Do we really want our Nutrition advice sponsored by the Food Industry?

Sharing is caring ...Share on Facebook302Share on Google+2Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn0Email this to someoneDigg this

The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) is just like a union for dietitians. And like all unions, its priority is to represent the interests of its members. So when it starts handing out advice on what to eat we should be cautious. We should be especially cautious when that advice is funded by some of Australia’s most powerful food companies.

In Australia there is nothing to prevent anybody declaring themselves to be a dietitian (or a nutritionist). The barrier to entry is the price of a stack of business cards.

Other professions have managed to protect themselves (and their customers) by requiring qualifications and the observation of professional standards. Some professions have even managed have the barriers enforced by law (because when a lawyer or a doctor stuffs up the results can be catastrophic).

One of the primary roles of the DAA is to perform this ‘professional’ function for dietitians. It has created a certification process which produces Accredited Practising Dietitians (APD). And it has successfully lobbied to ensure that Medicare and private health fund rebates are only payable for APD services. In short their message is, make sure your dietitian is an APD.

One of the main sources of work for APDs is referrals from doctors (often just after they diagnose you with pre-diabetes and advise you to adjust your lifestyle). The nature of the work is telling people what they should eat. So a food company would be mad not to help the DAA. And help they certainly do.

The DAA’s list of corporate sponsors reads like a who’s who of the Australian food industry. Kellogg’s, Nestle, Unilever (the maker of Street’s Ice Cream and Flora margarine to name a couple of its brands), Nutricia (baby formula makers), Jalna yoghurts and the Meat and Livestock Association all feature prominently on the list of corporate ‘partners’.

That corporate support is significant. The DAA’s annual report reveals that (in 2009) advertising and sponsorship ($686,249) was the third largest source (after membership dues, $1.5m and seminar fees $833k) of revenue for the association. If the money from the food industry weren’t there, it’s likely each of the 4,100 members of the DAA would be facing considerably higher fees.

The DAA’s partners help with much more than mere cash. For example, Kellogg’s is a big supporter of the DAA’s (or is it the other way round?) National Breakfast Week, a campaign to ensure we eat breakfast (guess what features prominently). Kellogg’s also helps run the DAA Media Program, which “seeks to provide accurate nutrition and health information to the Media.”

The DAA’s policy on accepting sponsorship is that it “will not be influenced in any statements, positions or opinions by its commercial agreements.” And we would expect no less, but the same policy adds a somewhat cynical twist by saying that that DAA will take on sponsorship only where the “benefits for DAA outweigh any assessed risks.”

The fructose half of sugar is a dangerous (and addictive) addition to our diet that helps to sell many of the products made by the DAA’s corporate supporters. So what is the DAA’s position on sugar?

In May this year, a DAA press release trumpeted “Sweet truths: Eating sugar may not make you fat.” The release reported on a ‘study’ presented to DAA’s annual conference by DAA spokesperson, Dr Alan Barclay.

Dr Barclay reported that “consumption of fructose has decreased by nearly 20 per cent in Australia since the early 1970s, while overweight and obesity has doubled.” He went on to say “Much to everyone’s surprise, it looks as if, unlike in the US, sugar is not the culprit here …”

What the DAA’s press release did not say was that Dr Barclay is employed by Glycemic Index Ltd, an outfit that collects a royalty on CSR sugar sales. The DAA also neglected to mention that the sugar consumption figures presented by Dr Barclay stand in stark contrast to similar numbers maintained by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (a government department). ABARE seems to think that Australian domestic sugar consumption has more than doubled since the mid-eighties.

I suspect Dr Barclay would say his employer’s relationship with CSR doesn’t influence his view of the science about sugar. And I’m sure the DAA would say the same about all of its sponsors. But I prefer messages about the safety of sugar not to be sponsored by the folks who make billions out of selling it.

Australians don’t like people in positions of trust accepting kickbacks. We constantly worry whether drug companies are trying to influence our doctors. We demand that lawyers refuse to act on both sides of a real estate purchase. And we even get our undies in a twist at the thought of our PM accepting a dodgy ute.

We trust the DAA (and our Medicare and health insurance premiums pay its APD’s) to tell us what to eat. In that context, accepting significant payments from the food industry is a flagrant conflict of interest.

I don’t know whether the DAA just hasn’t caught up with its reading on sugar or whether the money is colouring its advice. But the existence of significant food industry sponsorship should cause all Australians to discount anything the DAA says about nutrition. And that is a disgraceful state of affairs for Australia’s “peak body of dietetic and nutrition professionals.”

Join the discussion 97 Comments

  • Luke McMahon says:

    I guess the good thing about the web is that these type of corporate shenanigans can be exposed. Pre-internet days you probably would have written a letter to the editor of a newspaper which most likely would not have been published. Keep up the good work, David.

  • Siena says:

    It is like something from ‘All the President’s Men’. To get to the real story behind the story all you have to do is “Just…follow the money”.

  • Gail says:

    Thanks for exposing this, but I’d already completely disregarded the advice of most dietitians anyway. Though all that sponsorship does explain why there is so much emphasis on processed foods in DAA recommendations.

    I hope that members of the DAA get some sort of professional indemnity insurance with their membership as I think it is only a matter of time before someone sues their dietitian for the harm they suffer from following their advice.

  • TobyH says:

    I would suggest following up on your research on the required qualifications these “UNION MEMBERS” have to have prior to obtaining APD status. Your facts and writings are loosely put together in an attempt to uphold your journalistic appeal. Keep trying my friend.

  • Ally says:

    ABARE take into account all forms of non-dietary consumption as well, eg use in petrol, as far as I can tell in the links you posted. In which specific pages in the ABARE links you provide, are the figures that show Aussies have increased their sugar intake?
    I would think that production figures and consumption data from ABARE different to dietary consumption data within Australia. As far as dietitians go, I have had amazingly positive experience and have only good things to say about them. I think you’ll find that APDs operate independently of their association and don’t trot out the same old tired info that corporates do. At least mine was very independent – just her degrees on the wall, no union poster! I’d appreciate the specific page links for the dietary sugar intake in Australia – you must have them to hand so it shouldn’t be too hard to find the link. Thanks.

  • Sarah says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Sarah says:

    What an absolutely ridiculous artcile. Dietitian’s work very hard for their qualifications, and must complete supervised practical experience before becoming qualified. All in all, at least a 4 year experience, can be 5-6 years if you are postgraduate. On top of this, to remain an APD involves alot of professional development every year. Sponsorship, while it may seem unfavourable, it neccesary in order for many organisations to survive. Questioning the validity of advice by dietitians is completely unprofessional, I wonder about the health status of the author? As another comment says, keep trying mate.

  • Aly123 says:

    Comment deleted David… Is this because you were out staged or could not handle the truth? Instead of deleting such comments wouldn’t it be better to comment back on them, or did you not have any hard evidence to prove it wrong? It would be nice if you could please leave ALL comments so everyone can voice there opinion… and if you disagree… please feel free to comment back. Disheartened…

  • Aly123 – the comment was deleted by the comment author not by me. I have no idea what it said. I never delete comments.

    Cheers
    David.

  • rachey rae says:

    Although I respect you are entitled to voice your concerns and beliefs about the DAA I don’t believe you have the right to speak for all Australians.

    “In Australia there is nothing to prevent anybody declaring themselves to be a dietitian”. Incorrect to become a dietitian you have to complete a four year University degree ‘Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics’. Then to follow on from that to become an APD u have to have a year of continuing education with a mentor with an APD credential

    The DAA have not tried to hide or mislead the general public about whom their corporate sponsors are in fact their is a page on their website which provides all the information you need about the sponsors. As for DAA’s National breakfast week well Kellogg’s supported the DAA 10 years before the National breakfast week commenced.

    AstraZeneca a multibillion dollar drug company sponsored national breast cancer week. So should we now all stop donating and supporting the breast cancer foundation?

