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Editorial Issue 196

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 196 - July 2012

This PH Online July Issue 196 publishes two authoritative articles dealing with weight at the extreme ends of the spectrum – Claudia Louch’s Expert Column about cancer cachexia To What Extent is Weight Loss in Cancer Patients Attributable to Decreased Food Intake?:

“Debilitating weight-loss in cancer patients is part a syndrome known as cancer cachexia (CC), characterized by disease-induced starvation and wasting. Although there is no universally accepted definition of CC, clinical signs include progressive body weight loss, generalized wasting, immunosuppression, abnormalities in fluid and energy metabolism, anorexia, metabolic alterations, asthenia, depletion of lipid stores and severe loss of adipose tissue and skeletal muscle.”

and Andrew West’s article Tips and Recipes for Weight Loss:

“We often start a diet because we’re under pressure to change. We put in great effort and see success; this reduces the pain and ‘releases the pressure slightly’.  It is usually at this point that we decide to modify the plan we have been following, maybe we reduce the exercise or start adding things to the diet. The result of this is that we don’t lose weight at the same speed and we start to get frustrated.  We keep on modifying but do not do the one sure fire way to success, repeat what we did to start with, as that now seems really painful.

“Once the brain knows that a diet is painful, as it means avoiding the so-called pleasures and treats, it won’t go towards pain. Also, if we enter a diet with the wrong mindset, we set ourselves in a program of deprivation. The brain will do everything it can to avoid pain so our pain threshold for putting on weight will now be less than our pain threshold for being overweight. This means it will take even more pain before we are kicked into action; and this is why we put on even more weight each time following a diet program.”

The popular press and consumer women’s magazine typically treat weight loss as a health and beauty issue; along with the psychological factors involved in anorexia and bulimia; these stories fuel the burgeoning quantity of print and multi-media devoted to the entire paraphernalia surrounding diets – books, diet plans, organizations such as Weight Watchers and Slimming World and their products. However, beyond the vanity aspects of weight loss and body image obsessing our celebrity-led culture, the larger pharmaceutical, agricultural, corporate and political issues surrounding weight elevate the subject of weight to a more profound status.

“I have found the BBC 2 Series The Men Who Made Us Fat compelling watching; not only is it subversive and clever, but pure evil in revealing the nefarious, greedy and successful but corrupt motives and actions of the agrochemical, advertising, political and international organizations.

“Researcher and Presenter Jacques Peretti has gone back to the beginnings, the initial impetus of the obesity epidemic by looking at how surplus corn was transformed into a valuable commodity - high fructose corn syrup and an indispensable ingredient in so much of the energy-dense, junk foods. Scientists and marketing gurus from the era of the 1970s and 19780s report on research revealing that feeding rats and humans with larger portions of junk food and fizzy drink sodas - with huge amounts of sugar - has led to the present obesity epidemic. Also that the cause of gaining weight, as pointed out by John Yudkin decades ago, was sugar and not fat, despite the marketing obsession with low-fat foods.

“The genius of marketing has produced super sized and combo meals which has transformed ordinary eating habits into gorging, out-of-control, fat consumers. And the food and nutrition industrial lobbyists have resorted to tactics reminiscent of the tobacco company executives - threatening to withdraw the US funding of the UN if a damaging report was published. A similar lobbying ploy was used to prevent the publication of a report presented to the Labour Party’s Tessa Jowell proposing limiting advertising to children. These reports were never published.”

It doesn’t get more life or death than starvation; the irony can’t be lost on us that while two thirds of UK adults are overweight and one in four are obese, the hunger and starvation statistics are equally massive:

  • 925 million people do not have enough to eat  and 98 percent of them live in developing countries. (Source: FAO news release, 14 September 2010)
  • Asia and the Pacific region is home to over half the world’s population and nearly two thirds of the world’s hungry people; Source: FAO news release, 2010)
  • Women make up a little over half of the world's population, but they account for over 60 percent of the world’s hungry. (Source:  Strengthening efforts to eradicate hunger..., ECOSOC, 2007)
  • 65 percent  of the world's hungry live in only seven countries: India, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Ethiopia. (Source: FAO news release, 2010)
  • Undernutrition contributes to five million deaths of children under five each year in developing countries.    (Source: Under five deaths by cause, UNICEF, 2006)
  • One out of four children - roughly 146 million - in developing countries is underweight
  • (Source: The State of the World's Children, UNICEF, 2007)
  • More than 70 percent of the world's underweight children (aged five or less) live in just 10 countries, with more than 50 per cent located in South Asia alone;
  • (Source: Progress for Children: A Report Card on Nutrition, UNICEF, 2006)
  • 10.9 million children under five die in developing countries each year. Malnutrition and hunger-related diseases cause 60 percent of the deaths;  (Source: The State of the World's Children, UNICEF, 2007)

As the old saying go - feast or famine. Life is just not fair. While half the world’s population gorge themselves on massively energy-dense crisps, fizzy drinks and take-away pizzas and burgers, the other half goes hungry. Where is the justice? However the corporate lobbyists who have assiduously worked to pervert and suppress the scientific research data in favour of their products don’t deserve to coin it at everyone else’s expense. Just wait until I am in charge of the World Health Organization!!

A few of the other important features published in this issue include: Living with Adversity of Surviving Benign Brain Tumour by Lorraine Kemble, Self-Hypnosis to Promote Quality Sleep by Kathy Stephenson, Effective Antimicrobial Essential Oils for Protection against Dangerous Infection by Maggie Tisserand and Managing Pregnancy and Birth, an Holistic Perspective by Jonathan Lawrence.


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About Sandra Goodman PhD

Sandra Goodman PhD, Co-founder and Editor of Positive Health, trained as a Molecular Biology scientist in Agricultural Biotechnology in Canada and the US, focusing upon health issues since the 1980s in the UK. Author of 4 books, including Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art, Vitamin C – The Master Nutrient, Germanium: The Health and Life Enhancer and numerous articles, Dr Goodman was the lead author of the Consensus Document Nutritional and LifeStyle Guidelines for People with Cancer and compiled the Cancer and Nutrition Database for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre in 1993. Dr Goodman is passionate about making available to all people, particularly those with cancer, clinical expertise in Nutrition and Complementary Therapies. Dr Goodman was recently featured as Doctor of the Fortnight in ThinkWellness360.

Dr Goodman and long-term partner Mike Howell seek individuals with vision, resources, and organization to continue and expand the Positive Health PH Online legacy beyond the first 30 years, with facilities for training, to fund alternative cancer research, and promote holistic organizations internationally. Read about Dr Goodman and purchase Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art.  She may be contacted privately for Research, Lectures and Editorial services via:   and

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