by Marion Nestle

Search results: Coca Cola

Feb 23 2016

More industry-funded studies. The score: 135/12. Correction: 132/12.

Corrections, February 25:  Several readers have written in to comment that two of these papers do not actually appear to benefit the sponsors.  I have written their comments in red.  A reader also filed a correction to one of listings for February 18.  That brings the score down to 132/12.

It’s been 11 months since I started collecting studies funded by food companies with results favorable to the company’s marketing interests.  I’ve now found 135 such studies versus just 12 with results unfavorable.

When the year is up, I will do an overall interpretation of what this collection does and does not signify, but for the moment I will just state the obvious: it is easier to find industry-funded studies with favorable rather than unfavorable results.

Enjoy this week’s collection.

Latin American Study of Nutrition and Health (ELANS): rationale and study design. M. Fisberg, I. Kovalskys, G. Gómez, A. Rigotti, L. Y. Cortés, M. Herrera-Cuenca, M. C. Yépez, R. G. Pareja,Guajardo, I. Z. Zimberg, A. D. P. Chiavegatto Filho, M. Pratt, B. Koletzko, K. L. Tucker and the ELANS Study Group. BMC Public Health (2016) 16:93.  DOI 10.1186/s12889-016-2765-y.

  • Conclusion: This study will provide valuable information and a unique dataset regarding Latin America that will enable cross-country comparisons of nutritional statuses that focus on energy and macro- and micronutrient intakes, food patterns, and energy expenditure.
  • Funding: The ELANS study and authors were partially supported by a scientific grant from the Coca Cola Company and by different grants and support from the Instituto Pensi/Hospital Infantil Sabara, International Life Science Institute of Argentina, Universidad de Costa Rica, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Universidad Central de Venezuela (CENDESUCV)/Fundación Bengoa, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, and Instituto de Investigación Nutricional de Peru. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, the decision to publish, or the preparation of this manuscript. KLT received consulting fees from the Coca Cola Company to participate. MF is member of the directory of Danone Institute International.
  • A reader writes: Coca-Cola undoubtedly hopes that this study will support their efforts to put the blame on lack of exercise. However, the present paper gives no data, and the design does not seem biased. I do not think this paper can support marketing of Coca-Cola.  My response: OK.  Let’s call this one neutral and delete it from the list.

Biofortified yellow cassava and vitamin A status of Kenyan children: a randomized contr.  Am J Clin Nutr 2016; 103:258-267 doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.100164

  • Conclusion: In our study population, consumption of yellow cassava led to modest gains in serum retinol concentration and a large increase in β-carotene concentration. It can be an efficacious, new approach to improve vitamin A status.
  • Funding: Supported by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement 211484, conducted within the framework of INSTAPA Project. HarvestPlus provided financial support for biochemical analyses and supplies. Capsugel (Bornem, Belgium), Laboratory&Allied (Nairobi, Kenya), DSM Nutritional Products/Sight and Life (Basel, Switzerland), and Laboratorium Medisan (Heerenveen, Netherlands) provided financial and technical support in producing supplements…None of the authors reported a conflict of interest. The funders had no role in the design, implementation, analysis, or interpretation of the data.
  • A reader writes: This study came out somewhat favorably for yellow cassava (non-GMO) and thus for HarvestPlus, but HarvestPlus is a charity with no commercial interests. DSM company provided the carotene capsules for the positive control group, but the study shows you might as well eat cassava naturally high in carotene instead of capsules.  My response: This one is not industry-funded.  Delete from list.

Effects of Diet Composition and Insulin Resistance Status on Plasma Lipid Levels in a Weight Loss Intervention in Women.Tran Le, BA; Shirley W. Flatt, MS; Loki Natarajan, PhD; Bilge Pakiz, EdD; Elizabeth L. Quintana, MS, RD Dennis D. Heath, MS1; Brinda K. Rana, PhD; Cheryl L. Rock, PhD, RD.  J Am Heart Assoc.2016; 5: e002771.  Originally published January 25, 2016.  doi: 10.1161/JAHA.115.002771.