    Drug companies pay for medical research, in fact pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies invested a record $65.3 billion last year in the research and development of new life-changing medicines and vaccines. Should we now disregard any information provided to us by any health professional?

    Reality is without the corporate sponsorships that we are so quick to label ‘unethical’ there would simply be no funding for the health industry.

  • Ally – There is clearly a difference between availability and consumption. Wastage comes into play, however the data I linked to was for sugar availability only (it did not include ethanol). So subject to wastage it should at least indicate the trend for consumption.

    In Australia we have no recent data on what we actually put in our mouths. The last comprehensive survey was done in 1995 (see http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/CA25687100069892CA25688900268A6D/$File/48050_1995.pdf ).

    Loss factors are difficult to estimate for foods that are packaged and well preserved (as are most foods containing sugar).

    I think it is reasonable (and extremely conservative) to assume that 30% of production (the number used by the USDA for similar calculations in the US) is lost to waste for sugar containing products.

    But whatever figure you use to discount it, the trend evident in the ABARE data is undeniable. Total sugar production for domestic use was 600-700 kilotonnes in the eighties and 1,200-1400 kilotonnes in the last decade.

    To that we need to add dried fruit, fruit juice, honey and other (non-sugar) sweetener consumption.

    There is no hard Australian data on these numbers but there are equivalent US numbers (http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/FoodConsumption/app/reports/displayCommodities.aspx?reportName=Individual+fruit&id=4#startForm).

    To that we’d also have to add concentrated [usually apple] fruit juice (used increasingly as sugar substitute but for which there is no public Australian data – but see http://www.fas.usda.gov/htp/horticulture/Apple%20Juice/Apple%20Juice%20Feature%20May%202005.pdf for US growth data).

    Cheers
    David.

  • Simone says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Simone says:

    David – As stated in previous posts you, like all other Australians, are entitled to your opinion.
    However you are misinformed. Questioning the validity of advice provided by trained health professionals is unfair. To carry the APD credential a Dietitian must have completed an accredited university course (minimum 4 years full time-study); actively participate in a continuing professional development and mentoring progam to ensure ongoing learning and development; and must abide by the DAA’s code of ethics and statement of practice. In addition to this they have completed supervised practical training. Dietitians are highly qualified to provide clients with individualised, evidence-based information, that considers the MULTIPLE determinants of health. It is naive to believe that avoidance of sugar is the sole factor in resolving the current health problems that face our nation. Get your facts straight!

  • pandora says:

    David, I notice you make this comment on one of your forums….

    “You may possibly have noticed the advertisements that appear all over these forums Smile. Rest assured they have nothing to do with me and I don’t endorese anything you may see in those ads … They are just the price I pay for having a ‘free’ forum. If a few hundred thousand more people buy Sweet Poison, I’ll pay the fee and get rid of them”

    Why is it ok for you, but not for others? Corporate sponsorship of dietitians is not reason enough to make lawyers experts in nutrition!!

  • peter says:

    I would conclude that it is you who are trying to justify your own personal skewed views by trying to undermine the professionals who are actually trained and qualified to pass comment and advice in this field.

    Do you really think that you are doing the mass a favour by degrading those professionals who should be the only ones who are trusted to advise the nation? what is it you have to gain by this? Could it be that your arguments are not evidence based and are based on many inaccuracies? Perhaps because you are not qualified in the field and feel threatened by those who are?

    I guess at the end of the day you are trying to make money for yourself and if it becomes widely known that your stance in not based on good science then you may not make as much as you want to. Therefore you must degrade those who know.

  • David, I am confused. You state that fructose is a “dangerous and addictive part of sugar”. Yet fructose, otherwise known as “fruit sugar” is a monosaccharide found in fruit and some vegetables. Do you know what a monosaccharide is David? As a dietitian, who is required to complete a minimum of three years university training by a fully accredited university, and then continue to meet professional development standards year after year, I can tell you that this is a basic term in dietetics. Are you encouraging all Australians to stop eating fruit and vegetables David? Afterall, fructose, according to you, is a dangerous and addictive substance….

  • Tim says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Tim says:

    David – just take a second to look at the apparent consumption of sugar in Australia tracked back to 1938 from link following (or search for publication 4306.0 from ABS wesbsite – all well before the obesity problem started and completely backs up the data presented by Alan Barclay at DAA conference that shows if anything, we are consuming less fructose now than decades before.

    http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/0/123FCDBF086C4DAACA2568A90013939A?OpenDocument

  • Lane says:

    Go back to your day job, Mt Gillespie – which involves ZERO education on food and nutrition!

  • Ktrna says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Tim,

    Comparing the two sets of data (ABARE and ABS) is an interesting exercise. But they aren’t as different as they at first appear.

    ABS discounts the availability figures used by ABARE to allow for wastage and non-food use. The discount appears to vary from year to year but it seems to be between 10% and 15% for most years. The only significant variations appeared to be 1996-97 and 1998-99 when it was 27% and 21% respectively.

    So taking into account a (variable but largely similar) rate of discount I think we can say the figures are roughly the same. The real problem with the ABS data is that it is point in time.

    Sugar availability varies very significantly from year to year. The ABS data tries to adjust for this by taking 3 year averages at the end of each decade, but it is only when you include every year that the picture is clear (because in some instances the ABS data is comparing an unusual peak with an unusual trough).

    The other limitation with the ABS data is that it finishes in 1999, just after a significant plateau (raw production was 800-1,000 kt for 5 yrs and just before a very significant spike (it jumped to 1,317 kt the next year).

    The ABARE data is yearly from 1962. When you plot that highly variable data and add a best fit trend line things become much clearer. I’ve plotted the ABARE data here http://www.howmuchsugar.com/Resources/Pictures/abare.jpg

    Cheers
    David.

  • sharon says:

    My questions to you David:
    1. Did you study human nutrition at university?
    2. Were you eating a healthy, balanced diet, exercising every day, getting enough sleep every night & actively reducing your stress levels before you cut fructose out of your diet? Is that really the ONLY variable which changed?
    3. Is there more money to be made writing diet books than practising law?
    4. “Do we really want our nutrition advice from a former lawyer who is trying to sell a memoir of his weight loss journey?”

  • Sarah says:

    I notice you have yet to reply to sharons comment David. Does it perhaps involve far too much common sense for you to handle?

  • Sarah,

    I don’t usually answer rhetorical questions but since you asked:

    1. No
    2. Yes
    3. No
    4. We need our nutrition advice to be evidence based (whoever is giving it).

    Cheers
    David.

  • rachey rae says:

    David,
    Your own personal weight loss journey is hardly what you would call evidence based information.

  • rachey rae says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • sharon says:

    David, my questions may have been somewhat cynical, but they certainly weren’t rhetorical. Anyone presenting as evidence an opinion which is different to that of the vast majority of scholars in a field should be prepared to defend their position and show proof. As such, I have a few more questions for you:
    1. Would you be prepared to give us a diet history from the period prior to removing fructose from your diet?
    2. Does your fructose free diet provide you with all of the nutrients you require for good health as outlined in the NH&MRC’s evidence based Nutrient Reference Values document? Have you had this analysed by an expert?
    3. Are you able to provide a complete list of the references you have drawn your conclusions from, as I have been unable to locate this on your website or in either of your books?
    Also, a comment: As an APD I recommend that most people should choose foods low in added sugars and I took personal offence to the apparent implication in your original post that APD’s are complicit in encouraging Australian’s to eat more sugar!

  • The DAA has published a response to this blog post. So I thought people commenting on this thread might like to see it. Its is available on this link: http://www.howmuchsugar.com/Resources/Documents/DAA.pdf

    Cheers
    David.

  • Sharon,

    Riveting though my dietary habits undoubtedly are, I doubt that a detailed case study of one would convince you (or anyone else) of anything.

    Far more convincing are the 3,500+ studies on the damage being done by fructose. Obviously I don’t list them all in the books but I do reference the major ones in the text or in the notes section on each chapter. And every time I mention a study on this blog you will find a link to the source study.

