Today, Kevin explains how you can lose weight without crapping your pants on Alli and how drug companies and food manufacturers are lying to you. Plus, Jonathan Emord, the author of “The Rise Of Tyranny,” stops by to blow the whistle on the corruption within the FDA.
Obama Bows To Foreign Leader
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March 10, 2010
By Julie Steenhuysen
U.S. researchers estimate that an 18 percent tax on pizza and soda can push down U.S. adults’ calorie intake enough to lower their average weight by 5 pounds (2 kg) per year.
The researchers, writing in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine on Monday, suggested taxing could be used as a weapon in the fight against obesity, which costs the United States an estimated $147 billion a year in health costs.
“While such policies will not solve the obesity epidemic in its entirety and may face considerable opposition from food manufacturers and sellers, they could prove an important strategy to address overconsumption, help reduce energy intake and potentially aid in weight loss and reduced rates of diabetes among U.S. adults,” wrote the team led by Kiyah Duffey of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
With two-thirds of Americans either overweight or obese, policymakers are increasingly looking at taxing as a way to address obesity on a population level.
California and Philadelphia have introduced legislation to tax soft drinks to try to limit consumption.
CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden supports taxes on soft drinks, as does the American Heart Association.
There are early signs that such a policy works.
Duffey’s team analyzed the diets and health of 5,115 young adults aged age 18 to 30 from 1985 to 2006.
They compared data on food prices during the same time. Over a 20-year period, a 10 percent increase in cost was linked with a 7 percent decrease in the amount of calories consumed from soda and a 12 percent decrease in calories consumed from pizza.
The team estimates that an 18 percent tax on these foods could cut daily intake by 56 calories per person, resulting in a weight loss of 5 pounds (2 kg) per person per year.
“Our findings suggest that national, state or local policies to alter the price of less healthful foods and beverages may be one possible mechanism for steering U.S. adults toward a more healthful diet,” Duffey and colleagues wrote.
In a commentary, Drs. Mitchell Katz and Rajiv Bhatia of the San Francisco Department of Public Health said taxes are an appropriate way to correct a market that favors unhealthy food choices over healthier options.
They argued that the U.S. government should carefully consider food subsidies that contribute to the problem.
“Sadly, we are currently subsidizing the wrong things including the product of corn, which makes the corn syrup in sweetened beverages so inexpensive,” they wrote.
Instead, they argued that agricultural subsidies should be used to make healthful foods such as locally grown vegetables, fruits and whole grains less expensive.
February 8, 2010
By Ethan A. Huff
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has put together a 158-page report for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that contains detailed information about food manufacturers that it says are making false or misleading health claims about their products. The powerful lobbying group is urging a restructuring of the regulatory system that would likely damage the nutritional supplement industry and eliminate freedom of health speech.
On the surface, the CSPI report primarily targets “Big Food” manufacturers like Kellogg’s and Nestle which have been making embellished, deceptive health claims about products that are essentially junk foods with miniscule amounts of vitamins and minerals thrown in. But rather than address the need for the FDA to crack down on these illegitimate claims, CSPI is seeking to abolish the freedom to make health claims altogether.
The CSPI tactic is a popular one, identifying a legitimate problem while suggesting an illegitimate solution. While on the surface regulatory “reform” seems to have consumers’ best interests in mind, the kind of reform suggested by CSPI would actually eradicate free speech by muzzling all legitimate health claims made for natural products.
DSHEA and the freedom to make health claims
As it stands under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994, health product manufacturers can legally make legitimate health claims about their products. The Act provides for structure/function claims, which are not reviewed and authorized by the FDA, and qualified health claims, which are typically supported by conclusive scientific evidence.
Both types of claims are regulated by the FDA using an “innocent until proven guilty” approach which allows product manufacturers to include information at their discretion. The FDA can challenge questionable claims if it perceives them to be false but it must provide conclusive evidence before requiring it to be removed. If the FDA is unable to prove that a statement is false, manufacturers are permitted to print the information as long as the mandatory dietary supplement disclaimer is included on the container explaining that the FDA has not evaluated the claims.