  • Conclusions Weight loss was similar across the diet groups, although insulin‐sensitive women lost more weight with a lower fat, higher carbohydrate diet versus a higher fat, lower carbohydrate diet. The walnut‐rich, higher fat diet resulted in the most favorable changes in lipid levels.
  • Funding: This study was supported by the NIH (CA155435) and the California Walnut Commission.

Regular Fat and Reduced Fat Dairy Products Show Similar Associations with Markers of Adolescent Cardiometabolic Health. Therese A. O’Sullivan, Alexandra P. Bremner, Trevor A. Mori, Lawrence J. Beilin, Charlotte Wilson, Katherine Hafekost, Gina L. Ambrosini, Rae Chi Huang and Wendy H. Oddy.   Nutrients 2016, 8(1), 22; doi:10.3390/nu8010022.

  • Conclusions: Although regular fat dairy was associated with a slightly better cholesterol profile in boys, overall, intakes of both regular fat and reduced fat dairy products were associated with similar cardiometabolic associations in adolescents.
  • Funding: Therese A. O’Sullivan received a grant from The Dairy Health and Nutrition Consortium Australia (DHNC-MetX06-2011) which provided funding for the analysis and write up of this study. No other authors declare a conflict of interest.

Concord grape juice, cognitive function, and driving performance: a 12-wk, placebo-controlled, randomized crossover trial in mothers of preteen children. Daniel J Lamport, Clare L Lawton, Natasha Merat, Hamish Jamson, Kyriaki Myrissa, Denise Hofman, Helen K Chadwick, Frits Quadt, JoLynne D Wightman, and Louise Dye. AJCN. First published ahead of print February 10, 2016 as doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.114553.

  • Conclusions: Cognitive benefits associated with the long-term consumption of flavonoid-rich grape juice are not exclusive to adults with mild cognitive impairment. Moreover, these cognitive benefits are apparent in complex everyday tasks such as driving. Effects may persist beyond the cessation of flavonoid consumption….
  • Funding:  Supported by Welch Foods Inc…. JDW is an employee of Welch Foods Inc. None of the other authors reported a conflict of interest.
  • Comment: Welch sent out a press release: “New research by the University of Leeds in the UK suggests that drinking Concord grape juice daily can benefit certain aspects of memory and everyday tasks in people with stressful lifestyles – specifically working mothers.”  Yoni Freedhoff has additional comments on Weighty Matters:Welch’s Study Finds Grape Juice Makes You Smarter #NotTheOnion.
Feb 12 2016

Five more studies related to food-industry sponsorship. The score: 124/12

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

  • Conclusion: There was no significant difference in percentage weight loss from screening to 6 weeks between the two groups…Both diets were nutritionally matched and well-accepted over the 6-week period. This study shows that the inclusion of a ready-to-eat food product can be included as part of a dietary programme to achieve a clinically significant weight loss over a short period.
  • Funding: This study was supported by a research grant from Arnotts Biscuits Ltd. The funder had no role in the protocol design, the conduct of the study, the analysis of the data, nor the writing of the manuscript.
  • Comment: The idea of this study was to get participants to include Vita-Weat biscuits in their diets.  The control group was simply advised about healthy eating.  Both groups lost weight.  Arnotts Biscuits makes Vita-Weat.

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.

  • Conclusions: Although excess caloric load has been suggested as a major contributor to obesity, we believe that marked declines during the past 5 decades in leisure time and occupational physical activity explain the notable increase in BMI over time… Therefore, substantial efforts are needed, beginning in children and adolescents and extending into adulthood, to increase levels of physical activity across all ages and in both sexes, which would have substantial effects on preventing obesity and improving levels of CRF [cardiorespiriatory fitness].
  • Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Lavie reported being the author of the book The Obesity Paradox and serving as a lecturer for the Coca Cola Company (on physical activity, exercise, fitness, and the obesity paradox and not on their products). Dr Archer reported received speaking fees from industry and nonprofit organizations.
  • Comment: Coca-Cola has been especially active in funding investigators who promote the idea that physical activity is more important that diet in determining health status.  This paper is a commentary on a study demonstrating that “high BMI and low aerobic capacity in late adolescence were associated with higher risk of hypertension in adulthood…interventions to prevent hypertension should begin early in life and include not only weight control but aerobic fitness, even among persons with normal BMI.”

