Oldways gathering to give sugar positive PR

BOSTON: The Oldways Preservation Trust, which earlier this year held a conference in Italy to promote pasta, is organizing another journalists' confab, this time to discuss the virtues of sugar.

BOSTON: The Oldways Preservation Trust, which earlier this year held a conference in Italy to promote pasta, is organizing another journalists' confab, this time to discuss the virtues of sugar.

The trust, which advocates eating a Mediterranean diet, has secured the Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness, a Coca-Cola affiliated organization, as a sponsor for its Conference on Sweetness and Health in Mexico City October 21-23. It's searching for other sponsors as well.

Journalists are being offered free travel and accommodations, if their organizations permit, to attend the meeting.

The conference will feature roughly 20 scientists plus chefs talking about the place of sweetness and sugar in proper diets, said Dun Gifford, president of the trust. He hopes to attract 25 journalists from food magazines, major media, and health and nutrition publications.

The conference aims to diffuse concerns that sugary foods are a culprit in America's obesity epidemic.

"We really want to get the message out that people will never stop eating sweetness," Gifford said. "It's all about telling journalists, 'Here's what makes people obese: too many calories.'"

Gifford said the ongoing debate about obesity is putting out too many negative messages about particular foods. "My theory on obesity has been when you demonize food, you turn people off," he said.

The trust's conferences are designed to show the role various foods play in a balanced diet, he said.

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