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How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat (nytimes.com)
816 points by okket on Sept 12, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 599 comments

and this folks is why I have trust issues...

Scientists paid off by industry to make people look the other way, who then become head of some Governmental departments and agencies advising the world on whatever it was they were paid off for or have a conflict of interest in and the door keeps revolving...

It's a wonder we believe anything at all after the amount of lies and propaganda we're fed only to find out it's false... or are they lying now? Now we're being fed information that it's the sugar industry at fault and not the fat industry, while we have fad diets that are high fat, low carb, low sugar, because carbs and sugar are bad and fat isn't bad at all allegedly. Who is making the money from the increased fat sales and decreased sugar sales? Is it because sugar is cutting into their bottom line too much and fat is in cheap supply?

Why do we continue to believe the shit that pours out of the mouths of big agriculture and the nutrition agencies as if they haven't been feeding us bullshit for the past 50 years in aid of increasing profit. They don't give a shit about the consumer, they give a shit about whatever fuels the greatest growth in profits.

So this is why I have issue believing anything that any of them have to say about anything because it's all underhanded subterfuge and manipulation, with no end in sight.

As far as the actual food sales, most of the money winds up in the same small set of hands regardless of which fad is currently popular. They'll resist trends that switch from high-margin to low-margin foods, but only until they've figured out how to alter the low-margin food to make it high-margin.

The secondary money-grab is from the food-fad industry. All of the books, all of the websites, all of the memberships, all churning out recipes and advice and misinformation, depends on constant change in what's considered "good". Without constant change, their markets would dry up to a trickle. It's just like the fashion industry; if we all decided to wear the same SciFi-like jumpsuits all of the time because it's really the best thing to wear, the fashion industry would be destroyed. So instead we have a constant rotation of the fashion trends. (At least the fashion industry isn't killing us, though.)

The longer I live, the more I value the lessons I learned from my Grandparents:

- Don't listen to the shit you hear in the media, it's all self serving. Do your own research, that way it serves your need, not anyone elses.

- Stay out of the centre aisles at the grocery store. Buy simple ingredients. Make it yourself. If you can't grow it yourself or kill it, you probably shouldn't be eating it.

- Do the research, buy it once, buy it right. Quality will always beat quantity in the long run. Buy something you can repair yourself over something replaceable.

> if we all decided to wear the same SciFi-like jumpsuits all of the time because it's really the best thing to wear, the fashion industry would be destroyed

A few of us got stuck at a moment in time and never really updated... a decent pair of hard wearing jeans and an endless supply of decent t-shirts that last more than a few months of continuous wear and a decent pair of solid, dependable boots. You may be able to tell that the fashion industry doesn't make a whole ton of money out of me. Don't care, lol.

You had a good set of grandparents. Bottle that and sell it.

Not that they weren't awesome, but we pick and choose the advice we follow and I'm sure I've forgotten as much advice that they gave me as I remember - and that I do remember is really only as it slaps me upside the head with a "holy fuck were they ever right about that!" It probably would have helped more if I'd listened 30 years ago when they first told me and stuck to it, but then I didn't have the hindsight to be able to tell which were the good lessons and which were rubbish; so like all 10 year olds, I ran it through my "you have no idea what you're talking about you crazy old wo/man" filter and what came out of the other side was a kid whose lifetime epiphanies are like a list of what I would already have known had I listened to my grandparents.

Hindsight... crazy accurate.

> (At least the fashion industry isn't killing us, though.)

The Bangladeshi children working 16 hours a day sewing dresses for H&M might have a thing or two to say about that.

That's them, not us, but you're right that's a problem with the fashion industry. I don't think it's caused by the fads though; the clothing industry would still exploit the cheapest available labor, even if they were making the same garments all of the time.

The problem here is that Bangladeshi children are cheaper than machines.

It took almost 50 years to starting to debunk health issues created by Sugar. It took decades to accept the health issues created by Lead and Asbestos.

Sometime I wonder if chemicals from bottled water, radiation from Cellular/Wifi/Bluetooth pose health risks and we will find it out decades later.

There are a lot of unknowns. Chances are it's not going to be Bluetooth, but some toothpaste additive, cellphone case sealant, or something else nobody really thought about that we are going to look back and cringe.

but some toothpaste additive

About 9 months ago I stopped using toothpaste (my Dentist said it was fine) because I read the canker sores I had been getting for years and years were caused by an additive in tooth paste: Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). Sure enough, I have not had a single canker sore since I stopped using tooth paste!

Don't leave us hanging... what was your substitute?

Nothing. The toothpastes without SLS made me gag. My dentist said using no toothpaste was fine. My Sonicare toothbrush and flossing does the job just fine, and the floride in the water handles the rest.

Turns out the benefits of flossing are not backed by research. Largely manufactured by industry:


I really don't believe this. The spaces between my teeth are very small, and without flossing, brushing can't clean out the food that gets wedged in there. I've actually flossed after brushing (with a Sonicare) and I still remove food with the floss.

And going right back to the original topic here, those bits of food wouldn't be as big a deal without all of the added sugars that we have now, right? Isn't tooth decay caused by sugar-eating bacteria?

It's damn near impossible to remove all carbs from your diet, even if you try. So, in the very theoretical case of having absolutely no carbs, then you're right. For the vast majority of people on earth, it's simply not true.

I picked up a pack of 10 (count them 10) interstitial toothbrushes at the 99¢ store. One of the best dollars I ever spent. Brand name: "Aim interdental brush". They work just about as well as flossing (I still keep some floss stick around for the occasional piece of stuff that gets stuck that these don't get out). Their business end looks like a tiny artificial Christmas tree, with a small plastic handle.

Heh, anecdotally, I used to get a couple cavities a year, pretty consistently, never flossed. I started flossing religiously a few years ago, and after a week of spitting blood out in the sink afterward, I got used to it. Haven't had one since.

Anecdotally, my wife has been flossing forever and has cavities all over the place. I, on the other hand, never ever flossed, rarely brush my teeth more than once a day, and have no cavities.

Just because nobody bothered to research it doesn't mean it isn't true.

You can even use some salt, or baking soda if you feel like you need a "deeper clean" or the like.

Yep, this is in fact how the nobility did it back in the day!

IIRC, they used something like the Arabic 'miswak', a twig with a sort of shredded end. Is that about right?

I'm using pressure water (with a pinch of moutwash) - really brings out the white out of teeth. also no matter how much I brush and floss, there's always stuff coming out of gums while watering. I don't do it often as it's quite intensive, but hey, it helped me a lot.

Fluoride isn't exactly healthy either though, is it?

The dose makes the poison - there's a pretty dramatic correlation between low level fluoridation like the kind that's added to water and oral health, with not much at all linking it to health issues.



I would not say that is dramatic or even meaningful. The findings are full of statements on how the the studies they considered were "of moderate quality, but of limited quantity". And they conclude with saying basically that they have no conclusion.

I think we may have read different studies. From the conclusions on the second link:

From the evidence available, it can be concluded that fluoridation of public water supplies does prevent caries and is associated with fluorosis.

Personally speaking, I'd call 15-25% reductions "dramatic".

From the summary: "The authors were surprised by the small amount of work identified. In particular, there were very few studies that followed the same individuals longitudinally, there was lack of analysis of confounding variables and there was failure to undertake appropriate statistical analysis."

The whole report has a tone of being the best they could conclude with poor data which is stressed repeatedly. Those numbers put in context of the opinions of the source data makes them not so impressive.

A pinch of baking soda will have the same abrasives.

Chewing neem twigs

Whenever I have canker sores I stop using toothpaste and dip my toothbrush in a cup of mouthwash and that helps the sores heal much faster.

So, what is the alternative you are using? Water and brushing? Or some organic toothpaste alternative?

