• Follow The Money: How The Sugar Industry Ruined Our Health

    by Dr. Susan Sklar
    on Sep 20th, 2016

The health of millions of Americans and perhaps millions of people worldwide has been damaged over the past 50 years by the sugar industry in the United States. A recent review in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine shows that the sugar industry in the United States influenced researchers and ultimately government policy on dietary interventions for the prevention of heart disease.

The esteemed Harvard University School of Public Health was involved in the deception. In 1967, important researchers there agreed to write a review paper regarding diet and cardiovascular disease.  Prompted by the sugar industry and paid to present their point of view, they downplayed the risk of sugar in the development of heart disease.  They discounted the importance of scientific research showing that sugar causes the development of plaque in the blood vessels and emphasized shaky data that fats cause heart disease.  This biased research was then presented to a government committee who adopted it as the public health policy for the entire United States.  It formed the basis for our public policy regarding reduction of cardiovascular disease, which is the number one killer in the United States.

This policy got us into our current trouble with an epidemic of diabetes and obesity in the United States. It has been a very slow process to reeducate the public about the fact that sugars and simple carbohydrates are the cause of many health problems. The past 50 years of low fat diet has resulted in a tremendous increase in sugars and carbohydrates in our diets. The effect on our health as a nation has been devastating. Look around and you will see large numbers of overweight people with diminished health as the result of the sugar industry’s interest in preserving their market share and making money.

The sugar industry also influenced the National Institute of Dental Research at the NIH. Although sugar was well known to cause cavities in teeth, the sugar industry was able to apply pressure to shape policies.  It did this by encouraging investigation into ways of reducing plaque such as enzymes to break up plaque or a vaccine to prevent plaque, although the evidence was clear that reducing sugar intake was the way to prevent dental disease. The sugar industry submitted a report to the national Institute of dental research that formed a large part of their program to reduce dental cavities. It did not include recommendations to lower sugar intake as a strategy for reducing cavities.  This was then used as the basis for government public health policies, to the detriment of the nation’s children and adults.

What can you do about this? Adopt a Paleo or Mediterranean diet way of eating. You can get informed by reading books such as Dr. Mark Hyman’s “Eat Fat, Get Thin” or Dr. Gary Taubes “Good Calories, Bad Calories.”  For in information in diabetes and sugar, take a look at Dr. Osama Hamdy’s article on diabetes in the New York Times online.

Your health is in your own hands. You can make it whatever you want to be.

Author Dr. Susan Sklar

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