A Little Glyphosate with that Coke?

Science Institute Protects Interests of Big Food, Not Public Health, Researchers Say

By Jeremy Loffredo

An investigation by academics, journalists and public interest researchers reveals a web of corporate money and industry-funded science surrounding the nonprofit organization International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI). ILSI describes itself as a network of think-tanks, science societies and institutes that promote food safety and nutrition. However, as research group U.S. Right to Know (USRTK) asserts, ILSI is a “food industry lobbying group” that works to benefit its corporate donors despite its proclaimed mission of improving “human health and well-being.”

USRTK details the revolving door between the ILSI and industry, which goes as far back as the organization’s foundation in 1978. It was started by former Coca-Cola executive Alex Malaspina, and as USRTK points out, the nonprofit has maintained its close ties to Coca-Cola. For example, Michael Ernest Knowles, president of ILSI from 2009-2011, hailed from Coca-Cola where he was the vice president of global scientific and regulatory affairs. As another example, ILSI’s president in 2015, Rhona Applebaum, was, at the same time, working as Coca-Cola’s chief health and science officer. Applebaum was forced to retire from both positions after reports showed that Coke funded and edited the mission statement of a prominent anti-obesity advocacy group in an effort to shift public conversation away from criticism of the effects of sugary drinks and instead blame the lack of physical activity on childhood obesity.

But, as noted in this recent study, sugary drinks are to blame for this epidemic. Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna looked at 20 studies addressing the link between sugary sweetened drinks and obesity in children and adults. Of all the studies, 93% concluded that there was a “positive association” between the onset of overweight or obesity and the consumption of sugary drinks in children and adults. Other research has found positive association between sugary drinks and cancer.

USRTK highlights ILSI’s influence on domestic health officials, in the U.S. and abroad. The report highlights the example of Chinese health officials, noting that ILSI-Chinese operations are actually located inside China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention offices in Beijing. USRTK notes Harvard Professor Susan Greenhalgh findings, which show that Western food and beverage corporations have helped shape decades of Chinese science and public policy on obesity and diet by operating through ILSI.

Greenhalgh explains, “Since 2015, when The New York Times exposed Coke’s efforts to promote activity as the main solution for obesity, we’ve known that Coke was involved in distorting the science of obesity. My work reveals the scale of the impact and the inner workings of the organizations involved,” which includes ILSI.

The researchers also shows how ILSI takes money directly from food and chemical companies. While ISLI does not publicly disclose its funding from industry, researchers were able to find a $500,000 contribution from Monsanto in 2012 and more than $163,500 from Coca-Cola the same year.

In 2013, the ILSI received $337,000 from Coca-Cola and more than $100,000 each from corporations like Monsanto, Dow Chemical and Bayer.

A draft of ILSI’s 2016 tax returns also reveals hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions from giants such as Nestle, Kellogg, Kraft, General Mills and Unilever.

USRTK notes that these monetary contributions can affect global health policy. In 2016, the United Nations panel on Monsanto’s chemical glyphosate was chaired by ILSI Europe Vice President Alan Boobis. Co-chairing the sessions was Angelo Moretto, an ILSI board member. Neither individual declared their ILSI leadership roles as conflicts of interest, despite the significant financial contributions ILSI has received from Monsanto.

What’s more, USRTK points out that these monetary contributions can be earmarked for specific initiatives. Coca-Cola earmarked its ILSI contributions to fund the organization’s “Platform for International Partnerships,” which manages its relationships with regulatory bodies like the World Health Organization. USRTK then references a June 2019 paper in Globalization and Health, which explains that corporations deploy ILSI “as a tool to promote their interests globally.” Researchers further demonstrate the existence of a nonprofit industrial complex, where “science institutes” like ILSI serve as a vehicle for corporate influence, at the expense of objective science and public health.

from:    https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/international-life-sciences-institute-protects-big-food-not-public-health/?itm_term=home

Taking Charge of Your Health

The Three Pillars of Radiant Health

Originally published on Fearless Parent, like us on Facebook

Hey Parents, This New Normal Ain’t OK

Two hundred years ago, English poet William Wordsworth bemoaned man’s preoccupation with the material world and our lost connection to nature and what truly matters. Can you relate? We are so attuned to the rhythms of social and daily commerce around us that new realities normalize and we settle for them. Even when they aren’t remotely acceptable.

This is the U.S. today:

* rank among developed countries

The new childhood normal is deeply unsettling. What’s a mama to do?

The Three Pillars of Radiant Health

Whenever there’s a health issue, medical anthropologist Syd Singer suggests we ask: What am I doing that may be causing the problem? Intrepid parents are asking the question. To find answers, we’re scouring the scientific literature, consulting researchers, acknowledging anecdotal and clinical experience, examining global best practices, and accessing ancestral wisdom.

