War Graves

Waging War for Better Health?

A new commentary by Dean Schillinger and James Kahn warns us. We should be “mobilizing for a war on the home front against sugar-related morbidity and mortality.” But do we really need this battle for better health?

Winding Down the War on Fat

One battle we didn’t need, apparently, was the war on fat. The world mobilized for that battle in the 1980s and pulled out all the big guns. Dietary guidelines had people running from fat and cholesterol. Eggs were a health hazard to be minimized. The food industry stepped up with a bewildering array of low fat foods.

A closer look at the facts and some careful research revealed that replacing fats with carbs didn’t help. Eating cholesterol in eggs isn’t what causes high cholesterol. Now the battle has disintegrated into skirmishes about the risks of saturated fat. And some folks will tell you we never really declared war on fat.

Moving On to the Next Battle

That brings us to the current battlefront – sugar. Though Schillinger and Kahn are calling us to fight, you’d have to be living under a rock not to know that the battle is in full swing. So sugary drink taxes are gaining momentum. People are drinking less soda.

Lattes and smoothies are so much healthier – not.

Perhaps the fog of battle isn’t really helping. Maybe truth really is the first casualty of war. So we might not need a war on sugar to eat less of it and improve our health. And we certainly don’t need people presenting themselves as scientists while they peddle hyperbolic rhetoric about the existential threat of sugar.

These wars aren’t doing much for our health.

Click here for the commentary by Schillinger and Kahn.

War Graves, photograph © Vinylone / flickr

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June 4, 2017

4 Responses to “Waging War for Better Health?”

  1. June 04, 2017 at 6:51 am, Al Lewis said:

    One recalls the quote — don’t know who said it: “We waged a war on drugs. Drugs won.”

  2. June 04, 2017 at 7:24 am, Ted said:

    I think it was Nicholas Kristof: https://nyti.ms/2sDz3oy

  3. June 04, 2017 at 7:41 am, Joe Gitchell said:

    Ted – let’s hope people pause for a moment, read, think, and remember some history.

    My post of Clive’s “Who is WHO at war with?” from earlier this week is certainly germane as an example from nicotine/smoking, and the exchange in this blog also may be of interest to folk:

    http://blogs.bmj.com/tc/2016/12/01/is-philip-morris-claim-it-wants-to-phase-out-conventional-cigarettes-credible/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=socialnetwork%27

    Joe

  4. June 04, 2017 at 7:47 am, Ted said:

    Right on the mark, Joe.