Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Corporate Conscience? Oxymoron

"Coca-Cola, the world's largest producers of sugary beverages, is backing a new 'science-based solution to the obesity crisis: To maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories ...."
"The beverage giant has teamed up with influential scientists who are advancing this message in medical journals, at conferences and through social media. to help the scientists get the word out, Coke has provided financial and logistical support to a new non-profit organization called the Global Energy Balance Network, which promotes the argument that weight-conscious Americans are overly fixated on how much they eat and drink while not paying enough attention to exercise."
The New York Times

"Most of the focus in the popular media and in the scientific press is, 'Oh they’re eating too much, eating too much, eating too much’ - blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks and so on."
"And there’s really virtually no compelling evidence that that, in fact, is the cause."
Steven N. Blair, exercise scientist, vice president, Global Energy Balance Network

File Photo/The Associated Press
Coca-Cola is backing a new “science-based” solution to the obesity crisis: To maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories. Health experts say this message is misleading and part of an effort by Coke to deflect criticism about the role sugary drinks have played in the spread of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

Kraft Foods, McDonald's, PepsiCo and Hershey's, along with Coca-Cola are all implicated as corporate malefactors capable of manipulating public opinion. Well, certainly people are hugely suggestible. And people love to eat, particularly food and drink that appeal to their taste buds, high in sugar, fat, salt, all of which in abundant amounts in any diet speak to excess. Moderation may be the key to the golden mean, but it isn't in most people's characters to cling to moderation.

We enjoy excess. If something seems like a good thing, tastes good, makes us feel good, we automatically think: why not more? And so, we indulge. And we super-indulge. Not just intermittently, but constantly. And manufacturers of quasi food that has been processed beyond its natural state to present as taste-pleasing products rife with sugar, fat and salt, see no reason why they have to restrain their acquisitive impulse in sales and profit.

After all, people are imbued with free will and people have the capacity to make discriminatory, intelligent choices in their lives. And as free individuals able to do as they wish when they wish, why should it be the responsibility of food processors to be concerned about health matters on the part of the public? Government agencies, on the other hand, are concerned, they're concerned about the growing menace of population obesity, because ill-health takes its toll on a health-care system.

So government-employed scientists study the issues, do their research, conduct their investigations and come to conclusions in line with government's concern; people are eating too much and too much of the wrong food. So the corporate food-processing interests are responding. They're hiring their own scientists and medical investigators to come up with academic conclusions that all would be well if only people used the energy they derive from questionable food sources, to balance intake with output.

In the annals of all's fair in public relations if it profits the bottom line, the food processing giants have taken to hiring scientists to come up with findings that match the interests of processors. Now, the question might be a standoff between ethical corruption versus personal restraint. Consider this: the president of the Global Energy Balance Network is none other than University of Colorado School of Medicine Professor James O. Hill, a past chair of the National Institute of Health Nutrition Study Section.

Reputation, global respect as a nutrition scientist and medical researcher? The man has it all. He was a member of the Expert Panel on Obesity of the National Institutes of Health, developing American guidelines for the treatment and prevention of obesity. Dr Hill is thought of as "a leader in the fight against the global obesity epidemic", celebrated by the American Society for Nutrition. He is also Director of the Center for Human Nutrition, co-founder of the National Weight Control Registry.

That this man of great repute in nutritional science has chosen employment with corporate food interests to aid them in advancing the theory that it doesn't matter what you eat or drink as long as you correspondingly exercise to match the energy consumed and thus stave off excess weight gain is breathtakingly puzzling. The simple reality being, needless to say, that sound nutritional intake itself is an imperative, one matched with a regime of bodily exercise for greatest health impact.

All else is commentary, and for the most part uninformed and untrustworthy evasion of reality.

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