Sugar Was Linked to Heart Disease 50 Years Ago, but the Industry Shut It Down
Sugar has a detrimental effect on our health, and not only because sugary foods are high in calories. Numerous studies have shown that the same sugar calories compared to other foods affect our body in different ways. And new research reveals how the sugar industry has tried to hide these findings.
For the past fifty years or so, it has been believed that dietary fat is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease. These assumptions are finally being called into question – this does not mean that the cholesterol you eat from eggs or steak does not pass from the stomach into the arteries . And research over the past decade has begun to strengthen the link between sugar consumption and heart disease .
We’re also seeing new information about how the “wisdom” linking fat to heart disease has become generally accepted in general. In the 1960s, scientists investigating the causes of heart disease saw sugar as the culprit, and sugar industry-funded research has hidden and buried the link, according to a new report .
One of the researchers in the new study, Stanton Glantz of the University of California, San Francisco, told NPR , “The sugar industry has consistently blamed fats.”
A study by Glantz and colleagues, published in the journal PLOS Biology , looks at how the Sugar Research Foundation, affiliated with the American Sugar Trade Association, funded its own research on the harmful effects of sugar on health, but stopped funding just before that research could be obtained. be completed and published because things weren’t going well.
In 1967, the Sugar Research Foundation secretly funded a review article that did not take into account research pointing to a link between sugar consumption and heart disease. This article was published in the New England Journal of Medicine . The SRF then embarked on its own study using rats to compare the health effects of consuming sucrose (sugar) versus starch or the normal diet of rats.
This study lasted for three years. Although funding for completion of the study was denied – just twelve weeks after completion – preliminary results showed that rats on a high-sugar diet had higher blood triglyceride levels than other rats. In humans, high triglyceride levels are a risk factor for heart attack and stroke. The study also showed a link between sugar intake and beta-glucuronidase, an enzyme linked to bladder cancer in humans.
These are rat studies and risk factors, not any disease, so this does not mean sugar is causing heart disease and bladder cancer. The discontinued study would not be a smoking gun, but it would be part of a growing body of evidence that sugar is more than empty calories.
Glantz’s research is also part of his own growing body of research – research that shows how industry-funded science tends to find results that benefit the industry (and that research that could harm the industry is often interrupted or unpublished), whether either cigarettes , pharmaceuticals or climate change .