Category Archives: Corporate Influence

Proposed Warning Label For Meat: “Eating Meat Contributes To Insulin Resistance And Diabetes”

SodaWarningLabelThe California Senate just passed a bill requiring warning labels on sugar-sweetened beverages:

“Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

It’s a shame that sweetened beverages are being singled out. I would like to see a similar label on meat:

“Eating meat contributes to insulin resistance and diabetes.”

Why? Because meat-eating is a risk factor for developing diabetes:
Meat Consumption As A Risk Factor For Type 2 Diabetes, Nutrients, February 2014

Researchers evaluated studies that examined different amounts and types of meat consumption and the risk for developing diabetes. They found that meat-eaters had a significantly higher risk of developing diabetes compared with non-meat-eaters. Here’s a chart summarizing the results of one of the included studies, Type of Vegetarian Diet, Body Weight, and Prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes, Diabetes Care, 2009:


Mechanisms for meat’s effect on diabetes risk:

  • Effect on body weight – “Nearly all observational studies comparing meat-eaters with those who avoid meat show higher body weights among the former group, a finding mirrored in the results of intervention studies using meatless diets.”
  • Effect on visceral fat (fat around organs in abdominal area) – “Visceral adipose tissue is associated with insulin resistance as a result of increased proinflamatory cytokines.”
  • Effect on intracellular lipid (fat inside cells) – Impairs insulin action. This would involve, in part, the glucose transporter (GLUT4), which I discussed here.
  • Effect on iron balance – “Meat provides a substantial quantity of heme iron … a prooxidant that encourages the production of reactive oxygen species, which may damage body tissues, including insulin-producing pancreatic cells.” Even moderately elevated iron stores are associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
  • Nitrates in processed meats – Nitrites and sodium are both linked to elevated diabetes risk.
  • Systemic inflammation – “A 2014 Harvard study reported that as total red meat consumption increased, so did biomarkers of inflammation.”
  • One they didn’t mention was presence of persistent organic pollutants (POPs): Animal Fat Is A Natural Reservoir For Environmental Pollutants. “There is now solid evidence demonstrating the contribution of POPs at environmental levels, to metabolic disorders … such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.”

Do you think a meat label could come to pass? There certainly is enough justification for it.

He Said The Profit Motive Was Stifling Science

WritingLetter2Can you guess who wrote this?

“The pre-eminence of the profit motive in conducting scientific research ultimately means that science is deprived of its epistemological character, according to which its primary goal is discovery of the truth. The risk is that when research takes a utilitarian turn, its speculative dimension, which is the inner dynamic of man’s intellectual journey, will be diminished or stifled.”

He wrote it in 2002, in a letter “condemning the “overriding financial interests” that operate in biomedical and pharmaceutical research.”

Corporations Have Thoroughly, And Clandestinely, Infiltrated Research

I think it’s worth mentioning that even though a study looks like it is devoid of corporate influence, it likely is not. Corporations have thoroughly, and clandestinely, infiltrated research in this country.  Corporations have money. Scientists use corporations’ money to conduct research.

Here’s a great article on how corporations, in this case Monsanto, influence research:

The Goodman Affair: Monsanto Targets the Heart of Science, Independent Science News, May 2013

“It seems unlikely that scientific journals will address unaided the defects in scientific publishing at [Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT)] and elsewhere. To do so would require confronting the fundamental problem that academic science now largely makes its money from exploiting conflicts of interest. This has become the underlying business model of science. Universities offer ‘independent’ advice to governments while taking corporate money for ‘research’. Corporations offer that money to universities, not for the knowledge it generates, but primarily for the influence it buys.”

FCT was the professional, respected, peer-reviewed journal that succumbed to pressure by the biotechnology industry and retracted a study that, although found to be correct, with no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation, shone poorly on that industry. When you hear people say there is not a shred of evidence that GMOs are harmful to health, it is because industry has methodically and meticulously erased that evidence.

Here’s a slide from from Dr. Sheldon Krimsky’s powerpoint presentation on the corporate influence in academic science.


Dr. Krimsky is a professor at Tuft’s University. His powerpoint presentations (the examples he gives in them are chilling) coalesced into the book, Science in the Private Interest. An excerpt:

“The evolving academic universe is no longer as nurturing an environment for public-interest science as it once was. To a large degree, universities have been taken over by money managers and academic entrepreneurs who are looking for financially lucrative research.”

For years and years I refused to believe this. Then when I couldn’t close my eyes to it anymore, I chided myself for being too cynical. Now I see it as cold fact.