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News > World

Study: The Sugar Industry Snuffed Research on Health Effects

  • Sugar cubes.

    Sugar cubes. | Photo: Reuters

Published 23 November 2017

Recently released documents show a concerted campaign over several decades by the sugar industry to conceal the negative effect that sugar has on public health.

Scientists from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) allege that the industry concealed well-documented links between sugar and heart disease by manipulating science, lobbying regulators, and ending its own research when it produced unsavory results.

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“The Sugar Association proved to itself that calories from sugar had different metabolic effects than calories from starch,” the lead author of this research, Cristin E. Kearns, told UCSF. “This is in stark contrast to its public position, then and now, that all calories are created equal.”

The research exposed ‘Project 259’, a Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) project that tested the effects of sugar on animals in 1969, which retracted information produced by its own study that showed that sugar produces high levels of triglyceride. The chemical triglyceride is associated with poor bladder function, poor cardiovascular health, and an elevated risk of cancer.

“This case is one more illustration that, like the tobacco industry, the sugar industry has a long history of suppressing scientific results that do not support its economic interests,” said Stanton Glantz, a senior author on the project.

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The Sugar Association, the current organization that followed the SRF, dismissed these peer-reviewed findings by calling the research “a collection of speculations and assumptions about events that happened nearly five decades ago.”

“The study in question ended for three reasons, none of which involved potential research findings: the study was significantly delayed; it was consequently over budget; and the delay overlapped with an organizational restructuring with the Sugar Research Foundation becoming a new entity, the International Sugar Research Foundation.”

Meanwhile, research continues to mount that sugar is a major factor in the global health crisis correlated with early-onset diabetes, artery scarring, and childhood obesity.

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