A few items to share today, all relating to sugar:
Gary Taubes Makes The Case Against Sugar
Well-known investigative science and health journalist Gary Taubes (Why We Get Fat) has a new book out in which he makes The Case Against Sugar. I haven’t yet read the book, but in his New York Times review earlier this week, chef and food activist Dan Barber describes it as “both inflammatory and copiously researched.” Taubes not only covers emerging science linking sugar to disease, but also looks at how the sugar and soda industries have for decades deliberately muddied the scientific waters and confused the public in a concerted effort to obscure that link.
Taking a Page from the Anti-Tobacco Playbook
And speaking of that sugar industry cover-up . . .
Yesterday the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) reported that a nonprofit organization, the Praxis Project, has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association. The plaintiff, represented in part by a CSPI staff attorney, alleges that the defendants have engaged in unlawful deception by deliberately misleading and confusing the public about scientific links between sugar-sweetened beverages and obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heard disease. From CSPI’s press release:
The complaint alleges that Coke covertly funded and publicized biased scientific research, substantially orchestrated a drumbeat of deceptive ABA press releases on science and health, and ran false and misleading advertising campaigns. Citing a report in the New York Times, the complaint contends that between 2010 and 2015 alone, Coca-Cola spent $120 million on research and other projects aimed at confusing consumers about, or denying, the science linking health risks to soda and other sugar drinks.
The complaint also cites numerous examples of Coca-Cola and ABA officials making false and deceptive statements about sugar-sweetened drinks.
This will be an interesting case to watch.
A Month Without Sugar
On Sunday, New York Times op-ed columnist David Leonhardt described his annual habit of going an entire month without eating any sugar – as well as the challenge of doing so, given how much hidden sugar is in our food. If cutting back on sugar is one of your 2017 resolutions, the piece is well worth reading.
As a personal side note, I’ve also been avoiding (most) sugar since late October – with a few intentional lapses here and there for special treats – and one thing that’s amazed me is how this shift has totally changed my sense of taste. I can’t tell you how many times I mused, “Wow! The [raspberries/blackberries/apples/pears, etc.] are extra-sweet this year!” before it finally dawned on me that the change wasn’t with the fruit, but my own palate.
A Victory for Houston ISD Parents
Finally, I’m late in reporting some good news from my own district. You may remember that last October, I wrote a post critical of Houston ISD (HISD) for intentionally omitting sugar grams from its school food nutrition information (“Is My District Trying to Hide the Sugar in its School Meals?“). That post, along with similar input from the HISD Nutrition Services Parent Advisory Committee, encouraged the district to change course; at our School Health Advisory Council meeting last month, it was announced that the district’s online nutrition information now includes sugar grams as well (see photo to the right).
I’m sorry it’s taken me a few weeks to share this good news, and I want to thank HISD for taking seriously parents’ concerns about sugar – and transparency.
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