A new report published on March 10, 2015 by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, (UCSF) reveals that the sugar industry heavily influenced federal research and subsequently public health policy and guidelines resulting from that research.
In 1969, The Caries Task Force Steering Committee was formed by the National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) and met regularly to come up with research priorities.
At the same time, the International Sugar Research Foundation (ISRF) began their own research to identify dental health priorities.
What the UCSF researchers found was that both committees were made up almost entirely of the same people and that 40% of the NIDR findings and its subsequent report were taken, nearly word-for-word from the ISRF findings and their report!
Then, in 1971, the National Caries Program (NCP) was launched to further identify interventions that would help eradicate tooth decay, and interestingly enough, their priorities did not involve any research that would be detrimental to the sugar industry.
Study author Stanton Glantz noted in the paper:
“The NCP was a missed opportunity to develop a scientific understanding of how to restrict sugar consumption to prevent tooth decay. A key factor was the alignment of research agendas between the NIDR and the sugar industry. This historical example illustrates how industry protects itself from potentially damaging research, which can inform policy makers today…
Most importantly, these findings illustrate how the sugar industry has protected itself from potentially damaging research in the past; a similar approach has also been taken by the tobacco industry. These findings highlight the need to carefully scrutinize industry opposition to the proposed WHO and FDA guidelines on sugar intake and labeling, respectively, to ensure that industry interests do not interfere with current efforts to improve dental public health.”
As the old adage goes; Follow the Money!
I am becoming increasingly concerned, that funding for much of the research that exists may be coming from sources that have financial interests in the outcome of said research. We need to continually search for unbiased research sources such as the Cochrane Collaboration who is vision is:
A world of improved health where decisions about health and health care are informed by high-quality, relevant and up-to-date synthesized research evidence.
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Until next time,