Coca-Cola funded study, multinationals fail re obesity, Bayer and bees, smart meter failure, fluoride fortification for milk and Taiwan bans GMOs in schools
Coca-Cola funded ‘sweeteners possibly better than water’ weight loss study
The UK mainstream press have just revealed that a November study, which claimed to reveal the ‘benefits’ of low-energy sweeteners was funded by “an industry body which includes Coca-Cola and PepsiCo among its members”. The University of Bristol review was published in the International Journal of Obesity last November. It concluded, “Overall, the balance of evidence indicates that use of low-energy sweeteners in place of sugar, in children and adults, leads to reduced energy intake and body weight, and possibly also when compared with water”. This had led to highly questionable headlines proclaiming “Low calorie drinks like Diet Coke DO help with weight loss - and could help slimmers MORE than water”. The absurd claim flies in the face of a large amount of emerging independent evidence about the harm of such beverages. The Independent has now reported that, “Although more than 5,500 papers were reviewed only one paper, funded by the American Beverage Association, found that those drinking diet drinks were more likely to lose weight”. Cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra reportedly said “To suggest that diet drinks are more healthy that drinking water is laughable unscientific nonsense… If you want good science you cannot allow corporate sponsorship of research”. Hear, hear Dr Malhotra and here's an ANH reminder of why 'Big Food's artificial sweeteners are killing us'.
Multinational cooporations have a long way to go to tackle obesity
The global access to nutrition index 2016 is being released on Thursday 21st January, scoring 22 multinational firms on several aspects related to the quality and quantity of food they provide. It found that these large coorpoations still have a long way to go in the global fight against both obesity and undernutrition, stating that, “the industry as whole is moving far too slowly”. Unilever is the top scoring company with Heinz languishing in 19th place. While issues surrounding health and nutrition have been given more weight by some companies than others, areas which lack progress include marketing responsibility to children where no measureable improvement has been made. Obesity is estimated to cost $2tn a year globally and affects 600 million people, while 2.8billion do not have enough to eat or suffer from undernutrition. Inge Kauer of the Access to Nutrition Foundation said, “The way people eat is fundamentally affected by the quantity and nutritional quality of processed food available and how it is marketed, priced and distributed, so any change in how companies operate can have a profound impact on people’s eating habits and their health”.
Bayer brings new protective measures for bees
Pharmaceutical company Bayer have previously accused the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of overestimating the harm caused by neonicotinoid pesticides to insects. However, they have this week proposed extra protection for bees. The EPA have long said that imidacloprid, one of the world’s most common pesticides, could cause honeybees populations to fall. Bayer makes and markets imidacloprid, among other neonicotinoid pesticides, but now say they will work with the EPA to reduce risk to bee populations. In December the EPA will reveal findings on how three other neonicotinoids affect insect populations. Europe has banned this class of pesticides and many environmentalists are now urging the US to do the same. Paul Towers of the Pesticide Action Network said, “This report is a cause for concern but what the EPA has failed to acknowledge is also very concerning, not just for honeybees but all bees and the entire food system that rests upon them”. Please take action by signing the petition, and sharing widely, to get Bayer to drop neonicotinoid chemicals entirely.
Hydro One issues 1million apology letters after smart meter failure
Hydro One has decided to manually read 36,000 smart meters in Ontario CA. This comes after the meters failed to send a reliable signal in the rural areas. Lanark-area MPP Randy Hillier has said, “I’ve been banging my head against the wall for the last five years, saying we’ve got problems with smart meters in rural Ontario”. He goes on to say that, “the evidence has been in front of us for a long time. It doesn’t work, it hasn’t worked and now (there’s) an admission that it will never work”. The company has received more than 10,000 complaints resulting in around 1 million letters of apology being issued to their customers. The introduction of smart meters in Ontario is said to have cost the Liberal government around $2 billion, a huge sum considering the disappointing results not to mention that EMR exposure from these devices can detrimentally affect health. In the words of Kelly Egan from Postmedia News “give up on them”. Our most recent article detailing why you should avoid having a smart meter installed in your home summarises the dangers and outlines why they are likely to be the next 'GM'.
Over 8,000 children in Blackpool UK could consume fluoridated milk
It appears that plans are on the table to introduce fluoridated milk into the breakfast routines of over 8,000 primary school children in the Blackpool area of the UK. A recent article, featured on Blackpool's local radio station, reveals that the announcement comes as, “a study carried out in Blackpool last year reveals that children in the town have lower than normal levels of fluoride in their bodies”. Fluoride is described as, “a naturally occurring mineral which can be added to food and water and contributes to maintain tooth mineralisation”, despite the heavy health risks associated with fluoridation such as dental fluorosis (mottling or pitting of the teeth). Robert Verkerk PhD points out that, "this is madness in that the only unequivocally proven association between the role of fluoride and improved dental health relates to the presence of dietary fluoride, along with other nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus and vitamins D, A and C, for the proper mineralisation of teeth and associated enamel at the critical stage of tooth bud formation. This process occurs in a small window of a child's development, typically between the ages of 18 and 24 months. Too much fluoride at this stage creates at least as many problems as insufficient amounts, so dosage is key". Verkerk adds that fortifying foods or drinks with fluoride makes no sense when most of the fluoride will be consumed by children older than this and it will be impossible to control dosage. There is also increasing evidence that dietary fluoride behaves differently in the body to the synthetic forms added to drinking water, food fortification and dental health products e.g. toothpastes and mouthwashes.
GMOs banned from Taiwanese schools
Taiwanese schools have been banned from serving GMOs to students due to health and safety concerns. This ban will transform cafeterias and food stands in every elementary school, middle school and high school where traditionally they have served a large number of products that contain GMOs such as “soybeans, corn, salmon, tofu and soy milk” reports The China Post. Lin Shu-fen of the Democratic Progressive Party argues, “if such crops were used in meals for schoolchildren, it would have a huge impact on their physical and psychological health”. Lin reports that, “Soy is a major ingredient in Taiwan’s school lunches” and goes on to explain that, “genetically modified soy has been shown to contain toxic residue from pesticides”. The education Minister Wu Se-hwa is reported to have said that, “the Taiwanese government is very concerned about students’ health and encouraged schools to prioritize locally grown farm produce and food ingredients instead”. This can only be a positive in the fight against GMOs and hopefully will act as a catalyst for other countries to implement the same approach. The full article features on EcoWatch.