I use Green beaver toothpaste http://greenbeaver.com

Calcium Carbonate, Aqua/Water/Eau, Sorbitol, Glycerin, Hydrated Silica, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) leaf Oil, Menthol, Xylitol, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Extract, Xanthan Gum, Coco-Glucoside, Calcium Ascorbate, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil.

I still use toothpaste, but I've found that using a sonicare toothbrush made a huge improvement in preventing cavities. Also flossing is important.

The benefits of flossing are not backed by data. Seems it too is a myth manufactured by industry:

The FDA had to remove the recommendation from daily hygiene guidelines, as law requires them to be backed by legit science.

That said, I still do it. Makes my mouth "feel" cleaner".


The cited references studied cavities, plaque, gingivitis and gum disease. I see two other benefits in flossing: combating halitosis and comfort (meat stuck between molars for me is extremely irritating).

How have you found a sonicare toothbrush to help cavities?

I just use water and a toothbrush. It works well.

SLS is organic.

There's plenty of organic compounds that are toxic to humans (not saying that this one is or isn't) ...

SLS isn't that toxic, its just overly an effective surfactant that strips all the natural oils from your skin/cheeks. Its why your hands free dry when you wash dishes with dish soap. Also strong enough to remove crude oil from birds.

Sure, just saying that "an organic toothpaste" doesn't rule out SLS.

So is arsenic.

I didn't know that elemental Arsenic (As) was made of chains of elemental carbons (C)...

The more you know??


Arsenic is an element. Elemental arsenic, as with elemental carbon, or hydrogen, or any other element, is made of protons, neutrons, and electrons.

Its chemical properties are defined largely by its valence electrons, and atomic mass.

There is no more carbon in arsenic than there is sound in light. They are different things.


Your parent poster was well aware of that, and also assumed his parent was aware of that as well. His post was a subtle version of "arsenic can't be 'organic' because cannot be composed of carbon chains because it is an element which is not carbon."

The advantage of his version (especially in spoken conversation) is that you can tell someone they are wrong, and typically if they have such a gross misunderstanding, it will go completely over their heads, and they won't realize that you are telling them they are wrong.

Whoosh! </self>

Yeah, I managed to miss that.

Yeah, I was trying to be nice :)

In all honesty, I was thinking that allwein's post was an example of "Not even wrong" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong )

Water is considered an important part of organic chemistry by everyone, but pedantic chemists. Original poster may have been thinking of cyanide but As is often found in plants and animals and is not man made. Which fits the casual definition.

In my (limited) experience, canker sores are an allergic reaction. Raw pineapples make the inside of my mouth tingly, and then voila: canker sores. I stopped eating raw pineapple, and I've not had a canker sore since.

I used to have to use lotion on my hands constantly until I switched to castille soap instead of SLS-based detergents.

I use Sensodyne for the same reason — it's a widely available toothpaste that doesn't have SLS.

Actually, most types of Sensodyne have SLS in them too. The "Extra Whitening" type doesn't, so I use that.

Once I switched to that, I stopped getting so many canker sores almost immediately.

Thanks for the tip

so what do you use now? Coconut oil or something similar?

For instance, For a long time diesel has promoted in Europe as greener than petrol. This is soon to change, because: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jan/27/diesel-engine-fum...

Diesel engines produces less CO2 by being slightly more efficient.

Pretrol engines produce less nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

What's "greener" is just a matter of your definition of it.

> What's "greener" is just a matter of your definition of it.

What i means was that the "promoted" part is soon to change, because of the greater understanding of the drastic public health consequences.

Diesel /is/ greener when you consider only CO2 emissions and energy efficiency, although turbocharged direct injection engines narrow that gap significantly. If this were the '70s though, I'd much rather have a fleet of diesel cars running around than ones with cabureted gasoline engines.

What about all the people who die from diesel particulates? Failing to consider that is exactly the mistake Europe is still making.

Particulates are easy to deal with using current technology--burn lean, burn hot (and inject lots of urea to get rid of all the NOx that this regime creates), and stick on a filter on the tailpipe to get rid of the stuff that does get created. The main problem is that diesel engines last forever, and a lot of old engines that don't meet requirements are still on the road.

This is partly true: You can reduce particulates, but they're still bad in areas with a lot of less-emitting vehicles. Also, the technology that reduces particulates needs to be carefully maintained to continue working as well as it did the day the vehicle left the factory... and there's plenty of incentive to cheat, in order to save money.

With 2016 diesel technology, the only "less-emitting vehicles" are EVs and possibly CNG-powered vehicles. As for cheating, as long as the manufacturer does its job (by either eliminating EGR altogether or installing a catch can in the PCV system), there is little to no incentive to cheat on the operator's part. Urea is dirt cheap as long as you don't buy from the dealership.

I was comparing modern diesels to older ones, was that unclear? It's not difficult to get enough 2016 diesels in an area small enough to violate the short-term standard for particulates. And I'd bet your confidence about cheating is misplaced; time will tell.

Try riding a bike behind a bus or truck with a poorly maintained diesel

I always assumed it would be the opposite: something that a lot of people already recognize as being dangerous, but which lacked concrete evidence demonstrating how dangerous it is. So my candidates for a future "omg we have to stop this" are:

- bad posture at office jobs (probably mandated adjustable standing desks in the future)

- stress from a long, high-traffic commute

- insufficient sleep

- per the article, high-sugar foods. EDIT: technically, a high-sugar diet. Part of the problem is that no one unit of sugar by itself is the problem, so you can't point to any one food as the culprit.

Wasn't there some news recently that sleep deficiency is positively correlated with heart disease?

Something like this http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/lack-...

There was also some news recently that working in a place that grinds coffee causes lung cancer http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/04/15/474325037/cof...

Probably if the sabre-toothed tiger gets you before the age of 35 you won't get cancer or heart disease. But if you live long enough and the cancer doesn't kill you the chemotherapy will.

You're missing the easy one, caffeine.

and alcohol

Agreed! But we cannot ignore potential visible risks while worrying about unknown risks.

I use organic/natural exclusively. Try to model my life closed to simple ingredients people used more than 100 years back. I also diversify things I consume. Someone once posted on HN: His grandpa told him everything is poison, so use everything in moderation. I really liked this recommendation.

However it is very difficult to prevent all the radio waves in today's world as much as you try. Maybe it's not harmful but we won't find out for decades.

Many of the "simple ingredients" that people used 100 years ago aren't really available anymore, at least not in the US. That would somewhat true even with traditional breeding and cultivation, but over the past 100 years we've greatly improved our understanding of how breeding works, the rate that we can modify plants and animals, and with GMOs we now have a lot of direct control over the outcome. We just don't have the same plants and animals that we had 100 years ago anymore.

You say you stick to organic/natural. Well, it's all "natural", even GMOs, if you're eating plant and animal products directly. (Eg: stay away from additives and highly processed foods.) "Organic" is a bit tougher; you want it to mean that the plants and animals were raised without getting stuffed with chemicals and antibiotics, but there's a lot of wiggle room there because 'food' is made up of chemicals, and many foods and chemicals have some antibiotic properties.

In the end, if you're not growing the plants and breeding the animals yourself you don't really know if the "organic" label on them means what you want it to mean. And except for heirloom varieties, (and maybe even those) the plants and animals you're raising are still the product of the past 100 years of breeding, which usually focused on attributes other than making them healthy to eat.

Organic is pretty easy to get information on. https://www.ams.usda.gov/grades-standards/organic-standards

From what I've been told, there are definitely some things you can do that would increase sustainability that would cause you to lose your organic label. E.g. substituting a biodegradable material that doesn't list its ingredients could cause you to lose the label when using plastic wouldn't.

What about people that are living in more rural parts of Europe?

There are a lot of small time farmers there that still grow the same sheep/cows/animals their grandparents grew 100 years ago.

They grow the same veggies on the same rotated soil that was grown 100 years ago, the same way.

Sure it may be a niche but if I'm living around there and eating that food, I think it's pretty darn close to what our ancestors were eating a century ago.

