Fizzy drinks 'should carry cigarette-style health warnings', say experts as study shows diabetes danger in just ONE sugary drink a day
This is just a beatup of a study I debunked on 26th. -- with additional reference to that persistent old crank, Robert Lustig
Lustig's extreme claims about natural fruit sugar (fructose) being a "poison" have rightly put most of the medical research fraternity against him and the research evidence against his demonization of fructose is strong. There are even some studies (e.g. here) that suggest that fructose is good for you.
He does seem to have crumpled under the weight of opposition and now demonizes sugar generally, including ordinary table sugar, which is a combination of fructose and glucose.
Sugary soft drinks should carry cigarette-style health warnings on their packaging, according to experts. Scientists warned this week that drinking one can of soft drink a day can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by a fifth.
A major study by Imperial College London found the risk rose by as much as 22 per cent for every 12oz serving of sugar-sweetened drink – a typical can – consumed per day.
Soft drinks have previously been linked with weight gain and obesity – a well-known trigger for type 2 diabetes – but researchers say the effect goes beyond body weight and may be caused by an increase in insulin resistance.
Other research has shown that sugary drinks can damage the liver and kidneys and are linked to the risk of developing cancer or dementia.
There are growing concerns that fizzy drinks and sweet juices could be more dangerous for health than previously thought.
Professor Barry Popkin of the University of North Carolina told the Sunday Times: 'If there is any item in our food supply that acts like tobacco, it is sugared drinks.'
Professor Nick Wareham, who led the Imperial team, told the newspaper: 'Labels on sugar-sweetened beverages should be explicit about how much sugar they contain and should say that we should limit consumption as part of a healthy diet.'
Previously, American scientist Robert Lustig called for sweetened drinks and food to be regulated in the same way as tobacco. Dr Lustig, a University of California academic, led a team of scientists for the paper The Toxic Truth About Sugar. 'This is a war and you didn't even know you were fighting it,' he told a nutrition conference last month.
The Imperial study of almost 30,000 people living in eight European countries, including Britain, follows US research which made near-identical findings. Scientists wanted to determine whether the link held good in Europe, where soft drinks are less popular than in America.
Professor Wareham, of the Medical Research Council’s epidemiology unit, said it was more evidence that people should be cautious about the amount of sugary soft drink they consumed.
He said: ‘This finding adds to growing global literature suggesting that there is a link between consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, obesity and risk of development of type 2 diabetes. ‘This observation suggests that consumption of these beverages should be limited as part of an overall healthy diet.’
Researchers found that the risk of type 2 diabetes rose 22 per cent for people having one 12oz (336ml) serving of sugar-sweetened soft drink a day compared with those not having any.
The number of Britons diagnosed with diabetes hit three million this year for the first time – almost one in 20 of the population.
Type 2 diabetes is strongly linked to lifestyle factors such as being overweight or obese, leading a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet.
It occurs when the body gradually loses the ability to process blood sugar, leading to high levels which can damage body organs and result in years of ill-health.
The latest study used data on consumption of juices and nectars, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and artificially sweetened soft drinks. It involved 12,403 people with type 2 diabetes and 16,154 without diabetes.
The researchers, led by Dr Dora Romaguera, said a possible reason for the link could be the effect of sugar-sweetened drinks on insulin resistance.
Type 2 diabetes is frequently preceded by an increase in insulin resistance, where the body becomes insensitive to the effects of insulin resulting in high blood sugar levels. Dr Romaguera said: ‘Given the increase in sweet beverage consumption in Europe, clear messages on the unhealthy effect of these drinks should be given to the population.’
Consumption of pure fruit juice and nectar drinks was not implicated in rising diabetes, although the study could not separate out the effect of 100 per cent pure juices from those with added sugars.
Dr Matthew Hobbs, of Diabetes UK, said: ‘The large number of people involved in this study means this finding is extremely unlikely to have happened by chance.’
Gavin Partington, of the British Soft Drinks Association, said: ‘It is well known that diabetes is the result of many different factors, including obesity and family history. ‘Soft drinks are safe to consume but, like all other food and drink, should be consumed in moderation.’
The study was published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.
