The Role of Corporate Influence in the Obesity Epidemic

The Role of Corporate Influence in the Obesity Epidemic
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Like the tobacco industry adding extra nicotine, the food industry employs taste engineers to accomplish a similar goal: maximize the irresistibility of their products.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The plague of tobacco deaths wasn’t just due to the mass manufacture and marketing of cheap cigarettes. Tobacco companies actively sought to make their products even more craveable by spraying the sheets of tobacco with nicotine, and additives like ammonia, to provide a bigger nicotine “kick.” The food industry employs taste engineers to accomplish a similar goal: maximize the irresistibility of their products.

Taste is the leading factor in food choice. Salt, sugar, and fat are used as the three points of the compass to produce “superstimulating” “hyperpalatability” to tempt people into impulsive buys and compulsive consumption. Foods are intentionally designed to hook into our evolutionary triggers and breach whatever biological barriers help keep consumption within reasonable limits.

Big Food is big business. The processed food industry alone brings in more than $2 trillion a year. That affords them the economic might to manipulate more than just taste profiles, but public policy and scientific inquiry as well. The food, alcohol, and tobacco industries have all used similar unsavory tactics: blocking health regulations, co-opting professional organizations, creating front groups, and distorting the science. The common playbook shouldn’t be surprising, given the common corporate threads. At one time, for example, Philip Morris owned both Kraft and Miller Brewing.

In a single year, the food industry has spent more than $50 million to hire hundreds of lobbyists to influence legislation. Most of these lobbyists were “revolvers,” former federal employees in the revolving door between industry and their regulators, who could push corporate interests from the inside, only to be rewarded with cushy lobbying jobs after their “public service.” In the following year, the industry acquired a new weapon—a stick to go along with all those carrots. On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court’s 5 to 4 Citizen’s United ruling permitted corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaign ads to trash anyone who dared stand against them. No wonder our elected officials have so thoroughly shrunk from the fight, leaving us largely with a government of Big Food, by Big Food, and for Big Food.

Globally, a similar dynamic exists. Weak tea calls from the public health community for voluntary standards are met with not only vicious fights against meaningful change, but massive transnational trade and foreign investment deals that cement protections of food industry profits into the laws of the lands.

The corrupting commercial influence extends to medical associations. Reminiscent of the “Just what the doctor ordered” cigarette ads of yesteryear, the American Academy of Family Physicians accepted millions from the Coca Cola Company, in part explicitly to “develop consumer education content on beverages and sweeteners.”

On the front line, fake grassroots “astroturf” groups are used to mask the corporate message. In the footsteps of Get Government Off Our Back (memorably acronymed GGOOB)— a front group created by RJ Reynolds to fight tobacco regulation— Americans Against Food Taxes may as just well be called Food Industry Against Food Taxes. The power of front group formation is enough to bind bitter corporate rivals: the Sugar Association and the Corn Refiners Association linking arms with the National Confectioners Association to partner with Americans for Food and Beverage Choice.

Using another tried-and-true tobacco tactic, research front groups can be used to subvert the scientific process by shaping or suppressing science that deviates from the corporate agenda. Take the trans fat story. Food manufacturers have not only long denied that trans fats were associated with disease, but actively worked to limit inquiry and discredit research findings.

At what cost? The global death toll from foods high in trans fat, saturated fat, salt, and sugar is at 14 million lost lives. Every year. The inability of countries around the world to turn the tide on obesity “is not a failure of [individual] will-power,” said the Director-General of the World Health Organization. “It is a failure of political will to take on the powerful food and soda industries.” She ended her keynote address before the National Academy of Medicine, entitled “Obesity and diabetes: the slow-motion disaster,” with these words: “The interests of the public must be prioritized over those of corporations.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Video production by Glass Entertainment

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The plague of tobacco deaths wasn’t just due to the mass manufacture and marketing of cheap cigarettes. Tobacco companies actively sought to make their products even more craveable by spraying the sheets of tobacco with nicotine, and additives like ammonia, to provide a bigger nicotine “kick.” The food industry employs taste engineers to accomplish a similar goal: maximize the irresistibility of their products.

Taste is the leading factor in food choice. Salt, sugar, and fat are used as the three points of the compass to produce “superstimulating” “hyperpalatability” to tempt people into impulsive buys and compulsive consumption. Foods are intentionally designed to hook into our evolutionary triggers and breach whatever biological barriers help keep consumption within reasonable limits.