I'm specifically talking about the US, and in particular the majority of the US population. My understanding is that the rest of the world tends to be somewhat better (not as much industrialization of farming and breeding) and of course there are still farmers all over the world who are still using traditional methods.


However it's still probably better to eat organic than something which doesn't even pretend to be safe. It's all relative in the end.

I hope one day I can control the sources and attributes of all the food that I eat. However till then I will try to do my best with my available time and money.

"simple ingredients" ... like the coke in Coca Cola?

People downvoted you, but that's not a bad example. Cocaine is an early (modern) example of the food industry taking a natural product that's been used forever, coca leaves, and processing it to produce a much more dangerous food additive.

> simple ingredients people used more than 100 years back

Back when they used (natural) lead as a sweetener? :P

Seriously though, 100 years is probably not long enough ago if you're looking for "good" food. White bread was all the rage. Jello+, mayonnaise, and marshmallows were standard ingredients in "salads". Anything which actually looked like a natural food item was pretty much shunned, unless you were poor. The Edwardian focus on efficiency and cleanliness above flavor paved the way culturally for the industrial food of the 1950s.

+ They actually used sheets of gelatin to make their "Jello" as the powdered stuff hadn't been invented yet.

100 years back life expectancy was significantly worse. There are countless things in nature that can out right kill you. Your approach seems pretty ridiculous. (I did not down vote you however).

Little of that life expectancy had to do specifically with worse nutritional quality of food. Access to food, nutritional understanding, and food spoilage, yes.

Much had to do with a lack of awareness of germ theory, with waste disposal -- both human and trash -- with pollution of water supplies, and with poor or limited public health measures against community-propogating infectious disease.

The highest mortality rates were among infants and children, which did a great deal to reduce total life expectency at birth, but had compartively far less an effect on adolescent and adult life expectency.


At birth, in 1850, white male life expectency was 38.3 (additional years of life), but 48.0 at age 10, and 40.1 at age 20.

In 2011, the comparable values are 76.3, 66.9, and 57.2.

The increase was initially rapid -- by 1929-31, rates had reached 59.12, 54.96, and 46.02, respectively.

While there's been some improvement in later years of life, it's been far less. If you survived to age 50 in 1850, you had a life expectency less than 10 years shorter than in 2011.

I already knew all of this, yet it doesn't really affect my opinion. It provides no evidence whatsoever that going out into nature and picking random naturally occurring foods is more healthy than our food system today.

It addresses the specific criticism you'd offered of eating older rather than newer cultivars: there's little evidence your specific criticism has merits.

Neither of us have addressed the underlying question of whether or not present cultivars and crops are themselves intrinsically healthier or less healthy than older ones. There are some theoretical bases for beliving either way. The arguments against many specifically processed foods are rather stronger.

Cellular, wifi, and bluetooth radiation poses zero risk. You can stand inside the path of a microwave communication dish and receive many orders of magnitude more radiation, and what it'll do is make you warm. That's it. Soviet soldiers used to do that in Siberia to keep themselves warm, and the only risk is the dish outputting too much power and cooking you instead.

The first day in radar class the instructor put a piece of steel wool in front of a small dish and it instantly melted white and dropped molten metal onto the floor.

It always made me nervous when the class goofballs turned the horns on other people so you could feel the microwaves.

Goofball 1: 'accidentally' radiates goofball 2 Goofball 2: What? What are you doing? Oh, I'll show you - just watch me increase the power on this baby...

It turns out your testicles and eyes are a bad place to receive microwaves.

I submit to anyone thinking of attempting this: you are probably going to get the power calculations wrong and cooking human cells is not fun at all.

Yeah, there's definitely dangerous ways to use microwave emitters. But my point is that your instructor thought that it was relatively safe to give them out in radar class. If they were x-ray emitters, on the other hand...

I mostly agree with you. There are edge cases with microwave towers that can lead to vision loss as your eyes heat up, but don't dump heat very well. Further, modern cellphones don't operate in the same bands as old radio-waves.

However, this stuff is very likely to be safe at cellphone usage levels.

>Cellular, wifi, and bluetooth radiation poses zero risk

Your confidence and shortsightedness are astounding.

Do you not see that ~40 years ago scientists were saying exactly the same thing, with exactly the same conviction about Asbestos, Lead, DDT, etc.

We don't know what we don't know, but at least we should admit it.

All of those compounds interact via chemical pathways, and our knowledge of biochemistry is undoubtedly incomplete. However, we know the effect that EM spectrum has on molecules. At the wavelengths in question, it is not possible to break bonds. Thus the only plausible effects would be a result of different vibrational modes or the indirect effect of localized heating. That makes any risk from those technologies very low.

Didn't those Soviet soldiers have a greater incidence of cancer later in life?

Some people wonder if one of our cells have a process to check the DNA runs an electric current through the molecule. There is a possibility that electromagnetic fields could distrupt this. This might obviously be bollocks but to say it's only heat output is also wrong...

True. And until then if you resist such things you're labelled as a crank, luddite, anti-science, etc. etc.

Completely agreed. I have been avoiding using anti-bacterial soaps for years, because something didn't add up. I am perfectly happy washing my hands with water before meal. Sometimes if I feel that my hands are really greasy/dirty I would use a natural ingredient based soap.

I have friends who would chide me for that. And now FDA bans sale of many anti-bacterial soaps: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/03/science/fda-bans-sale-of-m...

I just went to gym and someone who used the treadmill just before me doused the treadmill with 10-12 pieces of anti-bacterial wipes. The treadmill was wet when I started and was giving out fumes for almost 10 minutes while I was running. I am wondering what is worse for me: potentially germs from a reasonably healthy and hygienic person vs vast array of chemicals from this cheap anti-bacterial wipe.

"didn't add up" is a very different reason than the FDA reasoning. Indeed, it's not that anti bacterial is directly bad, but the second order effects of weakened immunity and "superbugs".

It's not being correct if you act suspicious about everything, then something has a negative effect you weren't aware of.

Sorry, didn't go in details of why it didn't add up for me. Agree with your point.

I was reading sometime back that our gut has good bacteria and initially when people didn't understand them there was a phase when some people were using antibiotics to kill their gut bacteria. Today, Most people agree on the benefits of good bacteria in our gut. Around 2010 I was reading an article about other good bacteria which also resides on our skin and then I decided to stop using anti-bacterial. I make sure that I was my hands thoroughly with water and use soap if required.

I never understood the point of wiping a treadmill. I only ever come in contact with it via 2 buttons (start/stop & increase speed).

If I followed that logic, I would have to wipe literally every object that my fingers touched in the gym. It would be akin to touching a door knob to the bathroom, and then wiping the entire door.

If the past is any indiction, we probably interact with several things on a daily basis that people 100 years from now wouldn't go near for anything short of crazy amounts of money, or with protective gear.

I think it's more likely that the behavioral patterns created by our constant engagement to mobile devices will carry more adverse effects to our mental and physical health than any mobile device radiation.

Fortunately we completely understand light; if you actually wonder about radio and want to bring it out of the realm of mystery potentially hiding dark magic, learn some basic quantum mechanics. As to what you ingest, learn how its made and understand the basic chemistry of the end product. No label gives insight into that, its just alot of research.

Sure, systematic disinformation campaigns are real, but in 2016 those don't eliminate the also very real and verifiable scientific knowledge.

I am sorry to inform you that we don't completely understand anything at all. We barely understand the world and universe around us. To say that we completely understand anything is a fallacy. Also with the scientific method, nothing is set in stone as fact. Anything can change our understand at anytime.

What behavior of light have we observed that the standard model doesn't accurately model? Where is the standard model inaccurate regarding light?

Here is one that I know of. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonoluminescence

I'm not saying we are inaccurate. But look at the history of physics, there will always come a time when a new theory trumps the old.

The most believable claim I've seen so far is that DNA might be very slightly conductive. Just barely enough to slightly increase replication errors.

