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McCarrison Society - Delegate Contribution
Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum Keynote Seminar: Food in schools and early years settings: standards, from school meals and the future of the policy
"It is incontrovertibly obvious deficiency of any nutrient which is essential for every tissue will eventually lead to abnormal function in every tissue."  [1]

The forum recognised obesity is a significant concern underlying the formulation of school food strategies. The government obesity strategy [2] adopts a calories in calories out perspective with a central focus on sugar intake.

Highly refined processed nutrient damaged and depleted carbohydrates including sugar, are very clearly factors in a range of Western non-infective diseases including obesity and related diabetes. Diabetes and obesity were rare in indigenous population groups prior to adoption of refined western foods.

In the 1930s East and West Africa government data for hospitals mainly attended by indigenous non-westernised patients, eating traditional diets, including coarsely milled grain /corn, record diabetes rates under 0.2%, [3]  and obesity was rarely observed. Rates of both increased greatly with introduction of western refined foods.

However, despite a 30% reduction in sugar intake since the 1930s, absence of reduction of UK obesity and diabetes rates suggests obesity and diabetes have wider causation than sugar intake alone.

1930-34 sugar consumption per head per year in the United Kingdom was 110lbs [4] , but obesity was the exception, and diabetes occurrence was very considerably lower, albeit relative mortality rates were probably higher.

In contrast current UK sugar consumption is around 75lbs per head, "nearly a third of children aged 2 to 15 are overweight or obese", and 4.5 million (3.3 million diagnosed) in the UK are estimated to have diabetes.

Arguably refined western carbohydrate related foods additional to sugar are equally or more culpable. Carbohydrate is derived from seasonal plant reproductive material, which is also rich in omega-6 linoleic acid, and sometimes accompanied by fructose glucose and sucrose in fruiting plants. Plant reproductive material availability reflects environmental fecundity, and I propose switches on and off human reproductive capacity, [5]  through oxidative stress messengering, and primarily through oxidative linoleic acid product pathways. [5]

Optimisation of successful reproductive outcomes requires fat accretion. The oxidised products of linoleic acid including 13 HODE, most common oxidised lipids in plasma, and primary endogenous activator of PPAR gamma, is often referred to as a "master regulator of adipogenous". Linoleic acid intake has risen significantly in the 20th century. [6]

Interestingly NIH USA data, suggested better correlation between chicken intake and human obesity, than for sugar intake. [7]  Chicken lipid profile has been changed by extensive grain feeding; consequently linoleic acid may represent up to 30% chicken fat. Use of biocides, bleaches, and aggressive cooking such as frying may raise oxidised linoleic acid in chicken. Excess oxidised linoleic acid arguably drives obesity by multiple pathways. Linoleic acid raises insulin, which signal for fat storage. [8]

Effects of carbohydrates and linoleic acid are synergistic. Glucose and fructose are easily oxidised driving oxidative stress pathways. Glucose raises insulin. Excess fructose is directed to fat accretion primarily. A downstream product of long chain omega-6 arachidonic acid is a primary endogenous activator of the endocannabinoid pathways, so signalling hunger. . .

Refined flour is also arguably an issue. During WWII mandatory usage of high extraction flour arguably factored in diabetes mortality reduction, and other improved health parameters including significant falls in carries rates in children. [9]  Modern wholemeal flour is disassembled and reassembled, heated and or otherwise treated, to increase shelf life, and manufacturing ease of bread, so not comparable to more traditional milling practices. Such treatment oxidises vulnerable components [10] including antioxidant factors making them non-bioavailable, also potentially increasing presence of obesogenic inflammatory oxidised linoleic acid products.

Arguably refined foods including heavily industrialised processed flours should be excluded from school diets, and use of food deep fried in vegetable oils be minimised.

[1] Dr Hugh Sinclair DM DSc FRCP (McCarrison beta-web site under development)

[2] Childhood obesity: a plan for action (updated Jan 2017)

[3] C.P. Donnison MD MCRP - Civilisation and Western Disease – (P. 10 -11) (McCarrison beta-web site under development)

[4] McCollum E, Orent-Keiles E, Day H. The Newer Knowledge of Nutrition (p.616) 5th. Edn. 1940 the Macmillan company

[5] Ed. Hegde M, Zanwar A, Adekar S. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Keys to Nutritional Health. The Roles of Linoleic and Alpha-linolenic Acid, Their Oxylipins and the PPAR Alpha-, Delta and Gamma-Related Peroxisomal Pathways

on Obesity in the Context of a “Western”. (Ch.27-32) Brown R. 2016 Springer 978-3-319-40456-1

[6] Blasbalg T, Hibbeln J, Ramsden C, Majchrzak S, Rawlings R. (Fig 2.) Changes in Consumption of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids in the United States during the 20th Century. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 May; 93(5): 950–962.

[7] Alvheim A, Malde M, Osei-Hyiaman D, Lin Y, Pawlosky R, Madsen L, Kristiansen K, Frøyland L, Hibbeln J. Dietary Linoleic Acid Elevates Endogenous Two-AG and Anandamide and Induces Obesity. (Fig 3 and 5) 2012; doi:10.1038/oby.2012.38.

[8] Lai M, Teng T, Yang C. The natural PPAR agonist linoleic acid stimulated insulin release in the rat pancreas. (Fig 2 and 3). J Vet Med Sci. 2013;75(11):1449–1454. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2012;14 (11):1010–9.

[9] Mellanby E. A Story of Nutritional Research, 1950, The Williams & Williams Company, Baltimore.

