Sunday, November 09, 2008

ADA, Dietitians, Corporate Sponsorship & HFCS

Some developments this year in the debate over high-fructose corn syrup: December 14, 2007: assistant editor at In These Times, Jacob Wheeler wrote an article called Corporate Potluck: Dietitians and their company sponsors make strange buffet fellows which highlighted the corporate industry partners attending the American Dietetic Association's 2007 Food and Nutrition Conference(FNCE). March 1, 2008: American Dietetic Association Welcomes The Coca-Cola Company as an ADA Partner. The press release says:

The program provides Partners a national platform via ADA events and programs with prominent access to key influencers, thought leaders and decision makers in the food and nutrition marketplace. About the time the dietitians were becoming critical of their own association, criticism was coming from the very influential and proficient author and renowned food policy advocate Marion Nestle. She quotes on her blog
Respected ADA colleagues: as long as your organization partners with makers of food and beverage products, its opinions about diet and health will never be believed independent (translation: based on science not politics) and neither will yours.
Furthermore, an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, the author of The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History or Four Meals and more recently In Defense of Food, An Eaters Manifesto, Micheal Pollan had this to say:
Well, nutrition science is very compromised by industry. Organizations like the American Dietetic Association take sponsorship from companies who are eager to find -- you know, be able to make health claims.
Soon the Corn Refiners Association launched a PR campaign that took Dietitians along with them with a full page ad in the Washington Post: "Registered Dietitians agree that HFCS is the same as table sugar and can be enjoyed in moderation."

This year at the American Dietetic Association Food and Nutrition Conference in Chicago, The Corn Refiners Association had an exhibit that included information about "the many ways corn based ingredients are contributing to great-tasting food and beverage choices and to innovations that enhance nutrition and help reduce calories and fat."

I guess the question is, who is supposed to be teaching who about nutrition?


brian said...

I think RD's a getting a little sensitive. I recently gave a presentation to the weight loss group at a local hospital system. Among the more than 100 in attendance were several dieticians. They took me to task over some of my comments/statements. I don't care. I know what I know. I'm objective. Right now, they don't appear to be.

Great systhensis of the info.

Ashley Colpaart said...

What sort of comments were they making? I may be able to clarify.
Ashley Colpaart, RD LD

Anonymous said...


You apparently are correct in that you don't care, brother. You need a hug.

Andy, RD

PS - it's "dietitian"...oops was that too sensitive ; ) Ha! I'm just trying to get a rise out of you candy-man!

Unknown said...

I've been surfing the blogs about high fructose corn syrup. I see about two blogs from dietitians, nutritionists, or doctors in favor of HCFS for every blog that I see against it.

More interesting for me at another message forum for diabetics, one guy tried HCFS. Measured his blood sugar. Then he tried cane sugar. Measured his blood sugar. His blood sugar with HCFS was twice as high as his blood sugar with cane sugar. His comment is just above here {I couldn't figure out a direct link - sorry}

I'm at a point where I'd like to simply see HCFS removed from our diets. One litmus test I've been using is if HCFS is so good, why aren't other countries using it as rampantly as we do.

If you want, there's a campaign to ask cola companies to use cane sugar or beet sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup at ...I just added my name.

usfoodpolicy said...

The view of HFCS that I hear from colleagues in nutrition science is the following. Increased consumption of soda and other sweetened beverages is one of several leading causes, which in combination produced the current epidemic of obesity.

(Other causes of high rates of obesity may include increased restaurant food, increased snacking, increased portion sizes, and decreased physical activity.)

Most of the sugar implicated in soda and sweetened beverages is from HFCS, because of the low cost and industrial-scale availability for use in beverage production. This beverage consumption may be especially dangerous for weight status.

In addition, there is some tentative evidence of a distinct effect of fructose, which is a modestly greater fraction of HFCS than of other sugar sources. But, that is still an active topic of scientific research, subject to possible change, and not needed for making a strong case against HFCS.

Aside from effects on health, HFCS is produced through industrial chemistry, and should not legally be described as "natural."

The strongest reliable base of the argument against HFCS is the high volume of HFCS consumed in unhealthy sweetened products, especially beverages, in recent years.

Ashley Colpaart said...

Food Slueth, Melinda Hemmelgarn sent me this research:

Colleagues, speaking of HFCS, check out the article below, AND the great work of Dr. Robert Lustig:

The AMA just released a statement about HFS:

Note: assuming that most of the corn used to make HFCS comes from biotech corn, then we have to consider the larger environmental concerns of our consumption as well.

Kelly said...
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Kelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

I'm glad to see there is a petition to get HFCS out of soda! Are there any peititions out there to get MSG out of...all other processed foods? See below...

