Addiction in Reverse: The Link Between Anorexia and Reward Deficiency

By | Addiction, Mental Illness, Teens | One Comment

What if food restriction fuels the cycle, not breaks it?

Imagine a netball carnival buzzing with teenage energy – a kaleidoscope of team colours and high-fives. Beneath the surface of this vibrant scene, a silent disease persists, one measured not in coughs and sniffles, but in barely touched lunches and secretly discarded snacks. This is the hidden world of teenage eating disorders, where food avoidance can mask a complex neurological struggle.

We’re used to thinking of addiction as a state of excess – the insatiable craving for more drugs, more alcohol, more stimulation. But what if anorexia nervosa represents a chilling flipside? What if the relentless restriction we see in some teens is fueled by a reward system chronically deprived of even the smallest pleasures? This theory, known as the inverse addiction hypothesis, proposes that a chronically under-stimulated reward system can fuel the restrictive behaviours seen in anorexia nervosa. 

The Inverse Addiction Hypothesis

Could a starved reward system drive anorexia nervosa?  This theory suggests that restricting food intake for prolonged periods may have profound effects on the brain’s reward pathways, making it difficult to find satisfaction in eating.

The Starved Brain

In the world of addiction, a protein called DeltaFosB plays a crucial role. It accumulates in the brain’s reward system with repeated exposure to pleasurable stimulation, often triggered by dopamine spikes. Over time, this buildup of DeltaFosB leads to tolerance: we need a bigger hit to achieve the same level of pleasure, reinforcing compulsive behaviours in a quest for that initial feeling. But what happens when the stimulation is absent?

Some researchers theorise that prolonged food restriction, regardless of the cause, may lead to abnormally low levels of DeltaFosB. While research is ongoing, this offers a possible explanation: with chronic undernourishment, the brain might decrease DeltaFosB production. This decrease could then trigger a vicious cycle of further restriction. Because DeltaFosB levels are low, the brain misinterprets even small amounts of dopamine, released in response to any eating, as a signal of fullness.  This leads the individual to restrict their intake even further, but this only worsens the problem. With continued restriction, DeltaFosB levels are likely to decline even further, perpetuating the cycle until the sufferer cannot consume any food at all.

The Testosterone Factor and Dopamine

Testosterone, a hormone much more prevalent in males, is a dopamine stimulant. This means that adolescent boys, who generally have access to levels of testosterone hundreds of times higher than adolescent girls, have higher baseline levels of both dopamine and DeltaFosB. This may offer some protection against the inverse addiction cycle of anorexia nervosa.

This biological difference could be a contributing factor to the significantly higher rates of anorexia nervosa in adolescent girls compared to boys (often a tenfold difference). Girls, with much lower baseline testosterone levels and therefore potentially less dopamine stimulation, might be more susceptible to the development of the reward system dysfunction seen in anorexia.

Beyond the Surface

It’s important to note that unlike traditional addictions, anorexia nervosa does not appear to be increasing in incidence. It remains a relatively rare disorder, affecting a small minority of people (approximately 0.1% to 0.2%) with a significant gender disparity – the overwhelming majority of sufferers are female. This pattern of rarity and stable incidence strongly suggests that predisposition plays a crucial role, with biology influencing who is most likely to develop the condition.

And not everyone is equally susceptible to reward system dysfunction. Emerging research offers a fascinating glimpse into factors that might influence a teen’s predisposition to different eating disorders. Think of your index finger and ring finger: the difference in their lengths (the 2D:4D ratio) may reflect how much testosterone and oestrogen a foetus was exposed to. Some studies suggest that girls with lower 2D:4D ratios (meaning, likely higher prenatal testosterone) might have a higher susceptibility to anorexia, potentially due to a hypersensitive reward system. Those with higher 2D:4D ratios might be more likely to develop bulimia, perhaps linked to a blunted reward response, making them more attracted to food.

The Path Forward

Acknowledging the potential biological underpinnings of anorexia doesn’t mean excusing it or minimising the psychological struggle. Eating disorders are complex, influenced by genetics, environment, and individual experiences. But if the inverse addiction hypothesis proves true, it could revolutionise how we approach these conditions:

  • Reframe Our Understanding: Instead of seeing anorexia as purely about willpower or body image, we might focus on a brain being satisfied way before the body actually is.
  • Compassionate Treatment: By understanding the neurological factors, we can reduce stigma and tailor treatments to rebalance the starved reward system– potentially including therapies that directly target these reward system deficiencies.
  • Early Intervention: Research into prenatal influences may help identify at-risk teens, offering preventative support.

The adolescent meticulously restricting their food deserves our empathy, not our judgement. The answers to eating disorders may lie in the hidden workings of the teenage brain, and a better understanding might pave the way for healing.

