Big Soda's shill grasps at scientific straws

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One of the tactics that Big Food's paid apologists deploy is class warfare. The pointy-headed, Ivy League liberals conspire with parentally support Berkeley students to take away gosh-darn good eatin' from simple folks like us.

A thread of that tactic is to mock all science, as the headline of at the American Beverage Association did yesterday: "Weakening Sensationalist Science." So science isn't science, at least not by dictionary definitions such as "a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws." Because how could a study of facts be sensationalistic? Facts are facts, aren't they?

Not according to the ABA. Unless the science backs up a contention they like. Then, science becomes what it is to most people all the time — credible.

That's the case with a research review done by scientists at Cambridge University, as synopsized by the European Food Information Council, which is legit so far as I can tell from lightly perusing its website. (That's "legit," as opposed to the ugly warren of nonprofit organizations marshaled by Richard Berman, which purport to be independent but are funded by industry.)

According to a science brief from the European Food Information Council, the Cambridge researchers found that evidence for the so-called food addiction is “limited,” and that there are real problems with using the “addiction” model to examine and combat obesity. The brief states: “…there is inconsistent evidence to support a direct link between food addiction and obesity. Moreover, the food addiction model currently has limitations for studying obesity.”

The researchers also draw out some common sense but often overlooked facts: that obesity is a complex, multi-factorial problem. “Overeating,” the science brief explains, “may be too complex to get a consistent result from these studies, and that the many genetic and environmental factors which contribute to obesity need to be considered in the future.”

As damning goes, these findings are faint. To say the evidence is limited is to say there is evidence for it. To say there are real problems using the addiction model concludes nothing about whether food addiction exists.

I agree quite strongly that "the food addiction model currently has limitations for studying obesity." Of course it frickin' does — not all obesity arises from food addiction! Same goes for "often overlooked facts that obesity is a complex, multifactorial problem." The only people I know of who "overlook" the fact are Big Food's shills, whose motivation is that once they've erected that laughably weak stalking horse, they can knock it down.

As a piece of science invoked by the sugary soda lobby, the report does little to undercut its critics. We can only conclude it was the best they could come up with.


Anyone who does not believe in food addiction has never been addicted. It is one of the food related problems, and there is chemical addiction and psychological addition, two different critters. But we are likely a subset of the total obese/exobese population. If they would separate out those of us who are addicted from those who have other issues, perhaps the addiction model would be more successful.

After we get the sugars, refined carbohydrates and processed food, omega 6 oils and other chemicals out of our food supply; deal with the psychological and philosophical issues, we still need to overcome the genetic drive to eat.

but as Socrates said, I know nothing.

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