MSG (a slow poison)
The food additive MSG (Mono-Sodium Glutamate) is a slow poison. MSG hides behind 25 or more names, such as Natural Flavoring.' MSG is even in your favorite coffee from Tim Horton's and Starbucks coffee shops! I wondered if there could be an actual chemical causing the massive obesity epidemic, and so did a friend of mine, John Erb. He was a research assistant at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and spent years working for the government. He made an amazing discovery while going through scientific journals for a book he was writing called The Slow Poisoning of America. In hundreds of studies around the world, scientists were creating obese mice and rats to use in diet or diabetes test studies. No strain of rat or mice is naturally obese, so scientists have to create them. They make these creatures morbidly obese by injecting them with MSG when they are first born.
The MSG triples the amount of insulin the pancreas creates, causing rats (and perhaps humans) to become obese. They even have a name for the fat rodents they create: 'MSG-Treated Rats.' When I heard this, I was shocked. I went into my kitchen and checked the cupboards and the refrigerator. MSG was in everything -- the Campbell's soups, the Hostess Doritos, the Lays flavored potato chips, Top Ramen, Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper, Heinz canned gravy, Swanson frozen prepared meals, and Kraft salad dressings, especially the 'healthy low-fat' ones. The items that didn't have MSG marked on the product label had something called 'Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein,' which is just another name for Monosodium Glutamate.
It was shocking to see just how many of the foods we feed our children everyday are filled with this stuff. MSG is hidden under many different names in order to fool those who read the ingredient list, so that they don't catch on. (Other names for MSG are 'Accent, 'Aginomoto,' 'Natural Meat Tenderizer,' etc.)
But it didn't stop there.
When our family went out to eat, we started asking at the restaurants what menu items contained MSG. Many employees, even the managers, swore they didn't use MSG. But when we ask for the ingredient list, which they grudgingly provided, sure enough, MSG and Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein were everywhere. Burger King, McDonald's, Wendy's, Taco Bell, every restaurant -- even the sit-down eateries like TGIF, Chili's, Applebee's, and Denny's -- use MSG in abundance. Kentucky Fried Chicken seemed to be the WORST offender: MSG was in every chicken dish, salad dressing. and gravy. No wonder I loved to eat that coating on the skin -- their secret spice was MSG!
So why is MSG in so many of the foods we eat? Is it a preservative, or a vitamin? Not according to my friend John Erb. In his book The Slow Poisoning of America, he said that MSG is added to food for the addictive effect it has on the human body. Even the propaganda website sponsored by the food manufacturers lobby group supporting MSG explains that the reason they add it to food is to make people eat more.
A study of the elderly showed that older people eat more of the foods that it is added to. The Glutamate Association lobbying group says eating more is a benefit to the elderly, but what does it do to the rest of us?
'Betcha can't eat [just] one,' takes on a whole new meaning where MSG is concerned! And we wonder why the nation is overweight! MSG manufacturers themselves admit that it addicts people to their products. It makes people choose their product over others, and makes people eat more of it than they would if MSG wasn't added.
Not only is MSG scientifically proven to cause obesity, it is an addictive substance Since its introduction into the American food supply fifty years ago, MSG has been added in larger and larger doses to the pre-packaged meals, soups, snacks, and fast foods we are tempted to eat everyday.
The FDA has set no limits on how much of it can be added to food. They claim it's safe to eat in any amount. But how can they claim it's safe when there are hundreds of scientific studies with titles like these:
'The monosodium glutamate (MSG) obese rat as a model for the study of exercise in obesity.' Gobatto CA, Mello MA, Souza CT , Ribeiro IA. Res Commun Mol Pathol Pharmacol. 2002.
'Adrenalectomy abolishes the food-induced hypothalamic serotonin release in both normal and monosodium glutamate-obese rats.' Guimaraes RB, Telles MM, Coelho VB, Mori C, Nascimento CM, Ribeiro. Brain Res Bull. 2002 Aug.
'Obesity induced by neonatal monosodium glutamate treatment in spontaneously hypertensive rats: An animal model of multiple risk factors.' Iwase M, Yamamoto M, Iino K, Ichikawa K, Shinohara N, Yoshinari Fujishima. Hypertens Res. 1998 Mar.
'Hypothalamic lesion induced by injection of monosodium glutamate in suckling period and subsequent development of obesity.' Tanaka K, Shimada M, Nakao K Kusunoki. Exp Neurol. 978 Oct.
No, the date of that last study was not a typo; it was published in 1978. Both the 'medical research community' and 'food manufacturers' have known about the side effects of MSG for decades.
Many more of the studies mentioned in John Erb's book link MSG to diabetes, migraines and headaches, autism, ADHD, and even Alzheimer's. So what can we do to stop the food manufactures from dumping this fattening and addictive MSG into our food supply and causing the obesity epidemic we now see?
Several months ago, John Erb took his book and his concerns to one of the highest government health officials in Canada. While he was sitting in the government office, the official told him, 'Sure, I know how bad MSG is. I wouldn't touch the stuff.' But this top-level government official refuses to tell the public what he knows.
The big media doesn't want to tell the public either, fearing issues with their advertisers. It seems that the fallout on the fast food industry may hurt their profit margin. The food producers and restaurants have been addicting us to their products for years, and now we are paying the price for it. Our children should not be cursed with obesity caused by an addictive food additive.
But what can I do about it? I'm just one voice! What can I do to stop the poisoning of our children, while our governments are insuring financial protection for the industry that is poisoning us?
This message is going out to everyone I know in an attempt to tell you the truth that the corporate-owned politicians and media won't tell you. The best way you can help to save yourself and your children from this drug-induced epidemic is to forward this article to everyone.
With any luck, it will circle the globe before politicians can pass the legislation protecting those who are poisoning us.
The food industry learned a lot from the tobacco industry. Imagine if big tobacco had a bill like this in place before someone blew the whistle on nicotine?
If you are one of the few who can still believe that MSG is good for us and you don't believe what John Erb has to say, see for yourself. Go to the National Library of Medicine at Type in the words 'MSG Obese' and read a few of the 115 medical studies that appear.
We the public do not want to be rats in one giant experiment, and we do not approve of food that makes us into a nation of obese, lethargic, addicted sheep, feeding the food industry's bottom line while waiting for the heart transplant, the diabetic-induced amputation, blindness, or other
obesity-induced, life-threatening disorders.
With your help we can put an end to this poison. Do your part in sending this message out by word of mouth, e-mail, or by distribution of this printout to your friends all over the world and stop this 'Slow Poisoning of Mankind' by the packaged food industry. Blowing the whistle on MSG is our responsibility, so get the word out.

