If you haven’t heard about Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed ban on large-sized sodas, go find the news and come back. I’m not repeating it here.
My initial reaction was “great!” That reaction faded quickly and was replaced by “how dare he tread on my rights!” When I thought about it after reading many articles and blogs, I think I welcome the motion, but I won’t support it.
Many commentators agree: it’s good to raise awareness of the badness of sugar but don’t restrict rights. It’s better to educate people.
I most definately think sugar is our big killer. Everything I’ve found, and I’ve looked daily for the evidence of what’s causing our demise as a western civilization, is that sugar and refined foods are causing much harm. Simply put, sugar kills. In a nutshell, sugar causes
– heart disease
– peripheral arterial disease and stroke
– endocrine cancers (not cause, but makes them grow uncontrolled)
– Alzheimers, MS, Parkinsons, depression, and most mental disorders
– a host of autoimmune diseases such as forms of arthritis, lupus, celiac, IBS and related diseases
Basically the whole suite of western diseases is due to refined sugars and possibly other foods.
The cure is obviously simple: adopt a real food diet. But this is where it gets tricky. Our official health care providers and government all say refined, fortified grains are real foods. Sugars, eaten in moderation are real foods. Refined vegetable oils are real foods. But real foods such as any animal product aren’t really real foods; they will kill you if you eat too much of them. They say, basically, that “you dear blog reader are not following our recommendations. You have brought on your illness by straying, by not bringing reasonable willpower to the table, and by not heading our warnings!”
*Question: if everybody is fat and sick, is it more likely everybody’s breaking the rules, or is it more likely that the rules are wrong?
If you’re like most newly diagnosed type 2 diabetics, you will say “wait a minute. I was eating better than your suggestions. In fact, when I started following yours, my blood sugars went even higher!”
“Well, blog reader, it’s obvious from what you told me that you were not eating enough grains and fruit, and that read meat and cheese you ate instead, well, that’s the cause of all your maladies.”
“But why did my blood sugars go up when I cut back on them?”
“That’s the way it works when you break your pancreas. Here, take some more medications and maybe some insulin. An make sure you eat those whole grains three times a day now.”
We’ve done something very simple here folks. We’ve screwed up our relationship with food, and we’ve rationalized the new, broken relationship. We’ve entrenched this wrong way of eating into our culture with government advisories, corporate research, corporate advertising, media bandwagoning, and corporate subterfuge of our health care systems.
This is why the educate people argument is a complete and utter failure. We’ve already followed that paradigm. We’ve been educating people for the last 25 years. But we’ve been educating them in the wrong things. This “new” education won’t be any better. Everybody will have their say in what should be taught. Coke and Pepsi will have mounds of research at the table supporting the neutrality at worst of their products. Big Sugah, teh General Mills, Monsantos, and Cargills of the world will be at the table with their huge stockpiles of our money, and the poor cattlemen will be cowering behind, again, wondering if they’ll be allowed to talk this time. No, it won’t be any different, and it won’t be any better. Sugar, whether it’s in sodas, bread, potatoes, or fruit still kills, and nobody wants to believe it.
I say go after the science. Forget public policy. Attack the root of the problem: our foundational science.
When I trace through food and health guidelines, and it is possible to trace such things; because every guideline covers its ass by referencing basic science down a list of other groups covering their asses in its reference sections. Of course you need a science degree and a staff of eight to make any headway in tracking them down.
I’ve traced all food guidelines back to one primary source: the National Heart Lung and Blod Institute’s Adult Treatment Panel or ATP. The ATP sets guidelines for treating cholesterol.
Sorry, I had to snort some coffee. It burns my butt to even think about this. We have a comittee of eminent researchers dedicated to devising ways of treating cholesterol, yet the NHLBI even admits “The exact cause of atherosclerosis isn’t known.” They don’t know the cause but they have a committee to treat it. Does that speak of prejudice or what? That’s actually a pretty clear representation of current understanding: everybody knows cholesterol is evil, but not one person can explain why.
This ATP is the committee which recommends we all take statins. We don’t know what causes atherosclerosis, but we all need statins. Do you think there’s any bias hiding somewhere?
Endocrinologists rely on the ATP. The USDA relies on it too when drafting food guidelines. The diabetes associations around the world rely on it when drafting their own guidelines which aslo include nutrition advice. The professional dietitians of the world rely on it. These guidelines haven’t changed and they won’t change, not as long as the Bloombergs of the world keep chasing minnows.
Bloomberg will fail. The Soda companies will rally around the support of all of their official backers which I’ve mentioned already. They will say it’s not sugar that kills people, it’s the fat. We all agree on it, so let’s not stray from the target.
They might even say if you want to ban something, ban meat. Ban natural foods; because they don’t make us money, we can’t put colorful labels on them, and we can’t build a brand. Coke is it!
Bloomberg should fail. I don’t want anybody telling me what I can’t eat, and that especially includes any government. We lose our right to chose food, what’s next? I think it’s time we went after the big fish. I think it’s time we tear down these food and cholesterol treatment guidelines masquerading as science. It’s time to attack the root of our problem: corporate infiltration of our government and scientific research.
And you say “yeah, but saturated fat really is bad for us!”
And John says “show me the science!”