Sugar, Industry documents and research on corporate influences on addiction
- Created on Sunday, 28 April 2013 23:13
by David Miller and Claire Harkins
The debate about whether sugar is addictive or not is watched closely by the food industry. Scientific and policy acceptance that sugar is addictive would have very significant consequences for their ability to continue the global over-production of sugar . But while there is a real debate over how precisely to conceive of sugar, it is also plain that industry has been actively attempting to manufacture doubt about the known harm that sugar causes to public health. The industry has, in fact, been doing so for more than forty years. This was emphasised recently with the disclosure of a cache of documents chronicling how the sugar industry undermined evidence based policy by influencing both the science of sugar and how responses to the over-consumption of sugar are handled by policy elites.
1,500 pages of documents including internal memos show how the sugar industry used similar tactics to the tobacco industry to manufacture doubt on the harms caused by dietary sugars ‘to ensure that government agencies would dismiss troubling health claims against their products’ . The documents came to light after a dental health administrator Cristin Kearns Couzens was so shocked at the downplaying of the risks of sugars at a dental conference that she started investigating how science was being distorted . Couzens found the documents in a cardboard box at the Colorado State University archives.