23 April 2015: Obesity blamed on food (diet with sugar and carbo excess), public falsely told couch potato lifestyle to blame - report in British Journal of Sports Medicine, Malhotra et al.
Sugar is to blame for obesity epidemic - not couch potato habits - You cannot out run a bad diet, experts warn, as they suggest greed, not sloth is causing Britain's expanding waistlines; By Laura Donnelly, Health Editor 11:30PM BST 22 Apr 2015; Sugar and carbohydrates are the real culprits in the obesity epidemic - and the public has been falsely told that couch potato lifestyles are to blame, a new report has claimed. Writing in the British Journal Of Sports Medicine, they said poor diet now generates more disease than physical inactivity, alcohol and smoking combined. The editorial, by a group of cardiologists and sports experts, says that while obesity has rocketed in the past 30 years there has been little change in physical activity levels. "This places the blame for our expanding waistlines directly on the type and amount of calories consumed," they write.....
The authors, who include Prof Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist and adviser to the campaign group Action on Sugar, said the public had been sold a “false perception” that exercise was more important than eating healthily, when the opposite was true. Prof Malhotra said US data which tracked obesity and activity levels found little change in activity levels over two decades, while obesity levels soared.
In Britain, 25 per cent of adults are now obese, compared with less than 3 per cent in the 1970s.
• Obesity not dementia will be the biggest threat to the NHS. Activity levels have not been tracked consistently over the same period, but data from the 1990s and 2000s suggests exercise levels could even be increasing...... http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11556593/Sugar-is-to-blame-for-obesity-epidemic-not-couch-potato-habits.html
22 April 2015: US views on palm oil plantations, FDA food labels concerns on health claims
Palm Oil Plantations Are Blamed For Many Evils. But Change Is Coming April 21, 2015 3:55 AM ET Anthony Kuhn; Palm oil is in everything, from pizza dough and chocolate to laundry detergent and lipstick. Nongovernmental organizations blame it for contributing to assorted evils, from global warming to human rights abuses. But in the past year, this complex global industry has changed, as consumers put pressure on producers to show that they're not destroying forests, killing rare animals, grabbing land or exploiting workers. I was somewhat astonished to discover, on a trip to a palm oil plantation in the province of North Sumatra, Indonesia, that this much-maligned commodity actually begins with an innocuous-looking, beautiful creation of nature. Palm fruit is composed of ovoid kernels, which, when ripe, shine with lustrous hues of crimson toward their tips, orange in the middle and yellow at their stems........Asked whether he knows where all his firm's palm oil is coming from, and that all of it is produced sustainably, Hartmann says that Cargill keeps complete records on the smallholders' production. "All of the crop ... that we get, every ton, we know where it came from," he insists..... http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2015/04/21/396815303/palm-oil-plantations-are-blamed-for-many-evils-but-change-is-coming
Nut So Fast, Kind Bars: FDA Smacks Snacks On Health Claims April 15, 2015 6:37 PM ET Poncie Rutsch; As William Correll, the director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and author of the letter, writes, "None of your products listed above meet the requirements for use of the nutrient content claim 'healthy,' even though the Kind label reads 'Healthy and tasty, convenient and wholesome.' "
The FDA takes issue with many other aspects of the labels, including Kind's use of the plus sign on some of its products, which it uses to designate bars with extra antioxidants, fiber or protein.
Technically, to bear the symbol or word "plus," the bar has to contain 10 percent more of the nutrients than a bar the FDA has deemed representative of the snack bar category..........As The Salt has reported, the latest research suggests saturated fat may not be the nutritional villain it has been made out to be. High-fat nuts, in particular, may help control our appetites, to keep weight down.
Walter Willett, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard University, says it's not as though Kind's mislabeling is egregious. "You wouldn't want a product that's loaded with mostly palm oil and other sources of saturated fat [to be labeled healthy]," he says. Willett has researched how nuts contribute to human health, and he tells The Salt that they reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and lower rates of heart disease and mortality. "They're probably one of the healthiest choices you can make in a diet," he says........ http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2015/04/15/399851645/nut-so-fast-kind-bars-fda-smacks-snacks-on-health-claims
13 April 2015: Nestle reformulates Nesquick, Fruit drinks with more sugar than sodas, sugar lobby tactics compared to tobacco denials
Nestle cuts added sugar in Nesquik; nutrition concerns remain NEW YORK, April 13 | By Anjali Athavaley Markets | Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:01am EDT; (Reuters) - Nestle SA said on Monday it is cutting the added sugar in its Nesquik flavored milk products, the latest in a series of moves by the Swiss food company to reduce sugar and salt in its offerings amid growing public health concerns.
