Bizarre Statements On Obesity From Nestlé’s Head Of Nutrition: Asians Should Fight Obesity ‘Individually’

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Weight Management Advice From Nestlé’s Head Of Nutrition For Asia’s Expanding Obese Population: Do It Yourself

With so many microphones and cameras constantly around everywhere we go–not to mention websites and apps hungry for new content 24/7–it’s hard to overestimate just how easy it is to misspeak, especially for high-profile people. That’s why so many successful politicians have such a gift for talking a lot, but about nothing: you’ve got to feed the beast, the news machine must have content; and you can appear to deliver it if you simply talk in circles and never actually say anything.

But a bizarre speech by Nestlé’s head of nutrition and metabolic health at the company’s Institute of Health Science Dr. Jorg Hager has many observers scratching their heads.

In a prepared speech he gave at Vitafoods in Hong Kong, Hager attempted to address the looming obesity crisis facing Asia–by suggesting that it was up to the individual to fight obesity. He spoke of mistakes in the Western approach to fighting obesity, claiming that not enough attention had been paid to the individual.

“This is something in Asia where you have a chance that we missed in western society when we stopped looking at the individual and kept looking at the average,” he said. “In Asia you have a long history of looking at the individual in terms of health and medicine, and this is something we need to build on. I also think customers would be receptive to it.”

One must assume that by fighting obesity individually, Hager means without pesky government programs like soda taxes or dietary guidelines–you know, things that might get in the way of the bottom line for companies like, oh let’s say, Nestlé. He gave an example of what he characterized as one-size-fits-all type of solutions that are to be avoided by talking about how eating a high protein and low glycemic-index index diet might not work for everyone.

“There are lots of different publications that say protein will help, but for some people it’s probably not so good,” he said. “Depending on the genetic background, not all individuals will do well on such a diet during weight maintenance. In fact, depending on your genotype, high protein can increase fat mass.”

So…more sugar then?

Note that he focuses on people switching to high protein diets rather than switching from high-glycemic index foods, like Nestlé Crunch candy bars, Cookie Crisp cereal, Hot Pockets and Tombstone Pizza, all of which Nestlé owns.

He also didn’t mention Nespresso until the very end, another high-sugar delivery system owned by the company. He then announced that Nestlé is developing a nutritional app that would allow individuals to track their diet and weight and set up personalized dietary nutritional mixes–which would be delivered by the company’s Nespresso machines.

“Everything comes back to the fact that a credible strategy to tackle weight management in the 21st century needs to be personalized, based on scientific understanding, and needs to integrate diagnostic tools with tailored nutritional solutions,” he added.

And for the love of god, don’t mention sugar when you’re talking about battling obesity–at least not if you work for Nestlé.

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