dietary research, sugar, and the most interesting man in the world

NEW STUDY SHOWS THAT SUGAR IS…. 
GOOD FOR YOU?

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“Big Tobacco sowed doubt that cigarettes were harmful, confused the public, persistently denied their effects, bought the loyalty of scientists and gave ammunition to political allies.  As late as 1994, chief executives of every major tobacco firm swore under oath before US Congress that they did not believe that nicotine was addictive or that smoking caused lung cancer.  the science demonstrating sugar’s role in diet-related disease is incontrovertible, but science alone cannot curb the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemics. Opposition from vested interests that profit from diminishing society’s health must be overcome.”   From this month’s issue of the Journal of Insulin Resistance (The Science Against Sugar Alone is Insufficient in Tackling the Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Crises – We Must Also Overcome Opposition from Vested Interests)
The quote above comes from renowned medical doctor, researcher, and professor, DR. ROBERT LUSTIG — a vocal opponent of the sugar industry and the lies they’ve been propagating for over half a century.  While Lustig is an amazing person whom I’ve been following for years (his work on HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP is second to none), he is not the most interesting man in the world.  That title belongs to…….

For some reason beer companies tend to have great (“BRILLIANT“) commercials, with none funnier (and more irrelevant to the product they are selling) than Dos Equis’ most-interesting-man-in-the-world campaign (HERE).  It seems, however, that there just may be a real life most-interesting-man-in-the-world.  According to his Curriculum Vitae, during the 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s, this MIMW was running a company that built houses in NY, playing professional polo in the US, France, Australia and Argentina, running a lifestyle consulting company, running a company that developed performance-enhancing devices for horses, and finally, working as an editorial and research assistant at Wiley & Sons Publishers (they publish scientific journals and books).  After going back to school a decade and a half ago and earning his Ph.D in Exercise Science from the University of South Carolina, he now works as a researcher in UAB’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center.  On top of all this his CV lists his interests as competitive martial artist, natural bodybuilding, yoga, private pilot, classical figurative sculptor and painter.  His name is Edward Archer and he is the most interesting man in the world.

Truth is, I’m rather amazed at what Dr. Archer has accomplished at a time in life when most people are starting to think about winding things down, packing it in, playing out the string, retiring, and living the rest of their lives on a golf course or in a bass boat.   Best guess is that I would thoroughly enjoy hanging out with Archer for a couple hours and picking his brain on some things.  Today however, I want to discuss a study he authored that was published in this month’s issue of Progress in Cardiovascular Disease called In Defense of Sugar: A Critique of Diet-Centrism.  The study’s abstract states….

Sugars are foundational to biological life and played essential roles in human evolution and dietary patterns for most of recorded history. The simple sugar glucose is so central to human health that it is one of the World Health Organization’s Essential Medicines. Given these facts, it defies both logic and a large body of scientific evidence to claim that sugars and other nutrients that played fundamental roles in the substantial improvements in life- and health-spans over the past century are now suddenly responsible for increments in the prevalence of obesity and chronic non-communicable diseases.

Interestingly enough, while people certainly need fats and proteins to survive, your body can make glucose (BLOOD SUGAR) out of either.  In other words, you can not only live by thrive without eating sugar (or for that matter, carbs in general) —- it’s called a KETOGENIC DIET and has been used to treat people with neurological problems for the better part of the past century.  And referring to sugar “medicine” is going way outside the scope of this study — a study on “dietary” sugar.  Touting a lack of physical activity as the primary cause of the OBESITY EPIDEMIC, Archer goes on to say…

Thus, the purpose of this review is to provide a rigorous, evidence-based challenge to ‘diet-centrism‘ and the disease-mongering of dietary sugar. The term ‘diet-centrism‘ describes the naïve tendency of both researchers and the public to attribute a wide-range of negative health outcomes exclusively to dietary factors while neglecting the essential and well-established role of individual differences in nutrient-metabolism.  My position is that dietary sugars are not responsible for obesity or metabolic diseases and that the consumption of simple sugars and sugar-polymers (e.g., starches) up to 75% of total daily caloric intake is innocuous in healthy individuals.

I was sent a copy of this study by a friend who is not only a research guru, but one of the nation’s premiere FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE specialists (he’s a renowned professor at one of the larges universities in the nation, as well as an MD with a world-wide practice specializing in treating people with problems that no one else can figure out).  Considering that just a few days ago we discussed what separates good research from bad research (HERE); and considering I’ve shown you over and over again what excess sugar does to your system, Dr. Archer’s position is untenable.  Why would I say that?

Nobel Prize winner, Otto Warburg, was talking about the SUGAR / CANCER link nearly a century ago, and Alzheimer’s is now being referred to within a growing segment of the scientific community as TYPE III DIABETES.  And on top of that we’re only just beginning to scratch the surface of the fact that sugar continues to be shown to arguably be THE MOST ADDICTIVE DRUG on the planet.  So, when someone comes along saying that as long as we’re ‘healthy,’ 3/4 of our diet could be made up of sugar without adversely affecting us, I have to take exception.