The overhauled Nesquik powders, to be launched this month, will contain 10.6 grams of sugar per two tablespoons, marking a 15 percent reduction in the chocolate version and a 27 percent cut in the strawberry flavor. The products will also no longer contain artificial colors or flavors...... Nesquik ready-to-drink beverages will also contain 10.6 grams of added sugar per eight-ounce serving, but 22 grams total due to lactose, a naturally occurring sugar. "Added sugars" are sugars and syrups added to foods when they are processed or prepared, as opposed to naturally occurring sugars....... Still, Nestle's changes, similar to efforts at big food companies including General Mills Inc, fail to satisfy concerns of many health advocates. "It's a nice step in the right direction, but it's not a huge victory for nutrition," said Michael Jacobson, executive director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group. He still advises parents against giving their children Nesquik. "I would recommend water or skim milk or low-fat milk as something that is more appropriate to drink."...... http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/13/nestle-health-idUSL2N0X724E20150413
Obesity Policy Coalition warns lunch box fruit drinks have more sugar than Coca-Cola by Amy Corderoy Health Editor, Sydney Morning Herald Date April 13, 2015 - 9:23AM
Many popular children's lunch box juices contain more sugar than Coca-Cola and parents should steer clear of them, health groups say.... The Obesity Policy Coalition is warning parents that with the school holidays ending, they should not assume products like juice are healthy just because of claims that they have "less sugar" or are "free from artificial colours and flavours". Th group's analysis of the lunch-box size poppers has found many have the equivalent of five or more teaspoons of sugar in them, with several containing even more sugar than the same size serving of Coca-Cola.
Opinions - The sugar lobby’s sour tactics By Dana Milbank Opinion writer April 10
Our mothers told us: Sugar is filled with “empty calories,” and it can rot your teeth, make you fat and give you diabetes..... They told us this because, unfortunately, it’s true. But this is Washington, and things ate here much like in Willy Wonka’s world of “Pure Imagination,” where fantasies become real simply by wishing them... In that same can-do spirit of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” the Sugar Association industry lobby has stepped up its campaign to convince Americans and their government that sugar is good for us. Or, at least, not bad for us. ... Consider the 2015 Agriculture Department dietary guidelines now being prepared by the Obama administration. A scientific advisory committee is recommending Americans hold calories from added sugars to 10 percent of their diets, because: “strong and consistent evidence” shows they are “associated with excess body weight”; “strong evidence shows” they increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes; “moderate evidence” shows sugars are “consistently associated with increased risk of hypertension, stroke and CHD [coronary heart disease]”; and “moderate consistent evidence” links cavities to sugar intake.
Enter the sugar lobby’s Andy Briscoe. The head of the Sugar Association wrote to the advisory committee to say there was no “proof of cause and effect” linking “ ‘added sugars’ intake with serious disease,” nor any “significant scientific agreement” to justify telling the American public sugar is “a causal factor in a serious disease outcome.” Added Briscoe: “There is not a preponderance of scientific evidence for conclusion statements that link ‘added sugars’ intake to serious disease or negative health outcomes or for a recommendation to limit ‘added sugars’ intake to less than 10% of energy.”......... The old-school approach of denial has a 1960s tobacco-industry feel, but the Sugar Association has been successful so far in derailing restrictions on sugar consumption in past dietary guidance, the last of which came out in 2010....... http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-sugar-lobbys-sour-tactics/2015/04/10/9fb5b78a-dfa7-11e4-a1b8-2ed88bc190d2_story.html
12 April 2015: Sugar warning label - New York and in California are trying to emblazon sodas with a message that looks very similar to one you see on cigarette packages or alcohol bottles
Is It Time For A Warning Label On Sugar-Loaded Drinks? by Poncie Rutsch April 09, 2015 3:52 PM ET; We've said it before, and we'll say it again: We consume a lot more sugar than is good for our health. Because of this, the next generation of Americans will struggle with obesity and diabetes more than any other. The most obvious culprit is the added sugar in sodas and other sugary beverages, like sports drinks or teas..... One idea public health advocates have floated to bring sugar consumption down is to tax beverages with more than a certain amount of added sugar. (Berkeley, Calif., and the Navajo Nation have managed to pass such legislation.) Another is to shrink the size of soda cups........ The latest idea is a warning label. Legislators in New York and in California are trying to emblazon sodas with a message that looks very similar to one you see on cigarette packages or alcohol bottles....... http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2015/04/09/398526965/is-it-time-for-a-warning-label-on-sugar-loaded-drinks
19 March 2015: The sweeteners debate and soda chasing sweeteners
Diet soda sweeteners may lead to bigger belly, extra fat: study By Douglas Ernst - The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2015; Participants in a study have given Texas researchers some interesting data on diet soda drinkers — elderly individuals who went for the “healthy” option put on much more weight than those who abstained. University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio found that over the course of nearly a decade, diet soda drinkers added and average of 3.16 inches to their waist while those who drank standard versions of their favorite soda increased by 0.8 inches. The study was published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The study used 750 adults with an average age of 65 when it began, ABC Radio reported Wednesday.
