Geoffrey Cannon

Geoffrey Cannon
University of São Paulo | USP · Centre for Epidemiological Studies on Nutrition and Health

MA

About

664
Publications
221,068
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9,021
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Introduction
With NUPENS led by Carlos Monteiro, University of Sao Paulo (USP) team member, co-author NOVA project. New projects (not USP) native plant foods, food energy and nutrients, food additives, citizen running, Dieting Makes You Fat. Co-convenor with Claus Leitzmann, New Nutrition Science and its Giessen Declaration. Founder-editor, columnist World Nutrition 2010-2016. Columnist Public Health Nutrition 2003-2009, New Health 1984-1986, Running 1979-1987. Major features in most UK national quality newspapers. Chief editor 2007, 2009 WCRF reports on food and prevention of cancer, chronic diseases. Director 1997 WCRF report. Author Dieting Makes You Fat, The Food Scandal, The Politics of Food, Superbug,The Fate of Nations. 85 contributions in PubMed. UK citizen based in Brazil.
Additional affiliations
March 2012 - February 2020
University of São Paulo
Position
  • Senior Researcher
Description
  • Senior member of team led by Carlos Monteiro, concerned with the NOVA food classification system and its identification of ultra-processed food products. Author and co-author of many papers in peer reviewed and other journals.
April 2000 - December 2002
Ministério da Saúde do Brasil
Position
  • Consultant
Description
  • Drafted the first Brazilian national official dietary guidelines. Member of Brazilian government delegation to WHO Executive Board meeting, 2001 and leader of steering group concerned with infant and young child feeding
Education
September 1958 - June 1961
Balliol College, Oxford, UK
Field of study
  • Philosophy and Psychology

Publications

Publications (664)
Article
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Nutrition was invented in the early 19th century as a biochemical science that reduces foods into significant chemical constituents. Ever since then, the teaching and practice of nutrition has been based on this conceptual framework, or paradigm. The examples given here are dietary guidelines and other food guides. The first guides issued up to the...
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Having studied history at school, here I say what are the proper purposes of history. My example is Eduardo Galeano (above), a reason why I have come to be in Brazil. He is shown here in front of a mural including Christopher Columbus (top left), Simon Bolivar (bottom right), and a native of what is now Latin America (bottom left). In his histories...
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Sigfried Giedion (1888-1968) was a friend of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and James Joyce. He influenced Marshall McLuhan, and Rayner Banham and Richard Hamilton of the Independent Group, and thus has shaped mass media theory and pop art. The topic of most of his work was architecture but his great theme is the impact of the machine age on how we all live, w...
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Here is Hugh Sinclair (extreme right) as director of the Oxford Nutrition Survey 1941-1946, an initiative vital to sustain the health of the British people in wartime. The staff of the Survey are with him. Later, pre-eminent in his field of polyunsaturated fatty acids, and a senior don at Oxford University, he remained outside the then establishmen...
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Pablo Neruda is shown here as an older man, in a graffito outside La Sebastiana, his house in Valparaiso, Chile. Of all the poets who celebrate good meals and food in their verse he, with his Elemental Odes, is the greatest. Food is more than nutrition. It is, or should be, nourishment for the mind, heart and soul as well as the body, and the convi...
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We owe to others who we are..These ‘others’ are people in our lives: our friends, teachers and colleagues, and our families, present and past. Knowing ourselves well involves discovering our kin. When the Covid-19 pandemic recedes, ‘things’ will not ‘go back to normal’. We all now live as if under a volcano or on an earthquake fault line. Some of t...
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This is a report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Jose Graziano da Silva, outgoing FAO director-general, says: ‘Glad to see FAO report on NOVA classification and ultra-processed food, by Carlos Monteiro and the NUPENS/USP team [ showing] consistent evidence on how the consumption of ultra-processed food ca...
