Deja vu for diabetes!

TweetHere in the UK, since March 2011, our government has been running with a strategy called the Responsibility Deal. It has questionably made the food industry responsible for your health! Health experts will tell you quite simply – IT ISN’T WORKING! An article published in the British Medical Journal just yesterday says it’s “a “dead-duck” for sugar reduction“. Not so great then for people living with diabetes!

Today the headlines are screaming against the fact that the food industry has been allowed involvement in food research. Make no mistake – this is not right! It’s not OK. IT IS NOT OK!

Experts advising ministers on obesity are being paid hundreds of thousands of pounds by the junk food industry, an investigation has found. Key scientists behind policies aimed at encouraging the public to eat a healthier diet have been given vast sums for their research by the likes of Coca Cola, Nestle and Mars. The revelations prompted concerns that ‘cosy deals’ are deterring ministers from enforcing tough limits on sugar and fat.” says the Daily Mail.

Want to hear it from a “more serious” source? Well how about this?:

Prof Simon Capewell, from the University of Liverpool and an adviser for the group Action on Sugar, told the BBC: “I was shocked, quite honestly; this is heart-breaking news and basically it appears a lot of people have been seriously misled.” He said there would be an “inherent conflict of interest” between profits and public health. “It’s like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank,” he concluded.” from the BBC.

Or this?:

David Stuckler, professor of political economy and sociology at Oxford University, said: “There are inherent conflicts of interest between corporations that profit from unhealthy food and public health collaborations.” In 2013 a study by the medical journal Plos found that reviews of the effects of sugary drinks on obesity with industry funding were five times more likely to conclude that there was no link than those without industry funding. It concluded that industry funding of research “may bias conclusions in favour of sponsors’ products, with potentially significant implications for public health”.” from the Telegraph.

The British Medical Journal is hardly likely to engage in tabloid sensationalism. This is a serious story – we can be sure!

The crux is that this government, these scientists, the food industry, have wasted another opportunity to put your health ahead of profits. They had a chance to benefit you, and they have again failed!

Again?

I read all this today and found myself having a deja vu experience. Haven’t governments squandered opportunities to improve public health before in favour of food industry interests and profits? Haven’t scientists more interested in their own livelihoods and reputations than in public health been allowed to influence government food policy before? Yes they have – and to devastating effects!

Am in wandering into conspiracy theory territory here? I’m afraid not!

Do you remember a BBC 2 series called “The Men Who Made Us Fat” in 2012? It’s all revealed in episode 1 – which you can watch on Vimeo – link here! That’s saved me a lot of typing today!

I really recommend you watch the whole programme, but if you’ve truly no time to watch for the whole hour, I’ve highlighted some salient points for you:

  • at 7 mins 42 secs into the programme we are told that political deals in the early 1970s under the Richard Nixon government in the U.S. put industry profits before public health.
  • 31 mins in, we learn that a “scientist” called Ancel Keys claimed fat was responsible for heart disease. He had no evidence, no actual research, just an opinion! Yet the vilification of saturated fat ever since the 1950s hinged on this one scientist’s opinion – BECAUSE his theory suited the mighty sugar industry!
  • 32 mins 50 secs, we hear about John Yudkin, who was the only scientist at the time speaking out against sugar. Of course he wasn’t popular with the food industry, who were making huge profits from sugar and high fructose corn syrup. So they discredited his work – which we know now was correct!
  • Skip to 39 mins 30 secs to hear from a food industry insider how the manufacturers know just how to get you hooked on their junk foods! Sugar is the key to you buying more and increasing their profits!!
  • Then to 44 mins 20 secs to hear how, in 1977, George McGovern’s report, criticising sugar for the emerging obesity problems fast-becoming apparent in the U.S., was amended to remove any blame of sugar and to point the finger at fat – in support of Ancel Keys’ opinion.
  • Move to 52 mins 20 secs, and be prepared to be horrified that in 2000 the sugar industry lobbied against the World Health Organisation’s recommendations to limit sugar – and won! WHO never published those recommendations for financial reasons!

It’s no wonder that responsible scientists and doctors are appalled by this current revelation, that their colleagues, that our government, is yet again collaborating with the food industry giants. Collaborating against your best interests. Collaborating for funding, for profit, simply for money.

Oh – of course they all say it’s up to the individual to make sure their own diet is healthy – see 18 mins 30 secs into ‘The Men Who Made Us Fat’ to see it’s been their long-standing mantra. They smilingly deny their products are in any way to blame for your obesity, for your heart disease, for your diabetes problems.

One thing I agree with – it IS up to you to take full responsibility for your own diet, your own health. Because two things are for sure, the food industry won’t help you, and the government won’t insist they do!

RebalanceDiabetes is standing right here – ready to help!

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