I discount it without further evidence, but sounds plausible.

> Fortunately we completely understand light

So is it a wave, or a particle?

Neither: it's a packet of information that has properties of both.

I'm sure you've already heard that the subatomic world completely defies the expectations developed from having evolved to comprehend the macroscopic world. A large part of this, which is assumed but I believe needs to be explicitly mentioned in this context, is that mammal brains are shit garbage at intuiting probabilities.

Pilot waves get some backing again, so I wouldn't be surprised if another common theory changes again:



It's going to be smartphone usage itself, especially among children. We are going to look back and cringe at kids screen-holing (this is the term me and my girlfriend use to describe it, similar to k-holing, and in social settings, assholing) at will. A whole generation's minds unprotected from the screen! It's gross.

You can count flurochemicals as one. Ubiquitous in the water supply. No good way for water treatment nor the human body to remove them. Proven harm. Not much discussion today.

Also re toothpaste additive: Colgate Total still uses triclosan, which has been removed from pretty much every other product already and declared harmful by the FDA.

Your comment sounds like the FDA declared triclosan in Colgate Total to be harmful. That is not true: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm205999.ht...

"For some consumer products, there is evidence that triclosan provides a benefit. In 1997, FDA reviewed extensive effectiveness data on triclosan in Colgate Total toothpaste. The evidence showed that triclosan in that product was effective in preventing gingivitis."

The FDA proposed as early as 1978 to ban triclosan in consumer products.[1] The proposal was updated in 1994 but never finalized.

"At each stage of the proposed and tentative rulemaking process, the FDA has acknowledged that based on available scientific evidence, triclosan and triclocarban are not safe and effective, or there are insufficient data to evaluate safety and effectiveness."[2] (There are a number of studies you may find that show triclosan causing harm)



Thank you, I appreciate the links. So triclosan is:

  not (safe and effective) || insufficient data
From a cursory reading, I gather that it can/does cause harm during developmental years, making it unsuitable for children or pregnant/nursing mothers. However, I'm not sure how to evaluate the level of harm it introduces in something like toothpaste. Is it a similar level of harm as, say, aspirin or tea tree oil which are also known endocrine disruptors?

Note: I ask as I use Colgate Total myself and if harm >> benefits at the concentration levels found in toothpaste, then I have a vested interest in discontinuing its use. A doctor might advise a patient who has a genetic risk of heart disease to take small quantities of aspirin, just as a dentist might advise someone with a gingivitis risk to use triclosan-containing toothpaste -- in both cases, a determination of benefit:harm must be evaluated.

Wow now I'm wondering about tea tree oil which I use myself. Have any links you can share?


“The results of our laboratory studies confirm that pure lavender and tea tree oils can mimic the actions of estrogens and inhibit the effects of androgens,” said Korach. “This combinatorial activity makes them somewhat unique as endocrine disruptors.”

The referenced study: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa064725


"Most cases of male prepubertal gynecomastia are classified as idiopathic. We investigated possible causes of gynecomastia in three prepubertal boys who were otherwise healthy and had normal serum concentrations of endogenous steroids. In all three boys, gynecomastia coincided with the topical application of products that contained lavender and tea tree oils. Gynecomastia resolved in each patient shortly after the use of products containing these oils was discontinued. Furthermore, studies in human cell lines indicated that the two oils had estrogenic and antiandrogenic activities. We conclude that repeated topical exposure to lavender and tea tree oils probably caused prepubertal gynecomastia in these boys."

"Effective in preventing X" doesn't mean it doesn't cause harm Y.

Sure, but if that were the case one should provide evidence of these harms instead of making statements that contradict what the FDA's own site claims.

Or you could just avoid it on the basis that possible, minimal benefits that can be gotten through proper dental care aren't worth any potential risks at all.

There are so many things that we already have fairly strong evidence to worry about in our foods alone: Trans fats in all of our food (finally will be banned in a couple years), BPA all over our food containers, BPA-like mystery substances in all the BPA-free food containers, BPA gets absorbed in our skin when we touch receipts, constant listeria outbreaks, constant e coli found in factory farmed beef, homogenized milk damages the fat molecules, fracking chemicals in our drinking water, artificial sweeteners and their effects on our gut bacteria, preservatives and their effect on our gut bacteria, dyes like caramel coloring, glyphosate all over our fruits and vegetables.

That's just off the top of my head.

Not to mention the health issues caused by meat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rNY7xKyGCQ

The documentary "Fed Up" is about sugar and was the first time I was made aware there is no daily RDA % for sugar on nutrition labels. They just have the grams. They lobbied very hard to make it that way, because having "4700%" for a daily RDA wouldn't look very good!

The WHO recommends a 50g daily limit of sugar (the FDA's RDA for total carbs is 300g). A single 16oz Coke will put you over the limit. Even as someone who eats relatively clean, it's hard for me to stay under 50g over the course of an entire day.

True, but there is carb count and percentages on labels and it is not hard to figure out that something that is 4700% your daily limit for carbs is not something you should be eating.

The point isn't that it's hard to figure out. It's that it's harder than everything else that might cause health issues. They deliberately hid things that might look bad to line their own pockets.

How many people know how many carbs are recommended daily? How many know how much sodium is recommended daily? Which of those 2 can you look at a package and be reasonably informed about with no other information?

It's apparently a trick question, as the new labeling is at least partially addressing this.


Sugar still remains with no % DV listed, but at least the 'added sugars' has something now.

> it is not hard to figure out that something that is 4700% your daily limit for carbs is not something you should be eating.

You are probably getting more sugar from things you don't think should be full of sugar than you think. US tastes have skewed to sweet so far that sugar is stuffed in everything.

Even in the UK, when I stopped eating candy for a while, it turned out that I found a lot of "ready-to-eat" food overly sugary.

There is an RDA for carbohydrates, but:

1) It's way too high

2) It doesn't have a sublimit for sugar, so you can get 99% RDA of carbohydrates from sugar and the guidelines will tell you that's fine.

The only thing scientists widely agree upon about Suger is that it's unnecessary - very unusual for foodstuff. An RDA for sugar therefore doesn't make that much sense. The optimal sugar intake seems to be zero.

I imagine people also get insensitivized to such labels. It can be quite hard to comprehend that a big soda can contain more than a meals worth of energy, especially given how you can drink one with lunch and still be hungry at dinner.

My wife and I rewatch the obligatory Lustig lecture about once a month to re-anger ourselves at sugar. Nothing motivates like a bit of biochemistry mixed in with political intrigue.


My wife is having kidney issues which she believes is associated with her nearly daily intake of Advil, but I had no idea that fructose was also a major potential factor in kidney disease. She consumes about 24 oz of soda per day, which is about 60% fructose. So it looks like it was a double-whammy, Advil + fructose has destroyed her kidney function.

Your wife drinks 2 cans of soda and takes Advil every single day? And you let her do this?

Can I ask why you don't care about the well-being of your spouse?

I agree with you. I suspect people think you're being sexist? I am a woman and if my husband drank so much soda I would lay down the law.

I find it surprising and alarming in other people's relationships (in America, anyway -- I noticed this was very different when I lived abroad) how little each partner seems involved in the other's fitness and health. I've heard "oh, but they would get offended!" or something. Like yes, that's certainly true with friends and strangers. But you have a major stake in your spouse's health. It's you who will take care of them when they are sick, you who will pay their way if they cannot work.

I exercise with my husband, I eat well with my husband. We tell each other when we are getting extra pudge. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Of course you should care about your spouse. But you're ultimately not in control of them as you would be with a dog or a child. They control their own actions. You should totally discuss it with them! Even if it hurts their feelings sometimes.

But if I'm pondering getting dessert and my SO says, "Hmm, let me think on if I'll allow it" I'd think he was an arse.

And as far as sexism, if anyone said that they'd be an arse.

