Hurrah to the Chicago Tribune for its fabulous, comprehensive, well-researched special report, "The Oreo, Obesity and Us," that explores whether or not Oreos -- the world's best-selling cookies -- and other sugary snacks can hook us.
This series from science/medicine reporter Jeremy Manier, investigative reporter Patricia Callahan and business reporter Delroy Alexander is a must-read for anyone concerned with obesity in this country and for anyone struggling with what they feel is an addiction to sugary or fatty foods.
Curiously, yesterday, I just happened to be in Chicago (my old stomping grounds) for the XIII International Congress on Anti-Aging Medicine, and I woke up to part one of the series, "Craving the cookie," which notes that current research suggests that sweets can trigger the same brain impulses as addictive drugs.
The reporters did their homework for this series. Not only did they scour "internal company documents, scientific studies, government lobbying records, congressional testimony, lawsuits and filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission," but they also "reviewed two decades of Orio and interviewed hundreds of people, including scientists, policymakers, health activists and current and former employees of Kraft and Nabisco--from factory workers to CEOs."
(Incidentally, for my upcoming book, SUGAR SHOCK!, I also interviewed hundreds of scientists, researchers, public health advocates, nutritionists, "sugar addicts," physicians, health insiders, etc.)
Given that I'm already quite familiar with this topic, the article I found the most intriguing was the one on Kraft Foods, Inc.'s forays into food-brain research ("Kraft's taste for brain research.")
Kudos to the reporters for digging up hard proof that Kraft executives actually shared expertise with nicotine researchers from corporate sibling Philip Morris (now called the Altria Group, which owns 85 percent of Kraft and all of Philip Morris). This sharing of information is something that insiders have been speculating about for years.
Today's article, "Selling the cookie," is equally enlightening.
Again, major applause goes out to these three intrepid reporters from the Chicago Tribune!
It's so nice to see this wonderful series get published in a newspaper for which I have a special affection. (When I was attending my master's in journalism program at Northwestern University, the Tribune gave my journalistic career a boost by picking up and featuring a major piece I wrote for one of my classes. Later, they published other articles of mine, too.)
Tell us what you think of the revelations shared in these stories!