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Missy Broome

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The Sugar Industries Pervasive Influence on Scientific Studies of Foods and Beverages

Nutritionists have been telling us that sugar is bad for us for decades now. Most dietary guidelines suggest that we eat more fruits and vegetables and reduce out intake of carbohydrates, fats and cholesterol. Forbes reports some have changed course on cholesterol lately with the realization that the science just hasn’t been there to support the claims of its consumption in moderation being bad for us. One sticking point for many in the arena of nutrition is that more governments and authoritative bodies have not come out more strongly against sugar. A recent article on thinkprogress.org points out that a lot of scientific research into what foods or ingredients are good or bad for us is financed by groups that have an interest in that research having a particular outcome. Companies that either directly sell sugar or that sell foods with plenty of sugar in them are one such group of organizations that might create a conflict of interest through their support of such studies.

It should come as no surprise that when studies of sugary foods or beverages that were funded by sugar related industries were compared to independent studies, there was a large gap in the results. Of course, the sugar backed studies were much kinder to their product. The usual denials took place from the scientists involved in the sugar industry backed studies but the numbers don’t lie. One could argue that they are simply practicing the old wise saying, “don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

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