13 September 2016

Sugar is Evil

I am not referring to Glucose, or Fructose, or Sucrose, but rather the recent revelation that the sugar industry bribed scientists so that they would minimize the impact on heart health:
Back in the 1960s, a sugar industry executive wrote fat checks to a group of Harvard researchers so that they’d downplay the links between sugar and heart disease in a prominent medical journal—and the researchers did it, according to historical documents reported Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

One of those Harvard researchers went on to become the head of nutrition at the United States Department of Agriculture, where he set the stage for the federal government’s current dietary guidelines. All in all, the corrupted researchers and skewed scientific literature successfully helped draw attention away from the health risks of sweets and shift the blame solely to fats—for nearly five decades. The low-fat, high-sugar diets that health experts subsequently encouraged are now seen as a main driver of the current obesity epidemic.

The bitter revelations come from archived documents from the Sugar Research Foundation (now the Sugar Association), dug up by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. Their dive into the old, sour affair highlights both the perils of trusting industry-sponsored research to inform policy and the importance of requiring scientists to disclose conflicts of interest—something that didn’t become the norm until years later. Perhaps most strikingly, it spotlights the concerning power of the sugar industry.

“These findings, our analysis, and current Sugar Association criticisms of evidence linking sucrose to cardiovascular disease suggest the industry may have a long history of influencing federal policy,” the authors concluded.


After the review, the sugar industry continued to fund research into heart disease and other health issues. By the 1980s, few scientists focused on the role of sugar in heart disease. The 1980 Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasized curbing fats and dietary cholesterol to prevent heart disease.

Today, Nestle points out, “the balance has shifted to less concern about fat and much greater concern about sugars.” But, the story should act as a cautionary tale of the potential harms from industry-sponsored studies.
"Potential harms" from "Industry sponsored studies"?

Real harm, time, and time, and time, and time, and time again.

This crap is inherently corrupting, and any researcher that takes industry money should be debarred from federal funding.

Any researcher that takes industry money and does not explicitly and clearly reveal this should be debarred from federal funding for life.


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