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Introduction to my column on the website of the Centre for Epidemiology Studies in Nutrition and Health, University of Sao Paulo. Relevant information about my work in Brazil and previously in the UK. Incudes the story of the beginnings of what has become the NOVA project and its food classification.
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The first column by me on the NUPENS website. Read about NOVA work and progress on this site: http://www.fsp.usp.br/nupens/en/home-en/. This column summarises media responses in the USA to the two new French and Spanish studies with their evidence that high consumption of ultra-processed food products respectively increase the risk of stroke and he...
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From the NOVA project, on the NUPENS website. Read about NOVA work and progress on this site: http://www.fsp.usp.br/nupens/en/home-en/. What is the dietary cause of overweight and obesity, which are now pandemic and increasing rapidly especially in middle- and low-income countries throughout the world?. A study just published in the journal Cell Me...
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Commentary in World Nutrition. Policies to control and prevent the pandemic of obesity and related conditions and diseases have failed. This is because the efficient causes of the pandemic have not yet been agreed. We state here that its outstanding immediate cause is the increased and rapidly increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods, which...
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The present commentary contains a clear and simple guide designed to identify ultra-processed foods. It responds to the growing interest in ultra-processed foods among policy makers, academic researchers, health professionals, journalists and consumers concerned to devise policies, investigate dietary patterns, advise people, prepare media coverage...
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A number of phenomenal global catastrophes confront humanity. Six of these are ‘superbugs’ resistant to antimicrobial drugs; cigarettes and other use of tobacco; alcohol abuse; climate disruption; gross inequities; and the pandemic of obesity and diseases of which obesity is a leading cause, notably diabetes, and also cardiovascular diseases and a...
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Measured energy content of frequently purchased restaurant meals: multi-country cross sectional study', by Roberts et al¹ conducted in five countries, shows that the energy content of meals served by both fast food and full service restaurants was generally excessive. They conclude that meals consumed in both types of restaurant may contribute to t...
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This commentary contains a clear and simple guide designed to identify ultra-processed foods. It responds to the growing interest in ultra-processed foods among policy makers, academic researchers, health professionals, journalists and consumers concerned to devise policies, investigate dietary patterns, advise people, prepare media coverage, and w...
Article
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Almost all foods are processed to some extent, if only by preservation, and it is therefore unhelpful to criticise foods as being ‘processed’. A number of food classifications have been devised that pay special attention to types of processing. A systematic review has shown that, of these, NOVA is the most specific, coherent, clear, comprehensive and...
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The BMJ’s introduction to its series on the science and politics of nutrition states: “More articles are planned.” The BMJ should commission a further series with more authors from countries where fresh foods and freshly cooked regular meals are common. This should generate policies and actions that further protect public health as well as culture,...
Research Proposal
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Trust the Process' is the provisional name of this project. It could, with strong support from others, develop into a website, report and book, curriculum and research centre. Its topic is the ways in which modern communications change the communication of science, and indeed the nature of the scientific endeavour, probably with food and nutrition...
Research Proposal
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Trust the Process' is the provisional name of this project. It could, with strong support from others, develop into a website, report and book. Its topic is the ways in which modern communications are changing and need to change the communication of science, and indeed the nature of the scientific endeavour, probably with food and nutrition as the...
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A response to the BMJ series Science and politics of nutrition. We suggest that the BMJ follows this series on the science and politics of nutrition with a further co-ordinated series of papers involving more authors from regions and countries whose food systems expressed as freshly prepared regular meals still survive. Nutrition scientists should...
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Objective To assess household availability of NOVA food groups in nineteen European countries and to analyse the association between availability of ultra-processed foods and prevalence of obesity. Design Ecological, cross-sectional study. Setting Europe. Subjects Estimates of ultra-processed foods calculated from national household budget surve...
Technical Report
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(Jean-Claude Moubarac is author of this report. I supported him with research, writing and editing). Chronic diseases such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease and metabolic syndrome, as well as obesity, amount to a public health crisis in Canada, other high-income countries, and now globally. They result in loss of well-being and productive life, a...
