Jonathan Gornall, a writer for The BMJ, is pointing a finger at Big Sugar for its sticky influence over scientific studies and public policy in the UK.
Gornall’s suite of studies examining the connections between private companies, scientists, universities, and policymakers in the U.K. is fairly alarming.
He focused on two federal policy steering committees: the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) and the Medical Research Council’s Human Nutrition Research (HNR) unit at Cambridge.
Two of the most shocking discoveries include the $380,000 on average provided to these supposedly unbiased scientists, and the sheer number of companies that are involved (for instance Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Weight Watchers International, W K Kellogg Institute, and GlaxoSmithKline.
Of particular interest in this interactive map showing the various connections between private, Big Food funders and individuals and groups involved with the SACN and HNR.
Marion Nestle provides a platform through her blog post where you can access all of these papers as well as read some of the resulting rebuttals from UK-based nutrition scientists and food industry backers.
Nestle points out that we are all too subjected to this type of corporate influence here in the U.S.
In an introduction to Gornall’s research, Elizabeth Loder points out the slippery slope of privately funded research and the trustworthiness of the resulting science.
Such strategies mirror those of the drug industry, and the arguments used to defend these associations are strikingly similar.
Engagement with the private sector is desirable because it enables “more rapid transfer of the best ideas into new interventions,” and scientists are using the money for “important pieces of research.”
These things may well be true.
The existence of such financial connections is not evidence of “research malpractice.”
It does, however, contribute to perceptions that nutrition science might be for sale.”
The sugar industry concerns us here at Wellness Warrior the most.
We often report on how their business puts profits over health—oftentimes the health of children too young to make an informed decision.
California’s Senate Majority Leader Bill Monning has recently sponsored a bill to put warning labels on sugary drinks.
It will be a small but important step in reigning in the inequitable amount of power this industry has over our public policies and the health of our nations.
Sugar is everywhere … and it can be surprisingly hard to avoid, even when you think you recognize a handful of its many names.
Check out our homage to its ubiquity: this Wellness Warrior Sugar Card that helps decode what some of those tricky sweeteners out there are called:
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.