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How the sugar industry sweetened research in its favor

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How the sugar industry sweetened research in its favor
By Jacqueline Howard, CNN
Updated 12:26 PM ET, Mon September 12, 2016
http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/12/health/sugar-industry-heart-disease-research/index.html

Story highlights

    A new paper claims the sugar industry funded early heart disease research
    Experts compare the findings to the tobacco industry's controversial history
    Sugar Association: "It is challenging for us to comment on events that allegedly occurred 60 years ago"


Special Communication | September 12, 2016
Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research -- A Historical Analysis of Internal Industry Documents
FREE ONLINE FIRST
Cristin E. Kearns, DDS, MBA1,2; Laura A. Schmidt, PhD, MSW, MPH1,3,4; Stanton A. Glantz, PhD1,5,6,7,8
JAMA Intern Med. Published online September 12, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.5394
http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2548255

Abstract

Early warning signals of the coronary heart disease (CHD) risk of sugar (sucrose) emerged in the 1950s. We examined Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) internal documents, historical reports, and statements relevant to early debates about the dietary causes of CHD and assembled findings chronologically into a narrative case study. The SRF sponsored its first CHD research project in 1965, a literature review published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which singled out fat and cholesterol as the dietary causes of CHD and downplayed evidence that sucrose consumption was also a risk factor. The SRF set the review’s objective, contributed articles for inclusion, and received drafts. The SRF’s funding and role was not disclosed. Together with other recent analyses of sugar industry documents, our findings suggest the industry sponsored a research program in the 1960s and 1970s that successfully cast doubt about the hazards of sucrose while promoting fat as the dietary culprit in CHD. Policymaking committees should consider giving less weight to food industry–funded studies and include mechanistic and animal studies as well as studies appraising the effect of added sugars on multiple CHD biomarkers and disease development.

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