Guidelines to Limit Added Sugar Intake: Junk Science or Junk Food?

Ann Intern Med. 2017; 166(4): 305-306.
Authors: Dean Schillinger, Cristin Kearns
“When it comes to added sugars, there are clear conflicts between public health interests and the interests of the food and beverage (F&B) industry. Studies are more likely to conclude there is no relationship between sugar consumption and health outcomes when investigators receive financial support from F&B companies. Industry documents show that the F&B industry has manipulated research on sugars for public relations purposes. Erickson and colleagues report a systematic review of the scientific basis of guidelines on sugar intake, providing another occasion for concern about these conflicts.”
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The Scientific Basis of Guideline Recommendations on Sugar Intake: A Systematic Review

Ann Intern Med. 2017;166(4):257-267.
Authors: Jennifer Erickson, Behnam Sadeghirad, Lyubov Lytvyn, Joanne Slavin, Bradley C. Johnston
“Guidelines on dietary sugar do not meet criteria for trustworthy recommendations and are based on low-quality evidence. Public health officials (when promulgating these recommendations) and their public audience (when considering dietary behavior) should be aware of these limitations.”
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Is ‘big food’ political lobbying helping shape health policies at the public’s expense?

SMH, 23 January 2017
Author: Daniel Burdon
“Lobbyists for ‘big food’ are potentially swaying health policies in favour of their corporate bottom line in Australia, new research has claimed. A Deakin University study published Monday has reported finding “direct evidence” of food industry political tactics that had the potential to shape public health-related policies, at the expense of public health.”
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The Limits of Sugar Guidelines

The Atlantic, 17 January 2017
Author: Nina Teicholz
“A firestorm recently erupted over a paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine that found official advice limiting sugar in diets to be based on “low” or “very low” quality evidence. Because a food-industry group had funded the study, a slew of critics accused the authors of distorting the science to undermine nutrition guidelines and make sugar seem less harmful than it actually is. One prominent nutrition professor called the paper “shameful.” “It was really an attempt to undermine the scientific process,” said another. Lost in this torrent of criticism was any significant discussion of the science itself. Regardless of its funding source, was the paper correct in saying that there is insufficient evidence to recommend limiting sugar? And do official guidelines even matter, since we pretty much know that sugar is bad for us?”
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Let’s talk about the right to food

The BMJ Blog,10 January 2017
Authors: Jose Luis Vivero-Pol, Tomaso Ferrando
“Legal recognition of the right to food and nutrition can create the grounds for effective and systemic solutions for hunger and malnutrition. Recently, the media was abuzz with news of plans by the Scottish Equalities Secretary to legislate the right to food within Scottish law. This would be a step towards tackling food poverty in Scotland. This potential legislation will be historic, as Scotland will be the first country in the European Union (EU) to expressly recognize the right to food.”
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Genetically Modified Food Labeling: A “Right to Know”?

JAMA. 2016; 316(22): 2345-2346.
Author: Lawrence O Gostin
“For decades, small organic farmers, environmentalists, and consumer advocates have claimed the “right to know” what is in our food. They have expressed particular dismay that food labels fail to disclose that a product is or contains ingredients from genetically modified organisms. In such organisms, the genetic material “has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally… allowing selected individual genes to be transferred from one organism into another.” But large agribusiness has opposed labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) just as fiercely.”
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Why Africa should resist the power of Big Sugar to undermine public health

The Conversation, 8 November 2016
Author: Rob Moodie
“The junk food, sugary drink and alcohol industries claim to be part of the solution. The solution requires them to help improve their consumers’ health by decreasing advertising to children, reducing levels of salt, fat and sugar in their products, and labelling food honestly and clearly. These are all measures they are convinced are in conflict with their responsibility to make money for their shareholders.”
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Essays on health: how food companies can sneak bias into scientific research

The Conversation, 2 November 2016
Author: Lisa Bero
“Consumer choice is often guided by recommendations about what we should eat, and these recommendations also play a role in the food that’s available for us. Recommendations take the form of dietary guidelines, food companies’ health claims, and clinical advice. But there’s a problem. Recommendations are often conflicting and the source of advice not always transparent.”
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Sugar Industry Quashed Findings Linking Sugar To Heart Disease Over 50 Years Ago, Says Report

Forbes, 12 September 2016
Author: Nancy Fink Huehnergarth
“A startling new report published today in JAMA Internal Medicine found that more than 50 years ago, sugar industry-funded and guided research successfully suppressed findings linking sugar intake to an increased risk of heart disease. The influential 1967 literature review, written by prominent nutrition researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, determined that dietary cholesterol and saturated fat were risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), while criticizing studies that linked sugar to CVD.”
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