If Americans could be persuaded to eat a lower-fat diet — for the sake of their health then America's per capita sugar consumption could go up by a third.“
In the 1960s, the sugar industry funded research that downplayed the risks of sugar and highlighted the hazards of fat. Internal documents to show that an industry group called the Sugar Research Foundation wanted to "refute" concerns about sugar's possible role in heart disease. The SRF then sponsored research by Harvard scientists that did just that. The result was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1967, with no disclosure of the sugar industry funding.
In 1954, the researchers note, the president of the SRF gave a speech describing a great business opportunity.
If Americans could be persuaded to eat a lower-fat diet — for the sake of their health — they would need to replace that fat with something else. America's per capita sugar consumption could go up by a third.
He recommended that the industry fund its own studies — "Then we can publish the data and refute our detractors."
The next year, after several scientific articles were published suggesting a link between sucrose and coronary heart disease, the SRF approved the literature-review project. It wound up paying approximately $50,000 in today's dollars for the research.