In accordance with recently published historical documents the sugar industry sponsored animal studies in the 1960-ies that examined the influence of sugar consumption on the health of the cardiovascular system, when it became clear that sugar can be harmful studies have folded.
November 21, internal industry documents have been disclosed by the researchers from the University of California at San Francisco described a new report in the journal PLOS Biology. The authors of the report argue that it is based on the evidence that the sugar industry has been trying to mislead the public and to protect their economic interests, suppressing the alarming research the tactics used by the tobacco industry.
Documents show that in 1968, the trade group called “the sugar research Foundation”, known today as “the Association of sugars”, financed animal studies to shed light on the link between sugar and heart health. In the end it turned out that the sugar could not only contribute to the development of heart disease, but also cancer of the bladder. Research over almost 50 years ago, but the results were never published.
The sugar industry has long insisted that sugar does not play a role in the development of obesity, diabetes or cardiovascular disease, although numerous studies of independent scientists convinced of the opposite. The author of the new report became Professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Stanton Glantz (Glantz Stanton). The scientist says that research 50 years ago do not lose their relevance today. They point to a multi-year strategy to reduce potential health effects from the consumption of sugar.
“This proves that the sugar industry has long manipulated science,” said Dr. Glantz.
“Association of sugar” were quick to challenge the new report, calling it “a collection of speculations and assumptions about events that occurred almost 50 years ago. The study, supposedly conducted by a team of researchers who are known critics of the sugar industry.
“Current research was funded by the National institutes of health and Foundation Laura and John Arnold, a private Foundation, which provided money to support taxes on sugary drinks.
The statement said that sugar, “consumed in moderation, is part of a balanced lifestyle,” and he stressed that the Association of sugar remained “committed to supporting research to further understand the role of sugar in the evolving habits of consumers.”
The documents described in the new report are part of the secret internal communications of the sugar industry, discovered Christine E. Cairns, an associate Professor in the School of dentistry at UCSF library archives of several universities.
In last year’s article in “the new York times” has already touched upon some of the documents disclosed by Dr. Kerns. They confirm that the sugar industry launched a campaign in the 1960-ies to counter “negative attitude to sugar,” partly thanks to the funding of research in the field of sugar, which could give favorable results. The campaign was organized by John Hickson, a top Manager of the sugar Association, which later joined the tobacco industry. The campaign for the sugar industry, Mr. Hickson was secretly paid to two influential Harvard scientists for the publication of a major review paper in 1967, which minimizes the connection between sugar and heart health and have shifted the blame on saturated fat.
In a new report, published on 21 November, included additional internal documents on the sugar industry of that era. They showed that Mr. Hickson at the time, was worried about new research showing that calories from sugar were more detrimental to heart health than calories from starchy carbohydrates such as grains, beans and potatoes. Mr. Hickson suspected that this may be due to the fact that the microbes that inhabit the gut, known as microbiota, metaboliziruet sugar and starches differently.
Research project 259
In 1968 the organization for the Sahara began work on the project 259. The group hired researchers at the University of Birmingham in England, Pover WFR, and paid him the equivalent of 187 000 USD in today’s dollars for laboratory animal studies. The purpose of the experiment was to test whether “free rats” rats and Guinea pigs, which have no intestinal bacteria react differently to sugar and starches than normal animals.
The initial results described in the report on the domestic industry in 1969 as a “special interest”, has caused concern. Rats that were fed sucrose, the main component of cane sugar, causing high levels of enzyme called beta glucuronidase that three other studies published at about the time associated with hardened arteries and cancer of the bladder.
“This is one of the first demonstrations of biological difference between sucrose and rats fed starch”, — the report says the mining industry.
The documents show that Dr. Power found something “very important.” The initial phase of the study, it seems confirmed that the adverse effect of sugar on cholesterol and triglycerides was the result of its metabolism and fermentation by intestinal bacteria. At that time the Dr. said that is nearing completion of the Project 259, but it needs to extend to prove “definitively” that the effects observed were mediated by the microbiota (microflora).
But despite this “Association sugars” has suspended funding. In an internal report in 1970, Mr. Hickson hired new employees for the study of sugar, hoping that they can “get useful and meaningful information” to the industry, and described the value of the project 259 as “zero”. In this industry report, it was suggested that Dr. Pover disappointed, noting that he “hoped to receive continued support from other sources”.
He never succeeded. The study was never published, and it is not clear why. Unfortunately, Dr. Power and Mr. Hickson is already dead, so no one to ask.
The press Secretary of the sugar Association said the group considered their research in the archives and determined that the research of Dr. Povera ended because it was delayed, over budget and blocked organizational restructuring.
“There were plans to continue the study with funding from the British nutrition Fund, the statement reads, but for unknown reasons this has not happened.”
But Marion Nestle, Professor of nutrition, research in the field of foodstuffs and public health at new York University, said that internal industry documents is striking, as they provide rare evidence that the food industry has suppressed research, which she didn’t like. Similar practices were recorded among tobacco companies, pharmaceutical companies and other industries.
“From what is said in this document, the sugar industry was not interested to answer open questions about whether the sugar to be harmful to rats or considering preliminary proposals on the possible harm to do further research to find out one way or another. Instead, he terminated the study when the results were unfavorable”. Marion Nestle
In General, studies on rats and other laboratory animals are not considered as convincing as the data of human studies. But in the 1960-ies Dr. Cairns said that the animal data are much more weight. Federal law at the time prohibited food additives that cause cancer in animals, and in 1969, for example, the administration on control of food and drug administration banned cyclamate, a very popular artificial sweetener after research showed that it caused bladder cancer in rats.
At that time, the Association of sugar believed cyclamate threat to its market share, and it not only lobbied the FDA, but also funded some studies related to health problems.
Mr. hixon left the sugar industry in the early 1970-ies, to work in the Cigar Research Council, the organization of the tobacco industry. In 1972, the Memorandum on internal tobacco industry hixon noted that he has a reputation as a manipulator of science to achieve their goals. In a confidential tobacco note hixon called “Supreme scientific politician who had been successful in condemning cyclamates on behalf of the Council for the study of sugar for a few shaky evidence”.