The Hidden Killer in Your Cupboard

By | Addiction, Big Fat Lies, Sugar, Sweet Poison | No Comments

Why clear labelling is the first step in reclaiming our health

We like to think we’re in control – especially when it comes to the basics, like what we put in our bodies. We buy groceries, scan nutrition labels, and make conscious choices. That’s the comforting story we tell ourselves. But what if our understanding of the choices we make about food is fundamentally flawed? The unfortunate truth is the average Australian consumes over 40 teaspoons of sugar each day. We eat most of that without even realising it. Why? Because the food industry has turned the supermarket into a minefield of confusion.

Sugar, Cocaine, and the Illusion of Choice

Sugar isn’t just about empty calories.  It’s a weaponised ingredient, as addictive as cocaine – and the companies know it. That’s why they hide it under dozens of innocent-sounding names, lurking in your “natural” yoghurt, your “low-fat” salad dressing, even savoury items like baked beans. Think your BBQ sauce is safe?  Think again – it often has more sugar than chocolate sauce! You dutifully scan labels for calories, fat content, or maybe even sodium, completely unaware that the truly dangerous component is slipping by in the fine print.

Sugar is a slow poison, destroying our bodies from the inside out.  Obesity, now a global epidemic, fuels a devastating chain reaction of health problems. Sugar throws your hormones into chaos, paving the way for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.  This leaves you feeling hungry and exhausted, even when you’re eating enough.  And it’s not just about weight — sugar is a major contributor to heart disease, the world’s leading killer.

The damage goes even deeper.  Sugar feeds certain cancers, particularly those of the pancreas and liver. It fogs your mind,  steals your memory, and even speeds up the ageing process. This isn’t about dieting;  it’s about survival.  A high-sugar diet strains our healthcare systems, shortens lives, and steals precious years with loved ones.

Sugar hijacks your brain’s reward centres, just like addictive substances. Your innocent bowl of breakfast cereal becomes the first shot in a cycle: spike, crash, repeat.  This isn’t willpower failing – it’s your neurochemistry fighting back to recapture that feeling of pleasure. It’s a cycle most of us are stuck in, and they designed it that way.  It’s your brain rebelling against a chemical onslaught, and while you’re waging war with your willpower, they’re counting their money.

It’s not about weakness, it’s about a rigged game.  We’re asked to decipher complex codes while our own biology, hijacked by hidden sugar, sabotages us from within.  We deserve better.

When “Healthy” Means Profit, Not Nutrition

The food industry’s stance on labelling is a masterclass in hypocrisy. In the US Companies behind cereals like Froot Loops, their boxes plastered with cartoon mascots, desperately cling to the word “healthy”. It’s a calculated gamble, banking on the US regulators backing down rather than risk lawsuits and industry outrage. After all, if “healthy” has any real meaning, these sugar bombs are no better than lollies disguised as breakfast. They target kids, manipulating reward systems and taste buds with sugar, artificial colours and flavours while providing zero nutritional value. It’s a brazen scheme, one that depends on obscuring the truth from worried parents. Regulators look the other way, bought off by lobbyist cash while our bodies pay the price. It’s a sweet deal for the industry, a bitter pill for our health.

History in a Sugar-Coated Shell

This fight is a rerun of Big Tobacco’s playbook. Remember those ads featuring smiling doctors pushing cigarettes? We’ve been here before. But today, instead of smoke-filled offices, it’s supermarket aisles lined with “wholesome” cereals. Forget hidden ingredients in tiny fonts; imagine soft drinks with stark warning labels like cigarette packs. It works: in the UK, Chile and Israel, clear “high in sugar” labels have driven down consumption, empowered shoppers, and prompted companies to change. Imagine a world where you don’t have to decipher codes to avoid accidentally poisoning your family.

The Real Battleground

But true change means more than labels. It’s about making truly healthy options as enticing, accessible, and yes, as profitable for companies as their sugary traps. Until nutritious food is as aggressively marketed and widely available, we’re fighting a losing battle. For now, the industry profits, kids become addicted, and our health spirals downward. This is a fight for the future, and it begins with demanding honesty on the shelves.

The Sweet Smell of Revolution

Picture your local supermarket. Aisles overflowing with processed foods, their addictive ingredients masked by bright colours and clever slogans. This isn’t about feeding our bodies, it’s about feeding profits. We deserve better!. Imagine shops where instead every aisle offers mouthwatering, satisfying foods that actually make you healthier. Imagine that being the easy choice, the profitable choice…or maybe they’d rather keep selling us slow-acting poison disguised as breakfast.

Right now, we’re losing a war waged with hidden sugar and deceptive marketing. Let’s demand clear sugar labelling on every product. Let’s make it easy to spot the garbage. Let’s make it easy for people to vote with their wallet. That’s how we create change, one shopping trip at a time. The revolution starts at the checkout.

Processed for Profit: Why Diets Fail & Food Giants Win

By | Addiction, Sugar | No Comments

The obesity epidemic has reached “crisis” status, which usually means it’s time for desperate measures and terrible advice. And boy, have we gotten some doozies thanks to some nutrition ‘scientists’ misinterpreting physics and the irresistible power of sugar.