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

  • Conclusions: An attenuation of age-related lung function decline was associated with higher dietary anthocyanin intake in this longitudinal sample of predominantly elderly men. Further prospective studies are needed to confirm these novel associations.
  • Conflicts: AC has a grant, unrelated to this project, to conduct observational and experimental studies of blueberries and cardiovascular health outcomes from the US Highbush Blueberry Council. None of the other authors had competing interests to declare.
  • Comment:  This paper is about blueberry anthocyanins.  The authors report “Blueberry intake was associated with the slowest rate of annual decline in lung function; compared with no or very low intake.”

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

  • Conclusions: Our findings suggest that higher dietary intake and higher blood concentrations of lutein are generally associated with better cardiometabolic health. However, evidence mainly comes from observational studies in adults, whereas large-scale intervention studies and studies of lutein during pregnancy and childhood are scarce.
  • Funding: ETML, DMvL, MJT, JCK-dJ, and OHF are employees at ErasmusAGE, a center for aging research across the life course funded by Nestlé Nutrition (Nestec Ltd.), Metagenics Inc., and AXA. Nestlé Nutrition (Nestec Ltd.), Metagenics Inc., and AXA had no role in the design or conduct of the study; the collection, management, analysis, or interpretation of the data; or the preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript. None of the authors reported a conflict of interest related to the study.

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

  • Conclusion: A higher proportion of energy from protein during the complementary feeding stage is associated with greater increases in weight and BMI in early childhood in this large cohort of United Kingdom children.
  • Conflicts: JW: was principal investigator of the Gemini study with responsibility for data collection; and all authors: advised on the analyses or interpretation of data and contributed to manuscript preparation. JW received grants from Cancer Research UK and from Danone Baby Nutrition during the conduct of the study. LJ received institutional consultancy fees from Danone Baby Nutrition during the conduct of the study. All other authors declared no conflicts of interest.
Sep 3 2015

Five more industry-funded studies with predictable results. Score since March: 52:1

Energy flux: staying in energy balance at a high level is necessary to prevent weight gain for most people.  Gregory A Hand, Robin P Shook, James O Hill, Peter R Giacobbi, and Steven N Blair.   Expert Rev. Endocrinol. Metab.  Early online, 1–7 (2015)

  • Conclusion: Maintaining energy balance at a higher caloric intake and expenditure should be a more successful long-term strategy for weight maintenance than reduced consumption or extreme caloric restriction at a low level of energy expenditure (a low energy flux) and improve intervention effectiveness for sustainable methods for body weight stability. [Implication: eat more to lose weight?]
  • Funding: GA Hand received non-restricted research funding and travel grant from The Coca Cola Company and a travel grant from International Life Sciences Institute. RP Shook received a travel grant from the Coca Cola Company. JO Hill received research support from the Coca Cola Company and the American Beverage Association. JO Hill is on the advisory board for McDonalds, General Mills, Curves, Consumer Goods Association, Calorie Control Council, International Food Information Council and McCormick Science Institute. JO Hill is a consultant for Walt Disney, has equity in Gelesis and Active Planet and is on the Board of Directors for International Life Sciences Institute and Livewell Colarado. SN Blair is the principal investigator on projects supported by unrestricted research grants from The Coca Cola Company to the University of South Carolina.
  • Comment: Some of these investigators were among those highlighted in the New York Times article revealing Coca-Cola’s funding of research demonstrating that physical activity is more important than diet in weight maintenance.

Reducing obesity will require involvement of all sectors of society. James O. Hill, John C. Peters and Steven N. Blair. Obesity Volume 23, Issue 2, February 2015, Page: 255.

  • Conclusion: If the physical inactivity industry could commit to increasing physical activity by 78 calories a day per person, we would begin seeing some real success…we need innovative thinking, recognition that both food and physical activity are important, and open minds about how to engage all of society in making changes.
  • Disclosure: Dr. Hill reports personal fees from Coca-Cola, personal fees from McDonald’s, grants from American Beverage Association, personal fees from Walt Disney Company, personal fees from General Mills, personal fees from Calorie Control Council, other from International Life Sciences Institute, and other from Retrofit outside the submitted work. In addition, Dr. Hill has a patent Energy Gap issued. Dr. Blair reports grants from Technogym and grants from Coca-Cola. Dr. Peters has no competing interests to disclose.
  • Comment: same investigators as in previous example.

