Barry M. Popkin, PhD, is the W. R. Kenan, Jr. distinguished professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). He has a PhD in agricultural economics and established the Division of Nutrition Epidemiology at UNC and later established and ran the UNC Interdisciplinary Obesity Center, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
In a recent interview with News Medical, Dr. Popkin addresses the various ways in which the food industry constantly battles — and sets up roadblacks against — public health (one reason why the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ partnershihps with PepsiCo and Unilever are counterproductive).
- “The World Cancer Research Federation has also done major reviews that says that the abdominal obesity related to the sugars makes reducing consumption of added sugar one of the top couple of preventable ways to prevent cancer. The consensus exists across the World Health Organization, the NHS in the UK, the US Dietary Guidelines and the Institute of Medicine in the US. We should have no more than ten percent and hopefully five percent of our calories from added sugars in our diet because of the health risks.”
- “The World Health Organization has promoted three large-scale regulatory efforts: taxing first sugary beverages, secondly considering taxing junk food and other food very high in sugar; marketing bans on these kind of unhealthy foods and beverages; adequate labeling the front of food packaging to clearly identify the food as very excessive in sugar or not of high quality.”
- “The problem of course is that food companies are very big and in general the food industry does not want to be regulated. They say they’ll do it by themselves, of course the proof of the world gaining the weight it’s gaining and all the cardiovascular disease and cancers coming from our diet show that that’s not the case.”
- “The food companies put a lot of energy and lobbying money into trying to prevent taxation and other regulation.”