The Sugar Conspiracy

By James Corbett and cross-posted from Steemit!

An explosive new study in the PLOS Biology journal confirms three things that independent health researchers have been saying for years:

  1. Sugar-heavy diets are worse for your health than fat-heavy diets.
  2. Researchers have known this fact for decades.
  3. The sugar industry actively covered up the research supporting this fact.

The study—bearing the typically unwieldy title “Sugar industry sponsorship of germ-free rodent studies linking sucrose to hyperlipidemia and cancer: An historical analysis of internal documents“—reads like an unlikely pairing of crime thriller and academic article.

At the heart of this medical thriller lies the mysteriously named “Project 259,” a research study which ran from 1967 to 1971 to examine the link between sucrose consumption and coronary heart disease. From the outside, the project, headed by Dr. W.F.R. Pover at the University of Birmingham, appeared to be just another clinical study in nutritional science. It involved a feeding experiment in which lab rats were separated into two groups, one eating a high-sugar diet and the other eating a so-called “basic PRM diet” of cereal meals, soybean meals, whitefish meal, and dried yeast.

But this was not the passion project of an impartial scientist trying to get to the truth. This was a study sponsored by the “Sugar Research Foundation” (SRF), which (in case you couldn’t tell) has organizational ties to the Sugar Association, the trade association of the US sugar industry.

The results of the SRF’s experiment, according to an interim assessment issued in 1969, were extremely interesting:

“Among [Project 259’s] observations was … that the urine from rats on the basic diet contained an inhibitor of beta-glucorinidase activity in a quantity greater than that from sucrose-fed animals. This is one of the first demonstrations of a biological difference between sucrose and starch fed rats.”

Having been a point of scientific inquiry and debate for decades, the first experimental evidence that sugar and starch are actually metabolized differently was significant enough. But, as the PLOS Biology article explains, the way in which this difference manifested was even more significant:

“This incidental finding of Project 259 demonstrated to SRF that sucrose versus starch consumption caused different metabolic effects and suggested that sucrose, by stimulating urinary beta-glucuronidase, may have a role in the pathogenesis of bladder cancer.”

So, surely these results were published to much fanfare and became the touchstone for a thoroughgoing scientific inquiry into the possible sugar-cancer link, right?


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