The researchers have found that most of the previous studies into the sweeteners touting their alleged “health advantages” over using sugar as a sweetener, were written or sponsored by the companies that produce the products.
A trio of researchers from John Hopkins University in Maryland, the University of California San Francisco, and Australia’s University of Sydney took an extensive look at 31 past reviews on the potential weight loss effects of artificial sweeteners. They found that studies directly funded by sweetener companies or published in industry-funded journals were more likely to find positive health benefits compared to reviews funded independently or by the competing sugar industry. Similarly, reviews authored by scientists who had a relevant financial conflict of interest were also less likely to shine a harsh light on sweeteners, either directly via positive results or by putting a positive spin on negative results when discussing their conclusions. (source)
Note that even the “healthy” sweetener that is supposedly made from stevia hardly contains any stevia at all – Truvia is still made up of terrible chemical ingredients that are hazardous to your health.
Earlier this month it was discovered that the sugar industry paid the equivalent of nearly $50,000 in today’s dollars to fund a review back in 1967 that concluded fats were the leading cause of heart disease and sugar had little nothing to do with heart disease risk.
In the 1950s, studies showing a link between coronary heart disease (CHD) and sugar intake started to emerge.
When the sugar industry (which many not-so-affectionately call “Big Sugar”) got wind of this not-so-sweet news, they paid scientists to downplay the link and promote saturated fat as the culprit instead, a new study has revealed.
The research, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, was based on thousands of pages of Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) documents, reports, and statements that Cristin E. Kearns, a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF, discovered in the basement at Harvard University.
The SRF (known today as The Sugar Association) sponsored its first CHD “research project” in 1965 – a literature review published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The review’s objective was established by SRF, and the group contributed articles for inclusion and received drafts. The SRF’s funding and role was not disclosed.
Why is this a big deal?
Big Sugar paid Harvard scientists the equivalent of about $50,000 in today’s dollars to influence the review, and subsequently spent $600, 000 ($5.3 million in 2016 dollars) to teach “people who had never had a course in biochemistry… that sugar is what keeps every human being alive and with energy to face our daily problems.” (read the rest of this article here…)
For years many industries have delayed the publication of research that may put their products in a bad light, others have simply paid off researchers to point the finger of blame at other products, as did the Sugar Association in 1967.
The revelations over sweeteners come as no surprise, but they should remind us that we need to do our own research rather than taking something at face value just because there was a “study.”
Drugs companies, the oil industry, and tobacco companies have all used such tactics in the past. This isn’t new. The FDA upholds these studies all the time, and products that could literally kill us end up on the store shelves marked as safe, false nutritional information that supports the sugar lobby and the grain lobby is touted as the truth, and Americans get sicker and fatter as a result.
Industries and individual companies have paid researchers to lie or distort the truth on their behalf in order to sell more of their products. Not only is this shameful behavior from the companies, but also from the researchers that compromised their science to accommodate them.
The results of such spurious research have an even further effect. Fewer people start to trust medical and scientific research – including well-executed and honest research.
The answer as always it to look behind the headlines, find the counter arguments, track down the source of the funding, and make your decisions accordingly.
PS: The best quality low-carb sweetener we’ve gotten our hands on is Agave 5 – you can find it here.