Big Food is big business. The processed food industry alone brings in more than $2 trillion a year. That affords them the economic might to manipulate more than just taste profiles, but public policy and scientific inquiry as well. The food, alcohol, and tobacco industries have all used similar unsavory tactics: blocking health regulations, co-opting professional organizations, creating front groups, and distorting the science. The common playbook shouldn’t be surprising, given the common corporate threads. At one time, for example, Philip Morris owned both Kraft and Miller Brewing.

In a single year, the food industry has spent more than $50 million to hire hundreds of lobbyists to influence legislation. Most of these lobbyists were “revolvers,” former federal employees in the revolving door between industry and their regulators, who could push corporate interests from the inside, only to be rewarded with cushy lobbying jobs after their “public service.” In the following year, the industry acquired a new weapon—a stick to go along with all those carrots. On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court’s 5 to 4 Citizen’s United ruling permitted corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaign ads to trash anyone who dared stand against them. No wonder our elected officials have so thoroughly shrunk from the fight, leaving us largely with a government of Big Food, by Big Food, and for Big Food.

Globally, a similar dynamic exists. Weak tea calls from the public health community for voluntary standards are met with not only vicious fights against meaningful change, but massive transnational trade and foreign investment deals that cement protections of food industry profits into the laws of the lands.

The corrupting commercial influence extends to medical associations. Reminiscent of the “Just what the doctor ordered” cigarette ads of yesteryear, the American Academy of Family Physicians accepted millions from the Coca Cola Company, in part explicitly to “develop consumer education content on beverages and sweeteners.”

On the front line, fake grassroots “astroturf” groups are used to mask the corporate message. In the footsteps of Get Government Off Our Back (memorably acronymed GGOOB)— a front group created by RJ Reynolds to fight tobacco regulation— Americans Against Food Taxes may as just well be called Food Industry Against Food Taxes. The power of front group formation is enough to bind bitter corporate rivals: the Sugar Association and the Corn Refiners Association linking arms with the National Confectioners Association to partner with Americans for Food and Beverage Choice.

Using another tried-and-true tobacco tactic, research front groups can be used to subvert the scientific process by shaping or suppressing science that deviates from the corporate agenda. Take the trans fat story. Food manufacturers have not only long denied that trans fats were associated with disease, but actively worked to limit inquiry and discredit research findings.

At what cost? The global death toll from foods high in trans fat, saturated fat, salt, and sugar is at 14 million lost lives. Every year. The inability of countries around the world to turn the tide on obesity “is not a failure of [individual] will-power,” said the Director-General of the World Health Organization. “It is a failure of political will to take on the powerful food and soda industries.” She ended her keynote address before the National Academy of Medicine, entitled “Obesity and diabetes: the slow-motion disaster,” with these words: “The interests of the public must be prioritized over those of corporations.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Video production by Glass Entertainment

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

Are you mad yet? Here in an election year, let us all reflect on how important campaign finance reform is in removing the Big Food stranglehold industry has on our body politic. To sum up my answer to the question underlying this entire webinar––What Triggered the Obesity Epidemic? The answer? It’s the food. I close next with my wrap-up video: The Role of the Toxic Food Environment in the Obesity Epidemic.

Here are the rest, if you missed any:

If the political angle interests, I’ve got a bunch of other such videos:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

68 responses to “The Role of Corporate Influence in the Obesity Epidemic

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  1. “They are all out to get us,” may be my way of thinking now, along with,, “Katy, bar the door,” and maybe, “Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes,” or more like, “Shoot ’em anyway and ask questions later.” It’s open season on us folks. “Money talks, ethics be dammed.” My reflex behavior is to act in my own interest. I don’t watch murder incorporated on TV, I don’t go along with the military, congressional-industrial complex with wars even they cannot explain, I eat out of my own kitchen and I question everything. I am my own best health care advocate. I use the Internet to get my own information. It is forums like this that allow us to self educate.

    1. Dan C,

      I watched the Poison Squad on PBS this weekend and immediately fell in love with Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley. (Well, maybe I loved everything until the human tests part)

      I take some comfort in the fact that it used to be so much worse. Though I also watched the fat documentary and I already know that it probably is just as bad again.

      There was a part in the documentary on Wiley where he tested all sorts of foods like honey and maple syrup and what he found was that 90% of them were fake – honey was corn syrup and maple syrup was corn syrup and if you wanted something real, corn syrup really was corn syrup. (I don’t think they said that the corn syrup was corn syrup, but I am somewhat of an optimist that they were accidentally honest about some things.)

      Also, a man over on the Dr. John Campbell site has challenged me to listen to the book by Canada’s ex-minister of defense where there are a small group of ruthless organized crime people running everything and that wouldn’t surprise me at all and I have free listens on audible so maybe I will find out if he teaches me more than I already know about all of that, but food being run by mafia types and putting unsafe things in food went all the way back and I am trying to transition to indoor gardening and eating my own foods from my own kitchen, too.

