Sugar industry pays off scientists to blame fat for disease

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cash-pay-off(NaturalHealth365) With over one-third of American adults considered obese and nearly 70 percent either obese or overweight, there is clearly an obesity epidemic in our country. And while foods with a high saturated fat content are partly to blame, low fat foods are also contributing – especially if they are high in sugar.

Now evidence has surfaced that the truth about sugar was suppressed decades ago – by the sugar industry itself. Americans were given the wrong message about fat and sugar, with low fat foods promoted as a positive choice even when they were high in sugar.

Low fat foods – high in sugar – fraudulently promoted as healthy

In the 1960s, the sugar industry paid scientists to promote saturated fat as the main factor in heart disease while playing down sugar’s role. Internal sugar industry documents indicating the deception were uncovered by University of California at San Francisco researchers and recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

A group called the Sugar Research Foundation (today known as the Sugar Association) paid off three Harvard scientists around $50,000 (adjusted for inflation) in 1967 to skew their research about fat, sugar and heart disease.

The resultant article, published in New England Journal of Medicine, minimized sugar’s negative health impacts and cast saturated fat as the main villain. The skewed data still influences nutritional standards and is believed to be a main driver of the obesity epidemic.

Skewed data about sugar and low fat foods have fueled American obesity epidemic

The sugar industry payoff took place at a time when disclosure of funding sources was not required. As much as five decades of research about the effects of nutrition on health have been fraudulently influenced by the sugar industry’s dishonesty. Any transparent and honest discussion about sugar was effectively derailed years ago. This data is still shaping the dietary recommendations in use today.

Encouraging people to favor low-fat foods even if high in sugar and simple carbohydrates is at the heart of the obesity epidemic in America. While having saturated fat in moderation is a good idea, the demonization of fat led to Americans avoiding the healthy, unsaturated kind found in oily fish, avocados, nuts, eggs and olive oil.

Again, moderation is key, but avoiding essential healthy fats can lead to health issues. Unsaturated fats like omega-3 and omega-6 are now known to be extremely beneficial.

Who can we trust?

In recent years, the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association have finally begun to warn Americans about the hazards of eating too much sugar. Refined carbohydrates and sugar-sweetened beverages are among the most dangerous threats, contributing to both heart disease and obesity.

This blatant move to fraudulently shift public opinion about sugar in the 1960s was horrible, but these practices still continue today. Last year, it was revealed that the Coca-Cola company gave researchers millions of dollars to downplay the link between obesity and sugary drinks.  Some candy companies were also caught funding studies claiming kids who eat candy weigh less than children who don’t!

As long as human greed continues to drive the industries of this world, it’s important to stay vigilant. Your health and quality of life depend on it.


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  • Lester Russel

    How sweet it is for the industry for the rest of us its poison. I don’t think the public understands how a food supply based on sugar and sodium is the culprit behind many of the chronic conditions. Running to get a flu shot while having a diet high in processed sugar shows the disconnect.

  • Nathan Heller

    No set of ethics and no conscious makes this all possible. When you think of all the children who are raised on sugary foods, it makes you understand how low these people can go.

  • Cathy W

    If you stop and think about how many lives were destroyed by illness due to this you realize how far these companies will go. In the 1940’s sugary foods were a desert. More times than not is wasn’t had often.

    Now, it is is the main event with pop tarts for breakfast and soda with meals. If you buy processed foods or prepared meals you can bet there is an ingredient list which includes sugar.

  • Delores Brinkly

    My husband’s doctor emphasizes a low fat diet. He never mentions cutting down on sugar. So, what happens is my husband reads the fat grams on what he buys when he shops. He ignores the sugar listing. I now do not let him shop without me at his side.

  • Niomi

    I have gone to a periodontist who leaves out a bowl of candy. It seems he didn’t get the message. This is a first rate article.

  • Clayton Goldman

    The fact is many people who eat sugar really crave fat. Sugar appears in ice cream, cake toppings, danish, and high fat whipped cream. People need fat in their diet and when they don’t get it they turn to sugar.

  • Marsha

    My kids are sugar addicts now I know who to thank. I hope they can’t sleep at night and the sad part is I think they do sleep very well. It is all made possible by the payoffs.

  • Chan Wang

    Sugary foods are distributed globally and the global message is American food is on the way. We can demonstrate the way it has also exported diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

  • Abby Kunshan

    Forget low fat food there is a disconnect to what that means. You can be vegan and eat processed food or you can choose a wholefood diet. Nature provides low fat foods, which are healthy.

  • Jon McCartney

    Doctors devote their lives to our health, yet they do not have an understanding of it. So, just like other businesses they do not have the best customer service. At the end of the day we are patients, but also paying customers. They compromise our health with their diet advice.

  • Neil Hicks

    Based on this advice the health of Americans has declined. Any other place would have seen the interaction of the diet and tried much sooner to update the information. This shows they are not being mindful of our health, because they are tied to industry interests.