UK diabetes charity sweetens own pocket

UK charity, Diabetes UK, has been slammed after announcing [] a three-year partnership worth £500,000 GBP with soft drink giant, Britvic – who also manufacture Pepsi Max. The programme aims to help Britvic employees reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes and support Diabetes UK’s work with children with Type 1 diabetes. The charity has defended its decision, stating that, “Any partnership we enter into – including with the food and drink industry – only happens if we truly believe it will bring about positive change”. It goes on to attempt to reassure by saying that product endorsement will not form a part of any programmes. At ANH we’re so passionate about the ability to restore metabolic flexibility using diet and lifestyle, Rob Verkerk PhD and Meleni Aldridge are in Malaysia currently having just run a symposium for doctors on the subject [Link to symposium piece] – something desperately needed in Malaysia given their spiralling obesity and type 2 diabetes rates. However, the natural solution definitely doesn’t include sugar-laden fizzy drinks or other processed offerings!  

Pizza and baked beans for UK kids

Public Health England (PHE) has published the results of a recent survey, engineered to demonstrate public support for its work with the food industry in making food healthier. Of the 1000 respondents surveyed, the majority believed the greatest responsibility for tackling the obesity crisis lies with individuals, the food industry and government. At the same time, however, The Soil Association’s newly published State of the Nation report on children’s food underlines the very real health issues facing UK kids. One in 10 children are failing to meet the government’s five-a-day target for vegetable and fruit consumption, whilst a shocking 17% of the fruit and veg in children’s diets come from pizza and baked beans. It also highlights the growing problem of ultra-processed foods, which now forms over 50% of UK families’ diets. There is a natural drug-free way to beat obesity and it’s time the authorities stopped banging the ‘calories in, calories out’ drum.

CRISPR - generally considered “safe”

The scientific community has fallen deeply into ethical debate following unsubstantiated reports that a Chinese scientist has used CRISPR technology to edit the genome of twin girls. The intention was to artificially promote HIV resistance, with the edited genes having alleged success in one of the embryos and partial success in the other. This news comes despite recent studies raising questions over the safety of the technology and exposing the unintentional damage caused by its use. As GM technology comes under increasing pressure, attention is turning to CRISPR as an alternative to manipulate the genetic make-up of not only plants, but microbes, humans and animals. Despite the hype, the jury is still very much out as to the safety of the technique, and especially so the ethical nature of its use in human embryo development. When science attempts to replace nature and exert control over complex ecological process that have shaped human, animal and planetary evolution thus far, we should all sit up and take notice before it’s too late.

Tanzanian government bans GM field trials

Sickening attempts to dump GM crops into unsuspecting developing nations have thankfully failed yet again. Following the discovery of manipulation and collusion of GM trials in Tanzania between biotech lobbyists and GM researchers, the Tanzanian government has ordered all GM field trials in the country to be stopped and the remaining fields destroyed. Increasing pressure has been brought to bear on smallholders to adopt GM crops as a solution to ongoing pest invasions through well-orchestrated media campaigns, despite failures of such crops in other African nations. The issue is far from resolved, but the good news is that smallholder farmers can continue to control their seeds and crops for the time being. Tanzania’s refusal to play ball with Big Ag is another public victory against bad, profit-driven science.