Sugar-coating food science the Big Food way

Mother Jones details how the food industry tries desperately to cover up any link between sugar and health issues in food.

Food companies have spent billions of dollars to cover up the link between sugar consumption and health problems. That’s the conclusion of a new report from the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

The industry’s tactics—similar to those used by Big Tobacco in downplaying the adverse health effects of smoking—were explored by Gary Taubes and Cristin Kearns Couzens in the 2012 Mother Jones investigation “Big Sugar’s Sweet Little Lies.” But this latest report draws on some newly released documents submitted as evidence in a recent federal court case involving the two biggest players in the sweetener industry: the Sugar Association and the Corn Refiners Association (the trade group for manufacturers of high fructose corn syrup).

The report details companies’ plans to bury data and to convince consumers that sugar is “fine in moderation.” It also shows how trade groups hired independent scientists to cast doubt on studies that show the adverse affects of sugar consumption—and strategized to intimidate scientists and organizations who didn’t tow the industry line.

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