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It is now generally agreed that the impact of the current nature, purpose and extent of food processing on human well-being, health and disease needs to be better understood and explained, in order to improve public health. The special issue of Public Health Nutrition devoted to the concept of ultra-processing of food, and the NOVA classification o...
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Objective To estimate the dietary share of ultra-processed foods and to determine its association with the overall nutritional quality of diets in Brazil. Design Cross-sectional. Setting Brazil. Subjects A representative sample of 32 898 Brazilians aged ≥10 years was studied. Food intake data were collected. We calculated the average dietary con...
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Given evident multiple threats to food systems and supplies, food security, human health and welfare, the living and physical world and the biosphere, the years 2016–2025 are now designated by the UN as the Decade of Nutrition, in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. For these initiatives to succeed, it is necessary to know which foods...
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One in the projected series 'What is good food?' Response - food that is good for the biosphere, the planet, the physical and living world, the human species, vulnerable populations, hands-on producers and makers, the people of my chosen country, and my family and me, in descending order of significance. Naturally, my family is most important to me...
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Urban will of course live for ever, in memory and in others, For me he is Mr Valiant for Truth, and here are quotes from John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, that great dissenting text conceived in prison in the 1670s that lives for ever. Valiant for Truth introduces himself, saying ‘I am of Dark-land, for there I was born’. He had been warned that th...
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The item on the New Nutrition is the final item in this column written for the projected journal Nourish which was not published.
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Editorial. We are all living in a new age, the Anthropocene. This name means ‘human dominance of biological, chemical and geological processes on Earth’, in the words of Nobel prizewinner Paul Crutzen. As he said five years ago: ‘We humans are becoming the dominant force for change on Earth. A long-held religious and philosophical idea – humans as...
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Quantity of food and quality of nutrition, shape and may determine the rise and fall of empires and the results of wars. As a child I was not aware of this – not consciously, anyway. Much food was scarce in Britain when I was small. Now I can sense me as a street-wise kid just turned 8 soon after the end of the 1939-1945 war, living with grandparen...
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In the second half of the 1990s I came to realise that I would be able to trust my judgement on states of population health only if I lived and worked in the global South. This does not explain why specifically Brazil, but here I am. It turns out that I was right. My journey from food and nutrition to nourishment – and Nourish – has been completed...
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I return here to two inter-related themes I discovered and insisted upon when I was a citizen runner. One is that the range of benefits of physical fitness are usually overlooked or underestimated. Two is that body weight, whether or not expressed in terms of body mass index (BMI) is for most able-bodied people who are not emaciated or obese, a poo...
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The hands above are not those of a scientist at the Society of Latin American Nutrition Associations (SLAN) triennial conference, held last November in the Palm Beach-style oceanside resort of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. At that event presentations included some supported by Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Co, Nestlé and Mondelēz (formerly Kraft) – corp...
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Geoffrey Cannon writes: Most ambitious scientists climb to the top of their profession because of being in the right place at the right time, or else on the basis of one great sustained achievement. Ancel Keys (above, left and right) scored four triumphs. One was his invention of the K for Keys rations that sustained US GI soldiers in World War 2 (...
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NOVA is the food classification that categorises foods according to the extent and purpose of food processing, rather than in terms of nutrients. In recent decades some attention has been paid to the increasing importance of food processing in global food supplies and dietary patterns, and its role in the pandemics of diet-related non-communicable...
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(Note please that these letters are the final two in 29 pages of letters in this final issue of WN edited by me. It summarises the long WN series of commentaries, correspondence and other contributions on the nutrition of young children that focus on vitamin A). Since the early 1990s, those organisations and people who insist that the universal s...
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This is the culmination of the Visions series, begun in WN in late 2014. Here immediately below are essences of the testimonies – commitments, beliefs, and aspirations – of our 19 Visions writers, taken from selections of their contributions that follow, and expressed in one sentence. We have a balance of younger and older visionaries, women and me...