Instant Oatmeal Increases Satiety and Reduces Energy Intake Compared to a Ready-to-Eat Oat-Based Breakfast Cereal: A Randomized Crossover Trial. Candida J. Rebello MS, RD, William D. Johnson PhD, Corby K. Martin PhD, Hongmei Han MS, Yi-Fang Chu PhD, Nicolas Bordenave PhD, B. Jan Willem van Klinken MD, PhD, Marianne O’Shea PhD & Frank L. Greenway MD.  Journal of the American College of Nutrition Published online: 14 Aug 2015.  DOI:10.1080/07315724.2015.1032442

  • Conclusion: Oatmeal suppresses appetite, increases satiety, and reduces energy intake compared to the RTEC [ready-to-eat cereal].
  • Funding: The trial was funded by Quaker Oats Center of Excellence and PepsiCo R&D Nutrition….

Impact of equol-producing capacity and soy-isoflavone profiles of supplements on bone calcium retention in postmenopausal women: a randomized crossover trial.  Jessica W Pawlowski, Berdine R Martin, George P McCabe, Linda McCabe, George S Jackson, Munro Peacock, Stephen Barnes, and Connie M Weaver. Am J Clin Nutr September 2015 vol. 102 no. 3 695-703.

  • Conclusion: Soy isoflavones, although not as potent as risedronate [a drug used to treat osteoporosis], are effective bone-preserving agents in postmenopausal women regardless of their equol-producing status, and mixed isoflavones in their natural ratios are more effective than enriched genistein.  [Equol is an isoflavone produced by intestinal bacteria]
  • Conflicts: CMW is on the scientific advisory board of Pharmavite [the maker of SoyJoy]. SB has a US patent on the use of conjugated isoflavones and the prevention of osteoporosis.

Agave Inulin Supplementation Affects the Fecal Microbiota of Healthy Adults Participating in a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover TrialHannah D Holscher, Laura L Bauer, Vishnupriya Gourineni, Christine L Pelkman, George C Fahey, Jr., and Kelly S Swanson. J. Nutr. 2015; 145:2025-2032 doi:10.3945/jn.115.217331

  • Conclusions: Agave inulin supplementation shifted the gastrointestinal microbiota composition and activity in healthy adults. Further investigation is warranted to determine whether the observed changes translate into health benefits in human populations.  [Note: Agave inulin is a prebiotic, a fiber that can be metabolized by intestinal bacteria.  The study reports enrichment of fecal Bifidobacterium (the good kind)].
  • Funding: Supported in part by Global Nutrition R&D, Ingredion Incorporated, Bridgewater, NJ.  V Gourineni and CL Pelkman are employees of Global Nutrition R&D, Ingredion, Incorporated.  [Ingredion manufactures prebiotic fibers]

As always, please send examples, particularly of industry-funded studies that do not produce results in the sponsor’s interest.

Aug 26 2015

Five more industry-funded studies with expected results. Score: 47 to 1

The Inadmissibility of What We Eat in America and NHANES Dietary Data in Nutrition and Obesity Research and the Scientific Formulation of National Dietary Guidelines. Archer EPavela GLavie CJ. Mayo Clin Proc. 2015 Jul;90(7):911-26. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2015.04.009. Epub 2015 Jun 9.

  • Conclusion: we conclude that M-BM [memory-based dietary assessment methods] data cannot be used to inform national dietary guidelines and that the continued funding of M-BMs constitutes an unscientific and major misuse of research resources.
  • Funding: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.
  • Potential Competing Interests: Dr Archer has received honoraria from the International Life Sciences Institute and The Coca Cola Company. Dr Lavie reports receiving consulting fees and speaking fees from The Coca-Cola Company….
  • Comment: This is part of what appears to be a concerted effort by Coca-Cola to discredit NHANES, the national survey of dietary intake and disease risk that consistently associates soda intake to poor health.

