Dale Finley Slongwhite. Fed Up: The High Costs of Cheap Food. University Press of Florida, 2014.
Yes, there’s a movie called Fed Up (in which I make a very brief appearance) but this book covers a quite different topic. It takes a tough look at the impact of widespread pesticide use on farmworkers in the area around Lake Apopka in Central Florida. Slongwhite tells the individual stories of these workers through oral histories, thereby putting a human face on callous disregard for people and the environment.
I’m having a hard time keeping up with these, but here are five more industry-funded studies with results favorable to the sponsor, bringing the total of industry-positives to 124 since last March, versus just 12 with unfavorable results. This percentage is lower than that found in more systematic studies. If you know of such studies, please send.
In the meantime, here’s the next set.
A randomized controlled trial to determine the efficacy of a high carbohydrate and high protein ready-to-eat food product for weight loss. N. R. Fuller, M. Fong, J. Gerofi, L. Leung, C. Leung, G. Denyer andI. D. Caterson. Clinical Obesity. Article first published online: 19 JAN 2016. DOI: 10.1111/cob.12137
Obesity, Fitness, Hypertension, and Prognosis: Is Physical Activity the Common Denominator? Carl J. Lavie, MD, Parham Parto, MD; Edward Archer, PhD. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(2):217-218. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7571.
Dietary anthocyanin intake and age-related decline in lung function: longitudinal findings from the VA Normative Aging Study. Amar J Mehta,, Aedín Cassidy, Augusto A Litonjua, David Sparrow, Pantel Vokonas, and Joel Schwartz. Am J Clin Nutr February 2016 vol. 103 no. 2 542-550
The effects of lutein on cardiometabolic health across the life course: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Elisabeth TM Leermakers, Sirwan KL Darweesh, Cristina P Baena, Eduardo M Moreira, Debora Melo van Lent, Myrte J Tielemans, Taulant Muka, Anna Vitezova, Rajiv Chowdhury, Wichor M Bramer, Jessica C Kiefte-de Jong, Janine F Felix, and Oscar H Franco. Am J Clin Nutr February 2016 vol. 103 no. 2 481-494
Dietary protein intake is associated with body mass index and weight up to 5 y of age in a prospective cohort of twins. Laura Pimpin, Susan Jebb, Laura Johnson, Jane Wardle, and Gina L Ambrosini. First published December 30, 2015, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.118612. Am J Clin Nutr February 2016 vol. 103 no. 2 389-397
Short-term studies of DHA ( docosahexaenoic acid, a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid) have suggested that DHA supplements promote the visual acuity of infants born prematurely. This study, for which supplement and formula companies donated products, and in which some of the investigators had connections to those and other companies with a vested interest in the results, could not find measurable benefits of DHA supplementation by the time children reached school age.
This is a rare example of a study supported by food companies with results that must have caused much disappointment.
How rare? Since last March, I’ve unsystematically collected 119 industry-supported studies with results that favor the sponsor’s interest (industry-positive) but have only run across or been sent 12 that do not.
Long-term effect of high-dose supplementation with DHA on visual function at school age in children born at 33 wk gestational age: results from a follow up of a randomized controlled trial. Carly S Molloy, Sacha Stokes, Maria Makrides, Carmel T Collins, Peter J Anderson, and Lex W Doyle. Am J Clin Nutr 2016; 103:268-275 doi:10.3945/ajcn.115.114710.
I am a long-standing member of the American Society of Nutrition (ASN), and have been troubled for years by its cozy financial relationships with food companies (see, for example, this post from 2009 and the response from ASN).
ASN’s members are nutrition researchers. The Society publishes the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the Journal of Nutrition, and Advances in Nutrition, sources of many of the industry-funded research articles I post regularly on this site.
ASN’s financial ties to food companies were the subject of an investigative report by Michele Simon last year: “Nutrition Scientists on the Take from Big Food: Has the American Society for Nutrition Lost All Credibility?”
I am delighted to report that the ASN has now responded to these concerns, and in an especially constructive way.
The Society has just announced appointment of an Advisory Committee on Trust in Nutrition Science.
The Advisory Committee is charged with identifying best practices to allow effective collaborations while ensuring that ASN’s activities are transparent, advance research, and maintain scientific rigor; engendering trust among all nutrition science stakeholders…“Maintaining trust among all constituencies and stakeholders is paramount in ensuring that ASN and its membership are effective in carrying out ASN’s mission, to develop and extend the knowledge of nutrition through fundamental, multidisciplinary, and clinical research.” said ASN President Dr. Patrick Stover.