Ms. Fowler believes that sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose have an effect on the body’s digestive system to properly do its job, which may contribute to weight gain over time. Those extra pounds then make the body more susceptible to health conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/mar/18/diet-soda-sweeteners-may-lead-to-bigger-belly-stud/#ixzz3UqbOwatF
Scientists Are Racing to Build a Better Diet Soda 'By' Duane Stanford 8:00 PM HKT March 19, 2015; Major soda makers are desperate for a drink that tastes like the real thing, but doesn’t contain sweeteners that spook consumers ... In a crowded lab on the edge of Copenhagen, food scientists at Swiss biotech company Evolva Holding are scrambling to help reinvent one of the world’s most popular drinks. The location is no accident. The Danish city’s Carlsberg brewery discovered a way to isolate pure yeast cells in 1900, which was crucial to the mass production of beer, and the town has been a hub of fermentation innovation ever since. But instead of designing a new Pilsner or bock, these researchers are harnessing high-tech yeast to craft a far different quaff: the perfect soda.... In biotech labs from California and New Jersey to Denmark, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and their suppliers are racing to find the industry’s holy grail—a soda that tastes as good as the iconic colas, is sweetened naturally, and has zero calories. Falling out of sync with consumers’ taste buds isn’t the issue. A century after first appearing as a drugstore elixir, the sweet, caramel-colored beverage remains the world’s most popular packaged drink. Globally, colas account for more than half of all sodas sold. The challenge for the $187 billion soft drink industry is giving consumers in developed markets the sugary taste they want without giving them the mouthful of calories they don’t. Concerns about obesity and health have led to nine years of falling U.S. soda consumption..... America’s 4 percent-a-year drop in cola sales has wiped out $2.7 billion in annual revenue over the past five years, according to Euromonitor. The decline has pushed Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Dr Pepper Snapple, the three largest U.S. soda makers, to crank out new beverages, including energy drinks and even designer milks. But soda makers have too much at stake to simply resign themselves to cola’s slow decline....Biotech companies including DSM in the Netherlands are working on their own fermentation methods. At a lab in North Brunswick Township, N.J., run by plant-science company Chromocell, Coca-Cola is hedging its bets. Work there is centered on enhancing sugar’s taste, so less is needed to offset the aftertaste of stevia. The goal is to cut the sugar by at least 90 percent without losing any of the clean sugary taste. Chromocell takes taste receptor cells from animals and records how they respond to contact with specific sweet molecules from plants. “We have the technology to make them [react] exactly like they are in your mouth,” says Chromocell CEO Christian Kopfli....All of this science is likely to raise red flags for some consumers, who are increasingly demanding “natural” ingredients in foods and drinks, says Euromonitor’s Telford. Then there’s the cost. As with molecules created by fermentation, sweetness enhancers will have to be price-competitive with sugar and artificial sweeteners to be commercially viable. So while scientists may find cells from, say, a Himalayan orchid that heighten sugar perception, they might also come at twice the cost of sugar, cautions Chromocell’s Kopfli. “Consumers are very demanding,” he says. “They say, ‘Less calories and same taste, but I’m not willing to pay more for whatever it is.’ ” The bottom line: U.S. cola consumption is falling by about 4 percent a year. Soda makers are seeking new sweeteners to reverse the trend.....
