Inside the fight over the sugar conspiracy

In a paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2016, researchers suggested that in the 1960s, the sugar industry paid scientists to obscure the relationship between sugar and heart disease, derailing the course of nutrition science and policy for years to come. Now, two researchers at Columbia University say that those claims are not backed by the historical evidence, and by promoting the idea of a “sugar conspiracy,” they hinder our understanding of how science is actually done.

In 2016, after reviewing internal industry documents, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco showed that a trade group called the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) paid Harvard scientists to review what the literature said about the role of…

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