Last year, we thought nothing could be more embarrassing than the Global Energy Balance Network.
If you didn’t hear, a group of scientists were funded by Coca-Cola to downplay the health effects of sugary drinks (as long as you work it off). It was so mortifying, the soft drink giant released the names of all of its partners in an effort to save face.
But 2016’s sponsored science was truly shocking in its own right. From the corruption from the 1960s that still has repercussions today, to the ridiculous idea that any soft drink could be healthier than water, here’s a wrap-up of the worst.
1. Scientists in 1967 paid to demonise fat.
So, this didn’t happen in 2016 – but the fact it took 49 years to come to light still shocks us. Influential scientists were paid $64,000 AUD (in today’s money) to downplay the effects of heart disease, while demonising fat. The fact that official bodies still base their guidelines on this “science” really gets us mad.
2. Coke and Pepsi funded 96 U.S. public health groups in five years.
And that’s just the ones we know of – in America. The list of recipients included big names like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Diabetes Association, Harvard Medical School and even five government-owned groups. We only wish we were surprised.
3. Funded studies less likely to find links between soft drinks and health issues.
In news that shocked nobody, an analysis of 60 studies found that when studies are funded by the U.S. soda industry, they deliver different results than independent studies. In fact, none of the studies funded by the beverage industry found a link between the sugar water and obesity or type 2 diabetes, despite strong evidence to the contrary.
4. Obviously biased study says science behind limiting sugar intake is flawed.
Pot, kettle, black. A study funded by a food-industry front group found that the rather moderate guideline of limiting sugar intake to 10 per cent of daily energy intake was based on “low-quality evidence”. It was so embarrassing, the study came with an editorial that savage each one of its claims. Ouch.
5. Diet soft drink is better than water, say scientists funded by Coke.
In November 2015, a study was published which claims diet soft drinks could be better for weight loss than water. Of course, in January we all found out that the study has been funded a “research institute” which includes Coke and Pepsi as clients. You have to at least make it somewhat believable, guys.
Do better, 2017.