Somewhere along the way, we fell for the first law of thermodynamics, which isn’t about thrilling roller coaster rides, sadly. It states that energy can’t be created or destroyed. While that’s true in a closed system, our bodies are anything but!  This oversimplified idea led to the ‘calories in, calories out’ mantra. Sounds logical, right? Eat less, move more, and voila! Except, just like those “one simple trick” internet ads, human bodies don’t fall for that kind of simplicity.

Blaming our expanding waistlines on laziness and greed would be convenient, and that’s exactly what diet culture loves to do. But it ignores the biological battleground raging inside us. If you’ve ever felt driven to demolish that entire family-sized packet of Tim Tams while your brain screams, “Stop!”, you’ve experienced this firsthand. Blame fructose, that hidden sugar in everything delicious. It’s like your hormones are trying to send an important email, but fructose keeps hitting “spam.”

Those hormones, leptin and insulin, work together like a well-oiled machine to regulate your appetite. Leptin, produced by fat cells, signals to your brain that you’re satisfied and have enough energy stores. Insulin, released by the pancreas in response to rising blood sugar levels (like after a meal), promotes feelings of fullness and helps your body store excess glucose for later use.

Fructose, however, throws a wrench into this delicate system. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Fructose Bypasses the Leptin System: Unlike glucose, the primary sugar found in starchy foods, fructose doesn’t effectively stimulate leptin production. This means your body doesn’t receive the “all good” signal, leaving you feeling hungry even after consuming fructose-laden foods.
  • Fructose Fuels Fat Production: The liver is the primary place where fructose is metabolised. Excess fructose gets rapidly converted into fat, particularly a type called triglycerides. This can promote fat storage, particularly in the liver, contributing to conditions like fatty liver disease.
  • Fructose and the Reward System: Fructose also directly stimulates the reward centres in the brain, similar to addictive drugs. This creates a cycle of craving more sugary foods, leading to overconsumption and weight gain.

By disrupting these hormonal signals and promoting fat production, fructose tricks your body into thinking it needs more fuel, even when you don’t. This is why you might find yourself reaching for another Tim Tam or a handful of chips despite feeling like you just ate. Picture your appetite as a runaway train fueled by processed food, and willpower as a desperate koala trying to block the tracks. It’s not going to end well for the koala.

This hormonal chaos is why diets usually end in binge-eating frenzies (and a renewed appreciation for stretchy pants). Bariatric surgery? That’s like putting a speed bump on the runaway train – it works for a while, but your body is determined to regain its set point. It’s a marvel of adaptation, just the wrong kind when fighting a battle of the bulge.

So, what’s the solution? Well, it certainly isn’t counting every calorie like a neurotic accountant or joining that gym you’ll never actually attend. Let’s ditch the outdated physics misinterpretations and focus on what truly drives the runaway train:

  • Fructose is the Enemy: Processed foods are where fructose really hides, wreaking havoc on your hunger signals. It’s not just the obvious culprits like chocolates and soft drinks.  Think sneaky additions like flavoured yoghurts, breakfast cereals, sauces, and even seemingly ‘healthy’ muesli bars. Here’s how to fight back:
    • Read Labels Religiously: Fructose goes by many names – sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, fruit juice concentrate – learn them all.  Don’t buy food which contains more than 3g of sugar per 100g.
    • Swap Sweet Treats: Craving something sweet? Reach for whole fruit, which delivers fructose alongside fibre, helping to balance the impact.
    • DIY is Best: Make your own dressings, sauces, and snacks to eliminate the added sugar. It’s easier than you think, and your taste buds will adjust!
  • Fat Isn’t the Villain: Remember all those low-fat snacks? Turns out healthy saturated fats like those found in meat, dairy, avocados, coconuts, macadamias, and olives can help you feel full and satisfied.

The obesity crisis is a beast, fueled by bad science and the food industry’s relentless quest for profit. But with solutions rooted in real biochemistry, not misapplied physics textbooks, we can fight back. And maybe, just maybe, relegate those stretchy pants to the back of the closet once and for all.

Don’t Feed the Psychopath: A Guide to Outsmarting the Emotionless Office Monster

By | Psychopaths | No Comments

Picture yourself in a dimly lit casino, locked in a high-stakes poker game. Your opponent is unnervingly calm, sporting a grin like a shark that just smelled a bleeding guppy. They bet aggressively, with an air of absolute certainty that makes you question not only your own hand, but your grasp on reality itself. Worst of all, you slowly realise the deck is rigged, the dice loaded, and your opponent couldn’t care less about being caught. And did I mention they have a photo of the casino owner doing something deeply questionable with a goat? Welcome to the soul-crushing reality of dealing with a true psychopath.

