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Would You Put Eight Teaspoons of Sugar in Your Water?

Probably not, but the fact is that this and even more sugar is added to common foods, likely without your knowledge. We need meaningful sugar labeling on food packages.  Action Alert!

If someone is caught putting cocaine in a child’s snack pack, they go to jail, as it should be. Yet an entire industry has been hiding copious amounts of highly addictive, poisonous sugar in our food. It may sound outlandish, but it’s true: for years, Big Sugar has been actively working to get Americans addicted to sugar, which is more addictive than cocaine—and not just through traditionally sweet items like candy. Now, foods that masquerade as health foods—low-fat yogurt, sports drinks, and many others—are loaded with sugar, and it’s making us drug-addicted and obese. Big Sugar can get away with this in large part because they can obscure the amount of sugar in a product by listing it in grams, rather than a more relatable measurement like teaspoons.

The food industry has engineered us to crave sugar. Industry insiders all but admit that the responsibility for today’s obesity epidemic lies largely at their feet. Tremendous amounts of research and investment has gone into making foods not just tasty, but so irresistible that consumers cannot control their cravings. For example, food companies have added sweetness to foods that aren’t typically sweet: bread, pasta sauce, and yogurt are loaded with sugar. The food industry intentionally creates products with the right “bliss points” of sugar in the hope that we get addicted, continuously buying their junk. In fact, studies have found that rats prefer sugar to cocaine—even rats that are already addicted to cocaine.

Consider these examples of hidden sugar:

  • Common 20oz sports drinks contain 32 grams of sugar—or about 8 teaspoons;
  • A large, flavored coffee can contain 25 teaspoons of sugar, three times more than what is in a 12oz cola;
  • Vitamin Water contains 32 grams of sugar, or 8 teaspoons;
  • A single cup of low-fat yogurt can contain up to 47 grams of sugar, which is 12 teaspoons.

The list goes on. The point is that, most people would not add twelve teaspoons of sugar to their yogurt, let alone 25 teaspoons of sugar in their coffee. The only way you can get most people to consume that much is by obscuring the information, which is what putting it in grams on the nutrition facts label does.

It should be noted that our addiction to sugar has in part been fueled by dieticians on the take from Big Sugar. The main narrative pushed by Big Sugar is that a calorie is a calorie, and obesity is a result of “energy imbalance.” Coca-Cola funded a non-profit to pedal this idea, but the government is doing it for them, too: the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website lists “energy imbalances” first in a list of the causes of obesity. We’ve noted the crony ties between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Big Sugar in previous articles. Registered Dietitians are in on this too. The trade association for Registered Dietitians is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), an organization that lists Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Kellogg’s among their corporate sponsors and that has endorsed Kraft Singles and small cans of soda as a snack. The game is rigged when the so-called “experts” telling us what to eat accept large contributions from companies pedaling sugar.

The same is happening all over the world. A recent investigation in Australia found that Big Sugar is using general practitioners to push industry propaganda disguised as dietary advice. A “fact sheet” sent to doctors from Kellogg’s, for example, advised a diet high in carbohydrates to patients with type-2 diabetes—advice that “borders on insanity,” in the words of one physician.

Make no mistake: all of this sugar is making us fat. When we consume more sugar than we need, the excess is converted by the liver to fat, and then distributed throughout the body for storage—in most people, places like the stomach and hips. When those areas become full, fat begins to spill over into your organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys, which raises blood pressure, weakens the immune system, and decreases metabolism. (For more on this, check out our Scientific Director Dr. Rob Verkerk’s recent piece on this topic.)

There’s more. In the past we’ve covered the multitude of dangers associated with consuming sugar, but here are some highlights:

  • Most people know that sugar causes Type 2 diabetes, and that Type 2 diabetics have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s. However, study after study is demonstrating that Alzheimer’s may actually be another form of diabetes.
  • Sugardumbs you down.2012 UCLA study showed that rats fed a sugary diet had a decrease in brain energy metabolism and synaptic activity.
  • Sugar damages your heart. Recent research has found a direct, independent link between sugar overconsumption and heart disease.
  • Healthy blood sugar levels = graceful aging. A 2013 study showed that higher blood sugar levels were associated with a decrease in memory recall and learning ability. It also suggested that maintaining healthy blood sugar levels—whether or not you’re diabetic— “could prevent age-related cognitive decline.”

In light of these dangers, it is time to change how sugar is labeled on food packages. The FDA recently began revamping the nutrition facts label. It included reforms such as using larger fonts to indicate the serving size, servings per container, and caloric information, eliminating “calories from fat” since the type of fat is more important than the amount, and adding an “added sugars” line as a subsection of total sugars. These are some positive steps, but not enough—listing added sugars in grams continues to obscure the real sugar content of the food.

Action Alert! Write to Congress and tell your representatives you want sugar labeled in teaspoons rather than grams. Please send your message immediately.

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Is the HPV Vaccination Preventing Your Pregnancy?

The data say yes: yet the FDA might approve the vaccine for adults. Action Alert!

A new study shows that women aged 25-29 who received the HPV vaccine have a lower probability of becoming pregnant. This is just the latest in a stream of evidence that points to the dangers of the HPV vaccine, particularly to those already infected with the virus—yet the FDA is considering a request from Merck to expand the population to whom the vaccine can be marketed. If the request is granted, it would be another example of how the agency sells out consumers for the benefit of the vaccine industry.

In addition to the study on the HPV vaccine preventing pregnancies, the government’s vaccine adverse event reporting system (VAERS) lists a startling 57,287 adverse events from the vaccine, including 419 deaths—far more than any other vaccine. A World Health Organization study demonstrated that the vaccination has a tendency to produce clusters of serious adverse events. The American College of Pediatricians raised concerns that the vaccine could be linked to premature ovarian failure. And let’s not forget the former Merck doctor who said that Gardasil “will become the greatest medical scandal of all time,” that it “serves no other purpose than to generate profit for the manufacturer,” and, like some other vaccines, that it can cause “Guillain-Barré syndrome, paralysis of the lower limbs, vaccine-induced MS, and vaccine-induced encephalitis.”

Consider, too, that for women who have already been exposed to certain strains of the HPV virus, vaccination can actually increase the risk of precancerous lesions by 44%. That’s right: if you are already infected with HPV, getting vaccinated could increase your risk of getting cancer. To put this in perspective, 79 million Americans are infected with HPV, and about 14 million are newly infected each year, making HPV the most common sexually transmitted infection. The CDC says that “HPV is so common that almost every person who is sexually active will get HPV at some time in their life.”

Despite substantial evidence of the dangers of vaccinating for HPV, the FDA has granted a request from Merck, the manufacturer of the Gardasil vaccine, to conduct a “priority review” for an expanded application of the vaccine, so it can be given to adults aged 27-45 as well as children. Priority review, as opposed to standard review, simply means that the agency is on an accelerated timeline: priority reviews take six months, standard reviews take ten months.

Merck originally asked for the expanded application in 2008, but the FDA rejected the request and asked for more long-term data. Not much seems to have changed. Gardasil’s current label references a study on 3,000 women aged 27-45 and states there was “no statistically significant efficacy” demonstrated by the vaccine in preventing cervical cancer or cervical lesions. Instead, Merck is pinning its hopes to observational data that supposedly demonstrates that the Gardasil vaccination can protect women from acquiring new HPV infections.

Given all this evidence, the discussion should be whether the HPV vaccine should be given to anyone—certainly not if it should be given to more people. Is the government so beholden to vaccine manufacturers that they will turn a blind eye to this evidence?

If the government won’t protect our health, it is up to consumers to educate themselves. Check out our documentary, Manufactured Crisis: HPV, Hype & Horror.

Action Alerts! Write to the FDA and tell them not to expand the application for the HPV vaccine. Please send your message immediately.

State-based action alerts! Check to see if your state is below and take action to prevent HPV mandates. Please send your message immediately. 

NJ

NY

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Forced Vaccination Moves Forward in California

The state has sent a clear message: medical exemptions to vaccines will not be tolerated. State-based Action Alert!

Dr. Bob Sears, a California pediatrician, has been placed on a 35-month probation period by the state medical board for daring to write letters recommending a medical exemption for a toddler from childhood vaccinations.

Dr. Sears will still be able to practice but will be supervised by another physician. He is also required to take an ethics class and forty hours of medical education training for each year of probation. According to a Facebook post from Dr. Sears, the medical board is preparing four more similar cases against him—all for medical exemptions to vaccines.

As we reported at the time, Dr. Sears made the recommendation for a medical exemption based on the mother’s description of serious adverse reactions to previous vaccinations.

It seems clear that this case—along with the other accusations the board is preparing—is clearly intended to intimidate other doctors in the state and thereby shut down any medical vaccine exemptions, the only exemptions left under law. This case sets a legal precedent for when a medical exemption is acceptable, at a time when states are increasingly threatening to eliminate all other exemptions.

By initiating legal action for recommending medical exemptions, California is in effect banning all exemptions to vaccines. What kind of country are we living in, when parents have no choice about what gets put into their children’s bodies?

Action Alert! California residents, write to the state legislature, and tell them that the medical board is intimidating doctors who are recommending medical exemptions to vaccines, and thus eliminating all exemptions. Please send your message immediately.

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Victory for Healthcare Reform!

You spoke, they listened: a new rule means more Americans will have better choices in healthcare.

The Department of Labor recently finalized a rule that expands access to association health plans. This is the result of an executive order from President Trump aimed at promoting healthcare options in the US.

The idea behind association health plans is that small businesses and the self-employed with a common profession or interest, or those who share the same geographic location, can band together and be counted as a “large-group” (equivalent to an employer) for health insurance purposes.

As we pointed out in our previous coverage of the rule, the great advantage here is that “large-group” plans are subject to fewer mandates than under Obamacare – such as having to offer “essential health benefits.”  Large-group plans also have more leeway in setting premiums, which can be based on the health of the group (which is barred under the ACA for small-group plans).  Associations that gain large-group status could therefore offer less expensive coverage if they were made up mainly of younger, healthier members.

The final rule effectively allows association health plans to operate as an independent market, separate from the Obamacare exchanges, allowing more leeway to adjust to consumer preferences. This is an important step towards a more consumer-driven healthcare market that ANH strongly supports—although it is a step than could be reversed by the next president.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts that 400,000 people who would have been uninsured will enroll in association plans and 3.6 million people who already had coverage will move to association plans.

It remains to be seen whether the rule will stand up to legal scrutiny. New York and Massachusetts are already threatening to sue the Trump administration over the rule. But, as it stands now, plans can start being offered as soon as September 1.

Recall, too, that another final rule is in the works to lengthen the duration of short-term health plans from 90 days to a full year. These plans also do not need to adhere to Obamacare regulations.

With the failure of Congress to repeal or replace Obamacare with a consumer-driven alternative, we’re happy to see these important steps being taken to expand the healthcare options for Americans.

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