For White Sharks, Diet Is Different For Each Individual

April Flowers for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

White sharks are the largest predatory sharks in the ocean. They are thought of as apex predators, animals who as adults have no natural predators of their own in their natural ecosystem. Marine scientists have long known that white sharks feed on seals and sea lions, but a new study from the University of California, Santa Cruz demonstrates that there is surprising variability in the diets of individual sharks.

The research team traced variations in diet over a sharks’ entire life by analyzing composition of growth bands in shark vertebrae. Carbon and nitrogen isotopes in the shark’s tissues serve as natural tracers of dietary inputs.

“We did find that white shark diets changed with age, as expected, but we were surprised that the patterns and extent of change differed among individuals,” said Sora Kim, who led the study as a UCSC graduate student and is now at the University of Wyoming.

The study looked at the vertebrae of 15 adult white sharks caught along the west coast; fourteen were caught off the coast of California and one off Baja California. White sharks in this population eat a wide variety of animals, including dolphins, fish and squid in addition to the seals and sea lions. According to Paul Koch, professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UCSC, not every shark eats the same mix of prey animals.

“We confirmed that the diets of many individuals observed at seal and sea lion rookeries shift from fish to marine mammals as the sharks mature,” he said. “In addition, we discovered that different individual sharks may specialize on different types of prey. These two types of flexibility in feeding behavior are difficult to document using traditional methods, but may be very important for understanding how the population is supported by the eastern Pacific ecosystem and how it may respond to changes in that ecosystem.”

White sharks are found in temperate waters around the globe. They are considered an important, though not terribly common, predator in California’s coastal habitats. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that the agency is considering whether to list the west coast population on the Endangered Species Act to protect them.

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is a law that is designed to provide for the conservation of species that are endangered or threatened. It is also geared towards the conservation of the ecosystems of those threatened species. NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) shares responsibility for implementing the ESA with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

White sharks found along the California coast cruise the coast from late summer to early winter before moving offshore in a regular migratory pattern that has been tracked by tagging studies. While their movements may be predictable, the results of this new study illuminate important dietary and behavioral differences between individual sharks.

The shark vertebrae were obtained from various collections, caught at different times and in different places along the coast from 1957 to 2000.

“Interestingly, we do see a small shift in diet as marine mammal populations increased after the passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972,” Kim said.

The results of this new study are published online in the journal PLoS One.

Great white sharks show diversity in diet, study says

Great white sharks may munch on a wider array of sea creatures throughout their lives than previously thought, according to a new study published Friday in the journal PLoS ONE.

The great whites are well known to many as the stars of “Shark Week” and as one of the ocean’s most feared predators. Researchers have long believed that a shark’s diet evolves over its lifetime as it grows, moving from small prey like fish to larger animals like seals and, every once in a while, humans.

But in the new study, the researchers found that great whites show a remarkable diversity in their diets. Even sharks that live near each other ate differently throughout the course of their lifetimes, and some sharks never made the transition to large animals at all.

The researchers, from UC Santa Cruz, studied the vertebrae of 15 great whites that were caught off the West Coast of the U.S. between 1957 and 2000. When sharks eat, a record of their diet is stored in their vertebrae in the form of carbon and nitrogen. Over time, the elements amass as bands in their vertebrae, akin to a tree’s rings. Because animals lower on the food chain have different levels of carbon and nitrogen in their tissue than animals higher on the food chain, researchers can tell what the sharks ate over time by looking at bands from different periods in a shark’s life.

The researchers expected to find a gradual change in the levels of carbon and nitrogen over time, signifying increasing consumption of bigger animals as they got older. This would lead to a plateau in the elements’ levels once the transition to large animals was complete.

While they saw that pattern in some sharks, the diets varied a great deal between different sharks. Some sharks appeared to eat small animals, such as fish and squid, for their entire lives. Others seemed to get feisty while still young, eating bigger animals like seals virtually from the get-go.

The researchers also noticed another shift over time: In general, sharks have recently consumed more marine mammals than they used to, a change the researchers attribute to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which passed in 1972.

You can read the full study here.

Return to the Science Now blog.

