Min menu


50 Years Ago, The Sugar Industry Paid Scientists To FakeTheir Results

50 Years Ago, The Sugar Industry Paid Scientists To FakeTheir Results

While the tobacco lobby is often talked about, the sugar lobby is much more discreet, despite its omnipresence in the agrofood industry. A discretion that many accused of being a volunteer to ignore the harmful effects of a substance deemed dangerous to health. Thus, although the link between the lobby and the scientists often goes unnoticed, its repercussions are none the less likely to lead to many health risks for consumers. That's what an analysis published by Internal Medicine revealed in a scandal that would have occurred almost 50 years ago.
50 Years Ago, The Sugar Industry Paid Scientists To FakeTheir Results And Blame Fat

Faked studies, corrupt researchers, falsified results, an endless list of accusations that emerge from a US analysis published in 2016, revealing the involvement of the sugar industry in research on risk factors for cardiovascular disease. According to many French media, the sugar lobby has been involved in the financing of studies and analyzes designed to deflect the attention paid to its star ingredient to reject the blame on saturated fatty acids, deemed unique responsible.

1967: Timely study for the sugar lobby
In the wake of rising cardiovascular disease that worries in the 50s, the Sugar Research Foundation decides to restore the blazon of the substance on the dock, as explained by the New York Times . By appealing to three scientists from the prestigious Harvard University, the foundation known today as the Sugar Association takes the initiative to fund an analysis of the scientific literature to clear sugar, a new springboard for this food product that supposedly cost the equivalent of about 50k $ today to pay the three researchers in question.

Thus, health damage would have been minimized as explained by LCI, blaming the fat and highlighting its role as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Mark Hegsted, one of the three researchers paid by the former SRF will even become a nutrition officer within the US Department of Agriculture. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine the results make their effect and mark the spirits, so the evidence against sugar appear very fragile and saturated fats are the most logical cause of heart disease.

2016: revelations
Stanton Glantz, who co-authored the discussion that revives the debate, reviews SRF's internal documents, saying the foundation would have intentionally funded researchers to quash the sugar charges. By analyzing thousands of documents from Harvard University archives, among other things, he discovered that the sugar lobby paid scientists to say that it was saturated fatty acids that increased the risk of heart disease, and not sugar, as the Huffington Post explains.

These maneuvers would have "succeeded in derailing the discussion on sugar for decades," stressing that when study summaries are published in journals as prestigious as the New England Journal, the latter "tend to shape the debate. 'the whole of the scientific discussion on the subject', relays France Info.

An accusation that the scientific community wishes to qualify, but that the authors of the analysis insist, claiming that "falsification has permanently oriented research and had a lasting impact on the practices of the food industry. The former SRF denounces a desire to align with an anti-sugar trend, accusing Moreover, and as Radio Canada explains, if the lobby admits that it could have been more transparent in its research and funding, it claims that "the research of the 1960s was not distorted for as many, "arguing that many more recent studies indicate that sugar is not solely responsible for cardiovascular disease.

Ethics sprains
This is not the first time the US sugar lobby has been accused of intervening in scientific research. LCI and the newspaper Le Monde recall that in 2015, the Sugar Association was still at the heart of the debate for supposedly influencing a program to fight against tooth decay in the 60s to 70s, seeking to prevent possible restrictions by the health authorities on the consumption of sugar. And she would not be the only one to commit such sprains. Le Monde also looks at the case of the GEBN, a "global network on the energy balance", which said that sugary drinks did not contribute to obesity, knowing that among its sponsors, we found mainly the company Coca Cola. 

The US news agency, The Associated Press, denounces these initiatives that "adorn themselves with an academic authority" through the funding of scientific studies that are more marketing campaigns that research for the welfare of the consumer.