Republished in a forum, this article originally came from the British newspaper The Times, and its title is “Sugar watchdog works for Coca-Cola.” In the past, the U.K. government had assigned scientists to determine how much of a person’s total energy consumption should consist of added sugars. They had determined an upper limit of 11%, but some experts wanted that number reduced.
The two main sides in England are the World Sugar Research Organisation, which does not want the recommended maximum amount of sugar to be reduced, and Action on Sugar, a group that compares the stuff to tobacco in terms of hazardous health implications. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition is supposed to evaluate both their claims and figure out a scientifically valid recommendation.
In a move that has been compared to putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank, Professor Ian Macdonald, one of Nottingham University’s authorities on metabolic physiology, was made chairperson of the government panel. Then a TV news show investigated the financial interests of the prominent nutrition expert and revealed that Macdonald was collecting £6,100 (about $10,000) a year from Coca-Cola and an even larger amount from one of the world’s biggest food companies, Mars.
To sell corporations advice about exercise, diet, and obesity while supposedly deciding whether the Queen’s subjects should eat fewer sweets could be described as “playing both ends against the middle” or other old-fashioned phrases, but nowadays we call it a conflict of interest.
Apparently it was also a case of “history repeats itself,” because the same thing had already happened back in 2009. Macdonald’s employment by these corporations had been challenged before, and he had already resigned from both of them once. That time, he waited till the heat died down and got back onto both payrolls again. Oh, and he’s paid by Unilever too — the largest manufacturer of ice cream, including Ben & Jerry’s.
At the annual conference of the British Nutrition Foundation, his presentation criticized Dr. Robert Lustig’s contention that fructose causes metabolic syndrome. Some think it’s a disgrace for an expert who formulates dietary policy to work in any capacity for any branch of the food industry. But how can Macdonald be wrong — he’s in the majority! Of the eight SACN panel members, a total of five disclosed unsavory connections with the food industry. The Times explains:
David Mela is a senior scientist for Unilever…. Ian Johnson is a consultant for Barry Callebaut, a Swiss multinational cocoa and chocolate company. Two other members, Professor Ian Young and Professor Julie Lovegrove, have received funding from the sugar industry.
Probably just a coincidence
And then, there’s the European Food Safety Agency, for which an Irish expert, Albert Flynn, researched the links between sugar and obesity and found not a single bit of correlation, nor a reason for any government to propose that citizens limit their sugar intake.
Yet at the same time Flynn was advising Kraft, owner of Cadbury, and working for the International Life Sciences Institute (Ilsi) Europe, whose members include Coca-Cola, Mars and Kellogg’s.
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Source: Active Low-Carber Forums, LowCarber.org, 01/20/14
Image by Ed Schipul