The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Sugar Industry and “Science”

Oct 17, 2016

During the mid-1960s, the sugar industry paid three Harvard University scientists to search for ways to minimize the appearance of health problems caused by sugar and to emphasize the health problems caused by saturated fat. Researchers working for the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) recently discovered documents concerning this work in the Harvard Medical Library storage.

Starting in 1957, British physiologists realized that not only fat, but also high consumption of sugar was an important dietary cause of coronary heart disease. Later research confirmed the results of the British physiologists. By the mid-1960s, newspapers started to write about the harmful health effects of sugar.

Alarmed by this specter, the sugar industry initiated a project to downplay these risks. Three scientists at Harvard University’s School of Public Health were engaged by the sugar industry to refute the research that linked sugar with heart diseases.

They cherry-picked the data, rejecting the link between the sugar and heart diseases pointing the finger at fat as the sole nutrient responsible for heart disease. They did not mention in their published research that they were paid by the sugar industry.

Of course, the sugar industry is not the only food industry that funds supposed “scientific research” aimed at misleading the public. Health studies have repeatedly linked heavy meat consumption with higher rates of heart disease, premature death and cancer. But, recent dietary guidelines issued earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture do not explicitly recommend eating less meat.

The business’ manipulation of science-based recommendations for our health goes well beyond food. “Industry-sponsored nutrition research, like that of research sponsored by the tobacco, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries, almost invariably produces results that confirm the benefits or lack of harm of the sponsor’s products, even when independently sponsored research comes to opposite conclusions,” as explained by Marion Nestle, an expert on nutrition and food at New York University.

Like the saying goes: whoever pays the piper calls the tune.

Simply, as these recent findings show again, the companies’ only aim is to increase their profits, even though this aim hugely harms our health, shortening life expectancy. Their profit aim is outright murderous.