Candy, soda and fast food are not driving the rising obesity trend in the US


Well here’s a headline obesity troughers wouldn’t want you to see, but it’s the latest research findings from Cornell University.

Remember here in NZ, well known obesity troughers like Professor Boyd Swinburn, Stefanie Vandevijvere, $11 million dollar woman Cliona Ni Mhurchu and those anti fizzy drink activists FIZZ all believe sugar taxes are the answer to Kiwi kids getting fatter.  

Boyd Swinburn is so concerned about this he’s travelling the world to talk to other obesity troughers about it.

But this latest research, published in Obesity Science & Practice, really throws the cat among the pigeons.

“Researchers Just and Wansink reviewed a nationally representative sample of adults in the United States and found that consumption of soda, candy and fast food is not linked to Body Mass Index (BMI) for 95% of the population. The exception is those who are on the extreme ends of the BMI spectrum: those who are chronically underweight and those who are morbidly obese. Given that there was no significant difference in consumption of these indulgent foods between overweight and healthy weight individuals, the researchers concluded that the overwhelming majority of weight problems are not caused by consumption of soda, candy and fast food alone.”

Better hold the horses, weight problems are not caused by consumption of soda, candy and fast food alone.

“This means,” explains Dr. Just, “that diets and health campaigns aimed at reducing and preventing obesity may be off track if they hinge on demonizing specific foods.” He adds, “If we want real change we need to look at the overall diet, and physical activity. Narrowly targeting junk foods is not just ineffective, it may be self-defeating as it distracts from the real underlying causes of obesity.”

What will happen now is Boyd Swinburn and other academics will now desperately seek ways to discredit this research, probably along the lines of “it was paid by industry so can’t be trusted”.

According the the authors, “no outside funds were used in the study”, so there goes that line of attack.

What this study does do is provide some sense. It also reinforces the position of Health Minister Jonathan Coleman who has told the anti-sugar troughers to get back in their box.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.