I’m even more delighted by the membership of this truly distinguished committee. Whatever this group decides ought to carry a lot of weight.
Here’s the committee:
The group is expected to complete its work within a year. I eagerly await its report.
I’m having trouble keeping up with industry-sponsored nutrition research so will use this week’s posts to catch up. I’ll start with this one.
Nutrition journals often publish supplements on specific themes that are paid for by outside parties, food industry groups among them. The February 2016 issue of the Journal of Nutrition contains a supplement with the papers from the 2014 International Garlic Symposium: “Role of Garlic in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Metabolic Syndrome, and Immunology.”
To distinguish supplement papers from peer-reviewed journal articles, citations give page numbers with the letter S. The Journal of Nutrition’s exceptionally clear policy on supplement publications explains that organizers are expected to pay page charges of $75 per article and $300 per published page plus additional editorial costs as needed. It views supplements as paid advertisements and requires full disclosure of funding sources.
Here’s the disclosure for the garlic supplement.
The symposium was sponsored by the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine and the University of Florida and co-sponsored by the American Botanical Council; the American Herbal Products Association; the ASN [American Society for Nutrition]; the Japanese Society for Food Factors; the Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Agrochemistry; the Japan Society of Nutrition and Food Science; and the Natural Products Association. The symposium was supported by Agencias Motta S.A.; Bionam; Eco-Nutraceuticos; Healthy U 2000 Ltd.; Magna; Mannavita Bvba; MaxiPharma; Medica Nord A.S.; Nature’s Farm Pte. Ltd.; Nature Valley W.L.L.; Organic Health Ltd.; Oy Valioravinto Ab; Purity Life Health Products L.P.; PT Nutriprima Jayasakti; Vitaco Health Ltd.; Vitae Natural Nutrition; Sanofi Consumer Health Care; Wakunaga Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.; and Wakunaga of America Co., Ltd. The Chair of the conference and Scientific Program Coordinator for the supplement publication was Matthew J Budoff, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA. Scientific Program Coordinator disclosures: MJ Budoff has been awarded research grants from Wakunaga of America Co., Ltd., and received an honorarium for serving as Chair of the conference. Vice-Chair and Supplement Coordinator for the supplement publication was Susan S Percival, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Supplement Coordinator disclosures: SS Percival has been awarded research grants from Wakunaga of America Co., Ltd., and received an honorarium for serving as Vice-Chair of the conference. Publication costs for this supplement were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This publication must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 USC section 1734 solely to indicate this fact. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and are not attributable to the sponsors or the publisher, Editor, or Editorial Board of The Journal of Nutrition [my emphasis].
Comment on scoring: Because they were presented at a symposium sponsored by food and supplement companies, all papers raise questions about industry sponsorship. That is why the Journal requires every paper in the supplement to repeat this funding disclosure in its entirety.
But for this particular symposium, some of the papers report additional funding by Wakunaga of America, a company that, no surprise, manufactures garlic supplements.
All of the papers produced results useful to the sponsor. Some of them, however, were independently funded and the authors report no links to the sponsor other than having given a talk at the meeting. They did not disclose who paid for travel and hotels and without any way to check, I must assume that they paid their own expenses to the meeting in San Diego. For the purposes of scoring, I’m not counting them as industry-funded, even though their presence at the symposium made it seem more scientifically credible.
Garlic Lowers Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Individuals, Regulates Serum Cholesterol, and Stimulates Immunity: An Updated Meta-analysis and Review. Karin Ried. J Nutr. 2016; 146:389S-396S doi:10.3945/jn.114.202192.
Chemical Assignment of Structural Isomers of Sulfur-Containing Metabolites in Garlic by Liquid Chromatography−Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance−Mass Spectrometry. Ryo Nakabayashi, Yuji Sawada, Morihiro Aoyagi, Yutaka Yamada, Masami Yokota Hirai, Tetsuya Sakurai, Takahiro Kamoi, Daryl D Rowan, and Kazuki Saito. J. Nutr. 2016; 146:397S-402S doi:10.3945/jn.114.202317.
Garlic-Derived Organic Polysulfides and Myocardial Protection. Jessica M Bradley, Chelsea L Organ, and David J Lefer. J. Nutr. 2016; 146:403S-409S doi:10.3945/jn.114.208066.