When it comes to my family’s health, I rely on a few foundational principles that serve as guideposts for the many issues that come up. If you’re already pregnant or hoping to be soon, this two-part series focuses on the important things you can do to give your baby the best chance for a healthy start (and it’ll help the rest of your family, too). Preconception, they apply to mom and dad (and it pays to start early). Post birth, they apply to everyone. Here are the three pillars of radiant health:


Human health, immunity, and well-being pivot on a vast microbial foundation called the human microbiome. This is the total complement of microorganisms residing in and on our skin, and deep inside the body, including but not limited to the full length of our mucosal linings, from our nasal and oral membranes down through the gastrointestinal tract and beyond. One hundred trillion microbes — as many as three pound’s worth – call us home. The microbiome is an entire ecosystem teeming with 10,000 species of bacteria, fungi, yeasts, and more. Most of these microbes are benign or actively protective and productive. Watch this fantastic TEDx talk by researcher Jeroen Raes.

We owe a lot to our microbiome. It houses over two-thirds of our immune system. It produces important vitamins, such as B12 and K2. It synthesizes our own private stash of “feel good” chemicals, like dopamine, serotonin, and GABA. It inhibits colonization of pathogens by competing for attachment sites and essential nutrients (how cool is that?). New research offers tantalizing connections between the microbiome and what ails us, including:

Among other studies, the NIH is looking to better understand the vaginal microbiome during pregnancy. Fantastic, right? It’s a brave new microbial world.

Protect your microbiota. They are the guardians at the gate and the wizard behind the curtain. There’s an unfathomable intelligence in these bugs. Thank God.


It’s not just a matter of giving our engines good fuel to keep our bodies running efficiently. There’s an entirely separate idea that shouldn’t be revolutionary, but it is. It is the idea that food is medicine. For real. It can heal us. If we change how we eat, we can change our lives. The corollary, of course, is that, if food is so important, then the wrong food can be harmful and increase our risk of chronic illness.

Tempted though we might be on occasion, we can’t, don’t, and shouldn’t eat all day. We’re busy and we’re probably not getting what we need. We want every bite we take to count. This is true for babies, too. It’s why you will hear that we must eat densely. We’re talking about food that’s chock-full of of the good stuff we need to power up, build and repair tissues, and sustain life. The collection of chemical reactions in which our bodies engage to convert or use energy is called metabolism. Digestion, respiration, elimination, and circulation. It’s what keeps us alive and kicking. Metabolism uses nutrients. Carbs, fats, and proteins provide 100% of the body’s energy. Vitamins and minerals are “co-factors” the body needs for metabolism to take place.

There’s a food revolution underway. It’s highlighting the many different ways to eat and providing a “feast” of new research and cutting edge ideas, with online and community-based education, conversation, and support. People are doing phenomenal things for their health with food.

Changing how and what you eat can help your body to be more efficient at doing what it does best: keeping you alive and helping you thrive.

Pillar #3: LESS IS MORE

We are a consumerist society. We love stuff and believe that the latest is the greatest. We embrace better living through innovation in science, medicine, and technology, which we equate with progress. If one is good, more is better, and before we know it, we find ourselves wanting as much as possible of something we never really needed in the first place. This is why reality shows feature Hoarders and Storage WarsPODS appear on front lawns, and 70% of Americans take prescription drugs (and 19 million abuse them).

It’s my nature to jump in and take action, but that’s not the case when I’m addressing my children’s health. I start with the premise that less is more. Our bodies hold more intelligence about what we need to be well than I could ever hope to acquire and orchestrate on my own. I have a definite bias against medical interventions. All things equal, I prefer to say “no, thank you” to a drug, treatment, or a procedure, especially when one (or more) of these things is true:

  • There’s no emergency.
  • It’s something new.
  • I don’t understand it.
  • It sounds too good to be true.
  • I don’t think we need it.
  • There are risks.
  • I’m feeling pressured.
  • It makes me nervous.
  • There’s a PR firm behind it.

As pediatrician Larry Palevsky says to fretting parents: “Don’t just do something. Stand there.”

The toxins in allopathic drugs and medical treatment are just one category of toxic environmental exposure. It’s a numbers game and less is definitely more. Contrary to what you might hear, there’s no debate. Environmental toxins are absolutely implicated in most of what ails us, from illness, autism, and cancer to brain damage and birth defects. Beware when people say: “the body can handle it,” “the risk is worth the benefit,” or “the genie is out of the bottle.” They’re trying to comfort themselves or convince you to do something you may not want to do. Here’s what I can say for sure:

  • Everyone isn’t born with the same genetic strengths and vulnerabilities.
  • Everyone doesn’t inherit the same degree of transgenerational toxicity.
  • Everyone doesn’t live in the same place and do the same things.
  • Our world is more toxic.
  • Less is better.
  • If you’re worried, pay attention. You’re onto something.
  • It’s not their body. It’s yours.

