Questionable industry-funded review tries to cast doubt on harms of excess sugar

The mountain of scientific studies about the harms of excess dietary sugar is really just a house of cards—a flimsy stack of weak conclusions based on low-quality data. And the international dietary guidelines based on those studies—the ones urging people to cut back on sweets and sugary drinks—are disingenuous and cannot be trusted.

At least, that’s what a review out this week would have you believe. To get to those bold claims, the authors used questionable methods, subjective assessments, and money from the food and beverage industry. One of the lead authors is even on the scientific advisory board of Tate & Lyle, one of the world’s largest high-fructose corn syrup producers

How to be human: how to handle fear (be afraid, be appropriately afraid)

Fear is an innate feeling, one of the most fundamental feelings we’re born with. It is natural, almost everyone has it; it’s a very human thing. More than that! It’s a very animal thing. Fear is partly emotional, partly physical, and it’s a response that helps us survive. This is why I don’t like it when someone says “Don’t be afraid!” in response to someone else’s fear. I know the intention is good — it’s a way of saying “this thing isn’t actually bad or scary, you’re okay” — but it’s a little like saying “don’t be sleepy!” and “don’t be angry!” So the first part of dealing with fear is to remind yourself that being afraid is totally okay and normal.

More on Gluten-Free Diet (from the Journal of Pediatrics)

Obesity, overweight, and new-onset insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome have been identified after initiation of a GFD. A GFD also may lead to deficiencies in B vitamins, folate, and iron, given a lack of nutrient fortification of many gluten-free products. There is emerging evidence that those consuming gluten-free products without sufficient diversity may be at greater risk of exposure to certain toxins than those on an unrestricted diet. Arsenic is frequently present in inorganic form in rice, a concern for those on a GFD given that rice is a common ingredient in gluten-free processed foods. Serum mercury levels were 4-fold greater among adults with CD consuming a GFD than controls not restricting gluten.

Glutenation

Glutenation

The Myth of Big, Bad Gluten

As many as one in three Americans tries to avoid gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Gluten-free menus, gluten-free labels and gluten-free guests at summer dinners have proliferated.

Some of the anti-glutenists argue that we haven’t eaten wheat for long enough to adapt to it as a species. Agriculture began just 12,000 years ago, not enough time for our bodies, which evolved over millions of years, primarily in Africa, to adjust. According to this theory, we’re intrinsically hunter-gatherers, not bread-eaters. If exposed to gluten, some of us will develop celiac disease or gluten intolerance, or we’ll simply feel lousy.

Most of these assertions, however, are contradicted by significant evidence, and distract us from our actual problem: an immune system that has become overly sensitive.