More than four decades ago, a study in rats funded by the sugar industry found evidence linking the sweetener to heart disease and bladder cancer. However, the results of that study were never made public.
Researchers Cristin Kearns, Dorie Apollonio and Stanton Glantz from the University of California have recently analyzed historical documents regarding a rat study called Project 259 that was launched in 1968. This sugar industry documents showed that the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF), an industry-funded US research organisation, funded the “Project 259” to evaluate sucrose’s effects on cardiovascular health.
Although the study had been looking into the effects of sucrose intake on rodents, it was found out that sucrose consumption could be directly linked to heart disease and bladder cancer. The Sugar Research Foundation (SRF), now known as International Sugar Research Foundation (ISRF) ended the project and didn’t publish the results.
And that’s not all. These documents also revealed that last year the Sugar Research Foundation also paid Harvard scientists to obscure the relationship between sugar and heart disease, pushing them to blame saturated fats instead (See the study here ) .
As we showed in our previous article, Sugar Research when Science is Sponsored, this is not the first time (and probably not last either) that nutrition science is influenced by industry groups that have a stake in the results. Researching the health effects of certain foods is critical because it helps shape the official dietary guidelines in order to prevent disease. However, industry-funded research often shows results that are in line with the sponsors’ interests.
In response to this investigation, The Sugar Association issued a statement calling it "a collection of speculations and assumptions about events that happened nearly five decades ago, conducted by a group of researchers and funded by individuals and organizations that are known critics of the sugar industry.”