It’s not mere selfishness or a lack of conscience that sets them apart, sadistic though those traits may be. Psychopaths exist on a different plane, a cruel game of Monopoly where they start with all the Hotels and a “Get Out of Jail Free” card tattooed on their forearm. Imagine empathy as a fundamental sense they simply lack – like a blind person unable to see colour, or a deaf person unable to hear a symphony. This manifests in their inability to feel guilt or remorse. It is a profound disconnect, confirmed by brain scans revealing eerily dark regions where compassion should reside.

Experiments with electric shocks (performed at a time when ethical concerns were less pressing) have proved psychopaths lack the fundamental fear response most of us take for granted. No sweaty palms before a big lie, no racing heart when they casually throw a colleague under the bus to seize credit. This unflinching boldness might be the envy of the boardroom and the Parliament, but it’s deeply unnerving when used to systematically dismantle your sanity.

So, if you were hoping a well-crafted moral lecture might reignite their dormant conscience, save your breath. You have a better chance of teaching a goldfish to tap dance. Confronting a psychopath is like shouting insults at a particularly smug brick wall – satisfying for approximately five seconds, and guaranteed to backfire spectacularly. These monsters view any disagreement, even minor dissent, as a declaration of war. Their preferred method of vengeance is the meticulously crafted takedown, executed with the precision of a hitman and the deniability of a seasoned politician caught with his trousers around someone else’s ankles.

What, then, can you do besides fleeing to a remote island (which probably has terrible WiFi and far too many spiders)? You need to change the game they think they’re playing. They operate in a world devoid of genuine affection, where the only currency is power and manipulation. Render yourself utterly useless in this economy by employing the following tactics:

  • Prioritise Self-Preservation: Walking away might feel like defeat when every movie has taught you to fight back. But with the psychopath, disengagement is victory. They thrive on chaos and conflict, so starve them of the drama.
  • Embrace the Banal: Channel your inner tax auditor. Be meticulously polite, relentlessly boring. Refuse to offer juicy personal details, no tears, no outbursts. They depend on exploiting your vulnerabilities, so don’t hand them the ammunition.
  • Document Everything, Discreetly: From a suspicious “scheduling error” that tanked your project to those snide comments disguised as jokes – this is your evidence. Psychopaths are masters of plausible deniability, but a pattern of cruelty is hard to dismiss. Share this documentation only with those you absolutely, irrefutably trust (and check their closets for recording devices, just to be safe).
  • Grey Rock Supreme: This isn’t just about acting dull. Limit all information, even benign details. Short, factual responses are your weapon. They want to dissect your personality for weaknesses. Become unreadable, as thrilling as a beige phonebook.
  • Unexpected Alliances: Psychopaths often create a court of admirers via charm and intimidation. Remember, they’ve likely discarded countless others along the way – the quiet ones, the kind souls who were deemed too naive for their games, or the people who wised up too quickly. Seek these people out discreetly, build a network of support outside the psychopath’s sphere of influence, a resistance army of the quietly sane.

It may feel deeply unsatisfying, this war waged with subtle manoeuvres instead of a triumphant public showdown. But true victory lies in recognizing the psychopath’s fundamental difference, refusing to play their twisted game. The good news is, psychopaths can’t truly understand the human connection and happiness they lack. The bad news is, they’re often very good at making sure you can’t enjoy it either. Their games are exhausting, designed to wear you down. But true victory lies in not letting them steal your joy or your sanity.

The Real Spermageddon: Are Seed Oils Destroying Our Fertility?

By | Vegetable Oils | No Comments

Sperm counts are in freefall, plummeting by 75% since 1940. The culprit isn’t the weather – it’s in your pantry. Australia’s scorching temperatures might be grabbing  headlines, but they’re a distraction from the real threat to our fertility. Dr Devini Ameratunga, Clinical Lead of Fertility Preservation at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital has urged bosses to protect their workers’ fertility, as climate change, rising temperatures and tight tradie shorts all add to a rapid decline in the sperm quality of Queensland men.  But could the real culprit behind “spermageddon” be something far more common – hiding in plain sight on our supermarket shelves – polyunsaturated, vegetable oils?

Since the 1940s, sperm counts across the Western world have been mysteriously dropping. The situation has dramatically worsened since the 1990s, with modern sperm counts now a mere quarter of those measured in 1940. Our reproductive capacity is in a tailspin, and the rate of decline is accelerating.

Like applying a bandaid to a broken leg, frantically addressing surface-level issues won’t solve the problem. While lowering the heat and making better fashion choices definitely won’t hurt, the real danger lies within: the cheap, industrial seed oils that have ruthlessly infiltrated our food supply. This isn’t about a heatwave, it’s about a century-long war on our reproductive health.

The science tells a chilling tale. Seed oils are laden with highly reactive polyunsaturated fats. When these fats meet with the oxygen we breathe, they create toxic substances – aldehydes. Think of aldehydes as tiny biological bombs, wreaking havoc on our cells. Sperm cells, with their delicate membranes, are particularly vulnerable to these attacks. These toxic compounds attack sperm directly, causing mutations, reduced motility (how well they swim), and decreased fertility. 

Our bodies have natural antioxidant defences to neutralise these damaging aldehydes. But when we flood our systems with seed oils – through deep-fried foods, processed snacks, and even supposedly “healthy” margarine – we overwhelm our protective systems. This creates a state of internal oxidative stress, a biological inferno where our cellular structures, including sperm, are systematically assaulted.

The statistics are alarming. Testicular cancer, a clear sign of DNA damage, has increased fourfold since the 1940s. Meanwhile, the amount of seed oils in our diet has skyrocketed – multiplying by a factor of five. The correlation is too significant to ignore.

Focusing on Australian heat and restrictive clothing misses the bigger picture. This isn’t about swapping tradie shorts for breezy linen pants, but taking a hard look at what’s on our plates. The real issue lies within our bodies, poisoned by a flood of toxic , so called ‘healthier’, seed oils.

Framing this crisis as a mere matter of temperature or fashion is a convenient smokescreen. It shifts the blame onto individuals, absolving the corporations that mass-produce and aggressively market these potentially harmful fats. Don’t get me wrong, working in extreme heat and wearing tight clothing won’t help, but it misdirects attention from the true culprit.

The heat narrative is a distraction concealing the deeper crisis. What lurks beneath the surface is a potential catastrophe fueled by a century of dietary manipulation. To regain control, we need a drastic shift in our food system. We will not accept anything less than:

  • Transparency: Clear labelling of all seed oils in our food supply.
  • Science-backed dietary guidelines: Information that reflects the growing research on the potential dangers of excessive seed-oil consumption. 
  • Consequences for health bodies that continue to recommend seed oils despite the danger: Demand accountability from these institutions and call attention to the potential harm caused by outdated and potentially harmful recommendations.
  • Support for a return to traditional fats: Promotion of healthy fats like butter, ghee, fruit oils (Olive, Avocado and Coconut), and animal fats. Reframing these as a safer and more sustainable option.

It’s time to question the ingredients (and institutions) we’ve blindly trusted. Silence from health authorities is complicity in the deliberate poisoning of our population. 

Our future depends on our ability to demand better from the food industry. It’s time to question the status quo and make the hard choices necessary to reclaim our reproductive health. If not, the consequences could be devastating – a silent unravelling of our ability to reproduce.

Ditching seed oils, rediscovering the joys of real butter and animal fat will give our swimmers a fighting chance. And let’s be honest, a world where good food fuels both a healthy body and a healthy population sounds like a win-win.

How Psychopaths Manipulate: Signs and Tactics

By | Psychopaths | One Comment

Have you ever encountered someone who seemed too good to be true, only to discover a darker side carefully concealed beneath their charming exterior?  In his groundbreaking 1941 book, “The Mask of Sanity”, Hervey Cleckley used the term “psychopath” broadly to describe individuals deeply lacking in empathy. This includes what we commonly label as narcissists, sociopaths, and manipulative bullies.  Understanding their tactics is crucial for self-protection. Cleckley outlined the core traits of a psychopath, traits which make them exceptionally dangerous manipulators.

The Facade of Charm and Sincerity

Psychopaths deliberately project an image of likability and trustworthiness. This superficial charm disarms their targets, making it harder to detect their true intentions. They may seem genuinely invested in you, but their interest is purely self-serving.

Self-Serving Lies and Deception

Psychopaths lie effortlessly to achieve their goals. They may fabricate stories, twist truths, or deny wrongdoing, even when faced with evidence. Their goal is to confuse you, so you begin to doubt your own perceptions.

Emotional Exploitation and the Absence of Empathy

Psychopaths lack genuine empathy, making them experts at weaponizing your emotions. They identify your vulnerabilities and twist them ruthlessly. They might seem genuinely supportive, then deliberately undermine you, leaving you feeling foolish for believing in them. Their goal is to undermine your self-confidence and leave you feeling dependent on their approval.

Grandiosity and a Need for Control

Driven by an inflated sense of self-importance, psychopaths manipulate to dominate others. They might use gaslighting to make you question your sanity, or isolate you from your support systems. Their aim is to break down your resistance, maintaining absolute control.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Trust but verify: Approach overly charming individuals with a healthy dose of scepticism. Watch for inconsistencies in their words and actions. Give much more weight to their actions than their words.
  • Guard your emotions: If you find yourself overly apologetic, constantly second-guessing yourself, or feeling emotionally drained, it’s time to take a step back. A healthy relationship should not leave you persistently insecure.
  • Set firm boundaries: Don’t be afraid to say no and prioritise your own well-being.
  • Listen to your intuition: If something feels persistently off or unsettling, don’t ignore it. Your intuition is often your subconscious picking up on subtle manipulation.
  • Seek outside help: If you suspect manipulation, confide in a trusted friend, family member, or therapist. They can offer clarity and help you regain your power.