      I have been thinking about it for a while, but it has been hard to get organized enough. Getting there. Learning a whole lot.

      The concept that I can get rid of plastics from my greens bags and boxes is already serious motivation.

      I also don’t trust the organic food to actually be organic so growing my own just makes sense.

      I am hoping by next year to be really implementing everything, but I am slow at the learning process.

      1. Deb,
        I just watched the two part program on The Poison Squad. I did not know food adulteration was that bad. I learned that The Jungle (Upton Sinclair) came out of The Poison Squad reform effort and that it took T. Roosevelt bribing Congress to get something done. A take away could be something like, “Oh, those evil, murderous capitalists.” That would be preaching to the choir though. Change happens when corruption is exposed and trading partners no longer want to do business. I might say also that we need to stop being sheeple and become change agents.

      2. Deb,,
        Canada’s ex-defense minster with that view might be Paul Hellyer. He has YouTube videos explaining his positions.

        I think there have been pivotal policy shifts in history called by powerful, monied interests. The Green Revolution was one of them where the plant scientist you mentioned earlier, who didn’t have a bed to sleep on, all of a sudden was thrust to the forefront in a Rockefeller effort to feed the starving billions. I think subsidized, calorie dense, fast food came out of this effort.

  2. Dr. Greger and Team,
    Thanks for all that you do.

    I don’t believe in the nanny state.
    Just because there is someone selling drugs on the corner doesn’t mean I should go down and buy some. Same as certain food, alcohol and even marijuana.
    I have a choice and so does everyone else. Please refrain from “but the children” comments. They have parents.
    It’s high time people take personal responsibility for their actions.

    1. This website is about educating people. Apparently it touches a nerve with you that people are being told that lobbyist and profits are covertly being put to the front of their food over nutrition and health. How dare the public find out, they might demand it to stop. There is no use of the word ‘children’ in the video or transcript by the way. Coming to this website is also a choice. “It’s high time people take personal responsibility for their actions.”

    2. Michael Stilinovich,

      I am thrilled that the government regulates our food supply, even if it’s still insufficient.

      I guess you would be thrilled instead with the old days, when tainted meat was sold in cans, bread was adulterated with chalk and other contaminants to make it look white, milk was similarly adulterated and sold when full of pathogenic bacteria (many, many people died, especially children), canned vegetables were adulterated with toxic chemicals that made them look more palatable, and much much more. Lots of unwitting misery and death. But hey, you don’t want a nanny state, and it’s the fault of consumers for eating food they believe to be “healthy,” right?

      I’d like to see more regulation. I’m pleased with the requirement for ingredient lists and nutrition tables, though I wonder how accurate they are. I would like to see such labels included on beverages, including alcoholic ones. That lobbying industry is very powerful. And I would like to see much more information about the health results of eating foods which require ingredient lists and nutrition tables.

      And that someone on the corner selling drugs? It’s often CVS, and it’s selling drugs for high BP, high cholesterol, T2 diabetes, etc — all for a myriad of lifestyle conditions that mostly could be slowed, stopped, or even reversed by diet — even prevented. Lifestyle conditions/diseases is Big Business for Big Pharma and Big Med, brought to you by Big Food.

      I’ve had people tell me: “I want to keep eating my meat/CRAP, I like it, and I can take a pill for whatever happens anyway.”

    3. The concept of personal responsibility allowing corporations to knowingly kill people faster and not have to feel guilty about it even though their scientists studied it and they spend billions learning how to get away with it and they don’t have any personal responsibility for that doesn’t add up.

    4. Some people don’t have a choice. If you haven’t the money to buy organic food, your choices are limited.

      Some obese people with brain damage caused by excitotoxic MSG fed to them by their pregnant mothers don’t have a choice either. They’re obese because the brain cells that should have regulated appetite and safety were obliterated when their mothers passed excitotoxic MSG to their immature brains through the placenta or through mothers’ milk. They simply don’t have the brain cells that would tell them they’ve eaten enough.

      “Dose dependent toxicity of glutamic acid: A review” will give you an idea of how it works (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10942912.2020.1733016).

