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Saturday, July 13, 2013
The skinny on junk food science
Your body can’t tell the difference between Diet Coke and the real thing. And if you are drinking artificially sweetened beverages in order to prevent packing on the “empty calories” of the sugared variety, your metabolism isn’t fooled.
Or so says a team of Purdue University researchers who reviewed a dozen studies published over the last few years on the relationship between drinking diet sodas and health outcomes. The title of their published opinion, “Artificial sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements,” captures the thrust of their argument.
They write, “accumulating evidence suggests that frequent consumers of these sugar substitutes may also be at increased risk of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
The American Beverage Association countered that this is just the researchers’ “opinion.” Perhaps, but it is an opinion formed by independent research. More junk food science would help.
Americans continue to be conflicted about what is good or bad for the health when it comes to sugars and fats. Word that diet sodas might be as unhealthy as sugary drinks runs contrary to commonly dispensed advice. As Americans struggle with thickened waistlines and rises in metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes, dissension continues even as to whether obesity is a disease. Sunday’s Point/Counterpoint takes on this sticky topic. Join the debate that starts tomorrow at blogs.roanoke.com/roundtable/.
The left-wing debate conspiracy
In Ken Cuccinelli’s world, the League of Women Voters and the AARP are subversive forces that can’t be trusted to sponsor a debate between Virginia’s candidates for governor.
Who knew that advocates for voter participation and a lobbying group for retirees were so menacing? They’ve somehow managed to scare the Republican nominee for governor out of an Oct. 14 televised debate with Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
After declining an invitation from organizers, Cuccinelli this week called the proposed forum a “left wing, stacked debate” and asserted that the liberal cable outlet MSNBC was involved with the event. Actually, the debate would have been broadcast by a CBS affiliate and public television station in Richmond and offered to other outlets around Virginia. CBS morning host Norah O’Donell, formerly of NBC and MSNBC, would have served as the moderator.
The League of Women Voters and AARP organized fair and informative televised debates in the 2009 governor’s race and last year’s U.S. Senate contest. Now, to hear Cuccinelli tell it, they’re part of a vast left-wing conspiracy laying a trap for him.
We can’t imagine what Cuccinelli is afraid of, especially after he challenged McAuliffe to 15 debates and accused the Democrat of ducking him. For all his barking about debates, Cuccinelli’s looking like a dog that won’t hunt.
Policing the ABC
The most reassuring move yet by the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board since news broke of the agency’s big sparkling water bust in Charlottesville: State police are conducting an administrative review, at the ABC chairman’s request.
Also reassuring: the city’s commonwealth’s attorney has advised the arresting agent to run any future ABC operations by his office “for guidance prior to them being executed.”
Third on our list: ABC Commissioner Sandra Canada’s email, made public this week in response to an open-records request, questioning how the operation spun so badly out of control. Points off, though, for putting in writing her correct reading of the mess: “Looks really bad and lawsuit material.”
Not reassuring at all: the ABC’s “immediate change” to avert a repeat of a confrontation that led to three felony charges, later dismissed, against a University of Virginia student who fled from a group of thugs in a dark parking lot — actually, plainclothes ABC agents who had mistaken a case of sparkling water for beer during a crackdown on underage drinking.
From now on, the ABC said last week, one officer on such stakeouts will wear an overgarment emblazoned with the word “police,” since the agency doesn’t currently have a police uniform. It might be wiser to leave the booze busts to law enforcement agencies that do.
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