children-s-additive-exposure-risk/?utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=GIN_NId&c=ntB9Yoe71WYflGZvS8aYPA%253D%253DRead this news article in full on the Nutraingredients website here
3204Jan-Feb 2013 - Feeding A Better Future - The Green Templeton College Lecture Series, OxfordGreen-Templeton College Lecture Series 2013 - Feeding a Better FutureGreen-Templeton College, Oxford21/01/201311/02/2013
Feeding a Better Future
The rising cost of food is impacting on people around the world, with up to 1 billion people, who live on the edge of poverty in 30 countries, at risk of hunger because of food shortages.
This lecture series explores the causes and impact of the global food crisis, covering food policy, malnutrition and the importance of diet and nutrition in healthy minds and bodies.
Venue: Tsuzuki Lecture Theatre, St Anne's College, Oxford.
Monday 21 January
One Billion Hungry: Can we Feed the World?
Speaker: Sir Gordon Conway, Professor of International Development, Imperial College.
More than six decades after the Green Revolution aimed at ending world hunger, regular food shortages, malnutrition, and poverty still plague vast swaths of the world. And with increasing food prices, climate change, land and water resource degradation and inequality, and an ever-increasing global population, the future holds further challenges.
In a discussion of his new book, One Billion Hungry: Can we feed the world?, Sir Gordon Conway, one of the world's foremost experts on global food needs, examines the many interrelated issues critical to our global food supply from the science of agricultural advances to the politics of food security, and outlines a development pathway towards ending endemic hunger which is sustainable and achievable.
Monday 28 January
The Role of Nutrition in Mental Health and Performance: Changing Diets, Changing Minds
Speaker: Dr Alex Richardson, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention, University of Oxford; and Founder Director, FAB Research.
Human diets have changed dramatically over the last century, and the impact of industrialisation on our food supply has had devastating consequences for public health. The detrimental effects of highly processed ‘junk food diets’ on physical health are well recognised, but far less attention has been paid to their consequences for mental health and wellbeing.
Abundant evidence now links modern, western-type diets – rich in highly processed, refined foods - not only to increased rates of ‘degenerative’ physical health problems such as cardiovascular disease, cancers, obesity and Type II diabetes but also to a wide range of mental health disorders, including ADHD and autism, anxiety, depression, psychosis and dementia. Developing countries adopting the same type of diet are now seeing a similar surge in physical and mental health problems to those already affecting the UK, US and other developed countries. Diet is obviously only one of many factors contributing to these disturbing trends, but its impact can no longer be ignored.
The scale of the mental health ‘epidemic’ the world is now facing is immense. A recent comprehensive study found that in any one year, 38% of the European population has a fully diagnosable psychiatric or neurological disorder. The cost burden is equally enormous. UK government figures showed that in 2007, the annual cost of mental health disorders was £77 billion, and by 2010, this had already risen to £105 billion.
This lecture will explore how our diets can and do affect our mental health and performance, taking a multi-disciplinary perspective that draws on evidence from epigenetics and neuroscience as well as epidemiological studies and clinical trials, and discussing its implications for research, policy and practice.
Monday 4 February
Food Democracy, Food Control and the Social Dimension of Modern Food Policy
Speaker: Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy, Centre for Food Policy, City University, London.
This lecture will focus on the politics and social fissures that cut across contemporary food policy concerns.
The 2007-08 commodity price spike enabled a mainly technical, production-oriented approach to future food to stake its claim in mainstream policy discourse. Critics propose that this 'productionism' marginalises and downplays the social dimension of food systems. Food is not just a matter of farming nutrients but is a matter of culture, meanings, aspirations, social justice. In that respect, modern food policy can be helped by an old distinction between needs and wants. Yet the late 20th century left a legacy of food systems supposedly shaped by consumerism and consumer demand. In reality, so-called market economics are distorted and often dominated by increasingly powerful food corporations concerned with their market share more than the food system's sustainability or equitable distribution.
The lecture proposes that modern food policy debate is a new phase in an old tension between on the one hand what William Beveridge called Food Control and on the other hand Food Democracy, by which we mean the pursuit of a more equitable rights-based food system. While one offers a technocratic and managerialist approach to policy, the other now needs to focus on the policy mess caused by declining state influence, rising corporate power and mass consumption premised on a diet that is literally unsustainable in that it consumes excessive resources. The lecture concludes that, whatever the attractions of productionism, more attention is needed on the democratic questions of how to improve accountability, governance and societal not just individualised choices. Some reform is needed of food institutions, instruments and policy frameworks. The challenge of achieving a good food system (where populations eat sustainable diets fed by sustainable food supply chains) requires a strong societal ethos and the articulation of a more complex model of the public good than has been exhibited in national and international debate recently. If just some of the crises anticipated by food analysts come about, the debate about Food Control and Food Democracy is likely to move from academia to hard politics.
Monday 11 February
Global Malnutrition: Can We Make A Difference?
Speaker: Professor Jeyakumar Henry, Director, Clinical Nutrition Sciences, Singapore Institute of Clinical Sciences; Director, Functional Food Centre, Oxford Brookes University.
Global hunger affects nearly a billion people. The five major forms of malnutrition worldwide are: Protein-energy malnutrition, iron, iodine, zinc and vitamin A deficiencies. These deficiencies affect the mental, physical and emotional development of children and adults. They also impact on economic productivity.
Malnutrition has now been recognised as a significant contributor to infant mortality. The observation that malnutrition during pregnancy has a long term impact on the offspring, further reiterates the importance of understanding and preventing the root causes of undernutrition. This lecture will review some of the conventional and unconventional ideas developed to eradicate malnutrition. It will also examine how Britain's leadership role could transform the lives of millions suffering from hunger and disease.
http://www.gtc.ox.ac.uk/academic/lectures-seminars/gtlectures/green-templeton-lectures-2013.htmlView details of the GTC 2013 Lecture series here.gtlectures2013.pdfDownload the Poster of the GCT 2013 Lecture Series here
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