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This 58th World Nutrition, with a record number of pages, is the final issue edited by me. Founder-editor as from May 2010, I compare publication of WN with the flight of a bumble bee – it can’t be done, but look, listen and learn, it does fly, and it buzzes too. Yes, we have ‘slipped’ months, appearing 12 times in 2011 and in 2012, but – with bigg...
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Editorial delineating work to be done. Our territory must continue to be defined, outlined, mapped, examined and enjoyed. Professional competence here requires knowledge of biology and behaviour, and also of food science and technology and disciplines ranging from chemistry to evolution. It also needs understanding of well-being and health, not jus...
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The US physiologist Ancel Keys (1904-2004) is a titan of modern nutrition. He has had a greater impact on the nature and quality of US food systems and supplies, and therefore those of most countries, than any nutrition scientist in the post-vitamin era. Supremely self-confident and assertive, his ideas in areas that interested him came to shape di...
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What Sidney Mintz shows in Sweetness and Power, is that the ‘triangular trade’ involving the shipping of slaves from Africa to the Americas, and the production and export of sugar from the Americas to Europe, fuelled capitalism, the Industrial Revolution, and the British Empire – for England became the centre of the world sugar trade in the 16th ce...
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Ever since I was a boy I have been unable to get my head round the conventional Darwinist theory that evolution comes about by natural selection of random mutations. Expressed more concretely, this means that of the multitude of mutations that occur by chance, some are advantageous, and that the human, animal or other living thing with such a mutat...
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There are four separate items in this column. The spiral shown on the first page is designed to inspire aspiration. But right now the global economy is in vortex mode – a downward spiral. In the previous WN I identified the Greek economist and politician Yanis Varoufakis as ‘The Keynes of our times’ and readers have been asking ‘Who is Keynes?’. S...
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(This article is the first one in the Update section shown here). In the UK now, the sugar industry has been successfully demonised, by what amounts to a grand alliance of militant academics and health professionals, World Health Organisation and national government advisors, public interest organisations, and the very media-savvy celebrity chef J...
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WN editorial. The need to ally, amplify, advocate, activate, and agitate. We on the editorial team are on the side of all communities, organisations, institutions and citizens committed in good faith to the public good, and who are prepared to fight conscientiously to achieve a world fit for future generation. To keep quiet now would be passively t...
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Keynes had the calm self-assurance of that widely educated, socially and culturally networked, extremely intelligent generation of British leaders in public life who lived when the British Empire still amounted to a fifth of the world’s population and almost a quarter of its land mass. Keynes himself had extra special qualities. Educated at Eton an...
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The meaning of ‘we’ (and ‘our’) slips and slides. The general effect is to disconnect rhetoric from reality. The phrases float free of what is really happening, and to whom. Another use of what can be called ‘First person plural syndrome’ is to make officials and professionals feel and seem important or even omnipotent. This happens all the time, i...
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Meat, processed meat products, and cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an agency of the World Health Organization, has apparently concluded that red meat is probably carcinogenic (group 2A) and that processed meat products are definitely carcinogenic (group 1, a category that includes arsenic, cigarettes, gamma rays, plu...
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Plus ça change, plus ça reste la même chose. That is, what goes around comes around. Two revelations have hit the headlines in the UK. The first is that a report commissioned by government – from Public Health England, a branch of the department of health – has been suppressed for some months probably as instructed by the prime minister, because it...
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(Note. Please start reading this series beginning with the June issue of WN, also shown here on ResearchGate). Is modern nutrition science, confined as a biological and biochemical discipline, a burned-out case? Nutrition itself, properly understood, is crucial to the health and well-being of the human and living world. Many nutrition scientists co...
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The third set of letters in response to Project Phoenix.
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(My column changes its name as from this issue, from What Do You Think, to Here I Stand) I start by celebrating former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, as the thinker with clearest insight into the state of world politics and economics which, yes, drive food systems. He shares qualities with the immensely eminent and influential economist...