Bureaucrats declare war on free advice

He has chosen instead to get a lawyer. His case, argued by the libertarians at the Institute for Justice (IJ), will clarify the First Amendment’s relevance to an ancient human behavior and a modern technology.

Four years ago, Cooksey was a walking — actually, barely walking — collection of health risks. He was obese, lethargic, asthmatic, chronically ill and pre-diabetic. The diet advice he was getting from medical and other sources was, he decided, radically wrong. Rather than eat a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet, he adopted what he and other enthusiasts call a Paleolithic diet, eating as primitive humans did — e.g., beef, pork, chicken, leafy green vegetables. Cooksey lost 75 pounds and the need for drugs and insulin. And, being a modern Paleo, he became a blogger, communicating his dietary opinions.

When a busybody notified North Carolina’s Board of Dietetics/Nutrition that Cooksey was opining about which foods were and were not beneficial, the board launched a three-month investigation of his Internet writings and his dialogues with people who read and responded to them. The board sent him copies of his writings, with red pen markings of such disapproved postings as: “I do suggest that your friend eat as I do and exercise the best they can.”

“If,” the board sternly said, “people are writing you with diabetic-specific questions and you are responding, you are no longer just providing information — you are counseling — you need a license to provide this service.” This had the intended effect of chilling his speech; his self-censorship stopped his blog. By saying that his bloggings will be subject to continuous review, North Carolina hopes to silence him in perpetuity.

IJ’s Jeff Rowes notes that Cooksey’s speech “involves no sensitive relationship (as in psychological counseling), no uniquely vulnerable listeners (as in potential legal clients forced to make snap decisions), and no plausible presumption that the listeners are unable to exercise independent judgment.” That presumption is, however, the animating principle of modern regulatory government. North Carolina is uninterested in the fact that Cooksey’s advice is unpaid, freely solicited and outside any context of a professional-client relationship. The state simply asserts that Cooksey’s audience is “a uniquely vulnerable population,” which is how paternalistic government views everybody all the time.

Were Cooksey blogging for profit to sell beef and other Paleolithic food, he would be free to advise anyone to improve their health by buying his wares. So his case raises two questions:

Is an individual’s uncompensated advice, when volunteered to other individuals who seek and value it, constitutionally protected? And does the Internet — cost-free dissemination of speech to spontaneous, self-generated audiences — render many traditional forms of licensing obsolete?

Two principles are colliding. One is that when government regulates speech based on its content, judicial “strict scrutiny” of the regulation requires government to bear the burden of demonstrating a “compelling” need for “narrowly tailored” speech restrictions. The second is that when government regulates occupations in ways that restrict entry to them, excluded citizens bear an enormous burden of demonstrating that there is no reasonable basis for the regulation.

Since the New Deal, courts have applied the extremely permissive “rational basis” test: If legislatures articulate almost any reasons for regulating, courts will defer to them. This has given a patina of high principle to the judiciary’s dereliction of its duty to prevent individuals’ liberty from being sacrificed to groups’ rent-seeking. Laws like the one silencing Cooksey are primarily rent-seeking. They are written to enhance the prestige and prosperity of a profession by restricting competition that would result from easy entry into it, or from provision of alternatives to its services.

People, being opinionated mammals, have been dispensing advice to one another since the advent of language and have been foisting dietary opinions since cavemen weighed the relative benefits of eating woolly mammoths or saber-toothed tigers. So the IJ has two questions for North Carolina and for the judicial system:

Did Ann Landers and Dear Abby conduct 50-year crime sprees by offering unlicensed psychological advice? Is personal advice as constitutionally unprotected as child pornography? If so, since a 2010 Supreme Court opinion, it is less protected expression than videos of animals being tortured.



georgewill@washpost.com

Eating for Health, Not Weight

ALMOST half of Americans are on a diet — not surprising, since two-thirds are overweight or obese, a frightening statistic that inspired Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to push through a ban on large soft drinks in New York City. The country is preoccupied with calories. McDonald’s, for instance, is now posting them. But our widespread hope for weight loss makes us vulnerable to all kinds of promises, even ones that aren’t true, when it comes to food.