Key Points

Psychopaths manipulate for their own gain, fueled by grandiosity and a complete lack of empathy. Understanding their tactics and the devastating impact they can have is crucial to protecting yourself. By prioritising your emotional well-being and setting boundaries, you can break free from their control.

Fanta’s Sugar Shuffle: The Sweetness Trap

By | Addiction, Sugar | No Comments

Coca-Cola’s sneaky sugar shuffle with its iconic Fanta drink leaves a sour taste. They cut the sugar, got the good press, then hoped we wouldn’t notice when they added much of it back in. It exposes a fundamental contradiction: companies want to appear health-conscious without truly changing their core products.

Back in 2018, amidst growing concerns about sugar consumption and the threat of a sugar tax, Coca-Cola proudly announced a “healthier” Fanta with reduced sugar content. It was a strategic move, calculated to appease health experts and deflect criticism. But the illusion was temporary. Today, a 600ml bottle of Fanta contains a staggering four extra teaspoons of sugar compared to its “healthier” predecessor – a significant increase from 4.5g to 7.2g of sugar per 100ml.

Coca-Cola played on our desire to make good choices. With the threat of the sugar tax looming, they temporarily placated health advocates, buying themselves time. Now, with reduced scrutiny, they’ve quietly upped the sugar. It’s a calculated gamble, banking on the fact that we’re too busy, too overwhelmed, or too deliberately misled to realise they’ve sweetened the deal.

But why the sugar creep? The new Fanta is still a shadow of its 2016 sugar bomb self (with over 11g per 100ml) and remains loaded with barely disclosed artificial sweeteners. Perhaps there’s a nagging truth about sugar addiction: 4.5g just wasn’t cutting it. The point of sugar is, after all, to make products addictive to increase sales. Maybe those extra teaspoons are the scientifically calculated dose to keep us hooked.

This bait-and-switch tactic exposes the limitations of self-regulation within the food industry. Voluntary pledges, like the Australian Beverages Council’s commitment to reduce sugar, have proven largely ineffective with only four manufacturers signing up according to the AMA. While generating positive PR, they do little to change the fact that companies like Coca-Cola prioritise profits over public health, making their drinks as sweet and addictive as possible.

Most consumers are likely unaware of this sugar increase. Outdated nutritional information on supermarket websites and the expectation that we blindly trust familiar brands contribute to this deception. It’s not about willpower; it’s about the deliberate manipulation of our choices, making the addictive option the easiest and most appealing.

The beverage industry would probably argue that consumers have the right to choose. But, when corporations deliberately obscure the addictive contents of their products, choice is an illusion.

So, what can we do?

  • Don’t fall for marketing claims or misleading packaging. Be informed about the sugar content of the products you consume.
  • Hold food companies accountable. Demand transparency in ingredients and marketing practices and vote with your wallet.
  • Advocate for healthier food environments. Support educational campaigns, clearer food labelling, and restrictions on marketing sugary drinks.

The Takeaway

The Fanta sugar shuffle is a microcosm of the challenges we face. Real change won’t come from corporations suddenly prioritising our well-being over profits. It requires informed consumer choices and collective action to create a food environment that truly supports our health.

Don’t be fooled by deceptive marketing tactics. Take control of your health and demand better from the food industry. Real change happens when we challenge the status quo and demand a system that puts our well-being above the corporate bottom line.

Parkinson’s Disease: The Dietary Time Bomb the Food Giants Want You to Ignore

By | Big Fat Lies, Vegetable Oils | 2 Comments

Imagine watching a loved one’s hands tremble uncontrollably, their steps falter… This heartbreaking reality confronts the families of over 200,000 Australians battling Parkinson’s disease. In Australia, someone is diagnosed with Parkinson’s every 27 minutes. These aren’t just numbers – they’re stolen futures. This isn’t a mysterious affliction, it’s a mass poisoning, and the culprits line the aisles of every supermarket. Today, April 11th, World Parkinson’s Day, isn’t just a day of awareness – it should be a day of defiance against the seed oils they’ve spent decades normalising.

Imagine your body as a battlefield. Every cell, every organ is under relentless attack by an invisible enemy called oxidative stress. This normal biochemical process is turbo charged by seed oils, and your brain’s command centre, the pars compacta, is a prime target.  The pars compacta is your body’s dopamine factory.  Think of dopamine as the fuel that powers smooth movement, thought, and  coordination. If the neurons responsible for producing dopamine are damaged, Parkinson’s disease is the result.

