It’s a shame that the smoking gun for conflicts-of-interest in nutrition research ended up focusing on how the sugar industry used fat as the fall guy. People are reflexively coming to the defense of fat now. That’s not a good idea because the fat industry does the same thing – it influences research to cast doubt on fat and blame sugar instead.
Here are some links about the sugar story:
- News Story: How The Sugar Industry Shifted Blame To Fat, New York Times, 12 September 2016
- Study: Sugar Industry And Coronary Heart Disease Research, A Historical Analysis Of Internal Industry Documents, JAMA Internal Medicine, 12 September 2016
- Marion Nestle’s accompanying editorial: Food Industry Funding of Nutrition Research, JAMA Internal Medicine, 12 September 2016
In this issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, Kearns and colleagues report on having found a smoking gun. From a deep dive into archival documents from the 1950s and 1960s, they have produced compelling evidence that a sugar trade association not only paid for but also initiated and influenced research expressly to exonerate sugar as a major risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD).
People are saying … “I knew it! Fat doesn’t make you fat, give you heart disease, diabetes, etc. It’s the sugar!”
It’s not the sugar. That is, it’s not only the sugar. It’s the fat too. It may very well be more the fat than the sugar. As I wrote in June, 2014:
There is an abundance of research that implicates consumption of saturated fat in the development of heart disease. One particular study, paid for by the National Dairy Council, is often cited to justify the “eat butter” proclamation:
Meta-Analysis Of Prospective Cohort Studies Evaluating The Association Of Saturated Fat With Cardiovascular Disease, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2010
The sponsored? conclusion of this study …
There is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.
… was refuted by the renowned cardiologist, Dr. Stamler, in the same issue where the study was published. He said there was a vast array of multidisciplinary research at the foundation of recommendations to eat a low-fat, low-saturated-fat diet – a diet that “deemphasizes red and processed meats, cheeses, ice cream, and egg yolks.”