18 March 2015: Food industry battles against added-sugar label in US
Food industry waging a bitter battle over proposal on added-sugar labels By Evan Halper March 17, 2015, 3:00 AM|Reporting from WASHINGTON; Of all the issues the Obama administration is grappling with, a modest redesign of what food labels say about sweeteners might not have seemed among the more controversial. But ever since First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled the plan last year, a lobbying frenzy has ensued... The objections have come not only from candy makers and bottlers of soft drinks. The governor of Massachusetts implored the administration to rethink its proposal. The governor of Wisconsin protested too. So did the government of Australia, which warned the move could violate international trade agreements.... The proposal being considered by the Food and Drug Administration would add a new line to labels on packaged products noting how many teaspoons of sugar had been added.... The furor over the idea reveals the extent to which extra sugar is infused into even the most unlikely foods and the concerns that manufacturers have about consumers finding out. The FDA has received 287,889 public comments on the plan, including many from major food companies and trade associations..... Nutrition advocates say the strong reaction shows just how much is at stake. "They know this will impact how people choose their products, and that terrifies them," said Renee Sharp, director of research for the Environmental Working Group, one of several advocacy groups campaigning for the label change.....
28 January 2015: Caps on fat, salt and sugar promised by UK Labour
Caps on fat, salt and sugar promised by Labour By Nick Triggle Health correspondent, BBC News 15 January 2015 Last updated at 02:45; Maximum limits would be set on levels of fat, salt and sugar in food marketed to children, under a Labour government, the shadow health secretary will say.
In a speech, Andy Burnham will say it is time for tough action to protect children and tackle obesity.
He will criticise the government's approach to industry, which has been categorised by voluntary agreements.... The levels of fat, salt and sugar in food has been reduced in recent years, but many people still consume above the recommended levels. There are signs that the rise in obesity among children has started levelling off, but 15% of under 15s are still obese.... On food labelling, Mr Burnham wants to see a clearer traffic light-based system. A front-of-pack colour coding and nutritional information system is currently being used. It is not clear how this will be done, as introducing food labelling has proved difficult because of industry opposition and the need for mandatory rules to be agreed at an EU level.... "Children need better protection from the pressures of modern living and the harm caused by alcohol, sugar and smoke. and Labour will not flinch from taking the action needed to provide it." http://www.bbc.com/news/health-30817300
17 September 204: Sugar & food tax ideas news
Experts back a 'sugar tax' to increase the retail price of sugar-rich products By Lizzie Parry for MailOnline Published: 11:14 GMT, 16 September 2014 | Updated: 14:00 GMT, 16 September 2014; "Just HALF a can of Coke exceeds the new daily sugar guidelines backed by scientists - who recommend just three cubes a day. Study by scientists at University College London has called for recommended daily sugar intake to be slashed to 14g - three cubes a day. World Health Organisation currently advises a maximum of 10% of our total energy intake from free - or added - sugars, with 5% as a 'target'. This equates to 50g of free sugars (10 cubes), with 25g (5 cubes) as the target each day - but 14g would be just 3% of energy from added sugars. One 330ml can of Coca Cola contains 35g of sugars - or 7 cubes. Bar of Dairy Milk has 7 cubes, while McDonald's Strawberry Milkshake has 12. Diet Coke and Coke Zero alternatives are both sugar-free and low-calorie. Calls for sugary food and drinks to be banned from schools and vending machines to be removed from public places..."
22 June 2014: Sugar & food tax ideas news
"..... Coca-Cola Life, a stevia-sweetened version of regular Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola has been quietly test-marketing its new beverage, the first addition to the trademark “Coke” branded sodas in almost eight years. It released the drink in Argentina and Chile last year, and this fall it’s launching in the U.K. Coke Life isn’t exactly a diet drink. According to the Guardian, it contains more than four tablespoons of real sugar and has about 89 calories per can—less than the 140 calories found in a can of regular Coke ....Coke Life is Coca-Cola’s answer to the two health concerns that have been hitting the company’s soda sales with a one-two punch: the anti-sugar movement, which rails against its full-calorie, full-sugar line of beverages, and the perception that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (found in both Diet Coke and Coke Zero) are unhealthy and can even contribute to weight gain....As soda sales have fallen, Coke has also found itself fending off health-policy experts and state governments pushing for increased regulation of sugary drinks and snacks. New York City’s limit on soda container sizes is currently making its way through state courts, and a California law that would add a warning label to cans saying, “Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay” has made it through the state senate..." http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-06-17/cokes-new-low-cal-low-sugar-soda-is-designed-to-quiet-critics