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See the project Trust the Process. Cybernetics and the communication of science. Writing – and editing – using computers, is at least to some extent an example of Marshall McLuhan’s resonant dictum ‘the medium is the message’. Which, being interpreted, is to say that the significance of any human activity is shaped and maybe even defined by the te...
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Editorial. The Sustainable Development Goals 1-9 (and also 11 and 16,) are a wish-list, and most of the rest are vague. But how do they reconcile with current realities and reliably projected menaces to life on Earth? These include rising climate disruption and population increase, continual massacres, invasions and civil wars, mass forced migratio...
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Yanis Varoufakis now influences political parties and social movements throughout the world, whose views on global politics and economics have become more radical and more ardent. He states that the master-plan of the most powerful governments is in effect, to imprison and enslave all other countries. He shows that the Greek debt is so huge that it...
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Food addiction is for real. It is literally true that people can and do become addicted to what they eat, in the same ways as people become addicted to drugs. Nora Volkow, whose job gives her the greatest authority in the US, states emphatically, in scientific journals and in presentations round the world, that food can be as addictive as crack coc...
Data
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Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between the consumption of ultra-processed foods and obesity indicators among Brazilian adults and adolescents. Methods: We used cross-sectional data on 30,243 individuals aged ≥10years from the 2008-2009 Brazilian Dietary Survey. Food consumption data were collected through 24-h...
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OBJECTIVE To evaluate the impact of consuming ultra-processed foods on the micronutrient content of the Brazilian population’s diet. METHODS This cross-sectional study was performed using data on individual food consumption from a module of the 2008-2009 Brazilian Household Budget Survey. A representative sample of the Brazilian population aged 10...
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to evaluate the relationship between the consumption of ultra-processed foods and obesity indicators among Brazilian adults and adolescents. We used cross-sectional data on 30,243 individuals aged ≥10 years from the 2008-2009 Brazilian Dietary Survey. Food consumption data were collected through 24-hour food records. We classified food items accord...
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To present and discuss the dietary guidelines issued by the Brazilian government in 2014. The present paper describes the aims of the guidelines, their shaping principles and the approach used in the development of recommendations. The main recommendations are outlined, their significance for the cultural, socio-economic and environmental aspects o...
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OBJECTIVE To assess the impact of consuming ultra-processed foods on the nutritional dietary profile in Brazil. METHODS Cross-sectional study conducted with data from the module on individual food consumption from the 2008-2009 Pesquisa de Orçamentos Familiares (POF – Brazilian Family Budgets Survey). The sample, which represented the section of t...
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We see them here and there and everywhere, when we look– spirals. Below left is a recent cloud formation in Nepal. WN editorial team member Ashok Bhurtyal, Dushala Adhikari and colleagues, report in this issue in Update from Kathmandu. Above right is the centre of a sunflower, venerated as all creation by St Francis of Assisi, whose ministry inspir...
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(This is the third article in the Update section below. Please scroll down). Fred Kummerow is one of the great public health heroes of our times. We at WN are proud that he is a regular contributor, as shown in the links above to his recent work for us. He is a lipid biochemist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Starting in the late 1...
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This is the third Update special in which modern conventional nutrition science, confined as a biological and biochemical discipline, is indicted. The charges are not levelled at nutrition as a topic, which is of ever-increasing importance. They mainly concern the science and profession in its current state. An indictment is not a judgement. It is...
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Second of three. Responses to Project Phoenix. The letters begin with the third in this Feedback section. Please scroll down.
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Editorial. The profession of science may be comparatively ethical. But as Pope Francis points out, we all now live in a world whose still-dominant political and economic ideology breeds greed for money and power. In scholarly as well as commercial and political life, it is evident that the race is usually won by the ruthless. Too many prosperous an...