We’re not in control of all our toxic exposures. However, we are in control of many of them. Choosing non-toxic substitutes can make a big difference, particularly since we’re subjected to some of these substances multiple times a day, or all day and all night, over very long periods of time. We apply toxins directly in and on our bodies, and on things that come into contact with our bodies. This includes all the activities that comprise our waking and resting moments, when we eat, drink, clean, cook, primp, wash, brush, protect, entertain, travel, medicate, decorate, renovate, fix, furnish, exercise, work, romp, and sleep.

We should decrease toxic overwhelm to be kind to our precious organs and pathways of detoxification and excretion. When they’re not optimized, bad things start to happen.

Fearless Parent is the thinking parent’s daily dose of unconventional, evidence-based news about health, wellness, green living, and holistic parenting choices. Find them on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and on the air.

Louise Kuo Habakus runs Fearless Parent, an online media platform combining her passion for health/wellness, green living, scientific research, and holistic parenting. She is a published author, runs a nonprofit think tank, and is the lead host/producer of the popular Fearless Parent Radio. Louise was a Bain consultant and C-level financial services executive, and holds two degrees from Stanford University.

from:    http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/three-pillars-radiant-health

Know What You Are Eating

Michael F. Jacobson

Executive Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest

Ending Food Ignorance: Education Is Too Important to Leave to Big Food

Would you be surprised to know that there is a highly-sophisticated, multi-billion-dollar campaign underway designed to teach your children about food? There is. In fact, experts agree that this campaign is wildly successful. Unfortunately, the massive instructional campaign to which I refer is the $2 billion effort by the food industry to teach children and teens to want candy, sugar drinks, sugary cereals, and other highly-processed junk foods. Mostly, these lessons are delivered through your television set. Increasingly though, these messages reach kids through mobile devices, so-called “advergames” on the web, and shockingly, even junk-food marketing within the four walls of their classrooms.

When one-third of American kids are overweight or obese, and are on track to have shorter lives than their parents, it’s clear that food education is too important to leave to Big Food. That’s why Jamie Oliver’s Food Foundation and the organizers behind Food Day (Oct. 24) are collaborating on a new national initiative to put food education in every school.

Parents would be outraged if their children in elementary school didn’t learn that two plus two is four, or couldn’t identify the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Yet, as Oliver demonstrated in 2010, some American school kids cannot identify tomatoes, beets, or cauliflower, or might mistake an eggplant for a pear! Yet thanks to Big Food’s marketing muscle, junk food brands like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Chuck E. Cheese’s are as firmly implanted in kids’ developing brains as the names of the three ships that sailed the ocean blue in 1492.

The anti-hunger group Feeding America estimates that elementary school students receive just 3.4 hours of nutrition education — actual education and not marketing — each year. Fewer than 25 percent of high school students take any family and consumer science classes, formerly known as home economics, and those classes are often the first to go when school budgets are trimmed. And parents have to shoulder some of the blame, when, in all too many harried households, “cooking” actually means “microwaving” or otherwise heating some well-preserved, factory-extruded, combination of flour, fat, salt, sugar, dyes, and other chemicals.

But just as we expect our schools to do the heavy lifting when it comes to teaching geography, algebra, physical education, and history, we should expect schools to teach children about food — where it comes from and how it affects our bodies and our health. Where it’s been done well, we know it works. First of all, most kids find that cooking is fun. The more children cook and prepare fresh recipes from scratch, the more likely they are to appreciate healthier and varied ingredients and develop a skill that will serve them well throughout their lives. The more children learn about food and nutrition, the more likely they are to eat fruits, vegetables, and other healthful foods. And the real-world experience of Alice Waters’ edible schoolyards show that the more that children plant and harvest fresh fruits and vegetables, they more motivated they’ll be to eat them.

We call on policymakers at all levels of government, starting with local school boards, mayors, and governors and then on up to members of Congress and to the famous nutrition advocates living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, to put food education back in every school. We can’t raise another generation of kids that can’t tell tomatoes from potatoes, or for whom cooking means pressing the “start” button on the microwave. Let’s make sure every kid advances to the next grade with a handful of age-appropriate recipes under their belt, with some healthful sandwiches and salads learned in elementary school, more advanced soups and pastas in middle school, and healthy and wholesome entrees in high school. Let’s envision the financial windfall taxpayers should reap when we begin to make a serious dent in rates of childhood overweight and obesity. And let’s put food education back in schools because we value our children and their prospects for long, healthy, and happy lives.

It will be many years, if ever, before America’s real food educators have the same financial resources as America’s junk-food manufacturers. But we shouldn’t leave the critical task of teaching nutrition to the food industry any more than we’d leave teaching science to the Flat Earth Society.

For more by Michael F. Jacobson, click here.

from:    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-f-jacobson/food-education_b_3552273.html