Environmental campaigner dies

It is with much sadness that we share news of the death of long-term environmental campaigner Lord Peter Melchett, aged 70. Peter was a tireless campaigner for Greenpeace and The Soil Association in the UK. He was a great friend and advocate for the work we do at ANH-Intl. He will be greatly missed by all those knew him and valued his work.

Big Pharma continues African exploitation

The commoditisation of African plants by Big Pharma continues as health scientists in Uganda take extracts from a variety of plant species used in traditional medicines to attempt to develop new drugs for conditions such as malaria, prostate cancer, sickle cell disease and diabetes. Researchers are pushing for the approval of new biotechnology regulations to allow genetic modification of plants to increase development opportunities even further. The situation is complicated by the fact that some of the medicinal plants being used are on the verge of extinction in the wild. South Africa has already suffered due to regulations brought in to favour those bioprospecting and it looks as though Uganda will soon follow suit.

Cheese and red meat back on the menu

Scientists presenting at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Munich, have recommended eating more of seven key foods – vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, fish, dairy and non-processed red meat as part of a healthy diet. The diet quality score is based on the recent PURE study. PURE investigator Andrew Mente MD, told Medscape Cardiology, “You need nutrition beyond fruit and vegetables – dairy and red meats both have many nutrients not found in fruits and vegetables. We looked at the whole diet”. He also noted that the study focused on data from low and middle income countries as well as some high income countries making the data applicable for all populations. The study has already supported plant based diets, as recommended in the ANH-Intl Food4Health guidelines. This further supports our ongoing campaign for governments to make significant adjustments to their dietary guidelines.

UK set to ban sales of energy drinks to children

The UK government is undertaking a consultation which proposes a ban on the sale of energy drinks containing more than 150 mg of caffeine per litre to children. Currently only supermarkets Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Morrison, Tesco, Asda and Aldi have banned sales of energy drinks to under 16’s. A staggering two-thirds of UK 10-17 yr olds and a quarter of 6-9 yr olds in the UK currently consume energy drinks. Whilst a ban may help to reduce consumption of such drinks by children, education on the harm caused by these products needs to start in the home. Read more for suggestions on how to educate children to help reduce the obesity epidemic.

Sugar tax proposed in Malaysia

As concerns over the rise in obesity and diabetes in Malaysia increase, a senior lecturer has proposed a tax be levied on sugar and not just sugar-sweetened drinks (SSBs) as has happened in other countries. He has also suggested a study is conducted to find the real cause for the increase in diabetes in the country. Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said, “The diabetes rate in Malaysia is very high because we take too much sugar”. He added, “We find people drinking these bottle drinks, one every day, six or seven a week. It’s not necessary. These bottled drinks have a lot of sugar”. The call comes as the price of sugar is set to fall making sugary foods even more accessible. If a tax is introduced, Malaysia will join other countries in the region who have already introduced such taxes. The possibility of a sugar tax was welcomed by the Malaysian Dental Association (MDA) who declared it would save ‘millions of teeth’. It’s hoped the tax will lower the rates of obesity and diabetes, improve financial health by reducing healthcare costs and add to the governments treasury.

Breaking News:

Save the date for a ground-breaking new Symposium – The Annual International Nutritional and Lifestyle Medicine Symposium – co-hosted by ANH-Intl brings a new paradigm in healthcare to practitioners in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 23rd-25th November. More details to follow next week!

First UK 5G test area announced

The UK government has announced the ‘unlucky’ winners of a national competition to become the UK’s first 5G test area. Minister for Digital, Margot James said, “5G has the potential to dramatically transform the way we go about our daily lives, and we want the citizens of the UK to be amongst the first to experience all the opportunities and benefits this new technology will bring”. There is no mention of the potential harms this technology may also bring. The jury is still out over the safety or otherwise for not just human health, but animals and plants, of a new system using untried and untested technology. The promise of uninterrupted use of connected devices and super-fast download speeds is however, likely to override any potential safety concerns users may have.