By Raven Fon
Recent discoveries illuminate the dark side of the sugar industry, and how they paid researchers to blame fat, not sugar, for cardiovascular health problems.
It may sound like a familiar tactic, and it should. Lumber, oil, and nylon companies made false claims about hemp, aka cannabis, until it was stupidly made illegal. That subject alone could send me on a lengthy tangent, but I digress… The sugar industry has known for years how damaging its product is on consumers. In fact, in the 1960’s, the Sugar Research Foundation (now known as the Sugar Association) paid researchers to alter their findings to show fat, not sugar, is the culprit for cardiovascular heart disease.
A study was recently published on the JAMA Network shows how research from 1967 was being reviewed to look into how sugar affects our health, and was funded by the SRF. They paid Harvard scientists “the equivalent of $50,000 each” to report heart disease is caused by saturated fat and to completely ignore their findings on sugar. An excerpt from the study says this,
“The SRF sponsored its first CHD research project in 1965, a literature review published in theNew England Journal of Medicine, which singled out fat and cholesterol as the dietary causes of CHD and downplayed evidence that sucrose consumption was also a risk factor. The SRF set the review’s objective, contributed articles for inclusion, and received drafts.”
Essentially, the SRF had their very own study published in a highly-regarded journal, researched by scientists from a prestigious university.
Co-author of the recent sugar expose study, Stanton Glantz, told The New York Times,
“It was a very smart thing the sugar industry did, because review papers, especially if you get them published in a very prominent journal, tend to shape the overall scientific discussion.”
Of course sugar is bad for you- it has countless hazardous effects on our brain and body, and can even kill you. You’re probably thinking, “Oh we have come a long way since then.” But have we?
Marion Nestle comments on recent events in the same issue of JAMA:
“Is it really true that food companies deliberately set out to manipulate research in their favor? Yes, it is, and the practice continues. In 2015, the New York Times obtained emails revealing Coca-Cola’s cozy relationships with sponsored researchers who were conducting studies aimed at minimizing the effects of sugary drinks on obesity. Even more recently, the Associated Press obtained emails showing how a candy trade association funded and influenced studies to show that children who eat sweets have healthier body weights than those who do not.”
I think it’s safe to say that the sugar industry does not have your best interest in mind.