Today, however, I’m not really interested in the time and effort it would take to debate Archer’s study point by point by point — you can find that info all over my site.  What I am interested in is showing you why at the very least you need to be wary of his message by showing you who he hangs out with (remember when your parents told you that you’ll be known by your friends?).  At the very least this makes his research suspect (especially true when you consider “Big Sugar’s” 50 year track record of fraudulent research, which, thanks to sunshine laws, is only recently coming to light — HERE, HERE or HERE).  According to Archer’s CV, he has spoken at conferences sponsored by…….

THE WORLD SUGAR RESEARCH ORGANIZATION 
The WSRO says on their website that, “Through our Science Program we provide evidence-based information on the nutrition and health science around sugar, to our members, stakeholders and the wider community….   WSRO acts as a knowledge hub for the science of sugar.  We do this by monitoring the global scientific evidence, identifying where scientific consensus is and where the gaps in scientific knowledge are. The WSRO provides a balanced and evidence based view of the current scientific landscape.”  In other words, the WRSO holds themselves up as the epitome of EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE —- a term that far too often is more like 1984’s Ministry of Truth than the supposed pinnacle of fact and principle it is usually portrayed as. 

If you want to see a few of the organizations who actively support and fund the WSRO, HERE is a partial list.  That bastion of truth and knowledge (Wikipedia) says of the WSRO (who until March of 1978 was known as the International Sugar Research Foundation or ISRF), “In 1996 and 1997 it ran a campaign to manipulate science and to fix the results of WHO/FAO expert reports. This was done in conjunction with the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI). With members from literally hundreds of food industry transnational corporations, this is a key food industry lobby group. It was set up by and is funded by Coca Cola amongst others and pursues their interests on a global stage.”  Although you could read for hours about the ways the deep-pocketed WSRO has tried to steer the science on dietary sugar (frequently very effectively); let’s at least mention another of the organizations Archer is affiliated with — one that was mentioned in the quote above; the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI)…..

THE INTERNATIONAL LIFE SCIENCES INSTITUTE
Because I covered the ILSI in my “SUPER POST” on diet soda (four plus decades of research have shown that people gain more weight — in many cases double the weight — with diet soda than regular soda), I am not going to spend much time on it today, other than to say that the only people saying good things about them are themselves or groups funded by them / through them.

THE ACADEMY OF NUTRITION AND DIETETICS, FOOD & NUTRITION CONFERENCE & EXPO
With a name like this, surely “The Academy” is a conflict-free organization that is truly interested in and dedicated to promoting healthy living through healthy eating?  Writing for Time back in 2016 (Soda and Snack Food Companies Welcomed at Nutrition Conference), Alexandra Sifferlin called the Academy, “the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, with more than 100,000 nutrition practitioners,” going on to say that “not everyone appreciates the attendee list. Every year, companies that sell junk food attend the event, and as of Friday, the Expo’s floor plan shows companies like PepsiCo and Nestle (which makes candy like KitKat and Butterfinger) have booths near the main entrance. Other trade organizations like the American Beverage Association, the National Confectioners Association and the Sugar Association will also be on the expo floor.”  So; the biggest professional organization for dietitians — the people who create GUIDELINES and DIET PLANS for our schools, hospitals, nursing homes, etc, etc, etc — is playing a huge part in “FOOD POLITICS“.

Listen to what Sheila Kaplan wrote for the medical daily, STAT, about the same expo (Nutritionists Built Close Ties with the Food Industry. Now They’re Seeking Some Distance).   After talking about industry providing coloring books for little kids to teach them that sugar is “all natural” and can be sprinkled on fruits and vegetables, she revealed the dirty little secret — that the food research industry is essentially in the back pocket of “Big Food” (CHERRY-PICKED)…..

“The event is also made possible by vast sums of money from companies and trade groups, in some cases reinforcing the perception that ‘Big Food’ brands are corrupting the guidance provided to millions of Americans every year.  Among the academy’s missteps: the paid endorsement of Kraft singles; the acceptance of soda company money to underwrite meetings; and a high-profile role as safe haven for corporate-sponsored food research.  Balancing the need to polish the group’s image with an equally strong need for money is not easy.  ‘There’s been so much criticism of the relationship between industry and the societies,’ said Katherine Tucker, a nutrition professor at University of Massachusetts, Lowell, who also taught for many years at Tufts University. ‘I think everybody is really taking a careful look at it and trying to reduce the appearance of conflict of interest.’ Tucker is editor in chief of the journal Advances in Nutrition, which is published by the academy’s academic counterpart, the American Society for Nutrition. She said the reality is that nutrition research relies on the food industry’s payments — more so than scientists in other fields rely on private companies.  ‘The people who are interested in funding us are the food companies,’ said Tucker, who has accepted money from Kraft and other agribusinesses. ‘We have to be careful not to let them lead where the research is going. Industry funding is helpful, but it’s also important for our society to be seen as independent scientists.'”

Here’s where these doctors are missing the mark.  Conflict of interest (COI) does not necessarily mean that there is something dirty, underhanded, and / or unethical going on, but the mere appearance that it could be.  But they want to have their cake and eat it to (pun intended).  Research has shown that studies funded by the food industry (“food” is used loosely here) are anywhere from 500% to almost 800% more likely to provide findings beneficial to themselves.  In other words, the criticism that these folks and their journals have gotten is totally and 100% warranted.  And it’s not like any of this criticism is new.  Three years prior to this, Michelle Simon wrote a 51 page paper called And Now a Word From Our Sponsors: Are America’s Nutrition Professionals in the Pocket of Big Food?  Again, there are literally hundreds of articles on this topic that can easily be accessed by searching the internet.

THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION (INDUSTRY NUTRITION ADVISORY PANEL)
I get it; some of you feel I’ve crossed the line and am entering territory that could only be described as scientifically sacrilegious.  After all, the AHA is one of those trusted organizations that’s so far above reproach that many would consider its leaders to be more pure than Dove soap (99.44%).  Right?  Wrong.  I’ve not only written about their financial conflicts within the context of STATIN DRUGS (GUIDELINES and more GUIDELINES), a quick search of the world wide web reveals just how deeply these conflicts run.  

Unite Here, with over a quarter million members, published a paper three years ago this summer asking Is the American Heart Association for Sale?  Then there was Dr. Barbara Roberts’ 2014 piece for the Daily Beast called The Heart Association’s Junk Science Diet, discussing the AHA’s ongoing “WAR” against RED MEAT and SATURATED FAT — despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. 

“A recent Cambridge University analysis of 76 studies involving more than 650,000 people concluded, ‘The current evidence does not clearly support guidelines that recommend… low consumption of total saturated fats.’  Yet the American Heart Association (AHA), in its most recent dietary guidelines, held fast to the idea that we must all eat low-fat diets for optimal heart health. It’s a stance that—at the very best—is controversial, and at worst is dead wrong. As a practicing cardiologist for more than three decades, I agree with the latter—it’s dead wrong.  Why does the AHA cling to recommendations that fly in the face of scientific evidence?  What I discovered was both eye-opening and disturbing. The AHA not only ignored all the other risk factors for heart disease, but it appointed someone with ties to Big Food and bizarre scientific beliefs to lead the guideline-writing panel—just the type of thing that undermines the public’s confidence in the medical community.”

There was also the appropriately-named article for Medium (Listening to The American Heart Association About As Unhealthy as Listening to Tobacco Ads in the 50’s), discussing the AHA’s recent proclamation that coconut oil is as unhealthy as beef fat —- something I wrote about HERE (BTW, being asked whether coconut oil is as unhealthy as beef fat is similar to being asked whether you still beat your wife).  Again, it’s easy to find articles touting the numerous financial conflicts within the AHA’s leadership, not to mention their researchers (HERE).

INTERNATIONAL FORUM PONTE AL 100 ENERGY BALANCE
This was a conference held in Cancun (Archer was the keynote speaker) that was largely about promoting sedentary lifestyle as the chief reason for the industrialized world’s burgeoning waistlines and health woes.   How do I know this? Two reasons; firstly it was chiefly funded by COCA COLA — nuff said.  Secondly; almost anytime you see the term “ENERGY BALANCE,” in this context, it’s secret code used by the groups promoting this point of view (I have seen it promoted in the past by both the ILSI and WRSO) indicating that lack of exercise is a far bigger health risk than what you eat.

What’s the point of this post?  You need to realize that there is an entire industry (research and acedemia) built around “proving” the benefits of sugar, just like there has always been the same for Big Tobacco and BIG PHARMA.  In fact, when you start following the money, there’s no end to the “interesting” tid bits you might dig up (HERE is a recent example with Flu Shots).  It’s why you had better be careful who you listen to (self included) and do your own research.  Part of the beauty of my site is that I have tried to wade through the junk science and sales pitches in order to bring you simple and inexpensive ideas you can use to dramatically affect your health; even if you are struggling with chronic pain or chronic conditions (HERE is an example).  How can you trust my site? 

Truthfully, you can’t other than to realize that I have nothing up my sleeves and am not trying to sell you anything.  The one thing you can do for me is to make sure to get our site in front of those who need it most (your friends and loved ones).  The best and easiest way to accomplish this?  By liking, sharing, or following on FACEBOOK, of course!

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