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Wed, Jul 26, 2023 9:05 PM

Sugar Industry Manipulated Research to Downplay the Risks of Sugar

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Sugar Industry Manipulated Research to Downplay the Risks of Sugar
A recently published article reveals how the sugar industry manipulated scientific research to downplay the risks of sugar and emphasize the dangers of fat in the 1960s. The article highlights how the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) sponsored studies to refute concerns about sugar's role in heart disease without disclosing industry funding. This manipulation influenced scientific discussions and shaped dietary guidelines for decades. The authors suggest that policy-making committees should be cautious of industry-funded studies and call for further research on the link between added sugars and coronary heart disease.

The sugar industry's manipulation of scientific research is a shocking revelation that has far-reaching implications for public health. The recently published article in JAMA Internal Medicine sheds light on how the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) funded studies to downplay the risks of sugar and shift the blame onto fat.

The article highlights a 1967 literature review published by Harvard scientists in the New England Journal of Medicine, sponsored by the SRF. The review systematically questioned studies implicating sugar in heart disease while emphasizing the dangers of fat. This review had a significant impact on the scientific community, shaping the overall discussion around the role of sugar and fat in the American diet.

According to Stanton Glantz, one of the co-authors of the JAMA Internal Medicine article, the sugar industry's manipulation of this review was a strategic move. Publishing such a review in a prestigious journal influenced scientific debates and dietary guidelines, ultimately shaping public opinion.

Although the sugar industry's influence on the research is circumstantial, the authors argue that it points to a long-standing effort to control scientific inquiry and manipulate the public narrative. The motivation behind the industry's actions becomes apparent when considering a speech made by the SRF's president in 1954, where he described the potential business opportunity if Americans were convinced to eat a lower-fat diet. This opportunity could increase sugar consumption significantly.

The article also reveals that one of the scientists involved in the review was both the chairman of Harvard's Public Health Nutrition Department and an ad hoc member of the SRF's board. In a letter to the SRF, he assured them of their "particular interest" in evaluating studies focused on carbohydrates in the form of sucrose, clearly indicating a bias in the research process.

Furthermore, the authors found evidence that the review selectively criticized studies implicating sugar while conveniently ignoring issues with studies highlighting the dangers of fat. This double standard cast doubt on the validity of studies implicating sugar and shifted the scientific narrative towards blaming fat for heart disease.

While the Sugar Association has admitted that the SRF should have been more transparent in its research activities, they argue that industry-funded studies have played a crucial role in addressing key issues. However, Marion Nestle, in a commentary in the same issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, highlights recent examples of food companies manipulating research to downplay the role of sugary drinks in obesity.

Given these findings, the authors of the JAMA Internal Medicine article caution policy-making committees to give less weight to industry-funded studies. They call for independent research to investigate the link between added sugars and coronary heart disease, free from industry influence.

This disturbing revelation unveils the extent to which industries can manipulate scientific research to fit their interests. It serves as a stark reminder of the importance of transparency, independent research, and critical analysis when evaluating dietary guidelines and public health recommendations.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of policy-making committees to carefully consider the source of funding and potential conflicts of interest when making decisions that impact public health.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-07-26 News

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