I don’t know how many of you know that it in my old life, I earned a Ph.D. in Genetics.
It was a long time ago, but I spent 9 years doing cancer research, working with plants, and doing extensive reading of scientific papers. I believe I have a pretty good idea of how science works and doesn’t work.
I was SHOCKED when I read about the sugar industry’s purchasing of a couple of influential Harvard scientists (now dead) in the 1960’s. What the sugar industry was able to do was nothing less than brilliant.
The Sugar Research Foundation paid these scientists $50,000 to write a review paper minimizing the link between sugar and heart health. The scientists then named saturated fat as the potential bad guy.
Why would one scientific paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine matter? This wasn't just any paper. It was a review paper in a top journal by Harvard scientists - supposedly the best. The authors are supposed to look at all the available research (sometimes 1000’s of studies) and form a general conclusion about a pressing scientific question. These papers are huge for science because they help guide research in the most productive direction.
So, these men decided to take the money and tilt nutrition science away from sugar and toward fat FOR DECADES. They didn’t disclose the study was paid for by BIG SUGAR because they didn't have to do so.
How crazy is that?
From a NYT commenter:
The scientists not only behaved very badly but contributed significantly to setting in motion a fraud perpetrated on the American public that has created an ongoing health disaster, one that continues to result in increasing rates of diabetes, heart disease and yes, deaths, due to the misguided demonization of fat.
It's disgusting, and extremely disappointing that so many "experts" in medicine and food policy continue to focus on evil fat (particularly of the saturated variety) at the expense of our health.
I couldn’t agree more.
Every time you read something about food in the paper, you need to know who funded the research. Coca-Cola, for example, has paid millions to play down the link between soda and obesity (it isn’t working).
When I attend the national nutrition conference, I am always shocked that McDonald’s is part of the group that funds it. The food industry has far more power over nutrition research than it should have.
The solution is more government funding for research so that scientists don’t take have to take money from corporations (or the creation of more ethical scientists that aren't influenced by money).
What do you think about the sugar industry’s meddling?
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