The latest salvo in the American obesity wars is a charge from a health advocacy group that sugar producers have tried to hide the bad effects of too much sugar the same way Big Tobacco tried to hide smoking’s link to cancer.
The new report by the Center for Science and Democracy alleges that major sugar industry groups “used the same playbook the tobacco industry pioneered.” The study claims sugar producers sought to conceal the impact on human health of high quantities of sugar in the diet.
Similar anti-sugar studies in the past have been pooh-poohed by spokesmen for the Sugar Association and the Corn Refiners Association (which represents the makers of high-fructose corn syrup). The industry groups have questioned their opponents objectivity and scientific methods.
This latest report, entitled “Added Sugar, Subtracted Science,” claims court documents show efforts by the sugar industry to conceal adverse scientific findings and to hire their own scientists and pay for studies that minimize the connection between sugar and obesity related diseases like diabetes.
Connecticut’s efforts to reduce the amount of sugar and salt in drinks available in school cafeterias hit a snag recently when a bill passed by the legislature inadvertently banned chocolate milk. Turns out producers add small amounts of sodium when making chocolate milk.
Gov. Dannel Malloy vetoed the bill on the grounds that it could keep school kids from drinking any milk with lunch, which could mean they’d miss out on key nutrients. He argued that chocolate milk, even if it had more sugar and salt than regular milk, is still good for kids.