This is the second part of the story of how the sugar industry has affected America’s health for the last 50 years.
The industry’s trade group, The Sugar Research Foundation, has worked hard behind the scenes to cover up the dangerous effects of refined sugar in the American diet.
In part one, we looked at how they worked with major health publications to cover up the link between sugar consumption and heart disease, now we will look at the danger of certain cancers caused by sugar consumption.
The study which was funded by the sugar industry was called Project 259. It found a strong correlation between high sugar consumption and bladder cancer in rats.
Scientists at the University of California at San Francisco uncovered the evidence that the industry stopped the study as soon as the preliminary data showed the cancer link.
The sugar industry has always hidden behind the rhetoric that there is “no scientific consensus that sugar is harmful to health.” But when they suppress the data that shows it is, no wonder there is no consensus.
Project 259, which the Sugar Industry hoped would show high sugar consumption would be safer than artificial sweeteners, was surprised when it turned out that the high sugar consumption was negatively affecting the rats’ gut biome.
The increase in the rats’ triglyceride levels put them at risk for blood clots, but then the scientists noticed a spike in enzymes which lead to bladder cancer.
When this was reported in August of 1970, the scientist requested 12 more weeks of funding to continue the study, but the Vice President concluded that the results of the study where “nil” and denied the funding request.
They did not want the public to know that sugar was much more harmful to the human body than any other starch or carbohydrate.
The sugar industry said in response to the revelation:
“Courtney Gaine, the president and CEO of the Sugar Association, said the researchers’ assessment is nothing more than, ‘a series of assumptions and speculations.’
“’They never called us. We would have let them look at the archives. I would let them look tomorrow. The story we have in our archives is a lot better than the story they’ve been telling,’ Gaine said.”
Public health officials were often being funded by major industries.
The tobacco industry famously spent millions trying to influence scientists and public health experts to downplay the risks of smoking.
While neither Big Sugar nor the tobacco industry ever said their products were healthy, they always maintained that using them in moderation didn’t significantly affect health.
All this was said while they were hoping more people would use their products thinking there were no negative effects.
But with all the negative science being suppressed it is no wonder that people really had no idea the damage two or three cans of soda was actually doing to themselves or their kids.
Documents recently published show just how intense their efforts were. The New Yorker said:
“Sugar Association, in the early sixties, began a systematic effort to change public opinion ‘through our research and information and legislative programs,’ with the goal of getting the public to consume more sugar and less fat.”
The sugar industry was able to influence Harvard researchers to make this case for them, and state it in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
As a result, Americans have found that every time there was an attack on sugar, the media would attack the anti-sugar scientists as “crackpots.”
This, unfortunately, casts real doubt on the state of science reporting not only in the media but also our most important medical journals.