The sugar industry blamed fat for heart disease in order to absolve itself for health problems back in the 1960s. The revelations about the sugar industry exposed in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) “takes the cake” for “the pot calling the kettle black” or just plain egregious science. JAMA published documents in their current edition pertaining to sums of money paid and correspondences with up to 5 scientists in the late 1960s who wrote articles at the behest of the Sugar industry claiming sugar consumption had no effect on heart disease.
(The article was also brought to the public’s attention by a New York Times article this week entitled “How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat.” )
The scientists that wrote the original articles in 1967 for the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine did not disclose they were given money to write the articles. With no disclosure, the sugar industry succeeded along with the faulty science of the time to derail the debate on health and diet for 50 years and sideline those like John Yudkin author of “Pure, White and Deadly” in 1972 One of these scientists who wrote a paper asked for by the sugar industry and received payment went on to be the chief nutritionist at the Department of Agriculture.
The topic is a sensitive one for me as a scientist who cares about nutrition since so many decisions that affect so many people are made based on research with very low standards ethical and other.
Scientific research is unfortunately subject to certain types of flaws which range from lack of proper training of the scientists to egregiously trying to mislead the public. Here I explain 4 reasons why nutritional research is so problematic: