Sugar: FAO Scientific Consultation In Doubt - Financed by Sugar Industry
Sugar is a refined carbohydrate devoid of all the nutrients necessary to assimilate and metabolise it in the human body. It is a net robber of nutrients. That means, for each gram of sugar we eat our body needs to utilize vitamins and minerals obtained from other foods - just to metabolize the sugar and unlock its energy potential.
Sugar, in other words, is a positively unhealthy food.
Who would have thought that the official dietary recommendations with regards to carbohydrates were largely financed by the sugar industry? Panorama in the UK investigated and has a program on this tonight.
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation is reviewing the claims and has started an investigation. There are plans to re-convene the committee to review recommendations, hopefully this time without undue influence from the very industry affected by the recommendations.
BBC gives the lowdown in an article:
UN probes sugar industry claims
A United Nations agency has launched an investigation into claims that a key consultation into how much sugar we should be eating was secretly funded by the sugar industry.
The BBC's Panorama programme has uncovered documents which reveal the World Sugar Research Organisation and International Life Sciences Institute, both funded by the sugar industry, helped pay for the Expert Consultation on Carbohydrates in Human Nutrition.
The programme also reveals that ISLI was given the opportunity to suggest members of the committee and select the chairman, as well as review the agenda of the consultation.
I believe that it would be impossible to produce an unbiased report when the source of funding came from groups with clearly vested interests.
Professor Jim Mann
Since its publication the report of the consultation has been used by the sugar lobby to fight any suggestion of a link between sugar and health concerns.
Now the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said it plans to reconvene the research committee "urgently".
The expert consultation was a joint venture between the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the FAO and was due to look impartially at key questions, including whether sugar is detrimental to human health.
But Jim Mann - a highly respected nutritionist from New Zealand - told the programme he always had doubts about the consultation's independence.
He said: "When we arrived some of us were summoned by one of the officials who was involved in the organisation of the consultation and told very clearly that it would be inappropriate us to say anything bad about sugar in relation to human health."
Another of the team invited to Rome sensed that the science might not be the only driving force.
Professor John Cummings claims that a chairman had already been chosen before the committee began its work.
He also claimed that one official - there as an observer - obstructed the debate when sugar was being discussed.
He added: "I was very surprised when he sort of came immediately to the defence of sugar during the consultation. I couldn't really understand why he did because normally these officials sit and listen and just sort of prod you when they think something needs doing but this was quite amazing."
The experts didn't know that the sugar industry was paying for them to be in Rome.
But Panorama has discovered a series of documents which show exactly where the money came from.
It shows that the World Sugar Research Organisation - funded by the sugar industry paid US$20,000 towards the consultation.
ILSI - the International Life Sciences Institute - an American research group paid for by food companies like Coca Cola and Tate and Lyle also put in US$40,000.
Panorama reveals that ILSI was also invited to suggest who might sit on the consultation and even nominated the chairman months before the experts ever came to Rome.
This funding deal was agreed with the FAO's then Director of Food and Nutrition, John Lupien.
This news came as a surprise to the committee members that Panorama spoke to, none of whom had any idea that the research had been funded by the sugar industry.
Professor Mann, said: "My guess would be that I certainly and probably my colleagues would not have been prepared to be involved with such an activity had it been funded by these organisations.
"I believe that it would be impossible to produce an unbiased report when the source of funding came from groups with clearly vested interests."
If the funding was accepted together with influence of the choice of experts or of the wording of the report then it is unacceptable
Hartwig de Haen
FAO assistant director general
But another shocking fact was to come out of the committee discussion.
The experts Panorama spoke to claim they had agreed on a limit of between 55 and 75% on how much carbohydrate we should eat. But when the report came out the upper limit had gone.
Professor Mann complained that a report which failed to mention a limit on carbohydrate - or on sugar - was open to abuse.
He added: "I think it would clearly be to the advantage of the industry not to have an upper limit, because increasingly the industry are producing food products which are reduced in fat, and one way of compensating for fat is to increase the amount of sugar.
