Plastic shopping bags are good for you – and for industry!

Why do I feel like a slightly dull-witted school child when browsing the consumer websites run by the oh-so-clever American Chemical Council Inc., a trade and lobby group for the chemical industry? Come to think of it, I spent 20 years of my life living with a chemistry geek – and I often felt that same way then, too. It always seemed that if only I were better able to pay attention to what chemists were telling me, they would somehow all make perfect sense.  Trouble is, they don’t. Still.

It’s been said that the American Chemical Council Inc. (ACC) has never met a chemical it didn’t like. This is a powerful advocacy group for a chemical industry dream team whose membership includes heavy hitters like Monsanto, Exxon, Bayer, Merck, Chevron, DuPont and many more.

Their collective power extends much farther than you might imagine.  For example, the ACC has even convinced the entire California Department of Education to rewrite the state’s environmental textbooks and teachers’ guides to include positive statements about plastic grocery bags.  Continue reading

“Sugar is good for you!” – and for the people who sell sugar

I just love this. Guess what the Sugar Association recommends in its publication called “Pleasing Picky Eaters’ Taste Buds”? Apparently, “youngsters may find vegetables sprinkled with sugar more enjoyable to eat”. Of course they will. Personally, I’d find corrugated cardboard sprinkled with sugar more enjoyable to eat, too. That does not make it good for me.

And under the “Don’t Worry, Mom” section, the Sugar Association reassures us:

“The good news from dietitians is that adding sugar to fruits, vegetables, grains and other nutritious foods can make their taste, texture and appearance more appealing to children.”

Really?  What credible dietitian on earth would recommend this goofy advice?

Continue reading

Why industry lobbyists and pseudo-scientists insist that the “meat and butter diet” is actually good for us

Did you ever notice those little food pyramid guideline posters that are issued by the government to remind us how to eat healthy? Did you also notice how these guidelines have managed to change over the years? Turns out that industry lobbyists, front groups, special interest organizations, and a long line of pseudo-scientists are working very hard to demand official dietary guideline changes that will benefit their specific financial goals. And compared to other arguably healthier non-government eating programs like the Mediterranean diet or Harvard University’s Healthy Food Pyramid Alternative, one wonders just how good these processed carb-heavy government pyramids are anyway.

This year, the powerful lobby group called The Sugar Association, for example, is calling any official government recommendation to reduce daily sugar consumption “impractical, unrealistic, and not grounded in the body of evidence.” Continue reading