An exposé published online this week in JAMA Internal Medicine provides a glaring example of why many Americans are distrustful of those who claim to speak for the public good.
Papers found in Harvard University archives provide smoking-gun evidence that the sugar industry in the 1960s conspired and paid academics at the prestigious school (about $50,000 in today's dollars) to publish skewed research reviews in The New England Journal of Medicine that obfuscated and downplayed the linkage of sugar and coronary heart disease.
"The Sugar Research Foundation had a very sophisticated understanding for the time of the potential health risks associated with sugar use," said Stanton Glantz, PhD, one of several authors of the exposé, and a professor of medicine at the University of California – San Francisco, in an interview accompanying the JAMA story.
"They reached out to some well-known professors at Harvard University and funded them to write a review of the available literature on dietary determinants of heart disease. In the review, the Harvard authors really downplayed the evidence linking sugar and triglycerides and heart disease and emphasized the evidence linking fat intake with heart disease."