A pretty big story broke recently about the sugar industry funding a research program in the 1960s and 1970s that successfully portrayed fats as the villain behind coronary heart disease (CHD)—but sugar was the real culprit. Just imagine what it would have done to the industry if the truth had come out in a more timely manner. Business wouldn’t have been nearly as lucrative.
If you don’t want to slog through the entire article, here’s the final conclusion (please click on above link to view references):
This study suggests that the sugar industry sponsored its first CHD research project in 1965 to downplay early warning signals that sucrose consumption was a risk factor in CHD. As of 2016, sugar control policies are being promulgated in international,61 federal,62,63 state, and local venues. Yet CHD risk is inconsistently cited as a health consequence of added sugars consumption. Because CHD is the leading cause of death globally, the health community should ensure that CHD risk is evaluated in future risk assessments of added sugars. Policy making committees should consider giving less weight to food industry–funded studies, and include mechanistic and animal studies as well as studies appraising the effect of added sugars on multiple CHD biomarkers and disease development.65
Now imagine what the health of the general public might look like today had the researchers told everyone the truth. If such faulty information had never been released, would we be seeing crisis levels of heart disease, childhood obesity, and type 2 diabetes? Would our health care industry look entirely different? Of course, we have no way of knowing for sure, but I’m certain you can come up with some safe assumptions on your own.
It would be interesting to find out if the researchers and higher ups who paid them off consumed lots of added sugars and avoided fats. Did they take their own flawed advice? Or did they make what they knew to be the healthy choice—did they keep a fair amount of good fats in their diet and avoid excess sugar?
Here’s where you can weigh the value of a self-health education against blind faith beliefs. These people kept their fingers crossed that we’d live our lives based on blind faith beliefs rather than seek out a self-health education—and many people have done just that for all these years. After all, we can’t know everything about everything. We naively rely on experts to tell us the truth and help us live our best, as if our optimal health rather than their profitability is in the best interest of their industry.
In fact, while they plotted this subterfuge, the powers that be in mainstream medicine worked hard to stop the very people who fought this mindset from the beginning, including Dr. Royal Lee and other nutritional research pioneers. You can find much of their work for free at the SRP Historical Archives, which is jam-packed with unbiased articles on everything from the detriments of sugar to the truth about heart attack prevention.
But why stop there? You can seek out plenty of other reliable resources that will help you round out your food and nutrition self-health education. Marion Nestle has been sharing her knowledge for many years through her books and her website, Food Politics. Check out Civil Eats for the latest headlines in the American food industry. Or buy a subscription to the Environmental Nutrition monthly newsletter.
The best thing you can do as a self-healther is to educate yourself rather than live by blind faith beliefs. If a particular research study peaks your interest because it says exactly what you hoped it would, dig deeper to find out who funded the research. Do they have ties with the industry that benefits from the findings? If so, don’t trust it until you find an unbiased source that confirms the results.
You are the one who has your best interests in mind. You are the one who benefits from learning what your eating habits should look like. You are worth taking the time to question what you’re told and start your self-health education instead of relying on blind faith beliefs.
Photo from iStock/ Lisovskaya