  3. As a retired Food Scientist who worked in Product Development for some of the biggest Food businesses in the US … our corporate objective was to make the most desirable food products in the market….we had taste test panels to compare our products versus all the competitors … our success was measure by customer sales on what we developed… product development attention was based on what the public wanted, not on what was ‘best’ for the public…it is a bit unfair to try to link in lobbying and suppression of scientific studies while developing family meals when the product development was driven by customer sales – the best food that the customer wanted as indicated by what they bought…it is unfair to imply some kind of corporate conspiracy in the food development world when it is really more about give the consumer what they want to buy…

    1. Ken,

      I understand that, to a degree, that is the truth, but billions of dollars are being spent to prevent people from being aware of health issues and we have a bogus fake recycling process where we just send our “recycling” to other countries and they dump it in their poor neighborhoods and into places like the ocean.

      Eventually, the true cause of obesity and cancer and heart disease and diabetes and strokes will be defined as all dietary epidemics and there will either be a movement away from processed food or we will have millions of people who are dying and disabled because of these industries.

      It has to be discussed and, watching the Poison Squad, it started with the lying food industries and the gullible people and I would say that it still is that.

      When you watch the people who reverse diseases by changing off of processed food and animal products, they almost always say, “Why didn’t anybody ever tell me?” and it is because we are propping up the food industry, the pharmacology industry, many medical specialties, and we have things like pandemics coming from the willingness to abuse animals.

      There comes a point where we will move from fooling us once, shame on you to I allowed you to fool me and cooperated in fooling myself a hundred times, shame on me, but generations of kids haven’t heard the message yet and there is not a sense of global responsibility in big business and I will tell you that small business still tends to have that.

      Either way, if you ever came to the revelation that you were making money off of adding things to food that was killing people faster and didn’t get affected morally, then, that is your part that you have to acknowledge about your character and your legacy. Our part is why we were so easily fooled, but with many of us, it was advertising, schools, parents choosing convenience, and processed foods hijacking the brain.

      Once the science comes out and is well-known that will be when we can have the other conversations, but right now people don’t know the truth yet and the food industries are capitalizing on that fact.

    2. Wow, KEN POKORNY,

      It’s not a matter of giving consumers what they want, but much more about manipulating products to make them into something consumers think they need or crave. Based on false or distorted science and marketing.

      I recall years ago attending a seminar about an artificial fat that wouldn’t be digested, so that manufactured edible products would be lower calorie yet sill have the mouthfeel and taste of fat. We heard all about the potential side effects, including “anal leakage,” which up till then I’d never heard of. At the end of the presentation, the presenter asked for a show of hands of who would feed this product to their families — and not one person raised their hand. (We were then harangued by the presenter; we weren’t “loyal corporate citizens.”) We were for the most part, scientists, and we’d just learned about the side effects. Which would probably never be disclosed to the consumer. And we knew better. As do the executives of processed and prepared food manufacturers: they know better than to feed their families they products that their companies manufacture.

      And for the record, I don’t want the products the “some of the biggest Food businesses in the US” manufacture. I’d rather eat whole plant foods.

      And your logic would extend to the sale of illegal and highly addictive and dangerous drugs: “it is really more about [giving] the consumer what they want to buy…”

      1. Dr J,

        I am just trying to convey the every day processes in Food Development and what really drives most of the decisions on what food products to put out in the market.. We looked at health benefits and tried formulations IF the consumer responded favorably in taste test panels…

        Working in the BIG Corp Food world developing products, we used consumer taste panels to zero in on the most desirable foods … i.e. which product did the consumer “like” (they filled out a response). We would compare our product to all the leading competitors in a controlled taste test panel process… we had statisticians calculate the probability of customer responses to the market place on what they preferred from those controlled taste tests… Consumer response drove the development! Not Corp Execs (they were typically focused on the sales responses of the new products in Alpha roll out in selected markets )

        Consumer preferences drove sales which was and still is the deciding factor more often than not in food product development…

        I only eat plant based foods, but in Corp Food World, plant based foods has to drive sales to get more products out there!! Dr Greger IS my hero in life and I wish he could be seen and heard by millions … then more consumers would start buying plant based foods and then the Big Food Company product development team would create foods that the customers prefer… It takes time.. The shift as started in the market but it will take years to move from the heavy meat and processed foods to the health plant based diet foods..

        Sorry to ramble on this point, but too often I hear how food execs made decisions.. in reality, the consumers drove the decisions from taste tests ( I can tell the story of how we tried to take fat levels out of key products and how the consumers preferred the high fat products….)

        Love all that you do …

        Keep up the fantastic work getting the message on the benefits of plant based foods

        Ken

        Dr. J replied to your comment on The Role of Corporate Influence in the Obesity Epidemic :

        Dr. J Wow, KEN POKORNY,

        It’s not a matter of giving consumers what they want, but much more about manipulating products to make them into something consumers think they need or crave. Based on false or distorted science and marketing.

