Being an informed consumer is tough

Being an informed consumer is tough.

This feeling set in again this February when EFSA, the European expert authority that offers advice on food to European legislators, presented their opinion on sugar.

EFSA, or rather the panel behind EFSA, now reports that sugar is not causing diabetes, overweight and a wealth of health issues.

This is contrary to what WHO, FDA and a majority of other heavyweight reports are saying; the general consensus today is that we should cut down our sugar intake.

Why would these EFSA experts go against the stream? Why does the EFSA in their statement rely heavily on a year 2000 report from the International Journal of Obesity as evidence, when Arne Astrup, one of the authors, today say that this report is heavily outdated and that he himself would disregard from his own report as so much more knowledge has been acquired since. Incidentally Arne’s report was funded by the European sugar industry. Another odd point: against EFSA’s own policy, 8 out of 21 EFSA panel members has, or have had, financial relations with companies producing sugar or heavily sweetened products. 4 out of 5 of the reports EFSA bases its recommendation on are funded or partly funded by parties heavily invested in sugar sales or sugar use.

Does funding and/or friendship modify data or its interpretation in scientific reports? Some say so. This report from 2013 shows that the outcome of studies (on effects from sugar sweetened beverages) seems to change depending on who’s behind it financially.

Sometimes science is not black or white.

Being an informed customer is tough…