Perhaps the biggest misconception is that as long as you lose weight, it doesn’t matter what you eat. But it does. Yet being thin and being healthy are not at all the same thing. Being overweight is not necessarily linked with disease or premature death. What you eat affects which diseases you may develop, regardless of whether you’re thin or fat. Some diets that may help you lose weight may be harmful to your health over time.

A widely publicized study earlier this year showed that a low-carb Atkins-type diet might be a faster way to lose weight. That may have given many people the idea that eating meat and butter is the route to thinness and thus health.

In 35 years of medical research, conducted at the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute, which I founded, we have seen that patients who ate mostly plant-based meals, with dishes like black bean vegetarian chili and whole wheat penne pasta with roasted vegetables, achieved reversal of even severe coronary artery disease. They also engaged in moderate exercise and stress-management techniques, and participated in a support group. The program also led to improved blood flow and significantly less inflammation which matters because chronic inflammation is an underlying cause of heart disease and many forms of cancer. We found that this program may also slow, stop or reverse the progression of early stage prostate cancer, as well as reverse the progression of Type 2 diabetes.

Also, we found that it changed gene expression in over 500 genes in just three months, “turning on” genes that protect against disease and “turning off” genes that promote breast cancer, prostate cancer, inflammation and oxidative stress.

The program, too, has been associated with increased telomerase, which increases telomere length, the ends of our chromosomes that are thought to control how long we live (studies done in collaboration with Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, who shared the Nobel Prize in 2009 with Carol Greider and Jack Szostak for discovering telomerase). As our telomeres get longer, our lives may get longer.

In a randomized controlled trial, patients on this lifestyle program lost an average of 24 pounds after one year and maintained a 12-pound weight loss after five years. The more closely the patients followed this program, the more improvement we measured in each category — at any age.

It’s not low carb or low fat. An optimal diet is low in unhealthful carbs (both sugar and other refined carbohydrates) and low in fat (especially saturated fats and trans fats) as well as in red meat and processed foods.

WHAT you eat is as important as what you exclude — your diet needs to be high in healthful carbs like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, soy products in natural, unrefined forms and some fish, like salmon. There are hundreds of thousands of health-enhancing substances in these foods. And what’s good for you is good for the planet.

Calories do count — fat is much denser in calories, so when you eat less fat, you consume fewer calories, without consuming less food. Also, it’s easy to eat too many calories from sugar and other refined carbs because they are so low in fiber that you can consume large amounts without getting full. Sugar is absorbed so quickly that you get repeated insulin surges, which promote Type 2 diabetes and accelerate the conversion of calories into body fat.

But never underestimate the power of telling people what they want to hear — like cheeseburgers and bacon are good for you. People are drawn to Atkins-type diets in part because, as the study showed, they produce a higher metabolic rate. But a low-carb diet increases metabolic rate because it’s stressful to your body. Just because something increases your metabolic rate doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Amphetamines will also increase your metabolism and burn calories faster, which is why they are used to help people lose weight, at least temporarily. But they stress your body and may mortgage your health in the progress.

Patients on an Atkins diet in this study showed more than double the level of CRP (C-reactive protein), which is a measure of chronic inflammation and also significantly higher levels of cortisol, a key stress hormone. Both of these increase the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases. A major research article published recently in the British Medical Journal studied 43,396 Swedish women over 16 years. It concluded that “low carbohydrate-high protein diets … are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.” An important article in The New England Journal of Medicine examined data from a study showing that high-protein, low-carb diets promote coronary artery disease even if they don’t increase traditional cardiac risk factors like blood pressure or cholesterol levels. A diet low in fat and high in unrefined carbohydrates caused the least amount of coronary artery blockages, whereas an Atkins-type diet caused the most.

Outcomes from more than 37,000 men from the Harvard-sponsored Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and more than 83,000 women from the Nurses’ Health Study who were followed for many years showed that consumption of both processed and unprocessed red meat, a mainstay of an Atkins diet, is associated with an increased risk of premature death as well as greater incidence of cardiovascular disease, cancer and Type 2 diabetes.

About 75 percent of the $2.8 trillion in annual health care costs in the United States is from chronic diseases that can often be reversed or prevented altogether by a healthy lifestyle. If we put money and effort into helping people make better food and exercise choices, we could improve our health and reduce the cost of health care. For example, Medicare is now covering this program for reversing heart disease. In an increasingly polarized political landscape, this approach provides an alternative to some Republicans who want to privatize or dismantle Medicare and some Democrats who want to simply raise taxes or increase the deficit without addressing the diet and lifestyle choices that account for so much health spending.

This way of living helps you lose weight and keep it off while enhancing rather than harming your health.

Dean Ornish is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and the founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute.

Vivus sees EU regulators rejecting diet drug


By Joseph Walker

–Vivus sees European delay in getting diet drug approved

–Company cites tough regulatory environment

–Shares slide 10%

(Updates throughout with details and comments from Vivus’s president.)

Vivus Inc.


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said a European drug regulator is unlikely to recommend marketing approval for the obesity drug Qsiva next month, a setback as the company races to sell its diet treatment on the continent.

Peter Tam, president of Vivus, cited a tough regulatory environment in Europe for the decision and declined to speculate on how long Qsiva would be delayed there. After the ruling, which is expected in mid-October, Vivus can appeal the decision or refile the drug’s application.

“We await the official decision and the formal report, which should provide us specifics on any additional requirements leading to the approval of Qsiva in Europe,” Mr. Tam said. He added that the company learned about the expected decision Wednesday in discussions with the regulator, the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use.

Qsiva is the European name for Vivus’s drug marketed in the U.S. as Qsymia.

Mr. Tam said it was unclear what specific issues the committee would cite in its decision, but committee members had expressed concerns about the European withdrawal of Abbott Laboratories’


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weight-loss drug Meridia in 2010 and Sanofi S.A’s (SAN) obesity drug Acomplia in 2008.

Despite the epidemic of obesity, especially in developed markets like the U.S., diet drugs have faced intense scrutiny because regulators are mindful of the damaging side effects caused by older obesity treatments as well as the fact that the drugs are likely to be taken by millions of people for a long period of time.

Mr. Tam also said European regulators are less comfortable with the use of phentermine, one of Qsiva’s two active ingredients, than their American counterparts. Phentermine hasn’t been on the European market in more than a decade, he said.

The E.U. regulator’s rejection of Qsiva could delay the drug’s entry into the European market by at least 12 months, said equity analyst Simon Davison of Edison Investment Research. The delay could mean that Belviq, a competing drug from rival Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc.


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, will be approved first in the E.U.

Vivus shares slid 10% to $21.27, while Arena’s stock gained 3.3% to $9.05. Vivus shares have more than doubled over the past year but have lost some gains in recent weeks.

Arena’s Belviq was approved first in the U.S. but has yet to reach the market because it had to go through a classification review with the Drug Enforcement Administration. The review, which lasts up to six months, is given to drugs with a likelihood or potential of being abused.

Vivus’s Qsymia was made available to U.S. consumers this week after U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in July, a month after Arena. Qsymia didn’t have to undergo the DEA process because Qsymia has been classified as a non-narcotic drug by the agency based on a prior scheduling for one of its two generic components.

Qsymia–previously known as Qnexa–is a controlled-release formulation that combines low doses of two older generic drugs: the stimulant phentermine, which cuts appetite, and topiramate, which increases the sense of feeling full. Topiramate is also sold under the brand name Topamax by Johnson Johnson


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to treat migraines and seizures.

Phentermine was part of the fen-phen obesity drug that was taken off the market in the 1990s because of links to heart-valve damage. Evidence now indicates the increased risk for heart problems was attributable to fenfluramine and not to phentermine.

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

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Paleo Diet: Healthy Or A Hoax?

Welcome to Ask Healthy Living — in which you submit your most burning health questions and we do our best to ask the experts and get back to you. Have a question? Get in touch here and you could appear on Healthy Living!

“Ask Healthy Living” is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult a qualified health care professional for personalized medical advice.

My health practitioner advised me to adopt this Paleo diet to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar. Also said it’s an ideal way to lose weight. It recommends avoiding dairy, sugar, grains and legumes. Is this the answer to most of our health problems?