        I recall years ago attending a seminar about an artificial fat that wouldn’t be digested, so that manufactured edible products would be lower calorie yet sill have the mouthfeel and taste of fat. We heard all about the potential side effects, including “anal leakage,” which up till then I’d never heard of. At the end of the presentation, the presenter asked for a show of hands of who would feed this product to their families — and not one person raised their hand. (We were then harangued by the presenter; we weren’t “loyal corporate citizens.”) We were for the most part, scientists, and we’d just learned about the side effects. Which would probably never be disclosed to the consumer. And we knew better. As do the executives of processed and prepared food manufacturers: they know better than to feed their families they products that their companies manufacture.

        And for the record, I don’t want the products the “some of the biggest Food businesses in the US” manufacture. I’d rather eat whole plant foods.

        And your logic would extend to the sale of illegal and highly addictive and dangerous drugs: “it is really more about [giving] the consumer what they want to buy…”

        1. Ken,

          Thank you for a thoughtful response.

          I think, for those of us who have only recently heard the benefits of Plant-Based and who see the corporations spreading their goods world-wide – even after they know it is deadly, it is so hard to not get frustrated.

          I feel like we are still in the: Spend billions of dollars to fool people, and know that we are killing people with what we put in food, shame on you – and people down the road might hear the Plant-Based message and they already feel ashamed before that, so we get to wash the shame off of them as they reverse their heart disease and diabetes and obesity, etc.

          I found “Eating You Alive” free on the internet and there is a scene where a man who had already gone through hell and back is told that he no longer has diabetes and his voice breaks as a man who went through anguish for nothing. His voice cracking at that line is like a sword through the heart and it makes me want WFPB to win the logic war and this really is a logic war.

          1. They are pumping it out to the world BEFORE the world is crying out for it.

            So we do know which came first the chicken or the egg in this equation.

          2. Plant-based diets may have great benefit when they’re actually made from plants — plants that grow in the ground or in water. But certain segments of the food industry have begun to call their products “plant-based” when there’s not a plant in them — only chemicals. Make sure your “plant-based” choices are from plants that grow, not from chemical plants.

            1. Adrienne Samuels,

              I agree. That’s why I say I eat whole plant foods. Meaning that I try to avoid processed and prepared foods, as well as animal products. I limit my purchases of products that have an ingredient list, or nutrition table — though I suppose an apple could have a nutrition table.

        2. When I was a boy I watched Saturday morning cartoons. My favorite cereal was Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes. I loved seeing the animated tiger with his big smile say “they’re grrrate!” And the happy family smiled back at the grinning tiger.

          Are you telling me that me, as a consumer, drove the sales of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes? And the cereal corporations we’re blameless? I know, I should have brushed my teeth more to have avoided my mouthful of silver fillings. And I should have exercised more to have been healthier.

          Give me a break!

          I am delighted to have found this website that tells the rest of the story. You won’t hear it during Saturday morning cartoons–or anywhere else where food corporations buy control of the messages.

          1. DB,

            Children are given sugar by the time they are one year old and they already have their brain hi-jacked by it during those cartoons and, yes, they also spend hours and hours and hours and hours having their brains washed by the advertisers.

            Whenever those foods are introduced into any country, obesity and Western diseases are the result.

            The concept of blaming every individual in the whole world and never looking at the corporations doesn’t even make sense to me.

            Have you watched kid’s educational television or YouTube videos by educators.

            Songs about ice cream and songs about candy and songs about sugar at every level. Then, let’s talk about the holidays. Halloween candy. Thanksgiving pies. Santa putting candy in the stockings while people make feasts and candy canes hanging on the tree. Easter candy from the Easter bunny with kids GENUINELY believing all of that is real.

            I have a young one who is heading toward 10 and she still believes in all of it.

            Kids can see 1000 different images of 1000 different Santa Clauses and they genuinely are brainwashed and believe all of it. They believe in magically delicious anything and want to interact with elf on the shelf and marketing people aren’t the ones who are stealing candy from the babies, they are doing everything possible to give it to them.

            Even the parents who wanted to not be part of it ended up doing birthday cakes and ice cream and holidays.

            Schools do every holiday and kids are being preyed on is the whole point.

            Are you going to tell me that you had the cognitive ability to understand that you were being abused by the food industry back then?

            If you were that intelligent, you wouldn’t have been watching the cartoons to begin with.

    3. Seems to me there’s something very wrong when you lace your products with neurotoxic flavor enhancers like MSG, yeast extracts and hydrolyzed protein products. Sure, they give the consumer great flavor and drive up sales. But they also load the consumer with excitotoxic manufactured free glutamate known to cause things like asthma, migraine headaches, and seizures, and known to kill brain cells leading to obesity and infertility.

