Agri-Industry Vested Interests Exposed by Low Glycemic Index Pioneer

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USDA does not support public health interests, says Solo GI Nutrition CEO Saul Katz

Solo GI Smart Energy Bar

"If we are to slow the growth of Diabesity, we need to modify the 2010 Dietary Guidelines to encourage consumers to consider the blood sugar impact equal to the nutrient content when choosing a food or beverage."

Saul Katz

USDA’s interest protects that of Industry -- not the American public, conclude leading researchers Water C. Willett, MD, PhD, and David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD in their article, "The 2010 Dietary Guidelines -- The Best Recipe for Health?" published in the prestigious peer-reviewed The New England Journal of Medicine (Oct. 26, 2011; pp 1563-1565). Saul Katz, Founder and CEO of Solo-GI Nutrition, inventor of the popular SoLo GI® Bar and pioneer in raising awareness of how low-GI foods positively impact health, is in full agreement.

The two leading authorities from Harvard School of Public Health and the Childrens Hospital in Boston chastised the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for pandering to “agro-industrial interests” in the creation of the newly developed 2010 Dietary Guidelines, in a closed-door process that relied on “outdated and flawed studies.”

The authors point out that the USDA bowed to “big food" thereby compromising the health of Americans and particularly those most reliant on government programs. The authors argue that while directing Americans to limit the fat content of their diet is commendable, the Dietary Guidelines promote the increased consumption of carbohydrates without however distinguishing between high glycemic (high GI) refined starches and low glycemic (low GI) carbohydrates proven to be more healthful. The USDA missed an opportunity, state the authors. Notwithstanding the current administration, motivated by First Lady Michelle Obama’s personal campaign against childhood obesity, because the Dietary Guidelines dictate government programs, “the diets of millions of Americans who participate in school-lunch programs remain loaded with refined carbohydrates in an effort to reduce fat as a proportion of total calories....”

The authors state that, “The original Food Guide Pyramid, which encouraged substituting grain products for dietary fat (irrespective of their nutritional quality), may have inadvertently contributed to epidemics of metabolic syndrome and related chronic diseases by increasing refined-starch consumption.” The new MyPlate depiction of Dietary Guidelines“ is inherently constrained, most notably by failures to distinguish between whole grains and refined grain products.”

The researchers point out that, “Although eating of whole grains is encouraged, half of recommended grain intake may be in the form of refined carbohydrates, which provide many unneeded calories and cause adverse metabolic consequences.” Citing a 2008 meta-analysis of observational studies of Glycemic Index, Glycemic Load, and Chronic Disease Risk,1 “the quality of carbohydrates , as characterized by their glycemic index, is dismissed as unimportant, whereas we believe the evidence strongly suggests the opposite.”

The authors rebuke the USDA for not paying proper attention to the Glycemic Index, a now globally recognized and utilized tool that could help address the growing worldwide epidemics of obesity and diabetes. The Glycemic Index is the only scientific measure of how fast and how high a carbohydrate containing food raises blood sugar, the lower and slower the better. The culprit, refined grains and processed carbohydrates, rank high on the Glycemic Index because they are easily digested and cause a rapid and significant rise of blood sugar and insulin levels. In contrast, low-GI foods, such as the Solo GI® Low Glycemic Bar, are formulated and clinically validated to have a much more gradual and healthy effect on blood sugar, raising it more slowly which is better for managing weight, sustaining energy and disease prevention.

In their article about the newest food guidelines, Willet and Ludwig boldly assert that “A clearer message would be that Americans must reduce the consumption of red meat, cheese, butter, and sugar, but that message would have offended powerful industries.“