— Rita

If you’re unfamiliar with this popular diet, the Paleo Diet (also known as the “Caveman Diet”) prescribes a pattern of eating that mirrors the way your ancestors ate back (way back!) in the day. The assertion is simple: diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease are illnesses “of civilization” and so, to combat the ill effects of the modern diet, we should return to a pre-civilization, hunter-gatherer diet of meat, fish, fruits and vegetables. That means all gains from the agrarian revolution — grains, dairy, legumes, salt and sugars — are off the menu.

“Although in theory this may seem like a sensible diet, particularly when removing sugar and salt, it has eliminated several food groups like dairy and grains, which provide essential nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and phosphorus in dairy and B vitamins, fiber and antioxidants in grains,” says Joy Dubost, a registered dietician and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Legumes also provide a great protein source with little fat and lower in calories while providing essential nutrients and fiber.”

Lisa Sassoon, a registered dietitian and assistant clinical professor of nutrition at NYU, agrees. “There’s no real research behind it either. And it eliminates things that do have research behind them: grains, beans and low-fat dairy.”

That research shows that nutrients in legumes, whole grains and dairy help to lower one’s risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, reduce blood pressure, and maintain a healthy weight, according to Dubost.

And while the diet’s restrictive nature might result in initial weight loss, it can be problematic as a long-term weight loss solution, according to the researchers we spoke with. When you eliminate whole food groups, you are bound to pay more attention to what you eat. And the ban on refined grains, salt and sugars means that processed foods are out. For those with a relatively processed diet, that will likely result in weight loss. And excess weight is one of the major associated conditions to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and pre-diabetes.

“If you lose weight, your cholesterol comes down. Weight loss will help all of those other things, with the exception of certain cases, where there’s a genetic predisposition,” says Sassoon. In this way, Rita’s doctor may be correct: if she currently eats a diet high in refined carbs, processed meals and sugar-laden treats, the Paleo Diet is certainly a step in the right direction.

But if she already has a diet full of fresh produce, lean proteins and whole foods, Paleo eating may not result in weight loss and may prevent healthy eating behaviors that come naturally. “If someone eats low-fat plain yogurt with berries for breakfast, that’s not allowed on the diet,” says Sassoon.

“The biggest issue to be addressed is not eliminating these food groups but ensuring that portion size is appropriate,” explains Dubost.

There’s also problematically little stated about saturated fat. As part of the Paleo diet, it would be easy to choose cuts of meat that are sky-high in artery-clogging LDL cholesterol and saturated fat. Especially for someone used to eating low-fat dairy protein, this switch would be harmful to cholesterol levels. And while the Paleo diet is high in fiber (thanks to all the fresh produce), forbidden foods like whole grain oats, beans and other grain and legume sources of fiber have been found to help moderate cholesterol levels.

There’s another, wholly unrelated problem: pleasure. “It eliminates quinoa, ice cream, pasta — these things we love to eat, that make us social creatures,” says Sassoon. “And that means we’re less likely to stick with it, more likely to binge. It’s not just about losing weight, it’s also about learning how to enjoy food in a healthy way.”

So does the Paleo Diet really lower cholesterol and help with many of the conditions that lead to metabolic syndrome? Only insofar as they cut out sugary, fatty and processed foods. Buy you can do that without eliminating whole food groups or imitating the eating patterns — most likely dictated by food scarcity — of pre-agrarian ancestors.

Have a question? Ask Healthy Living!

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Salt in Kids’ Diets Linked to High Blood Pressure

Salt in Kids’ Diets Linked to High Blood Pressure

spilled salt

Sept. 17, 2012 — Eating a diet that’s high in sodium has been linked in numerous studies to higher blood pressure in adults. Now, new research from the CDC suggests the same link in children and teens.

The investigation found that the more sodium children and teenagers ate, the higher their risk for developing high blood pressure, especially if they were overweight or obese.

Average sodium intake among the children and teens was as high as that of adults. Most sodium is found in processed or packaged foods and restaurant food, not from salt.

CDC nutritional epidemiologist Elena V. Kuklina, MD, who co-authored the study, says high blood pressure is increasingly common among children in the U.S., and high sodium in the diet may be a major contributor.

