Contest! Why we get fat ...
... Nah, for a change it's not Gary Taubes or Robert Lustig or any of the other usual suspects hailing from the US making sheet up and mangling facts. No, this article comes from the UK ... if you thought the state of science journalism in the US was bad, wait till you get a load of this specimen of health journalism in the UK! This one was brought to my attention courtesy of Chris Highcock of Conditioning Research blog.
Why our food is making us fat
We are, on average, 3st heavier than we were in the 60s. And not because we're eating more or exercising less – we just unwittingly became sugar addicts
I count at least 15 glaring inaccuracies, contradictions and/or exaggerations bordering on deceit. Can you find them? Winners get free Gin It Up & Tonic cocktails and Bologna Roll-ups tonight at the Asylum Bar & Grill! And, as always, I'm happy to substitute to meet your dietary needs :D
what science? I find such claims dangerous anyway. Growing up in a communist country we would be often told that the "true communism" we aspire for is only few years away, we only need to believe more. Yea, if you believe anything is possible.
Also the claim about kids moving the same as 50 years ago is a bit hard to believe. Is it the cherry picking season again?
... and that subliminal link to Zoe Harcombe... omg
The article never talks about calories at all — one of the consequences of trading fat for sugar in low-fat foods is that they are often calorically equivalent. The article also slides back and forth between the situation in the US and UK without much distinction. I thought they didn't use HFCS as much in the UK? they specifically mention the different formula for CocaCola. Do they eat as much sugar as in the US or not?
I would really like to read an unbiased version of Ancel Keys' and Yudkin's stories. It's hard to believe, knowing academia, that Keys was really the evil villain he's made out to be. What would he get out of it? And the way they phrase the discussion about Yudkin is interesting: "Much of the criticism [of Yudkin] came from fellow academics"; "Yudkin's colleague at the time, Dr Richard Bruckdorfer at UCL says: "There was a huge lobby from [the food] industry, particularly from the sugar industry, and Yudkin complained bitterly that they were subverting some of his ideas." He doesn't say Yudkin WAS being subverted, he just says he "complained bitterly.: I wonder what that is about.
The Guardian is a newspaper but not a science journal - if you would like to read UK science journals, The New Scientist and Nature are quite good.
I haven't read much about Yudkin:
I do not believe that there is much difference. Regarding obesity, please, get real, Brits are very nearly as fat as Americans.
They are not more active, either. I think the two countries are roughly parallel, but the US has a different racial demographic. Classwise, the picture is the same: the poorer, the fatter.
"In Europe the main calorie-containing sweetener used in the production of food and drinks is sucrose. As mentioned above, the production of GFS is capped in the European Union by the European Sugar Regime and hence produced quantities are limited. An additional factor in the choice of sugar sources used depends on the availability and the relatively close proximity of the raw material to the end user of the sweetener"
Even Coca-cola and Pepsi are sweetened with sucrose in Europe.
Yudkins ideas (particularly on CVD and sugar) were subject to an investigation by the Medical Research Council; no-one was going to take US ideas without confirmation. Richard Doll and others replicated one of Yudkin's studies but failed to achieve the same results
" A pure and white red herring"
I suspect that is why his views on sugar fell from prominence
(Taubes doesn't mention this, he blames Keys)
This press release is a prologue to a BBC programme on Thursday so by then it will be mainstream and 'fact'
I was glad to see Denise write about Keys. One problem I have with the 7 countries is that even if you put the others back, there's still enough of a correlative trend to question. Naughton in his presentation Science for Smart People (which otherwise makes some good points) looks at a scatter plot and says "see, here's a case of high A, low B ... and here's a case of low A, high B ... and this renders the correlation between A&B moot". Were that how it's done, there would be nothing to work with at all!
You raise an excellent point, however, that cuts to the core of the addiction angle now being touted. In the UK, as in the US, sucrose has always been around. And your country doesn't have the cheap HFCS strawman to point at as the cause. So we have to ask ourselves, is it the sugar/HFCS? I say no. Or my generation would have been just as obese as today's.
Yes ... there are more morbidly obese people now than ever. But no need to "pad" those stats.
I fear the lawsuits are soon to come. I've yet to get to the episode of Skinny on Obesity where Lustig goes on about the addictive nature of sugar and then one of the sidekicks chimes in with "McDonald's is addictive".
all of my remarks are addressing contents of the Guardian article
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