A new study shows that the sugar industry paid scientists in the 1960s to downplay the link between sugar and heart disease — blaming saturated fat, instead.
Big Sugar did this by exploiting growing concern over coronary heart disease.
When the evidence started to mount that sugar was bad for heart health, the SRF launched a campaign to drown out sugar's critics.
The SRF paid three Harvard scientists to publish a 1967 literature review that would discredit studies that showed a link between sugar and heart disease, while demonizing saturated fat.
As a result, dietary recommendations at the time (and until recently) focused on reducing fat intake to prevent heart disease.
But in reality we now know that moderate amounts of saturated fat and added sugar can be part of a healthy diet.
FYI, the food industry playing a role in nutrition research isn't an old timey practice that stopped in the '60s.
Responding to BuzzFeed Health via email, Sugar Association spokesperson Tonya Allen said: “We maintain that a thorough review of the full body of scientific literature is needed to make a diet-disease relationship.”
Allen also pointed out the limitations of the 2014 study referenced by Dr. Hensrud and by the American Heart Association as bases for recommendations to eat less sugar, including that an observational study doesn’t prove cause and effect, and that multiple biological mechanisms may be required to fully explain the observed association between added sugar and cardiovascular disease risk.
This article has been updated to include a comment from the Sugar Association.
BuzzFeed Health has reached out to the study's authors for comment.