    I reckon a good place to start your reading about fructose (because it gives a reasonable summary) is the editorial from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition linked in the blog post above (on the word ‘dangerous’).

    Cheers
    David.

  • sharon says:

    It seems that I have been censored – I have replied to David’s latest comment to me – twice – and I have the emails to prove it – but it disappears without trace from the comments list.

    If you can’t take the heat David – get out of the kitchen!

  • sharon says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Sharon,

    I’ve already explained once on this thread that I do not moderate the comments. If I really was doing that why would I leave the comment where you complain about me deleting comments?

    If you are having problems you can always email your comment to me and I’ll post it for you.

    Cheers
    David.

  • Lane says:

    David,

    There are many of us out there that are genuinely interested in this list of 3500+ studies you claim are so convincing about the “damage being done by fructose”, rather than the select few that you choose to reference.

    To quote you: “We need our nutrition advice to be evidence based (whoever is giving it).” Well then, show us the evidence!. Anecdotal evidence does not qualify as “evidence based practice”. Have you ever been taught to identify reliable and valid research or confounding factors in research?

    Several years ago, research found that mushrooms contained vitamin B12, and were subsequently promoted as “meat for vegetarians”, as B12 is not found without some animal based origin. It was later found through further research that the B12 came from the manure the mushrooms were grown in.

    I’m sure if you publicly announced these 3500+ studies you claim back you up, we would all clearly see the “manure” holding your argument together.

  • sharon says:

    ….continued

    Please don’t misunderstand me; whilst I agree with you that Australians generally consume too much added sugar, I also know that the increase in the incidence and rate of obesity in Australia is multi-factorial and focusing on a single factor doesn’t actually solve the overall problem. However, your singular solution may well be part of the complicated web.

    In your original post you have disparaged a group of well educated, hard working health professionals who are actively working to improve the eating habits of Australians as part of the complicated web of improving their health. I don’t see how your attack of APDs helps Australians become healthier and the cynic in me can’t help but feel that it is in your interests alone to portray APDs as uneducated and ill-informed.

    Once again, does your current diet provide you with all of the nutrients you require for good health as outlined in the NH&MRC’s evidence based Nutrient Reference Values document?

  • sharon says:

    I have attempted to post this 5 times now:

    David, it seems that you don’t understand what many APDs do on a daily basis; which is analyse an individual’s diet and assess the relationship between their diet and their health/illness and make recommendations on changes which can be made to the diet to improve the individual’s health/illness. A detailed diet history is absolutely essential in providing nutrition care to an individual who is 40+ kg overweight to determine what dietary factors may be contributing to the overweight. An APD would also take detailed social, biochemical and clinical histories as well.

    Are all 3500+ studies listed on your website? If they are not, how do we know that the number you have quoted is correct? How do we know that they all provide supporting evidence? Peer reviewed research must include a list of all references and I think that if you are genuine in your quest to alert the world to the dangers of fructose then you should provide a publicly accessible list of the complete references which guided your opinion.

    continues….

  • sharon says:

    David, it seems that you don’t understand what many APDs do on a daily basis; which is analyse an individual’s diet and assess the relationship between their diet and their health/illness and make recommendations on changes which can be made to the diet to improve the individual’s health/illness. A detailed diet history is absolutely essential in providing nutrition care to an individual who is 40+ kg overweight to determine what dietary factors may be contributing to the overweight. An APD would also take detailed social, biochemical and clinical histories as well.

    Are all 3500+ studies listed on your website? If they are not, how do we know that the number you have quoted is correct? How do we know that they all provide supporting evidence? Peer reviewed research must include a list of all references and I think that if you are genuine in your quest to alert the world to the dangers of fructose then you should provide a publicly accessible list of the complete references which guided your opinion.

    continues….

  • tegan.dalla says:

    David – firstly I would like to congratulate you on your successful weight loss. It is wonderful to see you have kept the weight off – as it seems you have a passionate cause driving you here! But I think it is unethical of you to purport your personal weightloss journey as evidence-based practice. As the other comments show, you are clearly lacking the wealth of the literature you claim backs up your ideas. David, do you have any training in analysing studies published in the literature? Do you realise that something published in the ‘editorial’ section of the AJCN are hardly Level One evidence?

    Regardless of whether your views on the ‘fructose poison’ are true or not these same trained health professionals you are so quick to put into disrepute are not going to change their advice to thousands of Australians without thorough evidence. If you are so passionate about this cause I suggest you apply to the NHMRC for a grant to conduct a supervised, controlled trial to prove your theories. Contact a statistician to find out how many RCT you need to include to get statistical significance to prove that fructose is causing the cancer/heart disease/diabetes etc you claim it is. Try to publish you findings if they show no relationship at all, then you will get a feel for the publication bias that occurs in world-wide jourrnals. And then, only then, perhaps all those trained experts in nutrition will take you as something other than a lawyer pretending to be a nutritionist.

  • Peta says:

    Fellow colleagues including doctors, surgeons and other health staff frequently enjoy your comments which we take great delight in posting on our staff noticeboards.
    Thank you for the entertainment! We hope you do not take yourself too seriously because certainly no one with half a brain does.
    You are an embarrassment to your profession and the butt of all jokes in the health and medical fields.
    Thanks again for the laughs!

  • Dr. Emil says:

    Fellow colleagues including doctors, surgeons and other health staff please do not take Peta seriously because certainly no one with half a brain does. Unfortunately for the medical profession as a whole there are people like Peta who are an embarrassment to medical profession.

    I can’t speak for the whole medical profession but I can say as a Doctor that I not only respect the work that dieticians do I also appreciate the fact that I am far to busy to be able to give every patient the time and advice they need on nutrition. Obviously the nurses are far to busy as well, I mean if they were spending their time giving nutritional advice to patient how would post jokes on the notice boards.

  • sharon says:

    Dr Emil, on behalf of the dietitians here I would like to thank you for your support, however I think Peta was referring to David Gillespie not dietitians.

    Also, out of respect for the specialised education of other health professionals, I would never offer advice on an area outside my training. As such, I would suggest that the best nutrition advice that doctors and nurses can give to their patients is a referral to an APD.

    Again, thanks for your support 🙂

  • mandy says:

    The editorial in the Am J Clin Nutr referred to (and much of the other evidence concerning ‘frutose’) relates to High Fructose Corn Syrup not fructose per se. Obesity etc. rates have risen alongside the consumption of HFCS. HFCS is not a major sweetner in Aust, unlike the US (whose SCHOOLS are sponsored by Cooa Cola and Pepsi). You should focus on the US government if you want to change the world but you obviously see dietitians as a soft target.

  • Jimmy says:

    David,

    I am not sure whether you have been able to access this or not, but Dr Alan Barclay has prepared a clear rebuttal of your incorrect calculations based on the ABARE data. You can find it here http://www.mediafire.com/?ldi3sk6hjiw8953

    Hope this would make you rethink before you start arguing based on the ABARE data again.

  • Paul says:

    42 comments !

    Thanks Jimmy for the link it was an interesting read.

    Dr Barclay’s point seems to be that, accepting that his calculations are correct, because fructose consumption in Australia has not increased since the 1960’s it does not have a significant role to play in the increase in obesity during that period.

    As a matter of logic that does not follow.

    It is quite possible that the 1960’s level of consumption was sufficient to make a significant contribution to obesity and that the problem of obesity has been compounded by additional factors.

    What I have in mind is the mantra from the medical community from the mid 1970’s until relatively recently that lots of complex grain carbs were the way to go and we should be obsessed about eliminating fats and meat from our diet. In response the food industry developed many sugar and carbohydrate based fat substitutes. The quantity of the fructose may not be the critical factor. It may be that the sweetness of fructose encourages the consumption of large quantities of high GI carbs.

    Thus a decline or plateau in the consumption of fructose may not tell the full story.

