Under Attack

LetterFromEditorDo you ever feel like you are under attack? I can feel you all reading this and telling me, “Yes!”

It’s no wonder. I consider myself an informed person and I admit to feeling bombarded lately by news, documentary and consumer programs attacking the food system in various ways. In the past few weeks alone I’ve seen programs about wheat, orange juice and lousy labelling. Add to that the onslaught of sometimes contradictory nutrition studies and the system goes haywire. What is the average consumer to believe?

Loblaws has a funny take on the issue in a new commercial where consumers are bombarded by various conflicting news stories telling them to avoid this and add that. The commercial promotes the retailer’s commonsense Guiding Stars program.

Is it any wonder then that consumers often don’t know what to believe when it comes to the science behind food? Mark Kelley explores this theme in his Fifth Estate piece called The War on Wheat. Is gluten bad for you, he asks? No, the experts all reply. Why then are people more inclined to listen to celebrities – possibly the worst sources from which we should be gathering our health information – than scientists? “The truth is not easy to sell. The truth is not sexy. The inconvenient truth of healthful living is that it does require effort,” answers Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, who is often referred to as one of Canada’s most outspoken obesity experts and dubbed a “nutritional watchdog” by the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

William Davis, father of this latest movement, is to anti-wheat as Jenny McCarthy is to anti-vaccine and he blames big food companies and big government. “I’m waging a war against misinformation in health in which one of the major and most destructive messages is to create a diet rich in healthy whole grains.” Huh? That doesn’t even begin to make sense to me.

This is why I’m excited about this edition where we bring a lot of these issues together for you. Our scientific reviews on adding probiotics, salt reduction in baked goods, and GM labelling are all super-relevant. Our law expert tackles clean labelling in her story and then Dr. Oz, the quintessential doctor/celebrity spokesperson, brings it all together in our smoothie trend story.

As with everything in life, moderation is key. A good dose of common sense will get you further than an extra helping of carbs, it seems.


Theresa Rogers

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