Concurring with these internationally recognized authorities, Katz explains why the food industry leaned so heavily on the USDA not to distinguish the good low GI carbohydrates from the problematic refined starches; “The agro-food industrial complex has a vested interest to continue the consumption of refined (high glycemic) carbohydrates, notwithstanding their contribution to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, gout and dental caries. For example, clinical studies evidencing the benefits of low glycemic foods, such as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded study by the author Dr. David Ludwig at the Children’s Hospital in Boston using the company’s Solo GI® Low Glycemic Nutrition Bars in a study with Obese Pregnant Woman evidenced that a low GI diet is better for both the mother and infant than the conventional low fat diet.2 A second clinical study by the NIH using Solo Gi® Bars with children with Type 1 diabetes also evidenced positive results.3 Marian L. Neuhouser, PhD, RD, of the Cancer Prevention Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and lead investigator in an NIH funded clinical study using Solo Gi® Bars concurs, “Whole grains and other foods with a low glycemic index are beneficial and an important component of a healthy diet. Not all carbohydrates are created equal; those with a low GI should selected over those with a high GI and little nutritional value.”
Katz continued, “'big food’ prefers to push processed carbohydrates as they have not incorporated low GI into their product development process. They would compromise their revenue stream if they educated the public to properly choose low-GI over high-GI food choices. If one was cynical, they might believe that big food prefers the status quo perpetuating the viscous spike, crash and crave cycle, caused by high glycemic foods and beverages, notwithstanding their established contribution to these inter-linked epidemics.”

Katz further elucidates that the USDA is a politically driven body charged with creating and implementing public policy. In doing so, it must carefully weigh the interests of the agriculture industry as well as that of public health and herein lies the art of compromise, putting millions of people at risk for developing obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease against the interest of the agricultural and food industries. "Drs. Willett and Ludwig support our staunchly unwavering belief that when it comes to public health -- and the ability to prevent the onset of these disease states -- compromise is not only wrong, it is unsound and unacceptable. Compromising on the side of big business makes the USDA an accomplice endangering the health of millions."

He concludes, "for those paying attention, Drs. Willett and Ludwig point out the problem and offer a sensible solution. We need to raise the bar in the food industry, and teach consumers a very simple, logical practice: it is not about 'no carb' or 'low carb' it's about 'smart carb' and 'slow carb,' which is why the authors place so much emphasis on the Glycemic Index. The Glycemic Index can be instrumental in helping industry to develop responsible products that become part of the solution instead of compounding the problem. Expanding upon the authors sentiments, if we are to slow the growth of Diabesity, we need to modify the 2010 Dietary Guidelines to encourage consumers to consider the blood sugar impact equal to the nutrient content when choosing a food or beverage."

About SoloGI® Nutrition Inc.
Solo GI Nutrition is at the forefront of the low GI - blood sugar management movement. Solo Gi® Bars were developed in collaboration with the inventors of the Glycemic Index at the University of Toronto. Each Solo GI® Bar is clinically validated and listed on the International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values.4 Solo GI® Bars were ranked among the Top Ten Best Choice Snacks by the Children’s Nationwide Snackwise Program against 750 snacks rated. The bars have become a benchmark in the scientific community having been used in several independent low GI studies by leading scientific institutions. 2,3 Solo GI® Bars are used by numerous professional sport teams and elite athletes for sustained energy, optimal nutrition and exceptional taste.

1.    Barclay et.al. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2008;87:627-37).
2.    Glycemic Load and Infant Birth Weight in Pregnant Overweight/Obese Women; David Ludwig, MD, PhD, Children’s Hospital Boston,AJCN. First published ahead of print October 20, 2010 as doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2010.30130. The study was funded by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases; the Thrasher Research Fund; the National Institutes of Health; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the New Balance Foundation
3.    The Effect of a Low-Glycemic Diet VS a Standard Diet on Blood Glucose Levels and Macronutrient Intake in Children with Type 1 Diabetes. NIH study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Assoc. 2009;109:303-307.
4.    Diabetes Care; First published ahead of print, online October 3, 2008; International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values: 2008; Fiona S. Atkinson (RD), Kaye Foster-Powell (RD), Jennie C. Brand-Miller (PhD), Institute of Obesity, Nutrition and Exercise, University of Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia

For more information or to request a photograph or samples, please contact info(at)solo-gi(dot)com.

Contact:    Saul Katz, President
        Solo GI Nutrition Inc.
        250-681-4551 (PST)
        skatz(at)solo-gi(dot)com

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