    The Glycemic Index foundation books which I enjoy, apart from their uncritical and largely shallow treatment of the metabolism of fructose, are to a large extent an account of the misconceptions of the men of science in the quite recent past.

    One of the revelations of the GI movement is that ‘complex’ carbs can have a serious negative impact and that many fats are in fact good not evil.

    Dr Barclay’s arrogant tone when responding to a non-scientist questioning received wisdom is quite remarkable.

    I assume he uses the same tone with all the doctors and dietitians who were (and in many cases still are) sprouting the High Carb No Fat mantra from the 1970’s.

    It is worth keeping in mind that up until the last 100 years the consumption of fructose was largely limited to small amounts in fresh fruit and vegetables and some honey.

    The high levels of consumption (even the 1960’s figures) of industrial fructose – fruit juice, cane sugar and its derivatives – are something that any reputable man of science would take seriously and not dismiss out of hand as Dr Barclay does. (see page 180 of the current edition of The Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes handbook)

    Research into fructose is a rapidly growing field of investigation by many scientist’s around the globe.

    I welcome David’s efforts to keep the public informed both of that research and the reluctance of many organisations to keep an open mind when that research conflicts with their established positions.

    I find Dr Barlcay’s tone disturbing.

  • Jimmy says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for your interesting comments RE: Dr Barclay’s response.

    Dr Barclay’s tone aside, the point I wanted to make is that what David’s using to back his claim fructose is the SOLE cause(or at least the major cause as I gathered) is based on INCORRECT calculations. So until he can show us some new data/evidence backing his claim, I believe he shouldn’t be saying so surely that his claim is definitely true/correct.

  • Renee says:

    David I would like to put forward my support for your criticisms of DAA, well done for putting it out there that food companies should not support health industries (I feel the same way about drug companies and Doctors).
    It doesn’t negate every piece of advice given by them but it certainly does add some tarnish.
    I’d like to make it known that I am qualified as a dietitian but haven’t worked in the industry for some years. The main reasons I wont be returning to the industry are due to my issues with their corporate sponsorship and their alliance with completely unethical food companies.
    For those of you that don’t know, there is an international boycott call on Nestle, for reasons including:
    “The world’s largest food company, proudly proclaims “good food, good life”. Nestle has been the target of strong international criticism for its aggressive marketing of infant formula in developing countries with scarce drinkable water, leading to infant deaths (despite 10 year ban by the World Health Organisation).
    Other criticisms: As one of the top four water bottling companies in the world, Nestle has been criticised for contributing to the problem of plastic waste and usurping water that should remain a shared resource. As one of the world’s largest chocolate producers, Nestle has been criticised for contributing to child and forced labor problems in cocoa-growing nations”.
    You can check out more at http://www.ethical.org.au/getinformed/boycott-call/
    I wont even buy Nestle, Kelloggs or Unilever products due to their appalling social and environmental standards and I certainly wont allign myself with an industry that supports these products.
    Sorry for going off topic, I just wanted to point out that there is more to the corporate sponsorship picture. Ultimately whether or not I believe that sugar is the enemy, there are many other reasons DAA should be criticised for these “patrnerships”.
    For all you dietitians who are blindly following the science that has been presented to you (often funded by the abovementioned unethical food companies) how about you use those scientific minds to examine the other side of the coin which has some pretty convincing evidence on its side aswell, if only you could open your minds to really looking into it…

  • Jimmy says:

    While he is quick to try to attack on others’ ‘mistakes’, I am yet to see David admits his own and corrects it.

  • To see a summary of the worst errors (but not all the errors) in David Gillespie’s book ‘Sweet Poison’, go to:

    http://www.skeptics.com.au

    and click on ‘David Gillespie’s errors: a summary’.

    As mentioned by many others in comments on his blog, David Gillespie is not a reliable source of information on the effects of dietary fructose on human health.

  • Renee3 says:

    I personally think ‘somewhere in the middle lies the truth’.
    Both parties are making unsubstantiated claims, if anyone else like me is sitting on the fence and cares to see both sides.
    Chris you make a good argument, however when you stated that despite similar intakes of fructose: “according to Pollan: “… rates of diseases like cancer and type 2 diabetes are
    considerably higher today than they were in 1900”. We are also unaware of reports
    of major epidemics of obesity or heart disease in England in the late 19th/early 20th
    centuries.”
    I would suggest the reason chronic diseases were not as prevalent was simply because people didn’t live long enough to contract them. Major epidemics such as tuberculosis and other diseases killed people well before they were old enough to develop heart disease and let’s not forget world war one wiped out most of the population of men in their prime. For instance, life expectancy for males in 1900 was only 46.4 years, and 50.1 years for females. Hardly the prime ages for heart disease regardless of diet. (Reference: http://www.ajcn.org/content/55/6/1196S.full.pdf)

  • Chris has also said similar things in the current issue of the Australian Skeptic’s Magazine and I have responded in the same issue. For those interested in such things, here’s a copy of Chris’s piece, my response and some feedback from readers of the magazine (in response to an earlier exchange):

    http://sweetpoison.com.au/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/SkepMag_Forum_Sep10-1.pdf

    Cheers
    David.

  • Renee suggests that ‘the reason chronic diseases were not as prevalent (around 1900) was simply because people didn’t live long enough to contract them’.

    But many people did live long enough to contract them. The reason for the relatively low life expectancies around 1900 was that many people died when very young, not because ‘everyone’ died at around 46 years of age.

    If David Gillespie is correct that high intakes of fructose inevitably lead to obesity, then obesity (and its sequelae such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes) should have been prevalent in the UK more than a hundred years ago, when sugar intake was about the same as it is today. There is no evidence that obesity and related diseases were even considered a minor problem (let alone full-blown epidemics) in the UK at that time. This is completely inconsistent with David’s claims.

    As I have mentioned many times and in many forums, David’s claims about fructose and human health are not soundly based on the scientific evidence.

    This does not mean that consumption of large quantities of sugar is likely to be harmless. On the contrary, many (perhaps most) Australians probably eat excessive quantities of sugar and would do well to follow the Australian dietary guideline to ‘eat only moderate amounts of sugar and foods containing added sugars’.

  • Renee3 says:

    Hi Chris,
    I understand your frustration at needing some decent scientific evidence, I, too, have a science degree (nutrition and food science), HOWEVER, I honestly think science has somewhat failed us for the past 20 years (or more) with regards to nutrition. People like David are merely highlighting that we need to challenge our longheld beliefs.
    Let me clarify, if we take a look at “Nutrient intakes in Australia, 1980s and 1995” they look like this:

    Adults (25–64yrs)
    Nutrient Direction Extent of change
    Energy Increased Males 3%; females 4%
    Protein Unchanged
    Carbohydrate Increased Males 17%; females16%
    Fat Decreased Males 6%; females 4%
    Cholesterol Decreased Males 14%; females 22%
    Fibre Increased Males 13%; females 10%
    Calcium Increased Males 18%; females 14%
    Vitamin C Decreased Males 8%
    (NHMRC Dietary Guidelines for Australian Adults)

    Then if we look at trends in heart disease:
    “While the death rate from cardiovascular disease has declined, its prevalence in the population has increased. According to results from three successive national health surveys, prevalence has risen from 8% (1.1 million) in 1977-78 to 17% (2.2 million) in 1989-90 and to 21% (2.8 million) in 1995 (ABS 1995).”

    Thus, although we are eating less fat and cholesterol (what all the scientific studies told us to do) it has not improved our rates of cardiovascular disease AT ALL.

    How can we keep blindly following this science? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not abandoning science, I just think its really worth looking at things with much more of an open mind. Are dietitians really helping people with the nutrition advice currently given? That is a genuine question, not a dig. IMO this topic really needs robust debate and it needs it from MANY sources, David included, and in fact anyone who is capable of using their brains to examine the evidence that what we have been telling people to do for the past 3 decades IS NOT WORKING, if our goal has been to improve public health.
    I know I’m off track with the fructose argument but all I’ve wanted to do is just highlight that it is not a bad thng that someone has come in to challenge current beliefs…maybe we are not as ‘right’ as we thought we were. The science might add up with regards to our dietary advice, but the results have sure been average. Can David really do any worse?

