• Soft Drink Scandal - Drink Arginine Instead

    Sugar is an addictive substance.   Sugar and sweeteners, when they meet the receptors on the tongue, stimulate endocannabinoids, which prompt the brain to increase appetite.  Also, neurotransmitters move up the nerve to the brain stimulating the pleasure centres (e.g. the frontal orbital cortex showing that in some ways Coke operates like coke albeit less addictively).  Having first established that sweetened drinks made rats more hungry, Dr Michael Tordoff then in 1987 carried out a human experiment, which showed that regular soda caused an average weight gain of almost one and a half pounds in three weeks.   There is, of course, now overwhelming evidence from research that sugar, sweeteners and sweetened drinks increase obesity directly by calorific input and indirectly by increasing the appetite, but the point is that we have now known this for at least 38  years.   Sugar and  obesity  both increase the  risk of diabetes.    Obesity costs £5  billion a year in  Britain and  hastens the death of about 51,000 people.

     In addition, sugar and sweeteners are a major cause of oxidization of cholesterol in our arteries causing damage to the surface of our arteries diminishing our health and cardiovascular disease.   To quote again the wise words Professor John P. Cooke: “Cholesterol itself is not bad.  In fact, it is essential for life.   Cholesterol is a building block for all cell membranes.  It is also the precursor for sex hormones and other steroids that our bodies manufacture.   It is only when cholesterol becomes oxidized that trouble begins.” (“The Cardiovascular Cure”, page 38).  Oxidization is caused by sugar, smoking, trans fats, heated oils (not coconut), excess exercise, pollution, stress and obesity.  So sugar damages the arteries directly and indirectly by increasing obesity.   Cholesterol is not the enemy, but the innocent victim.  As present levels of cardiovascular disease demonstrate it is harmful in most cases to reduce cholesterol, especially by pushing low fat products containing sugar.  

     Why am I repeating these truisms?  Because of the recent revelations about Coca-Cola.  Last week news broke that Coke has provided financial support in nutritional research to British groups such as the British Nutrition Foundation, UK Active, the National Obesity Forum, the British Dietetic Association and the UK Association for the Study of Obesity.   Following reference to Spanish research showing that scientific papers funded by soft drink companies tended to find no link between those drinks and obesity, “The Times” of 9th October, 2015, quotes Mr Simon Chapewell, of the Faculty of Public Health, as saying, “Coca-Cola is trying to manipulate not just public opinion but policy* and political decisions. Its tactics echo those used by the tobacco and alcohol industries….It’s a conflict of interest that flies in the face of good practice.”  (*the government has recently rejected a sugar tax)  Coke spent £4.86 million on setting up the European Hydration Institute, which has funded studies and guidance actually recommending consumption of sports and soft drinks such as Coca-Cola without disclosure of the original source of funding.

    In “Salt Sugar Fat” (great on sugar, dubious on salt and wrong on saturated fat) Michael Moss reviews the colossal expenditure historically of Coca-Cola on setting up bodies such as the Coca-Cola Retailing Council, which you will be surprised to know was dedicated to advising retailers on how to maximize sales of Coca-Cola (112 et seq.).   Jeffrey Dunn (a former Coca-Cola executive, who saw the light) is quoted: “None of the players stop to think about whether people should really be eating a bag of chicken wings and a bag of potato chips and a 2-litre Coke. They’re thinking, ‘Is this going to get me an increase in sales?’”

    Having declared my interest, I hope that I shall be forgiven for pointing out the value of L-arginine in limiting and reversing the damage of oxidization and even resisting obesity:

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