How the Sugar Industry Bought Out Science
Anyone who’s truly health-conscious knows by now about the dangers of sugar and the high-carb diet we were told to eat for decades. And some of you—especially regular readers—may know that science has been aware of these dangers since the mid-1900s. In the 1950s and 60s there were two competing theories. One said that heart disease was primarily caused by fat. The other, which had more evidence to back it up, pointed the finger directly at sugar.
The main voice of the anti-sugar movement was a man named John Yudkin. Now Yudkin wasn’t a nobody. He wasn’t some fringe scientist or snake oil salesman. He was a respected professional—the founder of the nutrition department at London’s prestigious Queen Elizabeth College. Like Dr. Robert Lustig today, Yudkin warned that sugar, not fat, was at the root of heart disease and other chronic ills. Unlike Dr. Lustig, Yudkin’s research was buried and his career destroyed because of his findings.
Yudkin was shut out of academic circles. Journals refused to print his papers. He was effectively crushed, just as Dr. Andrew Wakefield (who first suggested a link between vaccines and autism) has been this century. Meanwhile, the world adopted the low-fat advice of Ancel Keyes and his now-debunked “7 Countries” study. The low-fat, high-carb era had begun and we were on our way to getting sicker than ever thanks to government and medical guidelines.
This is all ancient history. Yet even now there are those who will argue to the death that fat is the enemy. And there are a shocking number of apologists who tell us that medicine was only doing the best it could with the research available at the time.
A recent historical discovery, however, shows that this simply isn’t true. Newly discovered correspondence from that era shows that what really happened is that Big Food paid scientists to discredit the anti-sugar research and promote the low-fat hysteria.
It’s right there in black and white.
And it’s damning.
The conspiracy theorists were right. There really WAS a secret plan…and it’s still working
“Conspiracy theorist” has become a derogatory term. It’s a “nice” way of saying those of us who don’t buy the official story are just a little nuts. Harmless, of course, but nuts. But all too often, decades after the fact we “conspiracy theorists” are proven right. This is one of those cases.
The new evidence came to light thanks to a dentist turned researcher named Dr. Cristin Kearns from the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Kearns stumbled onto it while digging through correspondence archives at Harvard Medical School’s library. Here’s what she found:
Back in the 50s, the research into sugar and fat as causes of heart disease was just beginning. Like VHS vs. Betamax in the 1980s, which one would become accepted was still open to question. And Big Sugar, in the form of the Sugar Research Foundation (the same folks who campaigned so hard for high fructose corn syrup and now simply called the Sugar Association) saw an opportunity.
And not just any scientists. Harvard scientists. Highly respected members of the Harvard Medical School’s nutrition department. First they invited the chair of the nutrition department to join their “scientific advisory board.” And then they approached two prestigious researchers—whose boss just happened to be that same chair—and asked them for help.
What did they want? They wanted a paper that was a “a review article of the several papers which find some special metabolic peril in sucrose …” and they wanted a conclusion that made sugar look good and fat look bad.
They paid the researchers the equivalent of $48,000 in today’s dollars to do it.
They flatly told the researchers that they wanted scientific reviews refuting any claim that carbohydrates including sugar contribute to “the metabolic condition.” They wanted the finger pointed at fat instead. The researchers replied that “We are well aware of your particular interest in carbohydrate and will cover this as well as we can.”
And they did. The Sugar Research Foundation provided the studies they wanted reviewed rather than letting the researchers pick the ones they thought were most important or compelling. They kept up a correspondence throughout the project clear up until publication. They were given drafts of the papers to review while the two researchers were writing them.
When the papers were finished and the head of the Sugar Research Foundation got the final drafts he wrote, “Let me assure you this is quite what we had in mind and we look forward to its appearance in print.” A year later the papers were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the most influential scientific journal in the world at the time. The fact that they were published in JAMA and that the source was Harvard guaranteed they would help sway opinion toward the side of sugar while demonizing fat.
The researchers, of course, didn’t bother to disclose the fact that they’d been paid nearly fifty grand to come to that conclusion.
Meanwhile, the whole sordid story was published this September in a paper in…you guessed it…the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Our “dietary guidelines” are built on Big Sugar money
The two researchers in question are long dead and can’t be questioned about their motives. However, many of their students are still alive and are quick to jump to their defense. They claim that they were working with “the best available science at the time.”
Which is a load of horse hockey, of course. If the fact that every single study fingering sugar was dismissed out of hand wasn’t proof enough, the running commentary from the Sugar Foundation mouthpiece is.
However, these papers weren’t the end of the story. Ten years later, one of these bent researchers became the architect of “Dietary Goals for the United States,” the forerunner of our current “Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” That’s right. Those same guidelines that told us to eat 11 servings of bread or pasta per day and avoid fat like the plague. The same guidelines that resulted in high fructose corn syrup being added to virtually every food on the market.
Big Sugar sure got its money’s worth.
All We the People got, on the other hand, was diabetes and heart disease.
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