THE sugar industry tried to cover up links to heart disease and cancer, researchers have claimed after examining newly discovered documents.
They likened the behaviour of sugar producers to the efforts of the tobacco industry to suppress findings linking smoking with cancer.
Researchers said they found that a US trade body suppressed evidence of sugar’s health effects after it was found to cause heart problems and cancer in laboratory rats.
They discovered that the US’s Sugar Research Foundation, now known as the Sugar Association, funded animal experiments to evaluate sucrose’s effects on cardiovascular health.
After these indicated an association with heart disease and bladder cancer the foundation terminated the experiment – called Project 259 – without publishing the results.
Another study by the same group showed the industry also funded scientific research that played down the risk of heart disease from eating too much sugar, blaming dietary fat as the main cause. Dr Stanton Glantz, of the University of California at San Francisco, and colleagues said modern attempts to minimise the danger of eating too much sugar may be rooted in 60 years of industry manipulation of science.
He said: ‘The kind of manipulation of research is similar to what the tobacco industry does. This kind of behaviour calls into question sugar industry-funded studies as a reliable source of information.’
The study, based on a review of archived industry documents, was published in the journal PLOS Biology.
The Sugar Association said in a statement: ‘We reviewed our research archives and found documentation that the study in question ended for three reasons, none of which involved potential research findings.
‘Throughout its history, the Sugar Association has embraced scientific research and innovation in an attempt to learn as much as possible about sugar, diet and health.’
© Daily Mail