The Myth of Michelle Obama's "Food Desert"
This is an old idea long since discredited but both Mr and Mrs Obama specialize in such ideas
Science is a wonderful tool for understanding how our world really works. But if the science supporting a given understanding is flawed, or worse, if it is slanted in favor of a politically-favored outcome, it can become the justification for excessively wasteful activities. When science crosses that line, it is transformed from something that is worthy of respect into junk science.
This is the story of Michelle Obama and her fight against the food deserts of America. The story begins on 24 February 2010, when the First Lady of the United States of America used her White House platform to introduce the little-understood concept of the newly-discovered "food deserts" of America to Americans as part of a media blitz:
"As part of Lets Move!, the campaign to end childhood obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama is taking on food deserts. These are nutritional wastelands that exist across America in both urban and rural communities where parents and children simply do not have access to a supermarket. Some 23.5 million Americans – including 6.5 million children – currently live in food deserts. Watch the video below and learn what the First Lady is doing to help families in these areas across the country."
Food deserts sound horrible. Isn't it good that the First Lady is doing something about this awful problem that would appear to be plaguing America's most poor, yet obese citizens, who suffer because they are deprived from having large supermarkets stocked with nutritious foods within walking distance of where they live?
Or is the First Lady relying upon junk science to justify the wasteful expenditure of taxpayer money to benefit her and the President's political cronies? After all, there was already plenty of evidence back in 2010 that indicated that food deserts were more a junk science-fueled political talking point than a real factor that significantly contributed to making poor Americans obese, as the original 2006 study proclaiming the crisis in President Obama's home base of Chicago was funded by LaSalle Bank of Chicago, then the largest business lender in the city, who would directly profit from investments to "remedy" the situation.
Fortunately, respectable science can help provide the answers to these questions. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control very recently published a peer-reviewed scientific study of the impact that a lack of nearby access to nutritious foods, such as might be found in one of the First Lady's food deserts, actually has upon the Body Mass Index (BMI) of the Americans who live within such regions. Here are the results and conclusion for their study of 97,678 adults in the state of California (home to 1 out of every 8 Americans):
Food outlets within walking distance (≤1.0 mile) were not strongly associated with dietary intake, BMI, or probabilities of a BMI of 25.0 or more or a BMI of 30.0 or more. We found significant associations between fast-food outlets and dietary intake and between supermarkets and BMI and probabilities of a BMI of 25.0 or more and a BMI of 30.0 or more for food environments beyond walking distance (>1.0 mile).
We found no strong evidence that food outlets near homes are associated with dietary intake or BMI. We replicated some associations reported previously but only for areas that are larger than what typically is considered a neighborhood. A likely reason for the null finding is that shopping patterns are weakly related, if at all, to neighborhoods in the United States because of access to motorized transportation."
Economist Jacob Geller reviewed the study's statistical results:
"If you look at the statistical tables, they’re pretty striking. Even where there is statistical significance — which is the exception to the rule — the size of the effect is so tiny, it’s like practically nothing. For example, on the margin, adding one full-service supermarket within a one-mile radius of your house is associated with an average BMI decrease in your neighborhood of .115. That is a difference of just one pound. (see back-of-the-envelope calculations here)
So there is really no relationship, according to this one recent study of nearly 100,000 Californians, between the distance between your body and a full-service supermarket (or any other kind of food store), and whether or not you are obese. Distance, which is a proxy for access (the idea of a food desert is that the nearest supermarket, which has fresh produce, is distant), is for all practical purposes a non-factor."
Did we mention large and/or politically well-connected retailers are involved? That's actually how we know that the whole food desert publicity campaign is really about crony capitalism more than it is about dealing with the health problems of obesity. Because in truth, if it were a real problem that could be fixed by opening new store locations, it would be a lot easier, cheaper and faster for small "Mom and Pop"-style grocery businesses to fit themselves into the already existing and available retail spaces within such deprived communities as the supposed food deserts of America.
But since the whole food desert concept would seem to be based on junk science rather than the more respectable kind, it is perhaps too much to ask for the solutions advanced by the politicians taking charge of the crisis to solve a legitimate problem.