Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gary Taub on Big Sugar

Gary Taub on Big Sugar:
… Following the Montreal conference, the ISRF disseminated a memo quoting Errol Marliss, a University of Toronto diabetes specialist, recommending that the industry pursue "well-designed research programs" to establish sugar's role in the course of diabetes and other diseases. "Such research programs might produce an answer that sucrose is bad in certain individuals," he warned. But the studies "should be undertaken in a sufficiently comprehensive way as to produce results. A gesture rather than full support is unlikely to produce the sought-after answers."

A gesture, however, is what the industry would offer. Rather than approve a serious investigation of the purported links between sucrose and disease, American sugar companies quit supporting the ISRF's research projects. Instead, via the Sugar Association proper, they would spend roughly $655,000 between 1975 and 1980 on 17 studies designed, as internal documents put it, "to maintain research as a main prop of the industry's defense." Each proposal was vetted by a panel of industry-friendly scientists and a second committee staffed by representatives from sugar companies and "contributing research members" such as Coca-Cola, Hershey's, General Mills, and Nabisco. Most of the cash was awarded to researchers whose studies seemed explicitly designed to exonerate sugar. One even proposed to explore whether sugar could be shown to boost serotonin levels in rats' brains, and thus "prove of therapeutic value, as in the relief of depression," an internal document noted. …
Warning: Article is spread over three "pages".

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