A high-protein breakfast prevents body fat gain, through reductions in daily intake and hunger, in “Breakfast skipping” adolescents.  Heather J. Leidy, Heather A. Hoertel, Steve M. Douglas, Kelly A. Higgins and Rebecca S. Shafer.  Obesity.  Article first published online: 4 AUG 2015.  DOI: 10.1002/oby.21185

  • Conclusions: The daily addition of a HP [high-protein] breakfast improved indices of weight management as illustrated by the prevention of body fat gain, voluntary reductions in daily intake, and reductions in daily hunger in breakfast skipping adolescents with overweight/obesity.
  • Funding: The Pork Checkoff supplied the funds to complete the study.
  • Disclosure: The authors declared no conflict of interest.
  • Comment: Industry-funded investigators typically state that funding does not introduce conflicts of interest.

Breakfasts Higher in Protein Increase Postprandial Energy Expenditure, Increase Fat Oxidation, and Reduce Hunger in Overweight Children from 8 to 12 Years of Age.  Jamie I Baum, Michelle Gray, and Ashley Binns.  J. Nutrition.  First published August 12, 2015, doi: 10.3945/jn.115.214551  J. Nutr. jn214551

  • Conclusion: This study indicates that breakfast macronutrient composition affects postprandial responses in both NW [normal weight] and OW [overweight] children. A PRO [protein-rich breakfast] increases postprandial EE [energy expendititure] and fat oxidation, reduces hunger, and increases satiety when compared with a carbohydrate-based breakfast.
  • Funding: Supported by a grant from the Egg Nutrition Center/American Egg Board, Chicago, IL. The Egg Nutrition Center/American Egg Board was not involved in the design, implementation, analysis, or interpretation of the data.
  • Author disclosures: JI Baum, M Gray, and A Binns, no conflicts of interest.
  • Comment: These industry-funded investigators also deny that funding introduces conflicts of interest.

The Effect of Breakfast vs. No Breakfast on Brain Activity in Adolescents when Performing Cognitive Tasks, as Assessed by fMRI [functional magnetic resonance imaging].  Jonathan Fulford1, Joanna L Varley2 and Craig A Williams.   Nutritional Neuroscience 2015 epub ahead of print.

  • Conclusion: Although no statistically significant (P > 0.05) improvement in task performance was determined, significantly higher activation was recorded in the frontal, premotor, and primary visual cortex areas in the breakfast trial relative to the fasting condition…Such a finding may have important implications in the examination of the role of diet, and specifically breakfast, in determining children’s performance within the school environment.
  • Funding: A grant was received of £18,678.08 from Kellogg Marketing & Sales Company (UK) Ltd to cover MRI scanning costs. Otherwise the research was conducted with the support of internal institutional funds and the authors received no other direct or indirect support, with no further competing interests.
  • Comment: Ordinarily I’m not concerned about food companies’ donating products to be tested but £18,678.08 seems noteworthy, especially since the only point of this study is to demonstrate that breakfast-eaters do better (higher brain activation even though no significant gain in task performance).

Suboptimal Serum α-Tocopherol Concentrations Observed among Younger Adults and Those Depending Exclusively upon Food Sources, NHANES 2003-2006. McBurney MI, Yu EA, Ciappio ED, Bird JK, Eggersdorfer M, Mehta S (2015). PLoS ONE 10(8): e0135510. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0135510

  • Conclusion: The prevalence of inadequate vitamin E levels is significantly higher among non-users of dietary supplements…Our findings provide evidence that most Americans have serum α-tocopherol levels below 30 μmol/L. The EAR [Estimated Average Requirement], epidemiological and randomized controlled studies all indicate that maintaining a serum α-tocopherol concentration of 30 μmol/L may have beneficial effects on mortality, cognitive function and reproduction [Note: “may” indicates that what follows is speculative].
  • Funding: This statistical analysis of data collected by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)…was supported by DSM Nutritional Products, a manufacturer of vitamin E. MM, EC, JB and ME are employees of DSM Nutritional Products. DSM Nutritional Products provided support in the form of salaries for authors MM, EC, JB, and ME and as an unencumbered gift to Cornell University that was used to support EY as a graduate research assistant.
  • Competing interests: This study was supported by DSM Nutritional Products, a manufacturer of vitamins, including vitamin E, for food, dietary supplement, and pharmaceutical use. MM, EC, JB, and ME are employees of DSM Nutritional Products.
  • Comment: Inadequate vitamin E in this study is defined as a serum level below a certain cut-point with uncertain clinical significance.  According to the Dietary Reference Intakes, clinical signs of vitamin E deficiency have not been observed in healthy populations.