  • Jimmy says:

    David I thought you weren’t reading this anymore! I’m still waiting for your response on your incorrect utilization of the ABARE data…

  • Renee asked if David’s advice can be any worse than the Dietary Guidelines for Australians (published by the National Health and Medical Research Council?)

    The short answer is ‘yes’. Unlike the NHMRC’s guidelines, David’s advice is not science-based, and it doesn’t address the adverse effects on health of the excessive intakes of salt, saturated fat and alcohol that prevail in Australia (and in other developed nations).

    Very few people adhere to even half the dietary guidelines, and probably about the same number engage in anywhere near the recommended levels of physical activity. Perhaps this helps to explain the apparent ‘failure’ of the guidelines–most people simply aren’t heeding them.

    Putting forward contrary, non-science-based advice (as David does) is not a suitable alternative to following the guidelines on dietary intake and activity.

    The dietary guidelines are undergoing revision at present, by the way. I will be interested to see what changes the NHMRC (Australia’s peak health body) makes to its advice.

    However, I’m prepared to bet any amount of money that, after conducting an exhaustive review of the scientific evidence (by people who are actually capable of understanding it) the NHMRC will not recommend complete avoidance of fructose.

    Any takers?

  • Jane J says:

    Hi Sarah
    I think the most part in which has brought fuel to the fire is not so much the fact David is expressing his opinion about sugar-related obesity (and not using scientific evidence), but the fact that he has undermined and attacked a whole body of professionals in doing so. It seems that David is happy his name is becoming more popular, even at the cost of degrading others. I am a lot younger than David with a lot less life experiences, but I know that they way to reach the top is not by stepping on others to get there. I would never try to tear someone else down just so I could prove a point. But that’s just me, maybe at 25 years of age I have a lot more respect and morality than some others. I am a Dietitian in training and I too agree with Nestle causing more harm than good. The use of palm oil being taken from beautiful rainforests greatly upsets me and I do not support this and many other issues you raised. I am not one to promote ANY specific brands unless it is absolutely necessary. If a client is unable to read labels in order for low salt/sugar products etc then I will suggest a few brands and ultimately leave the decision up to the client. I pursued this career in order to help people through fitness and good nutrition. Although I do not agree with Nestle and the sponsorship they and many others provide to the DAA, I will not let that stop me from wanting to help people become healthier and happier and changing their lives for the better. I am sure we all have the same goal in mind; it’s just the actions we take to reaching our goals that is most surprising!

  • John says:

    Well, that blog really did set the cat among the pigeons, eh! I’m reminded of the famous line from Macbeth “Methinks the lady doth protest too much”.

    The vehemence with the DAA folk attack David’s assertions smacks more of defence of their own positions that unemotive enquiry into the truth of the matter.

    The Skeptics article and Barclay’s aggreaaive one may highlight David Gillepsie’s human fallibility in some areas of fact but do not, to my mind, invalidate his evidence-based conclusions.

    They also exhibit a lot of “Invalid Argument #1” – ad hominem. Attack the man not the argument.

  • Steven Shaw says:

    You really hit a nerve there David! I tend to agree with John above. Keep up the good work.

  • anna says:

    Great post! I am furious by the DAA’s food recommendations but it all makes sense that we are encouraged to eat 5 serves of Coco Pops and 2.5 servings of junk food each day. Currently looking for more info to expose them and will be sharing this post with my clients. Cheers

  • Rachel says:

    Let’s just pretend for a moment that David’s citations are not true or credible and that instead we followed the food pyramid and/or ate only unrefined food such as plenty of vegetables, a piece or two of fruit per day, wholegrains, moderate amounts of meat, eggs, nuts and good oils, and a bit of dairy, what POSSIBLE negative outcome could there be of eating the foods that our ancestors ate?

    Because isn’t that basically what David is going? Encouraging consumers to cut out sugar and white flour (refined foods), which leaves only nutrious and healthy foods available? Why would anyone argue against that?

    Basically, cut out all the crap. Don’t be afraid of good fats (like in milk and avocado). Avoid processed foods that more that 5 grams of sugar per 100g as well as saturated fats.

    Listen to your body and NOURISH it. You are what you eat. I don’t understand why any dietician would flail their arms about at the suggestion that you cut out sugar. It’s becoming clearer every day that sugar isn’t as sweet as it’s made out to be.

  • Rachel wrote:

    ‘… what POSSIBLE negative outcome could there be of eating the foods that our ancestors ate?

    ‘Because isn’t that basically what David is going?’

    Assuming that you meant ‘… isn’t that basically what David is doing’, the short answer is ‘no’ (and an emphatic no at that).

    Our ancestors ate a diet that contained very little saturated fat or salt, no alcohol (or milk, coffee, tea, drinking chocolate and so on)–water was the only drink available until about ten thousand years ago.

    David’s advice that you can eat anything you want so long as it doesn’t contain fructose (other than two serves of fruit per day) allows people to eat as much fatty meat, potato chips, corn chips and other salty snacks as they like; to drink alcohol until it is coming out of their ears; and to eat any amount of full-fat yogurt (with no added sugar) and cream (among many other foods of low nutritional value our remote ancestors did not have access to).

    He also states in his appalling book ‘Sweet Poison’ that you don’t need to engage in exercise if your aim is to lose weight; let a lack of fructose do that.

    Try a PubMed search for ‘David Gillespie and fructose’. Unsurprisingly, you won’t find any references to his writing, because his ideas are unpublishable in the peer-reviewed literature.

    To put it bluntly, he is an embarrassment to his profession (which is law, not nutrition).

  • ozman says:

    Chris – I have now been virtually added sugar free for over 12 months. I have lost over 12kg of weight; believe me, it wasn’t exercise that took it off. And I now have just taken up exercising, because with the weight off, I feel like exercising.

    I should note that even though Mr Gillespie says you can pretty well eat what you like when you don’t eat added fructose, I have now no reason to overindulge. The reason for this is that my body tells me that I’m full.

    While I’m discussing the topic, if you wish to negate anything that Mr Gillespie states re Fructose because he is not a scientist, then I’d like to hear your views on the theories of Dr Robert Lustig, because he also holds that fructose is a chronic poison.

  • Ozman wrote: ‘…if you wish to negate anything that Mr Gillespie states re Fructose because he is not a scientist, then I’d like to hear your views on the theories of Dr Robert Lustig, because he also holds that fructose is a chronic poison.’

    I have a lot more respect for Robert Lustig than I do for David Gillespie (for whom I have no respect). However, I don’t believe that fructose is a toxin at any dose (and I’m not sure that Lustig does either). Certainly, there isn’t an international or national health authority that believes this. As examples, the World Health Organisation recommends keeping consumption of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake; the American Heart Association recommends ~5% maximum of energy from added sugars, and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council’s draft dietary guideline on sugar is to ‘Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added sugars. In particular, limit sugar-sweetened drinks.’ None of these authorities recommend avoiding fructose completely.
    However, I do believe that in large doses (with the emphasis on ‘large’) fructose is very likely harmful to health.
    My main problem with David is that he has grossly misinterpreted the evidence (and in some cases falsified it) to concoct a trumped up ‘case for the prosecution’ against fructose as the sole cause of the epidemics of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
    I’ve written elsewhere (see for example comments on his blog entry ‘Attack of the Chocolatier’) about his many errors and misinterpretations of the scientific evidence. You may also like to read my open letter to David on behalf of the Nutritionists Network (‘Nut-Net’). It is available through the Australian Skeptics site: http://www.skeptics.com.au/
    Enter ‘Chris Forbes-Ewan’ in the Search field and follow the prompts to the open letter.
    I think his greatest ‘howler’ (among many) is that despite claiming to have accessed 3500 references to write a book on the effects of fructose consumption on human health, he somehow managed to miss all the references on the effects of fructose on human health that were published after 1985! (His Ockham’s Razor program includes ‘…no-one had been game to try (fructose feeding) on humans ever since some researchers almost killed a few of their trial participants in the early ‘80s.’ Not only is he woefully incorrect in his assertion that there were no more human studies (there have been scores of them since the early 1980s), his claimed reason for his (erroneous) belief that there were no more studies is itself dead wrong (if you’ll forgive the pun). In their paper, (ref. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1985; 42:242-251) the researchers state clearly that there was a ‘lack of relationship between the onset of the abnormalities and the type of dietary carbohydrate consumed’ (fructose vs starch).
    David Gillespie is completely unreliable as a source of information on the effects of fructose on human health.