The average daily intake of sodium among the children and teens in the study was 3,400 mg, the equivalent of just under 2 teaspoons of salt.

That is more than double the daily maximum of 1,500 mg of sodium that the American Heart Association has set as a goal for children and adults.

“We clearly need to reduce sodium intake at the population level,” Kuklina says. “We can do this by eating more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods.”

Salt Shockers Slideshow: High-Sodium Surprises

Kids, Salt, and Blood Pressure

But in a written statement, Morton Satin, who is vice present of science and research for the salt industry trade group the Salt Institute, calls the research “pseudo-science.”

The study included 6,235 children and teens who were participants in a larger health study. As part of the study, they were asked to recall all the foods they ate over a 24-hour period.

Just over a third (37%) were overweight or obese, and 15% had either high blood pressure or blood pressure that was above normal but not yet at the level of high blood pressure.

Among kids and teens who were overweight or obese, every 1,000-mg increase in sodium intake per day nearly doubled their risk for high blood pressure or pre-high blood pressure.

Overweight and obese kids and teens who ate the most sodium were 3.5 times as likely to have high blood pressure as overweight and obese kids and teens who ate the least sodium.

Having high blood pressure as a child means a person is more likely to have the same as an adult, which can increase risk for heart disease and stroke.

Salt Bigger Problem for Overweight Kids

Pediatric cardiologist Stephen R. Daniels, MD, PhD, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, says the finding that overweight kids may be the most at risk has public health implications.

Daniels, who is a spokesman for the American Heart Association, says he is seeing more and more kids with high blood pressure in his practice.

Woman claims she lost 75 pounds on ‘Starbucks diet’

Not unlike the famous Subway diet, a librarian claims to have lost 75 lbs by eating nearly all her meals from Starbucks.

The media has already coined it the “Starbucks diet” after Christine Hall, 66, of Virginia revealed that she trimmed down from 190 lbs to a trim 115 lbs following a steady two-year regime that involved getting almost all of her food from her nearby Starbucks store.

A typical day would start out with a cup of oatmeal and a black coffee, while lunch and dinner would be either a Panini sandwich or Bistro Box like the Chipotle Chicken Wrap, she said in an interview with NBC News.

As a law librarian who holds down two jobs, she said Starbucks served as a convenient dining option and ended up being her one and only weight loss tool.

It’s a lot of calorie counting, she says, but given that the nutritional information is displayed on the packaging, Hall — who stands 5-foot, 4-inches — said keeping tabs on her caloric intake is easy.

Meanwhile, her fastidious calorie counting props up the findings of a new study published in the journal Agricultural Economics which found that women who read the labels on food packaging are nearly 9 lbs lighter than those who don’t.

Fast food giant McDonald’s likewise announced it will begin posting nutritional information at its more than 14,000 US restaurants and drive-thru windows as of next week.

For years, sandwich chain Subway used the weight loss success of devout customer Jared Fogle to promote the brand. Fogle became a spokesperson for the company after he lost a whopping 245 lbs on a diet of low-calorie Subway sandwiches.

Experts, warn, however, that a diet which restricts food intake to one restaurant or food type is likely to be nutritionally unbalanced.

Watch the video report about Hall’s Starbucks diet at: http://on.today.com/QJKKTx

Earnhardt says Diet Mountain Dew scaling back

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — Dale Earnhardt Jr. says sponsor Diet Mountain Dew is going to ”back off a little bit” next year, leaving a small gap to fill on Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 88 Chevrolet.

Earnhardt said Friday the majority of the season is set with the National Guard, but that there’s a ”balancing act” with multiple sponsors because everyone wants to be the top sponsor. He says the void he has to fill in place of Diet Mountain Dew is tricky because it’s so small, and that ”if it were a bit larger gap it would be easier to fill.”

Earnhardt also was in the news this week when he said Ryan Pemberton has joined JR Motorsports to help general manager Kelley Earnhardt-Miller, the driver’s sister. JR Motorsports recently parted ways with competition director Tony Eury Sr., Earnhardt’s uncle.