“People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry which pays no attention to food.” ~ Farmer & activist Wendell Berry

Big Food and Big Pharma (the pharmaceutical industry) are closely intertwined, it has been said. Sponsorship by Big Food influences dietary guidelines while Big Pharma’s influence has been proven to alter prescribing patterns.

Lawrence O. Gostin, American law professor who specialises in public health law, says: “‘Big food’ – agribusiness, manufacturers, restaurants, and marketers – is making America sick. The industry produces and aggressively markets foods laden with sugar, salt, saturated fat, and calories.

“It obfuscates nutritional information to confuse consumers, targeting young people and minorities in particular. It purchases influence at every level of government and fights common sense regulations by funding ‘shadow’ advocacy groups and sympathetic scientists.

“Big Food is relentless in litigating against any law that is likely to be effective in curbing unhealthy eating.”

In a 2010 blog post, Dr Mark Hyman, an internationally distinguished scholar on global health, explains it this way: “The default condition of a human being in the 21st century is to be obese… Big Food, Big Farming, Big Pharma and government polices… (lead) to the global spread of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

“Big Farming… get paid to grow extra food even when it is not needed. The extra corn (sugar) and soy (fat) are turned into industrial processed food and sugar-sweetened beverages – combinations of fat, sugar and salt that are proven to be addictive.

“The more (people) eat, the fatter they become. The fatter they become the more they develop heart disease, diabetes, cancer and a myriad of other chronic ailments.

“The sicker our population, the more medications are sold for high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and many other lifestyle driven diseases.

“The Toxic Triad of Big Farming, Big Food, and Big Pharma profits from creating a nation of sick and fat citizens.

“This structure is built into the very fabric of our economy and culture. It could be called the medical, agricultural, food industrial complex. It is what is known as ‘structural violence’ – the social, political, economic and environmental conditions that foster and promote the development of disease.”

A quote from a 2017 Salon magazine report gives much food for thought: “The (junk) food leads us to drugs and the drugs lead us to food, in a vicious cycle.”