"So obviously if there's no upper limit of sugar, one can add sugar with impunity into a whole range of food products."
The FAO's Assistant Director General, Hartwig de Haen, was also surprised at Panorama's revelations.
"If the funding was accepted together with influence of the choice of experts or of the wording of the report then it is unacceptable, that is true," he said.
A statement from the FAO confirmed that the ISLI and the WSRO were asked to propose names of experts for the consultation but that the FAO had the final say.
It went on to say that the lack of rigid guidelines meant the consultation was not illegal but "did contravene common sense norms of transparency and the avoidance of perceived conflict of interest."
We see no reason why ILSI's partial support of the consultation or our participation in the process would call into question the credibility of the consultation
The FAO said the sugar lobby had misquoted and misinterpreted the recommendations of the 1998 study.
It added that the WHO has been working on reconvening a Carbohydrates consultation, and that this matter was now "regarded as urgent".
ILSI also said it only suggested names of experts to be on the committee, adding: "We did not suggest a specific person as the Chair; it is our understanding that decision is made by the experts themselves.
"We see no reason why ILSI's partial support of the consultation or our participation in the process would call into question the credibility of the consultation."
John Lupien, contradicted Mr de Haen and said that it was normal practice to seek outside funding for studies, adding: "The sources of these funds were not made known to the experts, and were not acknowledged in the final report since this was routine FAO/WHO practice."
He added that the experts had approved the draft agenda and elected Professor David Lineback as their Chairman.
Panorama: The Trouble With Sugar will be shown on BBC One on Sunday, 10 October at 22:15 BST
See also related:
Video: Big Sugar
Big Sugar explores the dark history and modern power of the world's reigning sugar cartels. Using dramatic reenactments, it reveals how ... all » sugar was at the heart of slavery in the West Indies in the 18th century, while showing how present-day consumers are slaves to a sugar-based diet. Going undercover, Big Sugar witnesses the appalling working conditions on plantations in the Dominican Republic, where Haitian cane cutters live like slaves. Workers who live on Central Romano, a Fanjul-owned plantation, go hungry while working 12-hour days to earn $2 (US).
Of course sugar gives nothing to the human metabolism - except a quick and in the long run very destructive high. Sugar lowers IQ, it kills by destroying the natural glucose metabolism, it is implicated in the genesis of cancer and it uses up important nutrients such as vitamin C. Why are we still eating sugar and why are our governments actively protecting the industry? The video (there are two parts) has some interesting historical as well as current information.
Here is a long but well researched article on sugars by JoAnn Guest, received through the Alternative Medicine Forum.
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 00:30:08 -0000
From: "JoAnn Guest"
Subject: Refined Sugar (Simple Carbs), Diabetes, and Immunity
Refined Sugar (Simple Carbs),Diabetes, and Immunity
Oct 18, 2004 17:25 PDT
Simple Carbohydrate depicts a processed food that basically is turned into a fractionated, artificial, devitalized 'by-product' of the original plant.
The original plant possessed all of the properties of a whole food: Vitamins, Minerals, Enzymes.
What are Carbohydrates?
Everyone knows that food comes in three forms: fats, protein, and carbohydrates and the majority of foods have all three, in varying proportions.
Carbohydrates are made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.
The main carbos are sugars, starches, and cellulose. (Dorland, p121)
Sugars are 'sweet' carbohydrates, either single or double molecules: monosaccharides or disaccharides.
Starches are the main form of carbohydrate 'storage' in plants.
Starches are polysaccharides, which means strings of more than two carbohydrate "molecules".
Cellulose is made of long, fibrous strings of carbohydrate, mainly for 'structural' support of a plant. It is cellulose that provides us with "fiber" in the diet.
Complex Vs. Simple
An apple contains natural sugar: fructose. A potato contains natural starch.
However, these are whole foods containing much more than just "isolated" carbohydrates. Apples and potatoes grown in good soil also contain vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Such foods are 'complex' carbohydrates, meaning that they are *complete* foods.