I am not in control of any person. I can only advise. "letting" someone do something is not something that I can stop. If I want to drink 20 cans of soda a day, my wife can only complain about it. If she tried to force me to stop doing what I want, I would leave her and continue to do what I want. No-one should be a slave master and control another person.

Also, 2 cans of soda is very little compared to most Americans.

She's a human being who feeds herself, not a dog.

Let me make sure I understand your logic:

If you had a girlfriend/boyfriend who drank gasoline and ate glass and small, powerful magnets every day, you would not lift a finger or speak a word attempting to stop them? Because they are "not a dog, feeding themselves"?

Might I suggest you have a critical lack of empathy if you lack the desire to help people?

> Let me make sure I understand your logic:

I'm pretty sure you have not only failed to understand your interlocutors logic, but failed to understand how your "And you let her do that?" reads, and would better (presuming the question you seem to think you asked judging from this followup is what you actually meant to ask) phrased, "And have you done anything to dissuade her from this course of action?"

What you actually asked treats the spouse as an infant or chattel to be controlled, and is the reason you got the negative response that you got.

i suspect the problem is your verbiage: "you let her do this". there is no "let" unless you're someone's master.

This lecture is amazing. I sort of put some of it in the background the first time I watched it, but now I want to delve deeper into it, so thanks for bringing this up. For people who haven't seen it, IMO, it's a real eye opener. I intend to verify a lot more of the science he explains myself as the industry--and let's face it, it's certainly not alone in this--is hardly trustworthy. Interesting how most--if not all--issues of science and technology boil down to trust.

The problem is Lustig is on the far end of the spectrum on anti-sugar. No added sugars? Sure, I buy that. Labelling fructose as a poison simply because it is directly metabolized in the liver is stretch. I'm not going to worry that my kids are eating berries because of their fructose content.

In nature, fructose is almost always found in conjuction with fiber. For example, fruits and vegetables. This combination of sugar and fiber tempers the impact on the body. In contrast, many processed foods have added sugar and reduced fiber content.

It also appears phenolic compounds in plants play a role in helping too.[1][2]

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23365108 [2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22935321

Clearly you didn't fully understand what lustig is saying. Its not the fact that fructose is metabolized in the liver that is problematic - its the effects of the process that are horrible and poisonouos.

Regardless, people coming away with the conclusion that fructose is bad for you is bananas ;) Also it is not clear that he is for/against eating lots of fruits and starchy veges of which humans thrive on. Lots of evidence for this too!

Fructose is bad for you. A couple pieces of fruit every day is generally fine, because fruits are packed with fiber, but if you e.g. drink 3 glasses of fruit juice per day, that’s terrible for you.

Even eating fruits isn’t the best though. Modern fruits are bred to be as large and sweet as possible.

Fructose is bad for you in isolation, but so is almost anything, but packaged in the fruit is a different story.

Do you think eating 5 oranges is any different than drinking the juice of those 5 oranges?

"Eating fruits is not best" is something that not only goes against science but common sense. Perhaps eating high amounts of fruits could be bad and but im not aware of a study confirming this (when the fruit is eaten whole).

Eating fruit comes with fiber that triggers your body to feel full. Most juice is missing most of its fiber, so you don't get that full feeling. So, yeah, having a cup of apple juice vs eating 5 apples is different: you are more likely to go for the next glass of apple juice than another 5 apples.

There were days in college when I drank 3 glasses of fruit juice with each meal, plus a couple cans of soda during the same day. For some reason, I was convinced that fruit juice was an entirely “natural” and “healthy” beverage. I know better now.

But I also still know people who eat large quantities of fruit continuously throughout the day, probably 8–10 servings daily. They’ve convinced themselves that as long as they avoid soda, candy, donuts, and ice cream, they can just eat as many fruits as they want with no effect. It’s true that the fruits are better than just guzzling Coca Cola. But it’s not a healthy balanced diet.

They’d be much better off replacing some of the oranges with carrots, some of the bananas with spinach, some of the mangos with broccoli.

Fruit isn’t inherently evil, but like everything, it’s best in moderation.

A large glass of OJ can contain 5 oranges and I can down it in 2 minutes and not feel full.

Eating 5 oranges would take me a while. I eat oranges a lot and usually after one it's taken a while so my body can register I'm full.

Fructose and sucrose are chemically identical (as in, the same) except that sucrose has an extra glucose attached, which breaks off in the stomach. Fructose tends to come in fruit, surrounded by fibre, which arguably reduces its cost to our bodies. Arguably, I say, because modern fruit is so extremely high in fructose, and because the sugar then hits the lower intestine where it messes up your bioflora, which affects your immune system and so on.

Would you be that sanguine about your kids tossing back a shot of vodka every day? If you take Lustig's analysis of fructose's effect on the liver at face value, you should treat them the same.

One drink of alcohol per day is generally regarded as quite healthy.

Alcohol is a carcinogen. Every drink you have increases your chances of getting cancer.


I think after the last few years of these kinds of things coming out, the takeaway is pretty simple: be fairly sceptical of 'advice' coming out of large governing bodies and instead just be sensible.

Don't eat too much food. Limit processed foods. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Eat a large variety of foods. Be active.

These rudimentary guidelines are clearly difficult for a lot of people to follow, but I think it's pretty easy to avoid negative diet effects by just doing what most people intuitively know as the right thing, even if we consume some of all types of food. It seems to me this is more about self-control and effort level than any scientific knowledge, at this point.

Yeah. But humans haven't had fresh fruit available all year round until recently. Similarly, there was never a wide range of foods available. I'm not sure we've got enough evidence to say that changing our diet to include lots of fruit and a wide variety of foods is safe. The encouragement to do this is coming from large governing bodies.

I'm off to eat nothing but turnips for a year and get scurvy :-)

> But humans haven't had fresh fruit available all year round until recently.

Certain groups like Europeans haven't, but humans have lived in lots of places that have year-round fresh fruit for quite a long time.

not to mention most fruits have been selectively bred/genetically engineered to have much higher sugar content than they did when we evolved to eat them seasonally

Indeed. And Food Unwrapped (UK TV programme) explained how the supermarkets don't need to say how much sugar is in those ultra-sweet Piccolo tomatoes because they vary and it's impractical to measure. In fact, it's worse than that because mostly they do display the sugar content in the Nutrition Information but it was found to always be a huge underestimate (like 3x lower than the real value).

Still, they're much nicer than the old tomatoes. At least I'll die happy. There are too many humans in the world anyhow.

>Yeah. But humans haven't had fresh fruit available all year round until recently.

Which humans? There are many tropical regions where fruit is available year round.

Good point. Does anyone know if there have been any studies on only eating in-season fruits and vegetables and how the body reacts?

The original solution was simply preservation. Drying, canning, pickling, etc.

> be fairly sceptical of 'advice' coming out of large governing bodies and instead just be sensible.

I agree with the latter part, but what's wrong with health institutions recommendations? they look pretty sensible to me. I'm much more skeptical of advice from 'health gurus' that seem to have increasing influence.

The massive gulf in healthiness between fruit and fruit juice is not intuitive at all.

The most important question by far is how to eat less, and the answer is very complex.

“be fairly sceptical of 'advice' coming out of large governing bodies and instead just be sensible”

That's terrible advice. "Common sense" is what happens when popularly accepted ideas escape proper scientific scrutiny, and that's exactly how we wound up here.

The problem with "just being sensible" is the terrible common sense my family has.

As someone who has a fairly limited and simple diet, what are some of the effects of not eating a large variety of foods?

I wonder if this has anything to do with my observation that it's ridiculously hard to find whole fat yogurt, especially whole fat Greek yogurt (!), in most grocery stores in the Boston area. Only specialist and high-end stores such as Whole Foods keep them in stock, whereas the proles get stuck with the sweetened, low-fat versions that contain up to 30 grams of sugar per serving.

