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JAMA Intern Med. 2016 Nov 1;176(11):1680-1685. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.5394.

Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research: A Historical Analysis of Internal Industry Documents.

Author information

1
Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, San Francisco, California2Department of Orofacial Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco.
2
Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, San Francisco, California3Clinical and Translational Science Institute, San Francisco, California4Department of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.
3
Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, San Francisco, California5Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco6Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, San Francisco, California7Cardiovascular Research Institute, San Francisco, California8Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, California.

Erratum in

Abstract

Early warning signals of the coronary heart disease (CHD) risk of sugar (sucrose) emerged in the 1950s. We examined Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) internal documents, historical reports, and statements relevant to early debates about the dietary causes of CHD and assembled findings chronologically into a narrative case study. The SRF sponsored its first CHD research project in 1965, a literature review published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which singled out fat and cholesterol as the dietary causes of CHD and downplayed evidence that sucrose consumption was also a risk factor. The SRF set the review's objective, contributed articles for inclusion, and received drafts. The SRF's funding and role was not disclosed. Together with other recent analyses of sugar industry documents, our findings suggest the industry sponsored a research program in the 1960s and 1970s that successfully cast doubt about the hazards of sucrose while promoting fat as the dietary culprit in CHD. Policymaking committees should consider giving less weight to food industry-funded studies and include mechanistic and animal studies as well as studies appraising the effect of added sugars on multiple CHD biomarkers and disease development.

PMID:
27617709
PMCID:
PMC5099084
DOI:
10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.5394
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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