Sugar

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The link between sugar and increased risk of heart disease is now established, but might have been accepted many years sooner if key findings had been public, the researchers say.

The link between sugar and increased risk of heart disease is now established, but might have been accepted many years sooner if key findings had been public, the researchers say.

In 1967, when scientists were arguing over the link between sugar consumption and increased risk of heart disease, researchers now claim that the International Sugar Research Foundation (ISRF) withheld findings that rats that were fed a high-sugar diet had higher levels of triglycerides (a fat found in the blood) than those fed starch.

Cristin Kearns, one of the researchers who analysed ISRF documents, says, "ISRF's research was designed to cast doubt on the importance of elevated triglycerides in the blood as a heart disease risk factor.

The study, the researchers argue in their new paper, published in the journal Plos Biology, could possibly have had implications for humans, and indicates how ISRF downplayed sugar's role in cardiovascular disease due to commercial interests.

Kearns says, "ISRF's primary purpose was, and still is as the Sugar Association and the World Sugar Research Organisation, to sell more sucrose.

The researchers conclude that the debates we now have on sugar's effects on our health are potentially rooted in six decades of the sugar industry's manipulation of scientific evidence.

"We reviewed our research archives and found documentation that the study in question ended for three reasons, none of which involved potential research findings: the study was significantly delayed; it was consequently over budget; and the delay overlapped with an organisational restructuring There were plans to continue the study with funding from the British Nutrition Foundation, but, for reasons unbeknown to us, this did not occur."

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