Boston area? Oh, I may be about to make you very happy then, especially if you like real Greek yogurt. Sophia's Greek Pantry in Belmont makes the best yogurt I've had outside of Greece. You have to enjoy a good, tangy yogurt, and it will ruin you for all other yogurts. It's best (IMO) with a little bit of good honey drizzled on top.

I mean, this stuff is so thick that you can hardly shake it off the spoon, no sugar, and not too much fat; just a nice protein gel as the yogurt gods intended.

Other than the suggestions offered below: Talk to the store manager and request that they carry the foods you cannot find.

Depending on the grocery, some will hear you, some won't. But many (not all) stores are responsive.

Write (handwritten, postal mail) the CEO as well.

If they won't, at least you tried.

Counter-anecdata: I am able to find plain, whole milk yogurt pretty much at any grocery store I visit out in the Natick area (Natick + adjacent towns). Occasionally they are sold out but it's rare. I certainly don't think it is ridiculously hard.

Maybe my observation has another plausible explanation: everyone is buying the whole fat yogurt, so they're constantly sold out! If true, brings up another question though...why do Shaw's and Stop & Shop keep stocking items that don't sell?

Try making it yourself. I use a variety that ferments at room temperature (Caspian Sea): just add some left-over yogurt from the last batch to a fresh carton of milk, stir, and wait 12 hours.

Greek yogurt, make it 10% or more or get out! Really the low fat stuff is disgusting.

Trader Joe's has it.

The documents show that a trade group called the Sugar Research Foundation, known today as the Sugar Association, paid three Harvard scientists the equivalent of about $50,000 in today’s dollars to publish a 1967 review of sugar, fat and heart research. The studies used in the review were handpicked by the sugar group, and the article, which was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, minimized the link between sugar and heart health and cast aspersions on the role of saturated fat.

The Harvard scientists and the sugar executives with whom they collaborated are no longer alive.

Good thing there is no collusion between big industry and paid off scientists like Willie Soon to direct the narrative around things these days.</sarcasm>

So much wealth lost so 3 people can get $50k...

You forgot your sarcasm tag, most people will miss it ;)

Done, thanks.

Your post now fails wc3 validation.

This quote from the article is a great one:

"It was a very smart thing the sugar industry did because review papers, especially if you get them published in a very prominent journal, tend to shape the overall scientific discussion"

Has the acceptance policy for prominent journals improved that we're sure this is not happening now? I have suspicions that this is likely still happening more frequently then we might expect (i.e. pharmaceutical trials, etc.).

The basic issue is that reviews are just looking for glaring problems in the presentation. To really test an article one has to replicate the experiment from the ground up. And these days thats damn hard and expensive to do.

For the typical reviewer, replication is probably downright impossible.


The real issue is the reliance on authority rather than actual evaluation of the merits of the papers by everyone.

As indicated in the article, journals at the time often didn't require scientists to disclose their sources of funding, whereas they're now extremely strict about full financial disclosure. You can still get published in a prominent journal with a tricky source of funding, but it will be a matter of public record, and your results will (in theory) be more heavily scrutinized.

What if this backlash against Sugar is as extreme as the initial marketing? What if 50 years on, people come back to say, "the generation that endlessly promoted tasteless food and took away the sweetness". Is there a proper study on the effect of eating a sweet chocolate everytime you feel like it, to some kind of happiness? Everyone just sees to be treating this as a magical wand... while still irrationally giving in to a lot of other hyped up food.

Possible but unlikely. For one, you can get lots of tasty food by reintroducing more dietary fat. One of the main culprits for the over reliance on sugar for tastiness in the first place was the focus on reducing fat intake.

Aye, exactly my thinking. The French woman who lived the longest (122) has reportedly eaten a kilogram of chocolate every week. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeanne_Calment

Personally, I don't subscribe to any of these dietary fads (including 'cutting sugar'). Just eat less, and you'll do fine.

In my experience, tasteless food and sweet food are positively, not negatively correlated. The blandest food (lowfat yogurt) is often the sweetest while the tastiest food (ribeye steak) has no sweetness at all.=.

Follow the money and you will find the motive for what you're being told. There is a reason you're being told what you are and don't believe that it's for your own good. These industries and agencies don't care about what's good for you, they are self serving and only care about what's good for them. You're just the vessel supplying the cash they're after.

I wonder that sometimes about seat belt laws and stop smoking campaigns. Is it the insurance companies that lobbied for and promote these ideas, or is it some altruistic group that actually cares about my well being instead of profits?

There have been studies showing that one, roads that "Look hard" instead of the wide & straight & obstacle-free variety make drivers slow down and pay more attention. I forgot what the influence on accident rate is. Two, same without seat belts, people drive more slowly.

That said, I think overall seat belts are better to have, and we can't redo our highways in a manner that makes people drive more carefully. Instead we need to and do turn the wheel of progress faster and head towards AI drivers on even "cleaner" roads. The planet is way too crowded for idyllic driving pleasure, especially since humans gravitate towards population centers. We can't have the "free driving" of former days back in most places.

Seat belts and many other automotive safety improvements were driven by insurance companies. That's a fortunate case of incentives being aligned.

It's surprising that health insurers aren't more vocal about sugar. Diabetes and obesity are expensive for them.

Follow the money, I'll bet you dollars to donuts there's a reason for it... like executives having conflicting interests that result in either direct or indirect financial stakes in or hidden kickbacks from the sugar industry.

Companies of these sizes have departments that are aware of the entire picture and everything is scripted, choreographed and quite deliberate - except when it serves their purpose to play dumb: "Hey DOJ, <sheepishly> we're real sorry, but we weren't aware of this massive conflict of interest that we made billions off! Please, take this $50m (from our $958m profit) as our mea culpa and divide it up between to 284 million people it affected as our way of saying sorry, we fucked up."

I'm sad now.

Seat belt laws are largely thanks to Ralph Nader: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Nader#Unsafe_at_Any_Spee...

Follow the money and you will find the motive for what you're being told.

That is definitely true, but way beyond the scope of almost everyone that is targeted by the things that should be questioned.

> way beyond the scope of almost everyone that is targeted by the things that should be questioned

and this is both why the lobbyists are successful and shouldn't be trusted

From the article I can't tell if the sugar industry hid or falsified data.

There are at least two ways you can look at this. Imagine if the sugar industry thinks they are getting a bad rap about heart disease, and want to get researchers to study the link and show that they aren't to blame. Conversely, maybe they knew there was a link and were paying researchers to downplay it (or worse).

I feel like this article just points out that the sugar industry funded research, but it never points to actual misinformation that resulted from it -- or did I miss it?

Of course this happened. Duh. It's still happening today. I'm not saying where because I don't know where. But if you do the simple math about how many people are working as scientists, it's not hard to figure out that there are companies who could benefit from positive scientific findings--no matter how wrong--and realize that some of what we're reading in original research was paid for and not really true.

I wish people would keep that in mind when they get all worshippy about science being self-correcting and a great system.

It's not a particularly great system if you are looking, for example, for certainty. If you want absolute certainty, a good dose of syllogist reasoning will serve you better than any inductive method.

The problem is that syllogistic methods break down very quickly in real world applications because you have to find ways of classifying all the objects that may or may not fall into your category of "all", "some", or "none".

The scientific method is not a bad method, but it's not great. And it's weak in ways like this. It is not even close to the best method. But it's the only one we've found that's generally applicable to the human endeavor.

That's all it is. Better at being more general. I wish we'd get over ourselves and be honest about that.

It doesn't help when most of the information you hear regarding nutrition has been to underwrite the profits of multi-billion dollar corporations that are only out for one thing: Your money... and they don't care what means they have to use to get it. For instance buying exclusive access to resources that you had free access to for pennies on the dollar so that you don't have access to it any more and then selling it to you for gross profits... and I don't mean that in a taxation sense of the word gross. I mean that it's quite literally disgusting.

I'm looking at you Nestle, but realistically, you're just one example of the systemic corruption and propaganda that is pervasive across the entire nutrition market.