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.Pope Francis is now the world’s most powerful moral authority. In the Forbes list of the world’s most influential people he ranks #4, after the leaders of Russia, the US and China. He eclipses all previous popes in modern times by his direct words and actions, his guts in taking on the biggest issues, and his personal humanity. With 1.2 billion Ca...
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Conventional professionals characteristically work inside a box that assumes three meals a day, with daily and weekly intake remaining much the same – except at weekends, holidays, and any other indulgent occasions. But the three-meal-a-day convention is a recent cultural construct, and besides, evidence that the habit has any special health benefi...
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Multimistura is the word used in Brazil for an artisanal or home-made powdered food ‘multi-mixture’ used as a food supplement. Versions are also made and sold ready-made or as separate ingredients by small businesses. It looks like coarse wholegrain flour, and smells and tastes earthy. It was originally devised in Brazil to prevent and treat undern...
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The multimistura, invented by Brazilian paediatric physician Clara Brandao, is now used nationwide by the Pastoral da Crianca movenment. It is of, by and for the people. It is a mixture of rice bran, and powdered mandioca (cassava) leaves, eggshell, nuts and seeds. In effect it is a artesanal micronutrient mixture but with many more nutrients and b...
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This is the second Update special in which modern conventional nutrition science is indicted. Last month the charges were of its obscurity and ignorance. This month the charges are of obsolescence and irrelevance. We stress two points again. One is that an indictment is not a judgement but a preliminary case to be examined. Two is that the charge...
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First of three. Responses to Project Phoenix. The letters begin with the third in this Feedback section. Please scroll down.
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Last month in WN I celebrated Eduardo Galeano, writing in the days after his death. This month he is my hero. In his writing and speaking and by his example of his own way of living, he reshapes perceived realities. He will continue to inform and enlighten all of us who live in the global South, and many in the global North also – or so I hope – ab...
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Nutrition for me began when in 1980 I became a writing journalist on the London Sunday Times and then stumbled into the whole world of food and nutrition policy. My first news story was about a scientific conference boosting butter which had been organised and funded by the butter industry. My one front page lead news story, ‘Censored: A diet for l...
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Editorial. Biocides – literally, ‘killers of life’ - are grossly and recklessly overused and abused as an intrinsic part of intensive aggressive industrial ‘modern’ agriculture and medicine. For over half a century, knowledgeable and thoughtful people have warned that there will be a time of reckoning, and even – as with human-made climate disrupti...
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‘In dreams begins responsibility’, wrote WB Yeats. Eduardo Galeano (1949-2015) ranks with two of the Latin American Nobel Literature prizewinners Gabriel Garcia Marques and Pablo Neruda. Like them his writing not only evokes but creates the nature of Latin America. This gives a sense of his stature. How to explain, for those who have not yet imbibe...
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Having suffered from blood clots and a heart condition for many years, including a coronary thrombosis in 1974, Richard Nixon died of a stroke age 81 in 1994. You see where this is leading, so let me say that there are plenty of reasons why he suffered circulatory pathology as from his mid-60s. Besides, the idea that people die from one cause, w...
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This story is about fasting, which is neglected by conventional nutrition science, despite the fact that a high proportion of the human race have observed regular periods of fasting throughout history, and still do. Odd, you may think – the neglect, not the observance. Like vegetarianism, fasting takes many forms, from restriction or omission of sp...
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Sigfried Giedion (1888-1968), a visionary thinker and writer, was a co-creator and organiser of the inter-World Wars modern movement of architectural design, as a contemporary and colleague of Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier. He also inspired postwar movements, notably the London-based Independent Group whose thinking fused ‘high’ and ‘mass’ cultur...
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In the Mahabharata, the Sanskrit epic of ancient India, Shiva is the god who is the standard of invincibility, might, and terror, and also the figure of honour, delight, and brilliance. Duality and ambiguity confuses and is alien to those educated in the ‘cut and dried’ Western convention, but is normal and natural for those whose way of being is s...