Our brains are incredibly resilient. We can lose around 50% of our dopamine-producing neurons before those first tremors appear. But once those neurons are gone, they’re gone forever. That’s why Parkinson’s is so insidious.  As the destruction  continues, even the best medications can only squeeze a little more dopamine out of those remaining neurons –  a temporary fix at best.   Before medication was introduced in the 1970s, a Parkinson’s patient was expected to live just 9.5 years after diagnosis. The drug-assisted life expectancy is now around 15 years. Still, Parkinson’s steals years, independence, and ultimately, lives.

Forget the myth of Parkinson’s as an inevitable consequence of ageing.  Researchers in Olmstead County, Minnesota meticulously tracked cases for decades, uncovering a shocking truth: new diagnoses nearly doubled between 1944 and 1984. And it hasn’t slowed down. A recent global study revealed a staggering 86% increase in Parkinson’s cases in the US alone over the past 30 years.

Even more alarming, Parkinson’s is striking younger people.  The incidence in the 45-49 age group has skyrocketed by 167% in the last three decades. This dramatic acceleration coincides perfectly with the rise of processed foods and the explosion of seed oil use.

The connection isn’t a coincidence. Populations who consume traditional, whole-food diets have far lower rates of Parkinson’s. In Italy, for example, the incidence has actually decreased over the last 30 years. The message is clear: Parkinson’s isn’t an inevitable fate. It’s a disease fueled by the modern diet.

The primary weapon in this assault is deceptively mundane: seed oils. Canola, sunflower, soybean… they sound harmless, almost healthy. But the reality is far darker. These oils overflow with unstable omega-6 fats, turning your cells into battlegrounds of oxidative stress. This relentless assault breeds a molecular toxin called 4-Hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) – a toxin that zeroes in on the dopamine-producing neurons that Parkinson’s systematically destroys.

This isn’t a fringe theory; it’s backed by disturbingly clear science. Yet the deafening silence from the health authorities and the Big Food corporations they protect makes them complicit in this crisis. The seed oil invasion has been nothing short of brilliant from a profit perspective.  These oils – think canola, sunflower, soybean – carry an undeserved aura of healthiness. This has helped them become the backbone of the processed food industry.  They’re endlessly malleable, incredibly cheap, and we can’t taste the difference, making us easy targets. This is how Big Food gets away with poisoning us for profit. They flood every aisle with products overflowing with hidden seed oils, fueling a wildfire of inflammation within our bodies.

You have the power to turn the tide, but it starts with brutal honesty. The neurons you’ve lost won’t magically return. But with every bite, you decide whether to keep feeding the enemy within. Every bag of chips, every restaurant meal where you don’t ask the hard questions about how the food is prepared, every “healthy” snack bar laced with seed oils – they are all acts of surrender.

Don’t. Eat. Seed Oils. This is your fight, your body, your future on the line.

The Battle Cry: No More Business as Usual

  • Support independent farmers and small businesses committed to real, unprocessed food. Use your wallet to fuel a food revolution.
  • Demand a change in Parkinson’s research – one that dares to examine the role of diet and seed oils in the disease.
  • Hold Big Food accountable. Demand they remove seed oils from their products or face consumer boycotts. Push for clear labelling of all products containing seed oils, giving you back the power of choice.
  • Spread the word. Educate yourself and those around you. Expose the truth they don’t want you to know.

Let’s make sure this World Parkinson’s Day isn’t just about awareness, but a declaration of war against a preventable disease.

Your Grandma Wouldn’t Eat This: The quiet disappearance of real food and the hijacking of our health

By | Big Fat Lies, Sugar, Vegetable Oils | No Comments

Have you ever looked closely at the ingredients in your so-called “food?” Odds are, your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize half of them as edible, let alone healthy. In an incredibly short span of time, we’ve outsourced our meals to corporations whose main goal isn’t our well-being – it’s profit. The history of how we got here is a shocking tale of backroom deals, twisted logic, and the slow death of real food.

The Rise of “Imitation”

In these days of regulation, it’s easy to forget how recently food was routinely adulterated. To stretch profits, milk was watered down, bread bulked up with sawdust, and you were lucky if your jam contained actual fruit. These practices weren’t just dishonest, they were dangerous.

The US took action first. In 1938, the FDA was given the power to create “standards of identity” for common foods. Think of them as legally binding recipes. If you wanted to sell jam, your product had to meet specific requirements for fruit content. This wasn’t about gourmet standards; it was about ensuring a baseline level of quality and preventing outright fraud.

By 1950, almost half of US food had a standardised recipe. This meant that if you wanted to make something resembling real food, but cheaper, you had to clearly label it “Imitation.” And that wasn’t a great marketing strategy.

The War on Fat and the Death of Standards

The food industry didn’t love this system, and their grumbles grew louder in the 1970s. The low-fat trend was taking off, spurred by groups like the American Heart Foundation in their ill conceived fight against saturated fat. The problem? Traditional food descriptions rarely included vegetable oils, and fat content was regulated.