Note: Since mid-March, I have posted 47 industry-funded studies with results favorable to food companies or trade associations, vs. 1 study with unfavorable results.

If you see industry-funded studies with results that must have made the sponsor unhappy, please send.

Aug 18 2015

Australian beer company says don’t worry about beer calories: be active!

Louise Fisher, a dietitian and food and nutrition consultant in Australia, writes:

I’ve loved your recent blog posts on Coca Cola’s sponsorship of research that fortuitously concludes that it’s not Coke that’s making us fat, it’s lack of exercise.  It’s no surprise to see that the alcohol industry here in Australia is running the same line. I just received a link to a guide to “get the facts on alcohol” Beer the beautiful truth from Lion, one of our biggest suppliers of beer. And what do you know, beer doesn’t make you fat, you just need to be more active.

Under Myth Busters on page 4:

DOES ALCOHOL CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN? DOES BEER MAKE ME FAT? It’s not the alcohol per se that causes weight gain. Eating or drinking more calories/kilojoules (energy) than you burn, from any food or drink, can contribute to weight gain. It is important to balance the calories we eat and drink with those we burn through physical activity and basic functioning like breathing and sleeping.

If you do drink, it’s important to know the calories in alcohol mainly come from the alcohol content, as well as the carbohydrate and sugars content. For example, a low strength beer will typically have less calories than a full strength beer. So really, it comes down to how much and what type of alcohol you have and what you eat with it – the chips, the kebab. Plus how active you are.

Hey.  If this strategy works for Coca-Cola….

 

Jul 30 2015

More industry-sponsored research with predictable results 

Once again, I am posting five food industry-sponsored studies with results that come out just the way the sponsor wants them to.  Coincidence?  Or something more serious?  I am trying to remain open-minded.  If you know of food industry-sponsored research that does not favor the sponsor’s interests, please send.  As soon as I collect five, I will post.

Diets with high-fat cheese, high-fat meat, or carbohydrate on cardiovascular risk markers in overweight postmenopausal women: a randomized crossover trial. Am J Clin Nutr ajcn109116, 2015.  doi:10.3945/ajcn.115.109116.  Thorning, T.K., Raziani, F., Bendsen, N.T., Astrup, A., Tholstrup, T., Raben, A.

  • Conclusion: Diets with cheese and meat as primary sources of SFAs [saturated fatty acids] cause higher HDL cholesterol and apo A-I and, therefore, appear to be less atherogenic than is a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.  Also, our findings confirm that cheese increases fecal fat excretion.
  • Sponsor: Supported 50% by the Danish Dairy Research Foundation and the Danish Agriculture and Food Council (Denmark) and 50% by the Dairy Research Institute (United States), the Dairy Farmers of Canada (Canada), the Centre National Interprofessionel de l’Economie Laitie`re (France), Dairy Australia (Australia), and the Nederlandse Zuivel Organisatie (Netherlands).

Normal or High Polyphenol Concentration in Orange Juice Affects Antioxidant Activity, Blood Pressure, and Body Weight in Obese or Overweight AdultsOscar D Rangel-Huerta, Concepcion M Aguilera, Maria V Martin, Maria J Soto, Maria C Rico, Fernando Vallejo, Francisco Tomas-Barberan, Antonio J Perez-de-la-Cruz, Angel Gil, and Maria D Mesa,  J. Nutrition.  First published July 1, 2015, doi: 10.3945/​jn.115.213660.  jn213660

  • Conclusions: Our results show that the consumption of either NPJ [normal polyphenol juice] or HPJ [high polyphenol juice] protected against DNA damage and lipid peroxidation, modified several antioxidant enzymes, and reduced body weight in overweight or obese nonsmoking adults.
  • Sponsor: Supported by research contract 3345 between the University of Granada–Enterprise General Foundation and Coca-Cola Europe [Coca-Cola owns Minute Maid and Simply Orange].

