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Sugar Might Cause Heart Disease, But The Industry Paid To Hide That

Flickr / Brittany Randolph

You may have thought that the only things you needed to know about sugar were “delicious” and “that’s why your kid is a monster.” Well, that was before Monday when the journal JAMA Internal Medicine released a study blowing the lid off your sugar bowl. According to recently discovered documents, the sugar industry spent a lot of time and money pulling a page from the tobacco industry book: It paid off researchers to downplay or suppress evidence that sugar can lead to heart disease, so your parents would be less inclined to worry about how much of it you were eating as a kid. Pretty sweet?

Sugar Causes Heart Disease

Cristin Kearns, a researcher from the University of California San Francisco, uncovered this when she came across a collection of papers, so she’s not likely trying to ruin Christmas. The documents were from Roger Adams, a chemistry professor and scientific adviser for the Sugar Research Foundation (work from Mark Hegsted, the former director of the foundation, was later found by Kearns’ colleagues as well). What these papers revealed is that in the 1960s and 1970s both men sponsored research that was designed specifically to cast doubt on the dangers of sugar, while making fat seem like the only dietary cause of heart disease.

“By the 1980s, few scientists believed that added sugars played a significant role in coronary heart disease, and the first 1980 Dietary Guidelines for Americans focused on reducing total fat, saturated fat, and dietary cholesterol for coronary heart disease prevention,” the study says. This explains the 1980s and 1990s boom of low-fat and fat-free products, along with that nonfat yogurt Seinfeld episode. It also means the sugar industry owes everyone an apology for WOW chips.

[H/T] NBC News