  4. Like the tobacco industry and the GMO industry, the glutamate industry employs individual researchers to make sure that the studies they want published conclude that their product, MSG, is safe; and they employ public relations teams like Edelman to create and circulate their propaganda.

        1. I have no idea why Adrienne continually obsesses over msg. Glutamate ‘is by a wide margin the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter in the vertebrate nervous system’
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glutamate_(neurotransmitter)

          And glutamic acid is found naturally in most protein containing foods.

          I doubt whether the small amounts of glutamate found in msg-containing foodstuffs make any significant difference one way or the other. Then there is the ‘worldwide conspiracy’ explanation for why very few scientists or health authorities seem to share her beliefs on this subject. That’s always a big red flag to my mind.

          Frankly, I’m more concerned with the amount of sodium in msg. Sodium is a recognised ‘nutrient of concern’
          https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/executive-summary/

          ‘Nutrient of concern—Nutrients that are overconsumed or underconsumed and current intakes may pose a substantial public health concern. Data on nutrient intake, corroborated with biochemical markers of nutritional status where available, and association with health outcomes are all used to establish a nutrient as a nutrient of concern. ‘
          https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/appendix-6/#c

          1. Tom Goeff

            Is it “smear Adrienne” time again Tom Goff, or Mr. Fumblefingers? You’ve done that before on Dr. Greger’s posts. Or maybe you’re Blair today. (Why else would you be responding to a question addressed to Blair?)

            Whoever you are, your response is pure glutamate industry. First the put down: “Adrienne continually obsesses.” That’s industry speak for Adrienne knows the facts about MSG toxicity and wants to share them. Next comes the standard industry tactic of confusing 1) the glutamate that occurs without the help of man (the neurotransmitter and building block of protein essential to normal body function) and 2) the glutamate in MSG that is manufactured in Ajinomoto’s plant in Eddyville Iowa that brings with it D-glutamic acid, pyroglutamic acid and other impurities that industry has been unable to eliminate. And it’s glutamate, not MSG, that is found in almost all unprocessed protein-containing foods.

            Then there’s doubt: “I doubt…” Whole books have been written about how doubt is used by industry to sway public opinion.

            And the words “worldwide conspiracy.”

            Finally the standard distraction: “…I’m more concerned with sodium…” coupled with subtly telling the reader where the real concern is.

            1. Yeah, sure. You continually spam this site with your obsession and accuse anybody who objects to this of being an agent for the glutamate industry

              The lack of evidence to support your belief is obviously all due to some vast international conspiracy. And anybody who points out that the evidence doesn’t support your opinion must be an industry shill.

              Just cross out msg/glutamate and insert vaccines/apricot kernels/colloidal silver/vitamin C/saturated fat/cholesterol/fluoride/5G/sugar or whatever. Then rinse and repeat.

              It must give you a nice warm feeling that sinister agents of the glutamate conspiracy like Blair and me monitor every post you make

              1. With all the money I’ve made shilling for the statin industry, the anti Royal Rife machine conspiracy, the glutamate business, Big Food, Big Pharma, Big Medicine, the NWO UN depopulation conspiracy and the vaccine manufacturers. I’m tempted to buy Canada next week. Do you think it would be a good long term investment?

  5. It is interesting because, today, Costco has been announcing limiting meat sales to 3 per customer and they didn’t mention the meat shortage, they mentioned health.

    I have no doubt that it is the meat shortage, but every hour the radio calls it a health-related decision.

    1. The website says nothing about health: “Costco has implemented limits on certain items to help ensure more members are able to purchase merchandise they want and need,” the company wrote on its website’s coronavirus response page. “Our buyers and suppliers are working hard to provide essential, high demand merchandise as well as everyday favorites.”

  6. I agree that it’s about taking personal responsibility for our own health in what we choose to eat, how we exercise, and getting qualified help or further education on these topics if need be. I also agree that nutrition and ingredient labelling is a welcome feature even when buying some whole foods that are sold in packages or cans. (Beans, fruit and veg, coffee/tea, grains, plant milks come to mind) We have the opportunity to vote with our dollars every time we shop…. if we didn’t buy crap, stores wouldn’t sell it.

    A cashier in my neighbourhood commented on the sheer volumes of crap food sold in recent months of the virus frenzy. It wasn’t broccoli disappearing off the shelves!

    1. Barb,

      I think the people who were raised with an understanding of the health consequences and who were fed vegetables and fruit and beans and lentils and whole grains would probably agree with you.