  • Frank says:

    David’s book is a “masterstroke” in attempting to stimulate research into long held beliefs concerning nutrition. It appears that he has beaten a host of professional nutritionists to the punch in doing this. Perhaps this is what science needs at present..a gentle jolt to re-think not only fructose, but all aspects across the board.For the professionals of this world, my advice is to keep your minds off just knocking this guy because there may be “so-called” flaws in his evidence, and promote more research.I can name one experiment that lends credence to David’s theory,conducted here in Australia on our doorstep. This was published in the American Physiological Society on Aug. 2011,and accepted on Dec 2nd 2011.The work was a combined effort between the well respected Baker IDI and the University of Melbourne. The upshot of this work can be summarised in the last sentence of the transcript and I quote:These findings demonstrate that fructose diet-associated myocardial insulin resistance induces profound disturbance of cardiomyocyte Ca2+ handling and responsiveness, in the absence of altered systemic loading conditions.Now the professionals who may read this will protest vehemently and say…”but the experiment was only conducted on mice”. So be it, it is yet another prompt for science to move further now that this has been done.I have to say this forum is nothing short of brilliant, fostering really fertile debate on a real health problem, obesity. Keep discussing people, it all adds to pushing along more research!

  • Far from being being ‘a masterstroke’, David’s book ‘Sweet Poison’ is of no value to the ongoing scientific debate about the effects of added fructose on human health.
    In fact, outside Australia it is unlikely that any nutritionists have even heard of him and his over-the-top ideas. This is because he has never been published in the open scientific literature. (The reason for this should be obvious–his writings about fructose would not pass the peer review process.)
    And in Australia he is regarded with derision by every professional nutritionist I know who is familiar with his ideas.
    The only people who accept that he has something useful to say are those members of the general public he has managed to fool with his clever quackery.

  • Frank says:

    All I can say is, there is a fair amount of jealousy of David being portrayed here by responses like that. I can only point to Uni of Melb & Baker IDI who are moving in the same direction as David. I have now had my say, no need to go any further.No more comments from me, just to say well done David!

  • I’m not sure how you infer ‘jealousy’ from my previous comment. Why would I be jealous of someone who has no qualifications in nutrition, no relevant professional experience, who is unable (or perhaps unwilling) to accurately interpret the scientific literature, and who is either ignored, despised or laughed at by every professional nutritionist I know?

    You say that the Uni of Melbourne and Baker IDI are ‘moving in the same direction as David’. You mention a paper that ‘was published in the American Physiological Society on Aug. 2011’. I went to the Aug 11 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology and couldn’t find the paper. Was it published elsewhere? Even though I haven’t seen the paper, I don’t doubt that the researchers were conducting science-based studies on the effects of HIGH intakes of fructose. As I’ve mentioned previously, high intakes of added fructose are usually associated with harmful effects, in both animals and humans. One of the many mistakes David makes is to assume that because high intakes are dangerous, therefore low intakes must also be dangerous. It has been known at least since the time of Paracelsus (approx. 500 years ago) that there are no such things as poisons, only poisonous doses. That is, added fructose is very likely toxic in high doses, and very likely safe in small doses.

    However, I agree with you that David does deserve congratulations: he has managed to fool you and tens of thousands of other gullible people into believing his quackery and parting with good money to read his non-science-based ideas. He is one of the more successful quacks in the rich history of nutrition quackery.

    As Sophocles expressed it a couple of thousand years ago: ‘It is terrible to speak well and be wrong.’ David speaks (and writes) well, but most of what he says is either wrong or extremely dubious.

    Have you read the open letter to David I wrote on behalf of (and with the full support of) the Nutritionists Network? That letter details some of David’s worst mistakes.

    As previously mentioned, David Gillespie is not a reliable source of information on the effects of added fructose on human health.

  • S. Carey says:

    So Chris and other ad hominem attackers, any comments on the Nature article headlined in The Age
    http://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/sugar-as-harmful-as-tobacco-alcohol-experts-say-20120201quat.html The article is basically a precis of Sweet Poison.
    The article concluded “the public had to be better informed about the emerging science behind sugar” Can’t see that happening from the DAA.

  • In answer to S. Carey’s question, I suggest you read the article titled ‘War Over Sweet Nothings’ in the Health Section of this weekend’s Weekend Australian.

    Here are some relevant quotes:
    “I’m disgusted that Nature would publish this’, says (Professor) Brand-Miller, a nutritionist at the University of Sydney … “As dangerous as alcohol? Hopefully there’ll be a backlash to all this nonsense.”

    And “She’s not alone. Weekend Australian Health was unable to find a single dietitian, nutritionist, advocacy group, researcher or government agency that supported Lustig’s argument. Instead, they said his commentary was inaccurate and, with the imprimatur of Nature, potentially highly misleading.”

    Finally (but not exhaustively):
    “Lustig’s key reference is a 2003 World Health Organisation technical report. What did it say? ‘… indices for those with metabolic syndrome revealed a clear benefit of replacing simple by complex carbohydrates.’ That’s it. In full”.

    The damning assessment of the opinion piece (which is all it was) by Robert Lustig, a pediatrician, not a nutritionist, who has been making controversial claims about fructose for several years, continues throughout the article.

    I’ll finish be asking you a question. Which do you believe would be preferable–adding ten grams of sugar (in total) to my Weetbix and reduced-fat milk coffee for breakfast, or skipping the sugar and having a 250-mL glass of full-strength beer (which contains about 10 grams of alcohol?

    According to Lustig, the sugar option would be no better than the alcohol!

  • Formerfattie says:

    Chris Forbes-Ewan cites Prof Jennie Brand Miller (JBM) as some sort of authority on the relationship between fructose and obesity. Sorry mate, it doesn’t fly. It’s good to have a strong opinion when the facts are on your side, but the public debate on sugar and obesity in Australia is at risk of being thrown off-course by factually misleading statements from over-confident academics who actually are much less expert on this topic than they realise

    Awkwardly, whatever her strongly held opinions, and with great respect, it must be said that Prof. Jennie Brand Miller (JBM) does not actually know whether or not excessive fructose is driving obesity and diseases associated with obesity.

    Or at least it’s hard to find evidence that JBM or her fellow low-GI devotees have undertaken any detailed investigation into the particular health effects of adding or removing large doses of fructose to or from the diets of humans (or animals). Indeed, the word “fructose” has barely rated a mention in the GI crew’s mountains of analysis over the years. It is no secret that JBM’s publications list is dominated by efforts to measure GI and establish that GI is relevant to health outcomes, especially via diabetes management (http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/people/academics/publications/jennieb.php ).

    That the low-GI crew has not put much effort into investigating the health effects of added fructose is unsurprising. After all, it was decades ago that JBM decided that low-GI-versus-high-GI matters multiples more than anything as simple as fructose intake.

    Accordingly, while JBM is a go-to world expert on accurately measuring GIs for over 2000 food items, and has been very active in investigating and promoting the view that GI is important for health outcomes, she’s not an expert on the particular health effects of increased or reduced fructose intake on humans (or animals).

    So she’s welcome to her high-profile opinion that fructose is not a problem, but we should not take it as gospel because on topic this she simply has not “done the science”.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, Chris, by citing the particular studies where JBM “proves” that fructose is innocent of all charges?