Additionally here is a citation and abstract of a study of MSG in humans:

He K, Zhao L, Daviglus ML, et al. Association of monosodium glutamate intake with overweight in Chinese adults: the INTERMAP Study. Obesity (Silver Spring). Aug 2008;16(8):1875-1880.

Animal studies indicate that monosodium glutamate (MSG) can induce hypothalamic lesions and leptin resistance, possibly influencing energy balance, leading to overweight. This study examines the association between MSG intake and overweight in humans. We conducted a cross-sectional study involving 752 healthy Chinese (48.7% women), aged 40-59 years, randomly sampled from three rural villages in north and south China. The great majority of participants prepared their foods at home, without use of commercially processed foods. Diet was assessed with four in-depth multipass 24-h recalls. Participants were asked to demonstrate MSG amounts added in food preparation. Amounts shaken out were weighed by trained interviewers. Overweight was defined as BMI > or =25.0 or > or =23.0 kg/m(2)(based on World Health Organization recommendations for Asian populations). Eighty-two percent of participants were MSG users. Average intake was 0.33 g/day (s.d. = 0.40). With adjustment for potential confounders including physical activity and total energy intake, MSG intake was positively related to BMI. Prevalence of overweight was significantly higher in MSG users than nonusers. For users in the highest tertile of MSG intake compared to nonusers, the multivariable-adjusted odds ratios of overweight (BMI > or =23.0 and > or =25.0) were 2.10 (95% confidence interval, 1.13-3.90, P for trend across four MSG categories = 0.03) and 2.75 (95% confidence interval, 1.28-5.95, P = 0.04). This research provides data that MSG intake may be associated with increased risk of overweight independent of physical activity and total energy intake in humans.

Unknown said...

Parke W, Ashely, thanks for the posts & the links. Two things...if HCFS is practically the same as sugar except for the slight fructose increase, how does one explain the difference in blood sugar levels experienced by diabetics? Wouldn't it only be slightly different rather than two times different. Granted these are single person self-reports.

Second, I wonder how much credibility people still give the AMA. In my eyes, they lost respect when the HCFS lobby was able to petition the AMA to call HCFS as "natural." Their safeguards to ensure against any influence on their scientific decisions seem not to be strong enough.

Kelly, I'm not sure about the MSG claims. Chinese people who frequently use MSG would be obese. Personally I avoid MSG, and it seems to have made it's way out of most of the foods I see at the supermarket in the U.S. The exceptions seem to be in some soy sauces, some Latino food lines, and barbeque sauces.