Fructose-Containing Sugars and Cardiovascular Disease.    James M Rippe and Theodore J Angelopoulos.   Adv Nutr 2015; 6:430-439 doi:10.3945/an.114.008177.

  • Conclusion:  …although it appears prudent to avoid excessive consumption of fructose-containing sugars, levels within the normal range of human consumption are not uniquely related to CVD risk factors with the exception of triglycerides, which may rise when simple sugars exceed 20% of energy per day, particularly in hypercaloric settings.  [My translation: this implies it’s OK to eat sugars up to 20% of calories per day, even though health authorities typically recommend 10% or less].
  • Author’s disclosure: JM Rippe has received consulting fees from ConAgra Foods, Kraft Foods, Florida Department of Citrus, PepsiCo International, The Coca Cola Company, Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group, Corn Refiners Association, and Weight Watchers International.

Sugars and Health Controversies: What Does the Science Say?   James M Rippe and Theodore J Angelopoulos.   Adv Nutr 2015; 6:493S-503S doi:10.3945/an.114.007195

  • Conclusion: …there is little scientific justification for recommending restricting sugar consumption below the reasonable upper limit recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 of no more than 25% of calories.  [Note: health authorities routinely recommend no more than 10% of calories].
  • Sponsor: supported in part by an educational grant from the Corn Refiners Association. Publication costs for this supplement were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This publication must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement.”
  • Author’s disclosure:  JM Rippe’s research laboratory has received unrestricted grants and JM Rippe has received consulting fees from ConAgra Foods, Kraft Foods, the Florida Department of Citrus, PepsiCo International, The Coca-Cola Company, the Corn Refiners Association, Weight Watchers International, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, and various publishers.

Do Fructose-Containing Sugars Lead to Adverse Health Consequences?  Results of Recent Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses.   Vanessa Ha, Adrian I Cozma, Vivian LW Choo, Sonia Blanco Mejia, Russell J   de Souza, and John L Sievenpiper.   Adv Nutr 2015; 6:504S-511S doi:10.3945/an.114.007468.

  • Conclusion: it is difficult to separate the contribution of fructose-containing sugars from that of other sources of excess calories in the epidemic of obesity and cardiometabolic disease. Attention needs to remain focused on reducing the overconsumption of all caloric foods associated with obesity and cardiometabolic disease, including sugary beverages and foods, and promoting greater physical activity.
  • Sponsor: Aspects of this work were funded by…a research grant from the Calorie Control Council.   [Note: the Council promotes the benefits of fructose].
  • Authors’ disclosure: RJdS has received research support from the CIHR, Calorie Control Council, the Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research, and The Coca-Cola Company (investigator-initiated unrestricted grant)… JLS has received research support from the CIHR, Calorie Control Council, The Coca-Cola Company (investigator-initiated unrestricted educational grant), Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (investigator-initiated unrestricted educational grant), Pulse Canada, and The International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation. He has received travel funding, speaker fees, and/or honoraria from [among many others]… International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) North America, ILSI Brazil, Abbott Laboratories, Pulse Canada, Canadian Sugar Institute, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, The Coca-Cola Company, Corn Refiners Association, World Sugar Research Organization, Dairy Farmers of Canada….
Feb 27 2013

Oxfam’s new corporate accountability initiative: Behind the Brands

Oxfam America announced a new initiative this week—an accountability project it’s calling Behind the Brands. 

Oxfam is an international relief and development organization.  It is concerned about what the top ten global food companies—Associated British Foods, Coca Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé, Pepsico and Unilever—are doing about social and environmental policies to:

  • Ensure the rights of the workers and farmers who grow their ingredients
  • Protect women’s rights
  • Manage land and water use
  • Prevent climate change
  • Ensure the transparency of their supply chains
  • Ensure the transparency of their policies and operations.

Oxfam finds the Big Ten companies to rank from so-so to poor on these measures.  The overall results? 

