Summary: Dr. Frederick Stare (1910–2002) was the founder and first head of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University’s School of Public Health. A lifelong fighter against the health food industry and the organic food movement, Dr. Stare often served as a government witness against natural-foods advocates, testifying that such proponents were alarmists and frauds. Over the course of his career, Dr. Stare procured massive amounts of funding for Harvard and his own research from food-manufacturing giants such as Coca-Cola, General Foods, and the National Soft Drinks Association. One such “gift” is documented in the newspaper clip here, which was reprinted and disseminated by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research in 1960. Dr. Stare’s support of industrial food manufacturing, including his unwavering defense of the use of chemical additives and preservatives, earned him a reputation among natural-food advocates as a tool of the commercial adulterators of America’s food supply. From the Milwaukee Journal, 1960. Reprinted by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research.
Summary: Morris Bealle’s newsletter American Capsule News reports on the conviction, fine, and jailing of the great American naturalist Victor Earl Irons for the crime of informing the American people of what was happening to their food supply. “It is obvious that Mr. Irons has committed two ‘unpardonable sins’,” writes Bealle. “The first is distributing vitamins that keep people well and away from drug stores. The second is exposing some of the crimes of the Food and Drug Administration who, as Dr. [Harvey] Wiley said, are lynching, raping and murdering the laws passed by Congress to protect the public from poisoned and adulterated foods.” Irons, like his friend Dr. Royal Lee, warned the public of the depletion of America’s soil, the refining and processing of the basic food supply, and the cause-and effect-relationship of these practices to health. In the case, the FDA marched out five “health authorities” from Harvard, including the infamous Dr. Frederick Stare, to testify to the “fraudulent” nature of Irons’s statements. Irons was convicted on federal charges and served a year in jail. As this report reveals, those pioneers at the vanguard of nutritional knowledge paid dearly for the right to speak out about what was happening to America’s food supply, health, and freedom. From American Capsule News, 1956. Reprinted by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research.
Summary: In March 1957 Modern Nutrition printed the following excerpts from a stunning series of open letters by John Pearmain of the Boston Nutrition Society to Dr. Nathan Pusey, President of Harvard University, regarding “the matter of standards of research under Dr. Frederick Stare,” head of the university’s department of nutrition. Dr. Stare (1911–2002), probably more than any other public figure in U.S. history, was responsible for convincing Americans that sugar and other refined foods are harmless and that whole foods are no more valuable nutritionally than processed ones. “Actually,” he once wrote, “we get as much food value from refined foods that have been enriched as from natural foods, and sometimes more.” Dr. Stare also advised Americans to “eat your [food] additives—they’re good for you” and recommended Coca-Cola as “a healthy between-meals snack.” In the following excerpts, Mr. Pearmain questions the reasons for Dr. Stare’s pronouncements, suggesting it was not the weight of scientific evidence that underlay them but rather the financial might of his department’s funders, which comprised some of the country’s largest food processing companies (including, yes, Coca-Cola) as well as major chemical and drug interests. While these links were carefully kept from the public during Dr. Stare’s lifetime, recently they have begun to come to light, most notably in the 2016 exposé “Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease” in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine. The investigation pieces a paper trail from the Sugar Research Foundation—an industrial benefactor of Harvard’s nutrition department whose advisory board Dr. Stare served on—to research published by Harvard investigators intentionally obscuring evidence against sugar in the causation of heart disease. While the news of influence peddling at America’s most prestigious university came as a shock to many readers, Harvard’s “sugar scandal” is merely the tip of an iceberg of dubious activity by Dr. Stare and his department, as the following letters show. Included after the excerpts is some fascinating commentary by Dr. Royal Lee, a leading proponent of natural food nutrition during the 1950s and strong critic of Dr. Stare. From Modern Nutrition, 1957. Reprinted by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research.