McDonald’s recent announcement to replace High Fructose Corn Syrup (HCFS) with Sugar in its buns is yet another example of corporate health-jacking: making inconsequential changes to give the appearance of a meaningful pivot to healthy nutrition.
Not a new topic by my favorite science and nutrition writer, but this recent video by Gary Taubes is worth a look by anyone interested in health and nutrition. In it he speaks on some familiar topics, and reveals a new book in the works.
You may be familiar with John Oliver from his previous contributions to The Daily Show. He’s since moved on to host his weekly news and commentary show on HBO: “Last Week Tonight.” In time for Halloween, he covered the subject of sugar.
From a science perspective, there’s nothing new in his coverage. But the fact that he’s bringing to the public eye the gross over-consumption of sugar in our diet and the concomitant health issues…well this suggests a growing cultural awareness of the problem we’re all facing. That this is now the subject of public discourse and not just the domain of research science and health practitioners…well that’s a sweet development indeed.
Robert Lustig attempts to reprise his viral hit, Sugar the Bitter Truth with a new installment. This one borrows part of the title from his book: “Fat Chance: Fructose 2.0”.
As you might expect, it’s a pretty darn good view. Favorite quote? How ’bout this: “It’s never gluttony and sloth. It’s always biochemical. The question is, ‘Are you smart enough to figure out what the biochemistry is?'”
For those of you interested in Leptin, this is a must watch.
A new article on sugar toxicity is published in Scientific American (and syndicated in Salon) the other day. It starts off strong with a recapitulation of the familiar:
Today, we add sugar in one form or another to the majority of processed foods we eat—everything from bread, cereals, crunchy snacks and desserts to soft drinks, juices, salad dressings and sauces—and we are not too stingy about using it to sweeten many raw and whole foods as well.
Looks like Noam Chomsky is clued in to the dangers of sugar. Check out the 35 second mark of his talk, where he compares the lethality of marijuana vs. tobacco vs. sugar:
Nothing new for anyone likely to be reading this site, but it’s nice to see that this is understood by big thinkers like Noam.
Thanks go out to @garytaubes, who noted this back in April (and I’m just now getting around to seeing…
Yesterday I posted a video from a Robert Lustig presentation where a woman who claimed to be a former brand manager for Fruity Pebbles spoke, in tears, about how parents in the focus groups she attended felt good about feeding their children Fruity Pebbles because they liked the idea of giving their kids fruit in the morning.
There’s no doubt that Robert Lustig has a powerful (though not new) message, and he’s gaining an increasingly broad audience for his message. More and more people are making the connection between excess sugar (carbohydrate) consumption and obesity, disease and ill health.
Still, what happens at this event is striking. Lustig takes a question from a woman who claims to be a former brand manager for Kraft1 who worked on Fruity Pebbles cereal. She breaks down in tears as she confesses to sitting in focus groups and hearing parents of children report that they feed their kids Fruity Pebbles in the morning because they feel good about giving their children fruit first thing in the morning.
Let’s round out the week with a little levity, shall we? Robert Lustig sure does make the rounds, and last night he was the guest on The Colbert Report to report his new book, Fat Chance.
There’s really not much new here. It’s entertaining, but most of all, it warms my heart to see Lustig make such inroads into popular culture. Something good may come of this…
The world is becoming a sweeter place… At least in a very literal sense. In The Sweetening of the World’s Diet, Popkin and Nielsen explore the upward trend of caloric sweeteners in our lives.