Fruits contain mainly natural sugars, while vegetables contain mainly starches. And both contain 'cellulose'.
The problem comes in with "processed" sugar and "processed" starch.
White table sugar has no nutrients. White bread is a processed, artificial starch.
These are not foods - they do not "nourish". We call them 'simple' carbohydrates.
Even when they are broken down to individual glucose molecules by digestion, it is completely different from the glucose 'end-product' of a digested apple, for example. That's because apples don't simply break down into "isolated" glucose molecules.
Other nutrients and co-factors are present, which are necessary for the body to make use of the glucose: enzymes, minerals, vitamins.
When "complex" carbohydrates are broken down, the result is a usable glucose molecule.
White sugar and white bread need *additional* enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and insulin in order to be digested.
These are taken from existing 'stores' of nutrients in order to complete the 'digestive' process.
All 'enzymes' and 'nutrients' have been purposely removed from white sugar and white flour by 'processing'. The result is a synthetic 'manmade' carbohydrate, occurring nowhere in nature. The body regards such as a "foreign" substance - as a "drug".
Whenever the body does not have the "required" nutrients to process these "non-foods", the simple (refined) carbohydrates cannot be broken down (digested). and just lay and 'ferment" in the digestive tract.
Simple carbohydrates "increase" blood glucose by an 'unregulated', 'unnatural' amount.
And this is the real problem with simple refined carbohydrates: the quantity of pure "glucose" 'suddenly' taken in.
Most books, most doctors, and most nutritionists fail to make the 'distinction' between simple and complex carbohydrates.
With sugar, ingestion is far different from digestion: just because you ate it ... doesn't mean you can use it. This is why counting calories and food combining and blood typing and the Zone and other passing fads are so irrelevant: it doesn't matter what you eat; it matters what you digest.
Natural sugar doesn't "cause" diabetes; if you eat too much natural raw honey, you just get sick.
As time passed, machinery got better and better at removing the outer husks from the wheat and leaving behind only the white inner "simple" carbohydrate, devoid of minerals and vitamins. Same with sugar beets and cane.
Most sources estimate that today sugar makes up about 20% of the calories of the average American diet! Just imagine - that means that on the average, 20% of what Americans eat has no "nutrient" content.
Worse yet, it's physically "destructive", as we will see.
In a more scholarly work, Dr. Weston Price had come to the same conclusions in his landmark journal Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.
Price found that as long as a group of people could remain isoloated and eat their 'primitive' simple foods, the rates of degenerative disease were practically zero. He found that when a people would become exposed to western foods - white sugar and white flour - within a very few years, they would be experiencing rates of tuberculosis, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis equal to the "civilized" nations.
The article continues and is quite lengthy. If you are interested, you can find the whole text as message 25171 in the archives of the yahoo group.
The author is JoAnn Guest
Inside Britain's Schools: Schools are waking up to the link between processed food and disruptive behaviour. Now ministers must catch up
By Nicholas Pyke - 05 June 2005
The teachers had lost patience; his mother was at her wits' end. Even the psychologists were unable to cope with seven-year-old Reece De-Allie, whose hyperactive temper tantrums were destroying his own prospects and helping to wreck lessons at his south London school.
Yet, in the space of a single week, Reece was transformed thanks to a simple change of diet. Cutting out sugar and adding nutrients produced an attentive, helpful student his own family could barely recognise. According to his mother, Joanna, the result is a "miracle". For a growing number of parents and teachers, however, it is plain common sense. There is mounting evidence that sugar-rich foods and a shortage of fresh vegetables are linked to ill-discipline, disruption and the explosion in the numbers of children described as "hyperactive" or diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder.
Sugar firms sour on subsidy cut
Europe's largest sugar businesses have warned that profits will fall if subsidies are cut. Firms in Germany, France, Denmark and the UK said a 40% cut in the guaranteed minimum price for white sugar would hit profits and may lead to job losses.
posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Saturday October 9 2004
updated on Wednesday November 24 2010
URL of this article:
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September 11, 2004 - Robin Good
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