      It was over 90% of the people in the USA who weren’t eating even one leaf of a leafy green or one piece of fruit. No vegetables other than potatoes.

      I don’t think people who have never eaten a vegetable even understand your logic at all.

      I have talked to doctor after doctor who didn’t have an understanding that diet helps prevent diseases and we were given junk food in school, in church, in girl scouts, at camp, for holidays, for birthdays, after sporting events, etc. That is the general culture and at a certain point peoples’ brains really are hijacked.

      Plus, with the food deserts, there are so many people in the USA who do not have access to any food without someone feeding them and I have a friend who is feeding MS people right now because of quarantine and it is pot roast, lasagna, meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, chicken dishes, beef stew, chicken pot pie, ham, hamburger helper, and things like that with cookies, candy, and cake. There will be tomatoes and potatoes in their diet, and maybe some corn or carrots in some of the casseroles. But if you go to any homeless shelter it will be the same. Soup kitchens it will be the same.

      There are so many people who do not have money to even go to grocery stores and in my state there has been an endless daily line of those people getting the foods people give to them and it is the same foods I just listed.

      People who only have access to convenience store food have it even worse and there are more and more communities with that level of food.

      No grocery stores at all.

      I do think that people who were raised eating nearly WFPB CAN take responsibility, but people whose brains are already messed up don’t know how to fix things. They don’t even have a concept of vegetables or fruit as meals. I have relatives and friends who have said that there would be nothing at all to eat if there is a meat shortage. They literally don’t have a concept of beans. Never have had lentils or most grains other than pasta.

      1. As far as getting help and education goes, I looked for it in my state when I wanted to go WFPB and it wasn’t there.

        More than that, I have talked to engineers, doctors, veterinarians, phone company workers and computer workers and not one of them had a concept of how to find information at all. They had never heard of Dr. Greger or Ornish or McDougall or Barnard or Fuhrman or ANY of it. Not even once before I talked about it and they genuinely didn’t believe that diet could help and their specialists and primary care doctors also said that diet would not be helpful.

        1. Google only helps people get here if you click on enough links that it thinks that you are interested.

          My clicking on the stupid kids’ candy videos will have them giving me candy links for a while and there is no way to stop them from doing that except to Google enough health foods for them to stop.

          1. I guess I know people who have never had even one home-cooked meal in their lives and french fries from the dollar menu would be their concept of what a vegetable.

            And, yes, one particular young woman blamed herself so much for her obesity that she cut herself regularly and she went to counseling for 10 years and they have never told her even once to eat a vegetable. They don’t have those concepts either.

        2. One way to make NF more known could be by bulk mailing. If it were possible for NF to design a card that people can order, so they can bulk mail them in their city.

  7. Dr. Greger,

    Today you mentioned that “Taste is the leading factor in food choice,” mentioning salt, sugar, and fat as contributing to obesity. But the popular flavor enhancer known as monosodium glutamate (MSG) is not mentioned. Why did you not include MSG as contributing to obesity? It’s so well known that MSG causes brain damage followed by obesity that for years, researchers have used MSG to induce obesity in laboratory animals to further their studies of glutamate-related abnormalities.

    Have you been misled by the rich and powerful glutamate industry into believing that MSG, which contains excitotoxic manufactured free glutamate, is harmless? They’re better than Bayer, Monsanto, the sugar industry and the cigarette industry combined in accomplishing that kind of thing.

    1. Hi, Adrienne Samuels! You can find everything on this site related to MSG here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/msg/ While it is true that this topic has not been updated in awhile, a quick look at the lates research indicates that nothing has really changed in the last decade or so. We base our videos on the research, and not on industry influence. If you are aware of quality, peer-reviewed research that contradicts our positions, please share it with us.

      1. I’m pleased to share material on MSG toxicity. There is a great deal of it. It should take me no more than a day or two to pull what you are looking for together. I’ll be back to you shortly.

      2. Christine,

        The compilation of citations to quality, peer-reviewed research that contradicts your position on the safety of MSG has taken up 12 pages. Is there an email address to which I should send my work instead of adding it to comments?

        Thank you for your concern.

      3. Correction. I didn’t actually send the material I’ve compiled on the toxicity of MSG. I sent a letter asking if you wanted it sent to an address other than this post instead of directly to the post because it’s quite long — 12 pages in all.

    1. This is the usual meat industry funded study that deliberately doesn’t examine which came first – the onset of depressive and anxiety symptoms or the adoption of a vegetarian diet. This one for example was funded by the US Beef Checkoff Program via the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
      https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10408398.2020.1741505

      And it is not unreasonable to speculate that the meat industry made sure that every media outlet throughout the Western world was made aware of this study and its conclusions.

