while trudeau is ireland pushing our recent investment & intellectual property protection treaty with the eu.....
Lower tariffs on high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) were linked to higher supply and likely consumption of added sweeteners in Canada, including HFCS, found new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal)
The structuring of tariffs in NAFTA, which separated food and beverage syrups containing cane and beet sugars from HFCS, changed during NAFTA. Tariffs were removed from food and drink syrups made from HFCS between 1994 and 1998, but remained on those containing cane and beet sugars.
"Here we take advantage of an exceptional natural experiment in which tariffs on HFCS were withdrawn, within an existing system of free trade in goods," writes Pepita Barlow, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, with coauthors.
The study, covering 1985-2000, found that lower tariffs on HFCS were associated with an increase of about 41.6 kcal in caloric sweeteners supplied and likely consumed per person per day in Canada. This increase in the supply of HFCS correlates with a large rise in obesity rates, from 5.6% in 1985 to 14.8% in 1998, as well as increases in diabetes. Even seemingly small increases in caloric intake can contribute to weight gain, with small daily increases adding up over time.
The study provides evidence on the impact that a US free trade agreement, such as NAFTA, may have on diet and health.
"Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that US trade relations may have been an underlying population-level factor contributing to Canada's comparatively high rates of obesity, diabetes and noncommunicable diseases, through increased population-level exposure to added sugars," the authors write.
In a related commentary, Dr. Ronald Labonté, School of Epidemiology, University of Ottawa, with coauthor Ashley Schram, writes, "the uncertainty surrounding future trade negotiations, together with the economic impacts and societal value of trade and investment agreements being increasingly questioned in the mainstream media, provides public health with a new opportunity to influence the conversation. Public health should take advantage of the newly shifted terrain to make the case that any trade or investment policy that prizes economic growth over reducing health inequities and enhancing ecological sustainability is bad policy."
Canadian imports of beverage syrups including high-fructose corn syrup doubled in the period after NAFTA, rising from 7,132 metric tons in 1993 to 16,062 metric tons in 2000, Barlow and colleagues said.
"These findings were robust to additional sensitivity analyses, and are consistent with previous studies which find that countries enacting trade deals with the U.S. experience changes in their food environments," the researchers wrote.
"The population-wide consequences for public health are potentially enormous," they warned. "This rise in high-fructose corn syrup consumption was correlated with a large rise in obesity rates, from 5.6% in 1985 to 14.8% in 1998. Rates of obesity among Canadians now rank among the highest of advanced industrialized nations that, unlike Canada, do not have trade agreements with the United States.
"The period after NAFTA also corresponded with rises in the prevalence of diabetes from 3.3% to 5.6%, from 1998/99 to 2008/09," Barlow and colleagues said. "Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that U.S. trade relations may have been an underlying population-level factor contributing to Canada's comparatively high rates of obesity, diabetes, and non-communicable diseases, through increased population-level exposure to added sugars.
Edited by amor de cosmos, 04 July 2017 - 03:00 PM.