The less political the subject, the better the science about it. That's why I love maths. Nobody bribes a set of mathematicians to incorrectly claim the Collatz Conjecture has been proven.

This is the definition of chutzpah: "The [sugar] association also questioned the motives behind the new paper.

“Most concerning is the growing use of headline-baiting articles to trump quality scientific research,” the organization said. “We’re disappointed to see a journal of JAMA’s stature being drawn into this trend.”

Yes, the dubious ethics and research quality at issue here are clearly JAMA's, and not the lobbyists' who, by their own admission, paid scientists to publish a journal article to exonerate their own industry.

I thought the book "Why We Get Fat" by Gary Taubes was a pretty interesting read in the sugar vs fat debate.


The bitter truth about sugar: https://youtu.be/dBnniua6-oM

CTRL+F to see if anyone posted it, and sad to see it so far down. This is the #1 video to show anyone that thinks sugar is fine. It's literally, at a biological level in high doses, poison to our bodies. Watch the vid. It will open your eyes. Too bad the food industry fabricated their lies decades before we had the internet to share information like this. The damage is done and will take decades to undo.

The biggest problem with our health, however, is still Obesity. Just as the fat were mislead by being made to believe that "low fat == healthy" these people will be similarly think "low carb == healthy" and proceed to get obese on low-carb foods.

Face it, if you're a healthy weight, by body-fat percentage, you don't have to worry about fructose vs glucose or fat vs carbs.

Americans need to put their forks down. We need to start holding the overweight and the fat accountable for their expensive lifestyle choices.

> We need to start holding the overweight and the fat accountable for their expensive lifestyle choices.

Ha, that's a good one. The answer you'll get is that nobody is responsible for their expensive lifestyle choices, and everyone is a victim of the system. People are fat? Not their fault; they live in food and exercise deserts and/or are trapped in the poverty cycle where they can only afford garbage calories. What, they are middle class? Genetic, then. Their parents are fat and it takes an overwhelming amount of effort to break the cycle.

The only solution is to change the system, not people. Which, unfortunately, can have adverse effects on healthy weighted people that like the current system.

Weight should probably be taken into account for insurance premiums. But you shouldn't single them out as the only unhealthy people in the world.

Drinkers, drug users, smokers have huge impacts. People who engage in anal sex transmit a hugely disproportionate amount of STDs.

Non-obese people who eat unhealthy are also a problem.

"They cost us money" is often just an excuse to discriminate or control other people's lives.

It's cheaper to eat unhealthy than healthy foods in America. Only the rich or upper middle class can afford healthy food.

> We need to start holding the overweight and the fat accountable for their expensive lifestyle choices.

Accountable to whom?

Here's a suggestion: Mind your own business. Don't concern yourself with things that don't concern you.

I recently am finding it really hard to find non low-fat yogurt. Not fun.

On the other hand, I think the low carb/keto people have taken the pendulum too far in the other direction. A lot of research seems to suggest that a plant based diet heavy on whole fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts is healthier than one consisting of animal fats and protein. It makes sense when you look at the diets of the healthiest people on Earth. Just because excess processed sugar is bad for you doe not mean all carbs are unhealthy.

Low carb and keto is consistent with a vergatable, plant and especially nut diet.

> Whole fruits

What are whole fruits and why do you feel fruits of any kind are healthy? The levels of sugars in them are unnatural - neither oranges nor apples have historically been as sweet as they are now.

There's a world of difference between something fresh off a plant and something ... not fresh out of a (chemical processing) plant, as most processed foods are.

Yes, ag breeding has created foods which are far removed from their ancestors. But get this: effectively none of the foods eaten by humans today existed in anything resembling their current form as little as 10,000 years ago.

Wheat ... was a wild grass occurring in the Mesopotamian valley. Corn was ... teosinte, a small, hard-kerneled Central American plant. Rice was a wild marsh grass found in the Yangtse river valley. Cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, horses (probably initially hunted for meat, only later exploited for draught), were bred from ancestors only distantly similar to today's major breeds. Apples were wild fruit tree from Turkey which didn't breed true. Etc., etc.

There's an online "tree of life" showing the evolutionary history of plants and animals, and what was shocking to me was the recency of most of humans' major ag and animal foods -- they're literally younger than our species, by far.

That's not to take away entirely from your point. But humans have been relying for much the past few thousand years, and certainly centuries, on foods far removed from their origins.

Well I don't agree that modern fruit is "unnaturally" sweet. If anything, the fruits you get in supermarkets today are watery and bland compared to locally grown stuff. Compare a strawberry bought at a farmer's market to one you buy at a grocery store, for instance.

Obviously it's possible to overdo anything, but fruit gives you a whole assortment of fiber and nutrients that you don't get from processed sugar. In moderation it's extremely healthy.

>What are whole fruits and why do you feel fruits of any kind are healthy? The levels of sugars in them are unnatural.

I am slightly skeptical. Don't get me wrong, I'm 100% on the no added sugar train. But I regularly go and pick wild blackberries from a thicket that has been there for about 100 years and they are like pure sugar. Easily sweeter than any storebought berry.

Whole fruits are pieces of fruit from a tree, that you bit into, as opposed to fruits that have been chemically mechanically/processed to extract some molecules (sugar) and discard others (especially the pulp/fiber)

Modern meat is also unnnatural, engineered by the agriculture industry.

> Modern meat is also unnnatural, engineered by the agriculture industry.

Aren't you conflating "natural" with safe/nutritious/good for you? Or am I misreading your comment. (It seems to strongly indicate you believe that "unnatural" things are bad for you.)

> Modern meat is also unnnatural, engineered by the agriculture industry.

Doesn't matter, because we digest and absorb plant matter only extremely inefficiently compared to all true herbivores and animal omnivores --- no matter how much more palatable we engineered/bred those plants to be; and we digest meat nearly as efficiently as any of the truest carnivores in the wild --- again, no matter how far removed by now our agricultural breeds are from their original ancestor stoneage species.

A diet of animal parts (i.e. ALL of the animal, not just muscle) and leafy, non-starchy plants, is perfectly keto-compliant. Who says that a low-carb diet excludes plants?

I'm pretty sure that's why low carb/keto diets work: they force you to avoid most processed junk food. However I don't think it has to do with carbs. I'm pretty sure you could get the same results eating potatoes, corn, beans, rice, etc.

4 years ago I did a strict no-carb diet for about a year and lost 40 lbs. Then I started eating only starches I had cooked myself - potatoes, rice, beans, some pasta, etc. I gained it all back. I'm doing it again now and have lost 35 of my original 40, but I have no intention of re-introducing starches into my diet afterwards. Aside from the weight control benefits, keeping starches out of my diet makes me feel so much healthier, it's insane. I eat lots of green vegetables, nuts, meat, eggs and a small amount of full-fat dairy. Cured or salted meat doesn't seem to be any worse than fresh meat, but most of what I eat is just plain fresh grilled steak or chicken.

I'm pretty sure you can't. Potatoes, corn, and rice don't make you feel full and satisfied for long, and the surprisingly high rates of diabetes and obesity in low-income agricultural communities suggests that their high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets aren't exactly the healthiest.

This makes me remember the late Dr. Atkins of the "Atkins Diet" who was pretty much the laughing stock of dietitians then and now.

Yet people that tried the diet have found life-long positive health impacts. I'm one of these people.

I would also like to put some blame on so-called dietitians, who up until very, very recently would have warned you against a low carb diet.

Every dietician I talk to is so absolutely sure about what they recommend and believe.

False dichotomy. Both sugar and saturated fats are bad. Processed foods in particular.

Atkins died fat and with a heart problem. An extremist but not a scientist.

There seems to be increasing evidence that high blood sugar over a long period of time is very bad for you. That insulin response keeps this under control mostly... but that it was probably never meant to be active all day, every day. So eating lots of sugar (and carbs in general) at every meal is probably long term, not the best thing you can do.