Supplement manufacturers legally use both types of claims to educate consumers about the health benefits of their products. However CSPI and other groups seem to believe that such a system should be disbanded. Many organizations mistakenly believe and perpetuate the false idea that dietary supplements are wholly unregulated and that the entire sector is a free-for-all. While there are some bad players, including Kellogg’s and Nestle, the majority of companies within the industry are making truthful, valid claims about their products.
Advocates worked very hard to pass DSHEA in 1994, the single most important piece of legislation in protecting freedom of health speech in the U.S. So why the push to eliminate it by the very groups and agencies that claim to support the public interest?
Food control by a few
It is important to understand that the players who stand to lose the most from increased restrictions and regulations are small- to medium-sized nutritional supplement companies, the true pioneers in the natural health world, not the large multi-national corporations operating supplement divisions. Small manufacturers make up the majority of the supplement industry.
In 2007, the FDA initiated its “current Good Manufacturing Practices” (cGMP) guidelines in accordance with DSHEA provisions that tasked the agency with ensuring that dietary supplements are manufactured safely and accurately. As worthy as it sounds, the FDA ended up designing cGMP with large manufacturers in mind, placing an immense new burden on small manufacturers.
The one-size-fits-all requirements for daily operations and record keeping are expensive and laborious, making it virtually impossible for small manufacturers to comply. The rules also mimic pharmaceutical requirements, many of which are pointless and unnecessary for supplements.
Hundreds of supplement manufacturers will likely be put out of business once the three year phase-in of cGMP is complete in June of 2010. The final installment on this date will force companies with fewer than 20 employees, which represent a large portion of the industry, into compliance. This final group is said to be hit the hardest by mandatory compliance.
Many dietary supplement trade groups are on board with the FDA’s agenda, including the Natural Products Association (NPA) and the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). The CRN membership roll is filled with multi-national giants such as Archer Daniels Midland, Bayer, Cargill, and Dow Chemical Company, as well as pharmaceutical companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, and Pfizer.
September 15, 2009
By Caroline Scott-Thomas
A Wisconsin-based company claims it has developed a method to significantly reduce cranberry acidity without using chemicals or additives, which could lead to low- and no-sugar cranberry products.
Cranberries can cause problems for food manufacturers due to their high acidity, which can interfere with the leavening process in bakery products or leave very tart and bitter flavors. Where cranberries are used, the tartness usually needs to be offset by large amounts of sugar.
Jonathan Smith, president of Alpine Foods and developer of the acidity-reducing technology, told FoodNavigator-USA.com that he has developed a way to tackle this problem, using temperature, pressure, vacuum and quick freeze technology. This process, claims Smith, retains most of the juice, while eliminating much of the acidity.
“I use the cell wall as its own molecular sieve,” explained Smith, who has three patents pending on the technology.
Berry Bits is the first product to use this method, moving away from the company’s established realm of instant quick freeze berries.
Alpine Foods said the low-acid refrigerated or frozen sliced berries can be incorporated into a wide range of food applications, including yogurts, bakery, sauces, ice cream, meats and cheese.
Smith said: “The most promising areas are yogurts and dairy applications like ice creams because you get the flavor without the bite.”
Berry Bits, which can be eaten without extra sweetening, contain about five percent added sugar, which – together with the sugars that occur naturally in cranberries – brings the total up to about 14 percent.
Sweet and savory
However, they do not have to be sweetened at all for some applications. Smith said: “We made use of a jalapeno infusion for a Mexican cranberry pie and to be incorporated into a meat product. We are also getting into the savory as well as the sweet. We can infuse with garlic, or with barbecue sauce…The appeal that I see is that most people are using the sweetened dried cranberries that are about 75 percent sugar. Ours are about 14 percent.”
As for their potential uses in sweet products, Smith said it could be possible to ditch the sugar entirely.
“We could take it out completely,” he said. “We are helping a company make a sugar-free one right now, which is really neat.”
The company currently has production capacity of about 12m pounds a year, although Smith said that if he sold that much, he could quickly expand production.
And there may well be other applications for the technology, including tart cherries and blueberries, although he said that this may be “ten to 20 years down the road”.