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Scandal: How the sugar industry manipulated research results


Unpleasant research results held back for decades

The sugar industry has had a massive impact on research in the past and manipulated study results in their favor. After the first scientific evidence of this systematic approach was presented to the sugar industry last year, a current US study now confirms the impression that the health risks have been systematically played down or concealed for decades.

A year ago, scientists from the University of California San Francisco published a study that showed how the sugar industry has influenced scientific research in the past. This impression is now confirmed in the current investigation. The research team led by Stanton Glantz from the University of California San Francisco reports in the journal "PLoS Biology" how the negative results from animal studies have remained unpublished for decades, so that the health risks of sugar consumption have been underestimated.

The risk of coronary heart disease is minimized

In 1965, the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF), as a lobby association for the US sugar industry, secretly funded a study in the “New England Journal of Medicine” that questioned the connection between sugar consumption and blood lipid levels and thus coronary heart disease (CHD) played down. Subsequently, the SRF financed animal experiments, which should assess the risk of CHD in sugar consumption more precisely. In the study entitled "Project 259: Dietary Carbohydrates and Blood Fats in Sterile Rats", led by Dr. W.F.R. Pover at the University of Birmingham (UK), between 1967 and 1971 the relationship was analyzed.

Negative results from animal studies have not been published

Even back then, the scientists were able to determine a statistically significant decrease in serum triglycerides in the rats with high sugar consumption. The research also indicated that sugar consumption is associated with increased amounts of beta-glucuronidase, an enzyme that is considered a potential risk factor for bladder cancer in humans. The SRF then ended the research project without publishing the results, the scientists from the University of California report.

Is sugar also a potential carcinogen?

The sugar industry has not disclosed the results of the animal studies, which already 50 years ago provided indications that the risk of CHD with sucrose (sugar) is greater than with starch and that sugar should be assessed as a potential carcinogen the accusation of the researchers. "The impact of gut microbiota on the different effects of sucrose and starch on blood lipids and the impact of carbohydrate quality on beta-glucuronidase and cancer activity deserve further attention," the US scientists emphasize. (fp)

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