Aged Garlic Extract Inhibits Human Platelet Aggregation by Altering Intracellular Signaling and Platelet Shape Change. Khalid Rahman, Gordon M Lowe, and Sarah Smith. J. Nutr. 2016; 146:410S-415S doi:10.3945/jn.114.202408
Garlic and Heart Disease. Ravi Varshney and Matthew J Budoff. J. Nutr. 2016; 146:416S-421S doi:10.3945/jn.114.202333
The Role of Adiponectin in Cardiometabolic Diseases: Effects of Nutritional Interventions. Patricio Lopez-Jaramillo. J. Nutr. 2016; 146:422S-426S doi:10.3945/jn.114.202432
Aged Garlic Extract Reduces Low Attenuation Plaque in Coronary Arteries of Patients with Metabolic Syndrome in a Prospective Randomized Double-Blind Study. Suguru Matsumoto, Rine Nakanishi, Dong Li, Anas Alani, Panteha Rezaeian, Sach Prabhu, Jeby Abraham, Michael A Fahmy, Christopher Dailing, Ferdinand Flores, Sajad Hamal, Alexander Broersen, Pieter H Kitslaar, and Matthew J Budoff. J. Nutr. 2016; 146:427S-432S doi:10.3945/jn.114.202424
Aged Garlic Extract Modifies Human Immunity. Susan S Percival. J. Nutr. 2016; 146:433S-436S doi:10.3945/jn.115.210427
Bioavailability of Alfrutamide and Caffedymine and Their P-Selectin Suppression and Platelet-Leukocyte Aggregation Mechanisms in Mice. Jae B Park. J. Nutr. 2016; 146:437S-443S doi:10.3945/jn.114.202473
Garlic Influences Gene Expression In Vivo and In Vitro. Craig S Charron, Harry D Dawson, and Janet A Novotny. J. Nutr. 2016; 146:444S-449S doi:10.3945/jn.114.202481
Development of an Analytic Method for Sulfur Compounds in Aged Garlic Extract with the Use of a Postcolumn High Performance Liquid Chromatography Method with Sulfur-Specific Detection. Toshiaki Matsutomo and Yukihiro Kodera. J. Nutr. 2016; 146:450S-455S doi:10.3945/jn.114.208520
Pharmacokinetics of S-Allyl-L-cysteine in Rats Is Characterized by High Oral Absorption and Extensive Renal Reabsorption. Hirotaka Amano, Daichi Kazamori, and Kenji Itoh. J. Nutr. 2016; 146:456S-459S doi:10.3945/jn.114.201749
Aged Garlic Extract Suppresses the Development of Atherosclerosis in Apolipoprotein E–Knockout Mice. Naoaki Morihara, Atsuko Hino, Takako Yamaguchi, and Jun-ichiro Suzuki. J. Nutr. 2016; 146:460S-463S doi:10.3945/jn.114.206953
This makes 8 industry-positives from this journal supplement.
But let me add one more on this topic, sent by a reader:
The effect of aged garlic extract on blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors in uncontrolled hypertensives: the AGE at Heart trial. Karin Ried Nikolaj Travica, Avni Sali. Integrated Blood Pressure Control, 27 January 2016.
This brings the score since last March to 119 industry-positives/11 industry-negatives.
The McDonald’s closest to the part of the University of Sydney where I am working temporarily, looks like no McDonald’s I’ve ever seen.
Under The Corner, it says McCafe. This place is a Maccas, as they call them here.
The Corner offers an acceptable salad bar.
An improvement? Yes, but why not in the U.S.?
I did a blurb for this one, for good reason. Saru Jayaraman is doing important work on behalf of low-wage restaurant workers, most of them immigrants and women. This book is her manifesto.
That restaurant workers can be paid as little as $2.13 an hour, and require taxpayer-supported food assistance to survive, is a national scandal. Forked tells the stories of enlightened restaurant owners who treat and pay workers decently, with immediate returns in employee loyalty, better customer service—and profits. This book should inspire all restaurant owners to take the “high road,” and all of us restaurant customers to demand that they do.
Read it and join the campaign for decent pay for restaurant workers, farm workers, and everyone else who is excluded from minimum-wage requirements.
