Now, I am not wanting to sound like I have an issue with dieticians, but this morning on BBC Breakfast they (well more specifically one of them - Dr Clare Leonard) over stepped the line.
Always, we are told how how a few of those with a dietetic degree think most of us nutritionist types to be quacks who peddle unnecessary supplements, bad science, and holistic nonsense. They will point to the lack of a dietetic degree (despite the fact that many of us possess science based degrees, masters or PhD's and are more current with the research than they are) as an indictment of the fact that we are not to be trusted. We could go on, but let's get back to the story in hand...
This morning's story was centred around the amount of sugar in breakfast cereals (us quack nutritionists have of course known this a long time) revealing the frankly astonishing amounts in some of the popular brands of cereal (in particular those aimed specifically at children tended to be the worst offenders).
In true BBC form they invited an expert in to talk about it (she must be an expert as she calls herself Doctor) - but we should of course mention that far from being impartial - Dr Leonard is the nutritional 'expert' for Nestle under the more official sounding moniker of 'Cereal Partners Worldwide' and clearly a strong advocate of us all eating a wheat/sugar refined cereal for breakfast.
Amongst some of the other unbelievable statements our good doctor has to offer was the fact (according to her) that "there is no research linking sugar consumption to obesity"
Yes, you read it correct, but in case you are finding it hard to comprehend that anyone with more than GCSE Physiology would say that I am going to write it again....
"there is no research linking sugar consumption to obesity"
Oh really??? I am sure that I need not go into the absolute dearth of research from some brilliant individuals, such as John Yudkin, Gerald Reaven, David Jenkins, or the pioneering concepts and findings from someone like T.L Cleave who realised many years ago the damage refined sugars and flour were causing. In fact, two things we can be pretty sure of are that sugar makes you fat and rots your teeth, while (by it's effects on insulin and links to insulin resistance) we can be pretty confident of its role in a whole range of maladies, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, parkinsons, gastrointestinal ills, and the list goes on (sometimes called diseases of civilisation or western illnesses due to the relative absence of them in indigenous populations until the arrival of 'civilisation' and the importing of sugar in its various forms).
Another of her pearls was that it is "fat in the diet that causes you to get fat" and at this point I nearly spat my eggs out all over the television in sheer incredulity at that statement. Clearly she has no knowledge whatsoever of triglyceride formation...some fructose anyone?
Why the BBC decided to interview such a one-eyed so-called 'expert' to do nothing but try and deflect questions and peddle false truths is beyond me. What is worse is that by calling her a Doctor they give the public the impression that this person is a medical expert and should be listened too.
Let me state this clearly. It is very rare, as someone who has studied and researched also, that I can state anything as equivocally as I am about to, but there is no place in your child's diet (or your own) for refined carbohydrates and sugar-filled cereals. There simply is no real basis on which you can argue for their inclusion. These foods are so devoid in nutrition that they actually have to try and add something back in during the processing. You could leave a bowl of cereals outside your door overnight and it would be left untouched by all the wild animals in the neighbourhood, which should tell you something!
What concerns me most is the effect these cereals are having on our kids from a young age, developing insulin resistance and hyperglycemia in our youngsters that is creating a dangerous public health issue, damaging organs, increasing their fat cells, promoting obesity and affecting behaviour. Kids are taught that food is super sweet, comes in a packaged box, and doesn't actually resemble any kind of actual food itself (scary how many kids now can't even recognise common fruit and vegetables....).
Any nutrition expert who doesn't think this is the case is either deluding themselves or has 'sold out' to a commercial interest. Simple as that. Those of us who work with regular people trying to lose weight clearly have a different perspective (sure, take a 24 stone teen who is eating 30 pop tarts for breakfast and replace with a small bowl of All-Bran and you might see a difference, but that is hardly evidence of the benefits of sugar laden cereals) on this topic.
If you'd like to read more then I highly recommend the excellent book, 'Diet Delusion' by Gary Taubes (sold in the USA as 'Good Calorie, Bad Calorie') although any good textbook on nutritional biochemistry will shed some light on the links between sugar and insulin...
Let's hope that next time the BBC covers this topic they do so in a better way than they did today, which quite honestly was RUBBISH!