  • Lane says:

    I don’t think you will find a dietitian, nutritionist or health professional of any description arguing against the fact that a high proportion of the population eats too much sugar. However, the argument against fructose IS an argument because there is no SOLID data for or against the damaging effects of fructose. There is only speculation and ongoing research (by dietitians and nutrition experts, might I add).
    But are we all forgetting or simply not knowing that AUSTRALIA’s per capita fructose consumption has actually been DECREASING since the 1970’s??? Who out there has actually bothered to look up this statistic?
    We can keep discussing this until the cows come home, but keep in mind, the original question posed was Do we really want our Nutrition advice sponsored by the food industry. Well, in fact, yes we do. Because the food industry is SO BIG, there is a lot of MONEY to dedicate towards good quality research…on food…because that’s what we eat… so that the advice given is based on strong evidence… about food! Do we want our nutrition advice sponsored by the automotive industry? Or the mining and gas industries? Or any number of unrelated industries?
    Honestly, I’d rather know that the food products entering our food supply are being studied and reviewed by the leaders in food and nutrition information (DAA).
    Just because a food company is a sponsor, it does not mean that a nutrition professional is going to recommend you eat their products! Don’t be so naive.

  • ‘Formerfattie’ asks for references to studies conducted by Professor Jennie Brand-Miller that show fructose is “innocent of all charges”.

    I don’t think anyone can point to studies by anyone that achieve this. But equally, no-one (and least of David Gillespie) can point to studies that show fructose is guilty of being a toxin at any dose, and guilty of being the sole cause of the epidemics of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

    But getting back to Fomerfattie’s argument against Professor Brand-Miller’s conclusion that fructose is unlikely to be the cause of these epidemics–you state that ‘… she’s welcome to her high-profile opinion that fructose is not a problem, but we should not take it as gospel because on topic this she simply has not “done the science”.’

    She may not have conducted the original research, but Professor Brand-Miller has a PhD and decades of research experience in a related area, so she has demonstrated that she is capable of interpreting science conducted by others. David Gillespie, on the other hand, not only misinterprets the scientific evidence, he actually misrepresents it! Further, he has no research experience in any related area and his sole relevant qualification is that he “almost failed biology and chemistry in high school”.

    And you seem to imply that Professor Brand-Miller has no right to question David Gillespie’ conclusions. Frankly, I find your position to be beyond astonishing!

  • Formerfattie says:

    That’s great, Chris Forbes-Ewan. As you note, on the basis of no substantial analysis of the relationship between fructose and obesity, JBM has decided that fructose is not a problem. Embarrasingly for a PhD in anything, JBM’s main argument involves the made-up story that per-capita sugar consumption in Australia has declined by 23% over the past 30 years – based on an unreliable dataset that the ABS abandoned in 1999. We should trust JBM because she has a PhD? Yeah, right, there’re not many of those around. Perhaps we should DIStrust JBM because she decided decades ago that GI matters more than just about anything, at the time oblivious to the unique metabolic properties of fructose and its profound influence on total caloric intake (via issues associated with “addiction”). JBM needs David Gillespie to be wrong. What are we to make of her reckless use of the aggregate sugar data? That is, she’s drawn a super-strong conclusion –
    that “blows David Gillespie’s hypothesis out of the window” (http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/how-hard-can-it-be-to-cut-sugar-20100630-zmvt.html#ixzz1m4Hjpwmc) – and poisoned the public debate with a shonky interpretation of unreliable data. And we still should take what she says seriously? In any case, Chris, I’m fascinated as to what you make of all the now hundreds of thousands of people who have reversed their own personal trends to obesity simply by removing added fructose from our diets? The “Sweet Poison” diet works in practice but not in theory, is that your position? Why not just accept that David Gillespie just might be right on the critical issue – excess fructose is a key force behind global obesity – and call for more research on the topic?

  • Formerfattie says:

    Sorry, that should be “OR” not “of” in my third-last sentence.

  • Former Fattie wrote (about me): “Why not just accept that David Gillespie just might be right on the critical issue – excess fructose is a key force behind global obesity – and call for more research on the topic?”

    I have already done this. A letter to the editor of The Skeptic (the periodical of the Australian Skeptics) sent nearly two years ago, included: “My critique of Sweet Poison wasn’t actually about whether the fructose hypothesis is correct — I don’t know if it will eventually be proven that high intakes of fructose are major contributors to obesity and several chronic diseases (a far less extreme position than the one taken by David, by the way). Rather, I pointed out that David has grossly exaggerated the case against fructose. It is at least premature — and quite likely simply wrong — to claim, as David does, that ‘Every day that fructose remains a part of our diet, is a death sentence for thousands of Australians.'”

    And there is no need for me (or anyone else) to call for more research on the topic — research is being conducted and will continue for many years before we know the contribution fructose is making to the epidemics of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

    Please also note that the research is being conducted by scientists, not by quacks like David Gillespie.

  • Jane Grey says:

    I have only just now read through the comments to David’s post. If readers are interested in following up the claim that Australians’ sugar consumption hasn’t increased in recent years they can check Rory Robertson’s research as reported in M. Pascoe, “Economist v nutritionists: big sugar and low-GI brigade lose”, The Age, March 7 2011.
    See http://www.theage.com.au/business/economist-v-nutritionists-big-sugar-and-lowgi-brigade-lose-20120307-1uj6u.html#comments

    It concludes as follows:

    “In summary, and contrary to the inaccurate claims of the low-GI crew, there appear to be no reliable or timely data series showing a significant decline in per capita sugar/fructose consumption over “the past 30 years”.
    “The ‘true’ trend in sugar consumption over recent decades remains uncertain but the available evidence – from (i) the two-decade uptrends in sugar availability and sugary imports; (ii) national dietary surveys and (iii) industry data on soft-drink sales – suggests that if anything it’s more likely to be up than down significantly, as claimed.”
    Robertson, fresh from winning his high-profile bet against Professor Steve Keen over housing prices, wants to donate $10,000 to a health department or non-conflicted university to help fund a definitive experiment to compare the effect on obese people of a no fructose diet, a low GI diet and a control group eating their normal intake. He is not a scientist and says there is more science to be done – but he does know his way around a set of statistics.

  • Victory George says:

    I don’t doubt that Dietitians study for many years to gain their qualifications and have to attend work placements at hospitals as part of their training….unfortunately all that proves is that they are taught completely wrong and that our government is driven by the dollar. You only have to see the rubbish patients are fed in our hospitals. I know for a fact that Dietitians will recommend a patient to eat sweet biscuits & full cream flavoured milk so they can put on weight! I spent many years in and out of hospitals with my father being treated for cancer, sadly he passed last year. I saw first hand the CRAP patients are fed & reccommended to eat…Dietitions may study for years but that doesn’t mean they are taught the right way…why cant the government explain obesity, diabetes & all other diseases riddling adults & our children in this day and age? They can but turn a blind eye…it’s all to do with the dollar..if everyone ate real food a lot of drug companies, food manufactures, doctors & hospitals…to name a few would go out of business!

  • […] “The DAA’s list of corporate sponsors reads like a who’s who of the Australian food industry,” he recently blogged. […]

  • […] “The DAA’s list of corporate sponsors reads like a who’s who of the Australian food industry,” he recently blogged. […]

  • […] There is now significant evidence of the role of seed oils in the development of the disease.  But once again, the folks charged with looking out for our health are squarely on the side of their corporate sponsors. […]

  • Isaac says:

    Have you read the books by David?

