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In the Vegetarian & Vegan News...

Junk Pushers Use Junk Science
by Jeff Nelson

Just like the tobacco industry, the food and chemical industries routinely use "science" to try to con an unsuspecting public into buying their junky products.

One favorite of the junk food industry which illustrates how this works was a study published in the June 1999 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

In this "study" -- still cited in the mainstream media today in 2003 -- the junk food industry devised what amounted to a truly idiotic experiment, a sick mind game played by "researchers" on very young, impressionable 3 to 5 year-olds.

The food-industry researchers first determined that the study subjects liked equally two different junk food snacks. Over the course of five days then, the researchers showed kids both of the two junk foods -- but forbade them from eating one of them, saying they could eat only the other one.

In other words, they taunted the kids with the now-forbidden junk food by letting them see that food -- but preventing them from eating it.


The study found that after five days having the food put before them to look at but not touch, the children actually wanted it MORE than the junk food they were allowed to eat.

Wow! What a shock!

Once the junk food industry study was published, food industry-funded "science" groups with important-sounding names, like "The American Counsel for Science and Health" (ACSH), began using this study to conclude that the "food police" are wrong to deny junk food to their kids. Parents must in essence cede control of their children's desires to their children, they argued to any news organization that might print a story, otherwise parents risk creating more desire on the part of the children for the unhealthful foods, and the kids will only end up eating more junk, not less...!

The junk food industry "scientists" recommendation, in other words?

Let them eat twinkies!

Of course, no educational information was provided to the children as part of the study, that eating the food in question might compromise their health or was otherwise undesirable. That might have messed up the study results the researchers were after.

Obviously, the food-industry researchers who set up the study knew enough about human nature and children's curiosity to set it up to get this apparent "result." It doesn't take a study to know that small kids will take a chair and climb up onto a cabinet and generally do anything in their power to get at something Mommy and Daddy told them they couldn't have.

It's also pretty obvious researchers would get the same results if they had used a toy, a drug or a weapon. Had the researchers found that children's interest in toys, drugs or weapons increased when taunted in this same way, would their advice be "not to restrict" chidren's access to these items too?

And yet this is the kind of schlock "research" the food industry supports in order to promote junk food sales, and to try to blunt the negative sales impact of the many reputable studies showing nutritional problems of eating too much junk food.

(Incidentally, you know you are reading a food-industry funded article when you read terms like "food police" -- a code work used by industry hacks to disparage good parenting. This is the term used by pro-industry organizations with names like "National Center for Public Policy Analysis," "Citizens for the Integrity of Science," (an "organization" run by tobacco & chemical industry-funded Steven Milloy of "Junkscience.com"); "Competitive Enterprise Institute" and "Center for Global Food Issues," to name a few of the worst.)

The most appropriate way to help adults get their kids to eat a healthy diet would be for researchers to look at parents who have succeeded in doing so.

Researchers would find, to begin with, that such parents don't play mind games on their children, but rather they don't give the junk food to their children to start with; they don't create an addiction to bad food at an early age, and they keep an eye on their children's nutritional development so that the kids don't have ready, unlimited access to junky foods.

Effective parents also begin to educate their children early about healthy and unhealthy foods. Children naturally want to be healthy, strong and successful. If you teach a child very early that smoking cigarettes is a disgusting addiction that causes death and disease, most will never want to smoke.

The same is true with dietary habits, which is why it's so important to regain control of our children from the junk food industry, and restore parental choice and parental authority in our homes and schools today.

(To see an example of how food-industry "science" group
ACSH promoted this pro-junk food study via Dr. Koop.com, click here.)


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