Big Food Companies and Sugar

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Our Monday green news brings you the latest on nutrition, good causes and child education:

green tea benefits, green tea and liver damage

Photo courtesy of Taylor Gabriela via Flickr

  • Big food companies and sugar: Sugar is known to play a big role in childhood obesity and contribute to many health issues, but big food companies seam to think otherwise. According to a new report called Added Sugar, Subtracted Science: How Industry Obscures Science and Undermines Public Health Policy on Sugar prepared by UCS (The Center for Science and Democracy), there are “other interests” that big food companies and association promote. For example, company General Mills told the USDA that with the exception of dental issues, sugar intake has not been shown to be directly associated with obesity or any chronic disease or health condition. This was part of their effort to influence nutrition rules in US schools. As the study authors explain: “A major factor that has kept us in the dark about sugar’s detrimental impacts is the role that industry has played in keeping it that way. Sugar interests — food and beverage manufacturers along with industry-supported organizations such as trade associations, front groups, and public relations firms — have actively sought to ensure Americans’ consumption of high levels of sugar continues.”
  • Green tea in high doses can damage your liver: New guidelines from the American College of Gastroenterology warn consumers about overuse of natural or herbal products and their possible effect on liver. For instance, a widely used green tea, especially in concentrated formulas, can cause severe health problems. As Dr. Herbert Bonkovsky, co-author of the new guidelines explains: “If you drink a few cups a day, it is unlikely you will suffer any adverse reaction. But the active ingredients in concentrated formulations are a class of compounds called catechins. They can deplete some of the protective molecules in cells such as glutathione that are there to protect us from injury. A high dose of green tea extract can lead in susceptible persons to actually quite severe or even fatal liver injury.” See other herbal products that you should be aware of.
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