The sugar industry was also the main driver of the African slave trade. When you have strong selection bias against morally principled people joining an industry (as there must have been in, say, 1850) it's hard for an industry to ever recover a moral compass.

Maybe you have a lot of information that I don't (I'm hardly an expert here), but describing it as the main driver seems like a stretch. In the Caribbean, I can see your statement being true. But in the US, as I understand it, it was more general agriculture / cotton. And so far as I know, a huge proportion of slaves were sold into the Middle East, and I assume they didn't have a huge sugar trade there.

This teaches among many lessons, one in particular: We can't take anything for granted. A lot of people use research studies in arguments as it was the absolute truth. The papers can be wrong, or even true but for a narrower sample, or even worst, faked.

The lecture "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" by Robert H. Lustig explains some details about the harmful effects of sugar:


I am honestly mostly scared by how cheaply those scientists were brought. I mean 50 grand?

Not even, the number is ~7,000, but the article is using inflation adjusted dollars to make the number sound bigger.

It is also unclear whether they got that amount each, or in total.

You realize the absolute number is virtually meaningless? Inflation adjusted is the best number, with the caveat that your inflation index needs to be good.

Not sure how it is better for the article to never include the actual, factual, payment amount. If you have an agenda to minimize the number you only print the original, if you have an agenda to maximize, you only print the inflation adjusted.

It would be better for the article to include both. Because what happens is people start throwing around the 50k number without the "inflation adjusted" like in the parent comment.

No, the inflation adjusted value allows a person reading it to compare it to the buying power of the time they live in to understand how much money it actually was. Having a monetary figure expressed in a time other than as an analog to the present reduces the usefulness of the figure.

I'll take facts over context, but would be happy with both. I'm fully capable of figuring out the inflation adjusted number, but now we don't actually know what they were paid.

I also guarantee you they we will see secondary reporting of this article, and the 50k number will be in it, and the inflation adjusted/today's dollars piece will get lost.

If you can convert inflation adjusted to today's money, why can't you do it backwards?

To your second point, you're probably right. Journalism is in a sad state these days.

It's not that you can't work in reverse and get an estimate, its just that you can't know if it is accurate. What if the journalist made a mistake in their inflation calculation?

They are clearly rounding to the inflation adjusted number, and we don't know what year they received payment.

That's a good point. Trusting your math of a selection of people that are typically bad at math, and that have a bad track record of accuracy in general, is probably not a good idea.

This is the kind of thing I think of when people here on HN try to convince me that glyphosate is safe. When so much money is at stake, corporations naturally try to influence the science, and unfortunately, there are plenty of poorly-paid and/or dubiously-ethical scientists in the world who will take their money.

Under such circumstances I think we have to be massively skeptical of any result that aligns with the business interests in question. When public health is at stake, the burden of proof should fall very heavily on those claiming their product is safe.

Honey is a strange alternative to sugar. For the past 2 decades, I have used honey as the sole sweetener, though the rest of the family continues to patronize sugar :( The trouble with honey is that it's seriously pricey, and the community is a something of a cult - you have to know a lot of the terminology, otherwise you'll walk out with sugar-water. I take an empty 1 gallon jar to the honey store in Sac, and pay $100 to fill her up. I have experimented a lot with the cocktail over the years. Generally, avoid anything"American" ie. sweet light colored honey. Go for the raw unfiltered darkest thickest broth you can find. They have gigantic jars of various colors, so I sample from the darkest ones. Then add a few grams of propolis and a few scoops of nectar and a few combs. Top it off with manuka and part with $100. Lasts 3 months. It tastes weird and too thick and gooey, but it's an amazing product. All the debris floating around on it is supposedly packed with enzymes etc.

There isn't a significant health benefit to using honey over refined sugars. Sugar is sugar.

Sugar is sugar, but honey is interesting in the flavors and aromas it can provide outside of your standard white sugar.

Just to add if anyone is interested in honey as a sweetener - What dxbydt was saying with honey being ~$8/lb is a good price for identifiable flower honey. Wholesale is roughly $4-5/lb, depending on varietal.

There's a significant range in flavors and aromas depending on what type of flower produced the bulk of the honey. Don't need to avoid anything on colors, it's primarily based on what type of flower is used to produce the honey. Try a sampler, most apiaries/honey specialty shops will sell you a small container of each varietal they have. Avoid heat treated honeys, heating the honey to have it pass through a filter will get rid of a lot of the aroma. You'll see a lot of "raw, unfiltered" at specialty shops.

If you're interested, you can ferment meads with a minimum of ~1.5 pounds per gallon, depending on how strong you want the resulting beverage.

1 gallon of honey lasts you three months? I have a 12 oz jar that has lasted me almost a year, and I use honey closely to exclusively.

1 gallon honey over 3 months is about 11 teaspoons of sugar equivalent.

It's about 184 calories of honey/day.

Let's not forget how WW2 propaganda shifted blame to sugar. Where the fictional notion of a "sugar high" was invented to connote an illicit character that will get your children that much closer to the reefer madness. All to manipulate the public into conserving sugar needed for the war effort.

A sugar high is not fictional. I do in fact get a sugar high. Just ask my co-workers. I sometimes use a threat of eating a candy bar, which will make me hyper before I crash.

This was a great documentary on the subject, I saw it on Netflix I don't know if it's there anymore though:



What about the fat industry? Didn't they have enough money to pay for scientists to shift the blame to sugar?

Is there a "fat industry"? Sugar production is very industrialized, just a few companies with a strong lobby.

Fat is much more diverse. Sure, there are a few giant soybean oil producers, but it's not their only product, and individual companies don't dominate their market.

There are definitely meat and dairy industries.

But they are happy to remove the fat and sell you fat-free and/or low-fat versions of their products - just see American supermarket shelves (not nearly as much of that here in German, although even here the low-fat versions are more numerous and more prominently placed). This is hard with sugar-free sugar... :)

Which is why the average American store shelf is full of painfully lean pork and nonfat Greek yogurt (Seriously, WTF?).

Fat based foods are pricier vs sugar based. Given limited household budget for food, margins tend to be lower on Fat based products.

And you can eat a lot more sugar based food vs fat based food on per food weight basis.

I believe there isn't a fat industry, can you imagine manufacturing fat? Paid for by the Fat for America Industry.

What? Where do you think soybean, corn, Canola/rapeseed, peanut, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower, olive, coconut, and palm oils come from?

Animal fats are rather expensive in comparison, but I can also buy pork lard, beef suet, and butter rather easily.

The problem there might just be fragmentation. Growers of cane and beets (and sorghum, too, I guess) have basically just one major homogenized end product: refined sucrose. There are a few related products, like molasses, brown sugar, and confectioners' sugar, and the stuff like bagasse, that tends not to be seen by consumers, but refined sucrose is the moneymaker. Corn growers can also side with the sugar lobby thanks to corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup.

There's definitely an industry ($800M/year?), but it isn't one that has a great common marketing association around, to collect dues and pitch catchy slogans that play well on television and radio.

The soy and Canola/rapeseed growers might come together to promote B20 biodiesel, though, while simultaneously bashing palm oil plantations. I can't currently imagine anyone trying to convince me to eat more fats and oils in my diet, at the expense of sugars. Low-carb is still largely seen as an irresponsible, unhealthy, fad diet in the mainstream.

They're not as powerful as the sugar lobby, but they did manage to get out recommendations that unfairly demonized saturated fats and promoted unsaturated fats.

I guess the closest is the National Association of Margarine Manufacturers (http://www.iheartbutterytaste.com/).

There actually are fat factories I know of one in New Jersie, whether it's an industry I don't know.

The dairy industry is backing all these sugar bad, and implicit or explicit fat good. In particular discrediting valid research warning on saturated fats. Against the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, and even NHS.

Guess they were busy destroying the reputation of lard.

Probably not without the corn subsidies that make sugar so cheap.

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