  • Keef says:

    I have been following the trial of Dr Tim Noakes in South Africa and I am one of many who have experienced a cure / remission as a result of his HFLC Banting lifestyle. I have lost 10 kg and begun to reduce my insulin intake to 20% of previous
    I have a friend called Nico Kleynhans who has lost 60 kg in weight and no longer uses insulin after previously using 270 units per day (See his you tube https://youtu.be/e9bl7GXeiZQ)
    UCT Professor Tim Noakes MD is South Africa’s leading sports doctor and nutrition has been brought before the Health Professions Council of SA by a similar organisation to yours which is known as Assoc Dietetics of SA (ADSA) They even have the same sponsors
    ADSA’s testimony at the show trial has left them looking very bad and some might say that they have brought their profession into disrepute, however the trial has been adjourned until next year I think that Mr Gillespie would have a deeper understanding of the tactics behind this than we do
    Despite your vehement protestation I do not have a high regard for mercenary dieticians and their professional organisations. I think that David Gillespie’s version of them is closer to the truth. I regard your rant as being without credibility and an attack on David’s reputation and character that is equally as bad as ADSA’s attack on Dr Noakes. Dieticians are employed by the food industry and their advice has been causing a rise in chronic diseases and you should be ashamed of yourselves for all of the people that you have made ill just to get a few measly bucks

    More about Dr Noakes’trial and persecution here
    http://www.biznews.com/health/2015/11/20/all-revealed-the-real-beef-that-dietitians-have-with-tim-noakes-banting-lchf/

  • Keef says:

    I agree with you Victory George, The profession of Dietetics has been brought into disrepute world wide by mercenary practitioners

  • Keef says:

    The association of Dietetics of SA, a similar organisation to DAA and with similar sponsors have taken South Africa’s top sports doctor and nutritionist UCT’s Professor Tim Noakes MD before the HPCSA They have pressed a case that, in the opinion of many people, has brought their profession into severe disrepute
    Read and weep
    http://www.biznews.com/health/2015/11/20/all-revealed-the-real-beef-that-dietitians-have-with-tim-noakes-banting-lchf/

  • Keef says:

    Good comment @Former Fattie
    You will appreciate this YouTube video from a man who follows Tim Noakes’ diet in SA which is based on the same principles as David Gillespie’s diet

    Your friends who seem to be educated beyond their own intelligence will not enjoy it so much and I challenge to show 1 cure of insulin dependent diabetes using Nutritional therapy that is similar to this https://youtu.be/e9bl7GXeiZQ

  • Keef says:

    Sir,
    After reading your very eloquent comment, might I suggest that the people whom you accuse of being quacks are gaining a lot of credibility from the nature of your attacks.
    There is the possibility that you have been educated beyond your own intelligence; the people that you denigrate are being joined by an increasing number of brilliant professionals and academics e who are exposing the nonsense that has been foisted on the public by mercenary practitioners

  • Keef says:

    You are obviously very qualified, but the big question is: Who do you work for ?
    It is time to put your junk science aside and consider the growing number of testimonies like this https://youtu.be/e9bl7GXeiZQ

    I can refer you to a lot more if you like – I will provide one example of NCD cures using real food dietary therapy for every one of yours

  • Keef says:

    So you say that outside Aus nobody has heard of David Gillespie?
    This is another mark of your inability to conduct proper research
    You can improve your skills by going to a website called Google and type in his name or “Real Food Revolution” or LCHF

  • Carrol North says:

    I am afraid you are the nieve one because there is pressure put on the researchers. Whether you want to belive it or not.

  • Keef says:

    University of Cape Town Prof Tim Noakes MD
    Sally Ann Field
    Dr. Malcolm Kendrick
    David Perlmutter M.D.

    Here is another cure http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/my-diabetic-experience-with-lchf-20151124
    Have you ever thought about how many people you are preventing from obtaining a healing through your unreasoned opposition to innovations in medical science.

  • Luke says:

    I am so amused by the fact that people would sooner believe a lawyer who makes these absurd health claims that are based on extremely flawed research than an Accredited Practicing Dietitian. Would you follow legal advice from a Dietitian? (depends if you are susceptible to being easily influenced by misinformation). it seems like everyone who has lost a substantial amount of weight is now a “nutrition expert” and authorizes them to dispense advice. I say congratulations to those who have lost weight and found some level of health, but you must remember that there is no universal approach or “magic bullet” . Dr. Katz sums this up nicely in a recent article titled Opinion Stew:

    “For now, anyone who shares opinions about nutrition or weight loudly and often enough — or cleverly enough — is embraced as an authority, with no one generally even asking what if any training they’ve had. This is compounded by the fact that, in the famous words of Bertrand Russell, “Fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” It is the least substantiated, most uninformed opinions about how to eat that will come at you with the greatest conviction. That’s your first clue that something is awry, because true expertise always allows for doubt.”

    Thanks for reading and I welcome any replies

  • Luke says:

    KEEF, I would also like to ask what your qualifications are in regard to nutrition?

  • elk says:

    Sarah, If it comes down to a battle between Dieticians qualifications and the exposing the truth about harmful food products then I would back exposing the truth about harmful food products.

  • EVT says:

    I accidently bought one David’s book last week for a friend as a gift. Once I got home and opened it up, I was in total disbelief of what I was reading as this would not have been suitable for her at all. I took it back, made a complaint about the misleading information published in the book to the manager and got a refund. Just because you’re a layer and you know how to persuade and debate doesn’t mean you know how to tell the truth. It also highlights and your books do too, that you’re very good at filtering only what you want to know without looking at the whole picture. What about all of the other journal articles out there that prove foods such as omega 3 and 6 and other polyunsaturated fats are very beneficial? Your diet ideas may be suitable for you – just remember that every person’s body, ethnicity, genetics is different and therefore one dietary pattern does not fit all. Your book is dangerous, expensive and mis-leading and confusing for the general public.

  • Dr Andrew McIntyre says:

    We have solid evidence that the Sugar industry influenced the position on sugar vs fat when the low fat diet trend started nearly half a century ago and the association of the DAA with large food companies destroys the credibility of their advice no matter what the truth is. It does not matter why the association exists, those companies would only continue the sponsorship if they thought it was of value.

    Since the baseless low fat mantra was adopted our consumption of carbohydrate, including, but not limited to fructose has increased markedly as has the incidence of obesity and diabetes. There is no doubt the association is there which does not prove causation but supports it. All recent trials have shown Low carbohydrate diets to be at least equal and usually superior to the low fat, high carbohydrate diets which are pushed by many dieticians. The CSIRO recently showed the superiority of a high fat low carb diet in diabetics and called our guidelines into question.

    Its possible that fructose is the main culprit, but only time will tell. David is well supported by Robert Lustig who has mentioned how impressed he was to have worked this out. Many others feel that its not just fructose and the treatment should be to reduce all carbohydrate. Why on earth with all this evidence does the DAA oppose low carbohydrate diets with such venom?? The fact that Gary Fettke has been attacked is a disgrace as his methods have much evidence behind them.

    I have, for the first time seen patients lose significant amount of weight by adopting a LCHF approach, after never seeing any success with traditional approach in last 25 years. Personally I go with success, not dogma and I am happy that its safe and has an evidence base. If the DAA does not get its head out of the sand and accept that there is a new approach that might just work, they will be left out in the cold. LCHF should be an acceptable approach by dieticians and luckily I work with dieticians who use this approach. The DAA should also apologize and reinstate the dietician they deregistered for using it. They should also cut ties with food and drug company sponsors, or they will be seen as corrupt.

  • Fay Wells says:

    I second what Dr Andrew McIntyre says. It is ridiculous that people who are Insulin Resistant are still being advised by the “experts” to eat a high carbohydrate diet, even if all those carbs are low GI. Why are dieticians so afraid of recommending the enjoyment of healthy fats? Could it be that they believe the lie that saturated fats cause heart disease? “The Big Fat Surprise” by Nina Teicholz should be compulsory reading for all dieticians and nutritionists. If you refuse to listen to Nina because of the absence of letters after her name, then at least read “Ignore the Awkward!” by Uffe Ravnskov.

Leave a Reply

Error: Please enter a valid email address

Error: Invalid email

Error: Please enter your first name

Error: Please enter your last name

Error: Please enter a username

Error: Please enter a password

Error: Please confirm your password

Error: Password and password confirmation do not match