      As we know from the comments on this site over the years, many people adopt vegetarianism in response to health concerns of one kind or another. mental health issues like depression or anxiety may be among them.

      These industry funded studies never consider the cause and effect question other than to assume/imply/speculate that vegetarianism must cause these mental health issues.

      In fact, I am only aware of one study that did. It found

      ‘The analysis of the respective ages at adoption of a vegetarian diet and onset of a mental disorder showed that the adoption of the vegetarian diet tends to follow the onset of mental disorders.;
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3466124/

      in other words, the association is probably due to people adopting vegetarianism in an attempt to treat mental health disorders brought on while eating diets that included meat.

      I can only think that studies such as the one described in your link are deliberately designed to deceive, since it is hard to believe that the authors are unaware of this issue. it’s easy enough to find in the scientific literature. Still, you do what you have to do if you need to both publish and bring in grant funding on a regular basis in order to keep your job.

      Perhaps this story is but the latest example of the corporate role in the obesity epidemic?

  8. This is the part those of you who were raised plant-based have no concept about.

    You think that people will hear the Forks Over Knives message.

    It is way, way, way more likely that they will hear that vegans are more likely to kill themselves.

    1. Deb, where did you get that idea? People do NOT watch forks over knives and think vegans will kill themselves. Geesh!
      Here is the Forks over Knives website with the stories of people who DID watch it, and then DID something about their lives. 100 lbs, 150 lbs lost, illnesses in remission or gone.. these folks are sure happy.

  9. I searched night and day for nutritional concepts for over a year before they offered me a Dr Greger video and it was the shocking vegans die Just as often if not more study.

    They didn’t understand that they were going to cause someone like me to look back and forth and back and forth and back and forth to figure the mystery Dr Greger presented out.

    He gave a paradox and my confused mind became interested in listening to a voice that could reconcile paradoxes.

    Most of my friends and family would have heard the data and said vegans die just as much if not more and would never have looked it up ever again.

  10. I think I am rebellious enough is the only reason I ended up WFPB.

    I am a little jealous of the people who did it because they were healthy enough to know that it was a good idea.

    1. Deb,
      I’ve followed your rant on negative research on veganism. I’ve listened to those Dr. Greger videos also, with some confusion. Personally, it’s hard for me to see that vegans have more depression. There is research showing positive results of eating WFPB. Even the general movement towards eating better and cooking delicious foods seems to be a positive experience.
      I also follow what you are saying about the food landscape where people grow up not knowing what good food is or having access to it. For those privileged to be doing the nutrition learning curve and making an effort, I see this as positive and rewarding and healthy.

  11. I also think it is harder than ever to learn anything or to afford help or get the right kind of help.

    Every single topic is presented as a paradox.

    Night shades and grains and gluten and soy are all presented as if they will kill you.

    People are not just tempted by junk food, they are also hearing that vegetables and beans are anti-nutrients and that vegan proteins are not complete and that fruit is no different than pure sugar.

  12. Plus, the people in food deserts are less likely to have cell phones or internet or cable or libraries.

    75% of foster kids never learn to read or write and 1/4 of adults in the USA have not read even one book of any grade level in the past year.

    More and more of them have never cooked or gardened.

    The people who do cook are learning from the Food Network or Cooking Channel and PBS and they mostly do meat as the main dish and sweets. They also always salt their food as emphasis and they emphasize oil.

    The shopping networks and most food delivery are the same.

  13. Watch the news, watch the Hollywood movies, watch the sitcoms and the reality shows go to the YouTube channels and what I know is that nobody has this information.

    Dr Greger putting up these truths has even temporarily lost the interest of some of his audience.

    Maybe because the people who eat WFPB don’t need it as much.

    It is a thankless job but somebody has to do it.

  14. I think we think that people know what we know and they just aren’t disciplined enough.

    So we do a ” Let them not eat cake.”

  15. And by that, I am intentionally using the ”Let them eat cake” which was insensitively said to people who didn’t have access to bread.

    More than one country now the wealthy, educated people have come across this teaching and it is the poor who are separated from understanding of science, reading and writing math cooking nutrition.

    So many of them are latch key kids. So many of them come from abuse and single parents.

  16. There are whole countries that became good deserts because they started growing what we wanted them to grow. And others because drought caused them not to be able to grow food at all.

    And Pop-Tarts is one place that will donate food. Ritz is another.

  17. Dr John yesterday talked about the countries with prison riots.

    He said that prisoners in many countries only get fed if their families bring them food and because of COVID they aren’t letting them be fed.

    Food is power and money and always was.

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