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(Note. It is best to start reading this series with the story on Operation Phoenix attached, and then here, and then follow the chronological sequence). Good nutrition is vital for everybody. It is fundamental and essential for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual good health, and to living wisely and well. This is a constant theme of WN and...
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We at World Nutrition came late to climate disruption. In May and October last year we featured climate on our cover. See also the links below. Some readers wondered what is the connection with public health nutrition. This is easy to answer. Both the president of the World Bank and the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have co...
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My hero this month is a force of nature. This is Vandana Shiva, whose impact on India and the world now has similarities with that of Mohandas Gandhi. Both express a philosophy resonant in the East which is alien to those in the West whose religion is technology. Time and circumstance is on her side. She may prevail. She is well named. It does not...
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Editorial. WHO (and other UN agencies) is starved. Many of its shortcomings are explained by shortage of financial, material and human resources. This makes WHO feel forced to comply with powerful member states and with other influential sources of funds that apparently do not have the principles of the United Nations or WHO at heart or in mind. Wo...
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Nutrition in its modern form as the science of nutrients always was, is, and will be, largely or mostly the tool of industry. That is, its main job has always been to increase corporate power and wealth. Nutrition, inasmuch as it sees food as a receptacle of nutrients – proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals – is a science. But together...
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Eduardo Galeano has inspired the rise and establishment of democratic socialism in Latin America. He died in his home town of Montevideo this month of April as I write. He was old for many years, like a carving of himself, from so much lived experience, as if marinaded or fermented. He would have enjoyed these images – he says ‘we are all mortal un...
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Capitalism is the title of a six-part documentary series filmed in 22 countries, first broadcast in late 2014. Its final hour-long episode displays the nature and meaning of unregulated capitalism now. It identifies one person as the best judge of what goes on, and explains and celebrates his thinking. In the film, Thomas Piketty and Yanis Varoufak...
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(This is the first story in the Update section attached). Specific stories can signal bigger issues, to be identified and confronted. One is the state of conventional nutrition itself as a science and profession. Indictments are that it is sick, suffering from obscurity, or ignorance, or obsolescence, irrelevance, incompetence, complacency or vena...
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(This story is the third in the Update section attached. Please scroll down). The evidence on dietary cholesterol has always been flimsy. Yet while stating that the evidence for cardiovascular disease is ‘contradictory’, the '916' 2003 WHO report conclusion was ‘probable’. Eh? More, the report set the goal of less than 300 milligrams a day in the...
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The UK magazine Prospect recently published its list of the world’s top 50 thinkers of 2014. The top two, Thomas Piketty and Yanis Varoufakis, have been inspired by my hero this month. This is the historian of politics, economics and society Karl Polanyi, my hero in this issue of WN. His The Great Transformation, published in 1944, records and fore...
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Editorial. Nutrition that is a central part of public health has elements in common with clinical nutrition, just as architects and builders both use steel, but it is an entirely different activity. It is the philosophy and politics of nourishment. This is what WN explores. It sees epidemics as symptoms of sick societies, the implication being that...
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Seven of us sat down for breakfast early one morning last September in the lounge of the Randolph, the fanciest hotel in Oxford. All of us are engaged in public health and nutrition, one way or another. We could have chosen fruit, muesli and yoghurt, or a vegetarian option, but no. We ordered the ‘signature breakfast’. It came complete with ‘Macleo...
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Ideas can be hot stuff. The constant search for factual objectivity that typifies conventional nutrition science, seems to me to come from an aversion to and even horror of ideas, and the longing for absolute certainty that draws people to worship religion or mathematics. The result is either immersion in trivia, or else failure to grasp reality an...
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‘A calorie is a calorie’ is an ambiguous phrase. In one sense it is trivially true, as in Gertrude Stein’s famous phrase, ‘A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose’. In another sense it is obviously questionable, because it assumes no difference between the energy produced by burning food in a bomb calorimeter and that generated by metabolic processes....