Conspiracy theorists cannot believe that Chipotle’s ongoing food safety problems—and its consequent legal woes—can be due to anything other than deliberate sabotage. Much as I love conspiracy theories—and my favorite is to blame the Center for Consumer Freedom—I suspect the problems are related more to supply-chain issues and the need to establish a stronger internal culture of food safety. This means getting every employee to follow food safety rules to the letter—but also in spirit.
The company has done the right thing by recruiting help from a top food-safety consulting firm.
In the meantime, here’s what’s happening to its stock prices.
Here are some recent additions to my ever-growing collection of industry-funded food and nutrition studies or commentaries with results favorable to the sponsor’s interests. These bring the total since last March to 110 with favorable results versus 11 with those that must have disappointed the sponsor.
Reduced dietary intake of simple sugars alters perceived sweet taste intensity but not perceived pleasantness. Paul M Wise, Laura Nattress, Linda J Flammer, and Gary K Beauchamp. Am J Clin Nutr 2016; 103:50-60. doi:10.3945/ajcn.115.112300
Consuming yellow pea fiber reduces voluntary energy intake and body fat in overweight/obese adults in a 12-week randomized controlled trial. Jennifer E. Lambertemail, Jill A. Parnellemail, Jasmine M. Tunnicliffe, Jay Han, Troy Sturzenegger, Raylene A. Reimer. Clinical Nutrition, Article in press published online January 11, 2016. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2015.12.016
Effect of flavored milk vs plain milk on total milk intake and nutrient provision in children. Flavia Fayet-Moore. Nutrition Reviews Jan;74(1):1-17. doi: Here’10.1093/nutrit/nuv031. Epub 2015 Nov 3.
Does milk consumption contribute to cardiometabolic health and overall diet quality? Lamarche B, Givens I, Soedamah-Muthu S, Krauss RM, Jakobsen MU, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Pan A, Després J-P, Canadian Journal of Cardiology (2016), doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2015.12.033.
Including “Added Sugars” on the Nutrition Facts Panel: How Consumers Perceive the Proposed Change. Idamarie Laquatra, Kris Sollid, Marianne Smith Edge, Jason Pelzel, John Turner. Published Online: June 09, 2015. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2015.04.017|
State GMO labeling bills: While Congress dithers, states are getting busy. The Sunlight Foundation’s SCOUT database on state GMO legislative initiatives is searchable. Examples:
Detente between producers of GMO and labeling advocates: USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack held a meeting to attempt to forge some kind of accord between producers of GMO foods and advocates for GMO labels. By all reports, it didn’t work. Earlier, Vilsack tried to negotiate detente between GMO producers and producers of organic foods. That didn’t work either.
GMO Salmon: The FDA says it will not allow imports of GMO salmon. Since GMO salmon are produced in Canada and Panama, this action in effect bans GMO salmon from the US food supply. The FDA is working on labeling guidelines and probably wants them out before allowing imports.
Monsanto’s conversation: Monsanto’s interactive website invites you to be part of the conversation. Aything you like. Someone from Monsanto will respond. This site is clearly keeping Monsanto’s PR staff on its toes. Here is just one example:
Michelle M: If you can sue a small farmer for GMO’s accidentally getting in their crop, can I sue you if they are found in my organic child’s body?
Monsanto: Hi, Michelle. The truth is, we don’t sue farmers when our seeds end up on their fields unintentionally. We never have, and we never will. Farmers are the heart of our business. That’s why we’ve made a commitment and policy related to this area of concern, and it’s available here on our website.
I wrote about the origins of the current politics of GMOs in Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety. The book first came out in 2003 and in an updated edition in 2010. Not much has changed, alas.
I greatly enjoy Food-Navigator’s collections of articles on specific topics. Here’s one on marketing foods to kids.
While there is some evidence that the tide may now be turning on childhood obesity, 8.4% of US 2-5 year-olds; 17.7% of 6-11 year-olds and 20.5% of 12-19-year-olds are still obese, and many are lacking in essential nutrients from potassium, dietary fiber and calcium, to vitamin D. So how can the food industry respond to these concerns and develop more nutritious, but appealing snacks, meals and beverages for kids?
Addition, February 3: A reader reminds me that Food-Navigator published a guide to creating successful children’s brands a couple of months ago.
On my way to Australia, I stopped in Auckland.
The Auckland train station is clean and beautiful—and a perfect site for advertising Coca-Cola.
A short ferry ride lands you in vineyards.
Food thoughts to ponder early on a Monday morning in Sydney (Sunday afternoon in New York).