Nutrition: the not-so-sweet truth

Outdated and inaccurate studies’ contributions to America’s health crisis


Photo courtesy of Zach Thompson

According to research conducted by the University of California San Francisco, the average American consumes 66 pounds of sugar every year. Sugar packed foods are in every corner of your local supermarket, and the consumption of such foods is considered normal.

Zach Thompson, ETC. Editor

Fat is bad for you. Fat is linked to heart issues. Fat makes you fat. Or, so you’ve been told. The truth is, many of the studies about our diets and health, studies that were for years accepted as medical fact, are completely wrong. Big food industries have likely influenced and will likely continue to influence studies that become the basis of many of the diet guidelines provided by our very government.

When you walk in the grocery store, the first thing you’ll see is a display, probably containing carbohydrate-packed processed foods. The culture of the grocery store has been this way for a long time, but where did this come from? It originates from attempts to stop the beginning of America’s dietary health crisis, years ago.

The rise of heart-related diseases in America led to a flurry of studies trying to pinpoint possible links between the diseases and diets. Internal documents and information obtained by a study published on the Journal of the American Medical Association’s website finds that the Sugar Research Foundation may have influenced studies relating to coronary heart disease. One such study that the foundation sponsored blamed fat and cholesterol for the disease, while downplaying sugar’s impact on the development of the disease.

It would be pointless to sit here and harp on every single occurrence of industry lobbying in these studies. The point is, it’s most likely happening, and, at the very least, it’s a significant conflict of interest. For reputable studies, money shouldn’t come from those that potentially could be impacted by the findings.

Our country has a food problem. There’s no way around it. New studies replacing shaky and downright inaccurate studies from the past, however, is a step in the right direction. With the new trends of earth-friendly plant-based diets, and health-first taste-second foods, things are also starting to look hopeful at the grocery store.