  • None of the companies are committed to women’s rights throughout their supply chains.
  • None have adequate policies to protect local communities from land and water grabs.
  • All are overly secretive about their agricultural supply chains.
  • Few have policies in place to limit their impact on local water sources.
  • All have taken steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • None are committed to pay a fair price to farmers (only Unilever has specific supplier guidelines).

Oxfam intends to monitor companies’ responses and to adjust scores accordingly.  It will have plenty of work to do.

Does Oxfam think companies will voluntarily take actions that might reduce their bottom lines?  Will its scorecard encourage voluntary action?  I’m not optimistic.  

The first company to respond, Associated British Foods, terms Oxfam’s charges “ridiculous.” 

Jan 24 2013

An open letter to Registered Dietetians and RDs in training: response to yesterday’s comments

My post yesterday about Michele Simon’s report on food company sponsorship of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) elicited a wealth of thoughtful comments.  These are well worth careful consideration.

Many express disappointment that I would suggest that corporate sponsorship might influence their thinking or practice, that other nutrition professionals have equal or better education, that I singled out AND when other nutrition and health organizations also accept food industry funds, or that I am unsympathetic to their plight (they are required to be AND members whether or not they agree with its policies).

Let me clarify:

On the effects of corporate sponsorship: I don’t know a single individual who thinks that taking money from food companies influences personal opinion or practice, but research on the effects of drug—and food—company sponsorship demonstrates otherwise.    At the very least, sponsorship gives the appearance of conflict of interest.  Individuals and organizations who accept sponsorship from soda companies, for example, can hardly be expected to advise the public to drink less soda.

On education: my point here is not that dietetic education is inadequate but that other nutritionists without such training may be equally qualified to advise the public about diet and health.

On other organizations:  That other nutrition and health organizations accept funds from food companies has long been a point of discussion on this blog (click on Partnerships).  I am especially concerned  about the practices of the American Society of Nutrition, to which I belong.  Its embarrassing role in the Smart Choices fiasco was an example of why nutrition professional organizations should avoid getting involved in such alliances.

On sympathy: I have plenty.  Food company sponsorships create painful dilemmas for nutrition professionals and each of us must figure out our own way to deal with them.  I have written about my own struggles with this issue in Food Politics and elsewhere.

I especially appreciate the comments from those of you engaged in your own struggles with this issue within AND.  You have your work cut out for you.  Here, for example, is the response of your president, Dr. Ethan Bergman, to Simon’s report. He writes [and see addition below]:

There is one indisputable fact in the report about the Academy’s sponsorship program: We have one. And for the record, I support the Academy’s sponsorship program, as does the Board of Directors and our members.

Let me make it clear that the Academy does not tailor our messages or programs in any way due to influence by corporate sponsors and this report does not provide evidence to the contrary.

…As members of a science-based organization, I encourage you to not take all information you see at face value, always consider the source (in this case, an advocate who has previously shown her predisposition to find fault with the Academy) and seek out the facts.

My interpretation: ignore the message because the messenger is not one of us.

As nutrition professionals, we ignore such messages at our peril.  If we want the public to trust what we say, our views cannot be perceived as compromised by financial ties to food companies.

What you can do.  If, as some of you noted, you oppose corporate sponsorship and would like to do something about it, here are a few suggestions:

  • Let your voice be heard: write letters, post blogs, send tweets.
  • Make it clear to colleagues and clients that you oppose current policies on corporate sponsorship.
  • Provide evidence that your organization can do just fine without the money.
  • Join committees and groups within your organization; say what you think.
  • Organize petition campaigns.
  • Run for office; run a slate for office.

If you want the policy to change, work for it.

But don’t be discouraged if nothing much happens right away.  Change takes time.  Keep at it.

Thanks to all of you for taking this issue so seriously.  Let’s keep working together to find ways to keep food company money out of our professional lives.

Addition, January 25: a reader, Craig, points out that Coca-Cola gave Dr. Bergman the opportunity to carry the torch at last summer’s Olympic games.  A news story about this event quotes Dr. Bergman on the Academy’s partnership:

I think the philosophy that Coca Cola has through its Live Positively campaign, and our philosophy at the academy, is about trying to improve the nation’s health through better nutrition and fitness so this fits in well with our cause.