[10] Lehtinen P, KiiliaÈinen K, LehtomaÈki I, Laakso S. Effect of Heat Treatment on Lipid Stability in Processed Oats. Journal of Cereal Science 37 (2003) 215±221

Sheila Dillon asks if food and nutrition should have a bigger role in treating cancer. Is the medical profession too reluctant to see food as an essential component in improving the well-being of cancer patients.[listen at, 22 minutes 35s in]. There is a short clip at

Previewing the programme on Friday 17th May 2013 [listen at, 22 minutes 35s in, or a short clip at], Sheila Dillon, the show's presenter, herself diagnosed with bone marrow cancer, spoke on BBC R4's Women's Hour about the lack of nutritional knowledge among doctors. Doctors trained at Edinburgh University Medical School declared that nutrition formed no part of the syllabus, and that there is a lack of human based empirical evidence for the effect of diet or supplements in the treatment of cancer. In a busy clinic it's just not the doctors' priority to talk about diet when they would much rather talk about the anti-cancer treatments where there is a huge amount of evidence of it working in almost all patients. After Sheila tried to talk about diet to medical staff during chemo and other treatment,  the response was that "being encredibly healthy now is like blowing out the candles on a birthday cake when the house is on fire... because it's too late"

In the chemotherapy ward, the snack trolley came round full of crisps, chocolates and other sugary treats, not even a nudge in the right direction.

"Good moves are afoot - work at the breast cancer prevention unit at The University Hospital of South Manchester, where an oncologist working with a dietician, came up with the 2-day diet, primarily as a preventitive weight-loss measure.

The McCarrison Society agrees directly with the need to inform the Public, the Medical profession and its educators, and Governments, of the importance of nutrition in maintaining good health, both directly and by helping to prevent obesity and its outcomes, long before the need for the treatment of illnesses.

Sunday 19th May 2013, BBC Radio 4 12:30 pm (FM only and online), repeated Monday 20th May 2013 at 15:30pm (FM only and online)


McCarrison Meeting, Dunkeld, Perthsire 18 May 2013

– Michael Crawford, Bob Lister, and Simon House were warmly received and splendidly entertained by the Scottish group, chaired by Cedric de Voil.

Presentations Speakers and Subjects

Maisie Steven is a retired dietician, for many years a member of the McCarrison Society, experienced virtually every aspect of nutrition and dietetics: hospital, college, community and research. Her “The Good Scots Diet” was published in 1985 and “Strategies to Influence Nutrition Behaviour” in 1989 won an international award. Maisie’s observations from Statistical Accounts of Scotland for 1790s and 1830s showed that Scotland’s rural diet resulted in a healthy and vigorous population.

Dr Karen P. Scott is studying how oats can lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Not just nationalist, oats are part of a healthy diet, with effects on gut bacteria and heart disease. “We are becoming increasingly aware of the health benefits associated with the consumption of cereal, particularly whole grain cereals. High consumption of whole grain foods has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. In addition, many of the polysaccharides contained within cereal grain cell walls are not digested by human small intestinal enzymes but reach the large intestine where they are fermented as fibre by the human gut microbiota, releasing fermentation products that contribute directly to gut health.

Pete Ritchie and Heather Anderson, are Directors of Whitmuir Organic Farm near West Linton with pigs,cows, hens, sheep, turkeys, Pete, Heather and Lily the dog. They grow grass and trees, salads, soft fruit, potatoes,vegetables, hope and encouragement. They run the Whitmuir farm shop and butchery, the Whitmuir cafe, the Breadshare bakery, the Dancing Light Art Gallery, the Black & Green Biochar project and have community polytunnel plots. They provide work for 35 people and they are planning to become the first community owned farm in Scotland. “We believe a more localised food system would be better for the environment, health, community and economy of our country.” Elsie Downham, who grew up on her family's organic farm in Cumbria and has a degree in International Development, has worked with the Soil Association Scotland for just over two years. She described the Food for Life Scotland Programmes which she delivers.

Dr Bob Lister spoke on “The Hidden Assassin” - how fructose is killing the Scots, describing the aetiology of the Metabolic Syndrome, which is the cause of much of the cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Dr Lister was a lecturer in pharmacology at Glasgow University, then chief pharmacologist with Mcfarlan Smith, Edinburgh, where his group developed M99, the most powerful narcotic drug ever. His major initiatives in research and consultancy have been many. An active member of the McCarrison Society, he is also a trustee of the Mother and Child Foundation, major funder of Prof Crawford’s Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition.

Prof. Michael Crawford, last month elected Brain of the Year at a ceremony in London, said mental ill health had overtaken all other burdens of ill health and the rise is especially in children, costing the UK in 2010 a staggering £105 billion. There is good evidence that the rise in mental ill-health has been triggered by the change in food with the intensification of land based products and loss of sea and lake foods, of which there is certainly not enough to provide for DHA from fisheries. The stress that is now showing up in behavioural disorders and mental ill-health heightens the need to enhance intelligence. The challenges today are far greater than living an idyllic life on the East Coast of Africa. The future for happiness and peace for our children and for theirs is at stake.” Unless we respect and regenerate the sea-beds extensively we cannot supply the world’s nutritional needs. This means a further agricultural revolution. SHH. 1305JointMeetg

It’s unbelievable, but Monsanto and Co. are at it again. These profit-hungry biotech companies have found a way to gain exclusive control over the seeds of life – the source of our food. They’re trying to patent away varieties of our everyday vegetables and fruits like cucumber, broccoli and melons, virtually forcing growers to pay them for seed and risk being sued if they don’t.

To sign the petition at Avaaz (2,003,879 have signed at 15th May 2013) go to:


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