Coronary heart disease (CHD) is one of the leading causes of death today and has been for the past century. For the past 50+ years, the first thought to decrease the risk for CHD was to reduce fat and cholesterol, but should we have been decreasing sugar consumption instead?

In the 1960s, death caused by CHD was at an all time high. Research was being done to try to put an end to this crisis and articles about the effects of sugar began to flow.

The Sugar Research Foundation (SRF), now known as the Sugar Association, was not too thrilled with this. The SRF took it upon themselves to lessen the blow on the sugar industry and place the blame elsewhere. Two Harvard scientists - David M. Hegsted and Frederick J. Stare - were approached by the SRF about research on fat and cholesterol's effect on CHD and criticizing the articles blaming sugar for CHD.

They were paid the equivalent to what would be $48,000 today and published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, but did not disclose the funding by the SRF. This was unknown until Christin Kearns, a dentist who had an interest in the sugar industry, got her hands on valuable information about the SRF and published it in Journal of the American Medical Association - Internal Medicine. Kearns found letters between Hickson, the SRF's  Vice President, and Hegsted. These letters not only confirmed the funding and communication between them, but also confirmed that Hickson even got to see copies of the draft before it was published.

It is unclear as to whether he edited it or not, but after receiving a draft for the final submission, Hickson wrote,

"Let me assure you this is quite what we had in mind and we look forward to its appearance in print."

Kearns and her coauthor, Stanton Glantz, say that the sugar industry has been trying to influence scientific debates for quite some time.  Just last year Coca Cola was exposed for something similar to this, Dr. Jim Krieger then wrote, "We have to ask ourselves how many lives and dollars could have been saved, and how different today's health picture would be, if the industry were not manipulating science in this way." 

Modern day health might be different if it was not corrupted by industries trying to cover up their true effects on health in order to keep profits high.



Allison is an intern at EliteFTS. She recently graduated from The Ohio State University with a BS in nutrition and a minor in business. Allison hopes to become a marketer for a fitness or nutrition company.