What followed was a classic case of unintended consequences. After relentless lobbying, legislation changed in 1973. No longer did “fake” foods require the “Imitation” label – they just had to provide the same level of nutrients as the original. Calories and fat were exempt, opening a loophole you could drive a truck through. The stage was set for a massive shift in what lined our grocery shelves.

The Disappearance of Everyday Foods

Want blatant examples? That little carton of “Up&Go” markets itself as a healthy breakfast which describes itself as having “The protein, energy and fibre of 2 Weet-Bix and milk”. But look closely – it doesn’t contain a single Weet-Bix! Its primary ingredients are water, skim milk powder, sugar, and a disturbing list of chemicals. Sure, it might have similar protein to real food, but so would a sawdust and offal smoothie. It’s a classic bait-and-switch, designed to appeal to our desire for convenience and the illusion of health.

And how about those mayonnaise jars? If yours doesn’t list eggs and olive oil as the first ingredients, it isn’t mayonnaise – it’s a carefully concocted emulsion of sugar, water, and who-knows-what. The same goes for countless other products. Things we once took for granted have been quietly replaced with cheaper, cleverly engineered imitations.

The Health Fallout

We’re paying the price for this deception. Skyrocketing rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease aren’t just about eating too much – they’re about eating the wrong things. Our bodies weren’t designed to run on the seed oil and sugar infused highly processed, nutrient-poor concoctions that now pass for food. Mass-produced “food” is addictive, unsatisfying, and disastrous for our long-term health.

The Loss of Control

Bring back the “Imitation” label! It would be a wake-up call, exposing the sheer amount of factory-made substitutes we’re consuming. This change wouldn’t lead to perfectly healthy aisles overnight, but at least we’d have a fighting chance to make informed choices.

Sadly, that’s never going to happen. Too much money, too much power, stands in the way. That in itself reveals how far we’ve fallen. In less than one lifetime, we’ve surrendered control of our most basic need to profit-driven corporations.

Taking Back Our Kitchens

We don’t have to accept this. While we can’t undo a century of changes overnight, we can start reclaiming our kitchens. Make changes now:

  • Learn to read a label ruthlessly. If the ingredient list includes ‘vegetable oil’ or sugar, put it back.
  • Shop the perimeter of the store – that’s where real food usually hides.
  • Cook at home, even simple meals. It’s an act of rebellion against the industrial food system and the pervasive use of seed oils in everything.
  • Last but certainly not least, ditch the sugar, the poison lurking in everything, labelled or not.

This fight isn’t just about better health. It’s about reclaiming the very act of feeding ourselves and our families – an act too precious to outsource.


Emotional Manipulation in the Workplace: A Survival Guide for the Sane

By | Psychopaths | No Comments

The modern office, with its cubicles and passive-aggressive emails, is a Darwinian nightmare. Nowhere is this more evident than in the delicate art of emotional manipulation, a practice as commonplace in today’s workplaces as lukewarm coffee and pointless meetings.

From the whining victim to the psychopathic boss, every office has its share of emotional puppeteers. They guilt-trip you, gaslight you, and toy with your sanity, all in the noble pursuit of a fatter paycheck or a corner office. But fear not, there are ways to combat these cretins without resorting to throwing your stapler through the cubicle wall.

Spotting the Workplace Psychopath

These emotional parasites come in many noxious flavors, but the tell-tale signs are always there:

  • The Perpetual Victim: Their incompetence is everyone else’s fault. They whine and moan, transforming their every minor inconvenience into a Shakespearean tragedy designed to make you feel responsible for their failures.
  • The Tantrum Thrower: These emotional toddlers resort to theatrics, threats, and veiled hostility to bully others into doing their bidding. It’s like working with a spoiled brat who just discovered the word “no.”
  • The False Charmer: They heap on the praise and saccharine smiles, like a used-car salesman trying to unload a lemon. Beware: that flattery is a smokescreen for their relentless scheming.

Your Defence Against the Darkness

Remember, you are not their therapist, babysitter, or emotional punching bag. Arm yourself against their toxic antics with these simple strategies:

  • Trust Your Instincts: If their behaviour makes you feel uncomfortable or suspicious, pay attention. Your gut is often wiser than your guilt-ridden conscience.
  • The Power of “No”: Learn to say it. Practice it in front of the mirror if you must. “No” is a potent weapon against manipulators, who thrive on agreeable sheep.
  • Don’t Feed the Beast: Emotional explosions and crocodile tears are meant to hook you. Disengage. A calm, rational response will short-circuit their histrionics.
  • Document with Bloody-Mindedness: Keep a record of questionable interactions – the gaslighting, the veiled insults, the sob stories. This isn’t petty, it’s self-defence.

A Final Word of Warning

Psychopathic manipulators erode office morale, destroy trust, and leave a trail of collateral damage in their wake. Don’t be a casualty in their war against sanity. Stand up for your right to a workplace where hard work and actual talent are what get you ahead, not a well-timed meltdown or expertly faked back pain.