Sugar, Sugar – James Last – The Music Of James Last Mia De Graaf For Dailymail. The sugar industry paid prestigious Harvard scientists to publish research saying fat – not sugar – was a key cause of heart disease, newly unveiled documents reveal. At the time, in the 1960s, conflict of interest disclosure was not required.
It meant sugar chiefs could work closely with researchers to re-draft and re-draft their paper until it was ‘satisfactory’ – without having to report their involvement. The result shaped public health approaches to nutrition for years. The findings, revealed today in a special report in JAMA Internal Medicine, has sent shockwaves through the research community. The sugar industry paid prestigious Harvard scientists to publish research saying fat – not sugar – was a key cause of heart disease. I thought I had seen everything but this one floored me,’ said Marion Nestle of New York University, who wrote an editorial on the new findings. And the “bribe” was so big. Funding research is ethical,’ Nestle said.
Bribing researchers to produce the evidence you want is not. The warped research appeared in a 1967 literature review in The New England Journal of Medicine. It pointed to fat and cholesterol as the dietary culprits of heart disease, glossing over evidence from the 1950s that sugar was also linked to heart disease. Its role in the study was not disclosed until 1984. Harvard professor of nutrition Dr Mark Hegsted co-directed the SRF’s first heart disease research project from 1965 to 1966. In the new report, Laura A.
Schmidt of the University of California, San Francisco and colleagues have uncovered correspondence that shows how Dr Hegsted was commissioned by the SRF to reach a specific conclusion. Archives from the University of Illinois and the Harvard Medical Library reveal that the foundation set the objective for the literature review, funded it and reviewed drafts of the manuscript. Today, we are urged to limit our sugar intake as much as possible. That is less than a can of Coca Cola. That equates to a regular Snickers bar. Sugar, peer-reviewed studies now show, triggers insulin resistance, lower good cholesterol and dangerous bad cholesterol. It also causes inflammation of the arteries.
These are all direct causes of heart disease. The researchers also reviewed symposium proceedings and historical reports. In 1954, they say, foundation president Henry Haas gave a speech highlighting the potential of reducing American fat intake and recapturing those calories as carbohydrates that would increase the per capita consumption of sugar more than a third. In 1962, an American Medical Association nutrition report indicated that low-fat high-sugar diets may actually encourage the development of cholesterol. Two years later, according to the new report, SRF vice president John Hickson proposed that the SRF embark on a major program to counter ‘negative attitudes toward sugar. Increasingly, epidemiological reports suggested that blood sugar, rather than blood cholesterol or high blood pressure, was a better predictor of atherosclerosis. Two days after The New York Herald Tribune ran a full page story on the link to sugar in July 1965, the SRF approved ‘Project 226,’ a literature review on cholesterol metabolism to be led by Hegsted and, among others, Fredrick Stare, another Harvard nutritionist with industry financial ties.