business news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• The New York Times reports on a new study from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel suggesting that "artificial sweeteners may disrupt the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, causing metabolic changes that can be a precursor to diabetes.

The story notes that "previous studies on the health effects of artificial sweeteners have come to conflicting and confusing findings. Some found that they were associated with weight loss; others found the exact opposite, that people who drank diet soda actually weighed more.

"Some found a correlation between artificial sweeteners and diabetes, but those findings were not entirely convincing: Those who switch to the products may already be overweight and prone to the disease."

Indeed, some critics - including some from the Harvard School of Public Health - have said that while the new study is interesting, the results hardly are conclusive.

Not conclusive, maybe, but worrying. I have to admit that I'm rather happy that I've given up diet soft drinks and have moved almost exclusively to water. I figure that, especially as I get older, the less of this stuff I put in my body the better.

Bloomberg reports that Costco has said that beginning on January 1, 2015, its Canadian stores will no longer accept the American Express card.

According to the story, "AmEx, the biggest U.S. credit-card issuer by purchases, was the only credit card accepted at Costco stores, and has worked with the warehouse-club chain to issue co-branded cards. U.S. stores will continue to accept AmEx." Costco said it will "have information on new payment options soon."

• The Los Angeles Times reports that "American adults are increasingly consulting food labels, eating less fat and downing more fiber, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service."

The story goes on: "The report may be welcome news to those concerned about the nation's obesity epidemic, but the restaurant industry might not relish the findings. Many of the improvements in the American diet are a result of driving past the drive-thru: 'Reduced consumption of food away from home (such as food from restaurants and fast food) accounted for 20 percent of the improvements in diet quality,' the report found.

Can I get an "Amen"?
KC's View: