British government refuses to act on lower sugar recommendations
(NaturalNews) Despite all that is known regarding the nightmarish health problems associated with excessive sugar intake, the British government is refusing to act on or back new recommendations for lower daily sugar levels.
The reason? Most likely, we can chalk it up to conflict of interest.
According to Britain's Telegraph newspaper, a government advisor who once worked for major confectionery companies recently said that London would forego any action on new World Health Organization recommendations for people to halve their daily sugar intake.
In early March, WHO released a report -- which Natural News has been tracking -- containing the new recommendations. It came amid rising concern from scientists, physicians and nutritionists that sustained higher sugar intake is adding to the ranks of the obese, while also fueling tooth decay.
However, as the Telegraph reports:
[T]he chairman of a UK committee on nutrition said Government officials in this country will not act on the WHO guidance, but instead follow the advice of his panel.
The disclosure is likely to trigger controversy, because Professor Ian Macdonald, a nutritionist who has worked for Coca-Cola and Mars, is among five of eight members of the panel who have been accused by anti-sugar campaigners of "worryingly close" ties with the fast food and confectionary industry.
Macdonald has stepped down from his paid advisory roles regarding human nutrition from both companies -- he still advises Mars on pet foods, which is strange -- but he has only recently made this move.
What is more, the nutritionist, who is chairman of the carbohydrate working group and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, or SACN, is a known critic of some claims made by opponents of sugar -- claims he has called "irresponsible" and "ill-informed."
"The position, I've been informed by the officials, is that actually we would take note of it, but we would not act on it. The government will act on the advice that comes from [the UK expert panel]," Macdonald told the paper before the WHO recommendations were actually published.
Since the report came out, British government officials have confirmed that London will continue to take its nutritional advice from SACN, though they also issued a platitude stating that the panel would carefully consider WHO's recommendations, and the evidence that led to them.
Britain's obesity problem
Meanwhile, obesity rates in Britain have been called "alarming" by the country's famed National Health Service.
In February 2013, the NHS published statistics that should have sent every British government official scrambling for solutions.
According to the health service:
-- The proportion of adults with a healthy body mass index (BMI) -- defined as being between 18.5 and 25 -- fell to just 34 percent in men and 39 percent in women during 2011;
-- There has been a marked increase in obesity rates over the past eight years -- in 1993, 13 percent of men and 16 percent of women were obese -- in 2011, this rose to 24 percent for men and 26 percent for women; and
-- For children attending reception class (aged 4-5 years) during 2011-12, 9.5 percent were obese.
What have these figures meant in terms of health outcomes?
-- In 2011, 53 percent of obese men and 44 percent of obese women were found to have high blood pressure; and
-- During 2011-12, there were 11,736 hospital admissions due to obesity -- this is over 11 times higher than during 2001-02.
Clearly, Britain (like the U.S. and Mexico) has a "growing" obesity problem. But leaving a health official who is obviously politically compromised in charge of advising the government on how best to handle the one substance -- sugar -- which has created more obesity than anything else is not going to solve it.