For 50 Yrs Sugar Industry Covered Up Connection to Heart Disease
Researchers from the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) have discovered a cache of documents showing the sugar industry’s influence on nutrition scientists during the 1960s and their decision “to single out fat and cholesterol as the dietary causes of coronary heart disease and to downplay evidence that sucrose consumption was also a risk factor.”
The sugar industry’s involvement in redirecting the conversation from sugar to fat goes back to the mid-1950s. The concept was “if Americans adopted low-fat diets, then per-capita consumption of sucrose would increase by more than one-third.”
According to the study: “[The review] concluded there was ‘no doubt’ that the only dietary intervention required to prevent coronary heart disease was to reduce dietary cholesterol and substitute polyunsaturated fat for saturated fat in the American diet.”
For fifty years, the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) has distorted scientific study, specifically when it comes to heart disease. At the same time, the rate of heart disease began to rise; however the sugar industry quickly funded and influenced studies to suggest that saturated fats were the cause of the growing epidemic of heart problems in the US.
Information that was covered up includes the fact that sugar increased triglycerides in the blood which is directly correlated with hardening of arteries and thickening of artery walls which causes strokes, heart attacks and other forms of heart disease.
The SRF collaborated with Harvard nutritional professors and paid them the equivalent of $48,900 by today’s standard in exchange with a two-part review of works that tied sugar to heart disease.
The authors of the study explained : “Our research emphasizes that industry-funded science needs to be heavily scrutinized, and not taken at face value. There are so many ways a study can be manipulated — from the questions that are asked, from how the information is analyzed, even to how the conclusions are described in the paper.”
This is the second exposure of the SRF’s influence on public opinion and health recommendations by physicians.
Last year, Suppressed research was revived by UCSF who found that the sugar industry was integral in protocol devised by the National Institute of Health (NIH) going back to the 60s and 70s.
Cristin Kearns, postdoctoral scholar who discovered the documents, explained : “The dental community has always known that preventing tooth decay required restricting sugar intake. It was disappointing to learn that the policies we are debating today could have been addressed more than forty years ago.”
Using a cache, 319 industry documents hidden at the University of Illinois (UofI) showed that “a sugar industry trade organization representing 30 international members had accepted the fact that sugar caused tooth decay as early as 1950, and adopted a strategy aimed at identifying alternative approaches to reducing tooth decay.”
In 1,551 correspondences from sugar industry executives point directly to how the NIH Dental Research (NDR) responded to tooth decay and later created the 1971 National Carries (Tooth Decay) Program (NCP).
The collaboration between the NIH and the World Sugar Research Organization (WSRO) devised “alternative research approaches” which focused 78% of resources on the sugar industry’s “own research priorities”.
These policies became part of the “1971 National Carries Program’s first request for research proposals from scientists.”
During the 60s and 70s, “the sugar industry funded research in collaboration with allied food industries on enzymes to break up dental plaque and a vaccine against tooth decay.”
Collusion became apparent in the panels set up by the NIH with members of the sugar industry influencing the tooth decay program by funding research and projects that ultimately failed to produce connections between sugar and tooth decay.
As in it was 40 years ago, “the sugar industry’s current position remains that public health should focus on fluoride toothpaste, dental sealants and other ways to reduce the harm of sugar, rather than reducing consumption.”
These documents were given to the UofI by Roger Adams, a professor emeritus of organic chemistry, member of the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) and the scientific advisory board of the International Sugar Research Foundation (ISRF), which became the WSRO.
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