Nutrition Misinformation and Food Industry Funding

Image resultNutrition science is sometimes not very scientific. For example, food industry funded studies of candy consumption among children that find children consuming candy are thinner than their counterparts who don’t consume candy. The authors, Theresa A Nicklas, Carol O’Neil, and Victor Fulgoni, called their own study “thin and clearly padded” as reported by the AP News. It almost sounds too obvious, right? Although most journals now require authors to disclose who pays for their work, disclosure—even done diligently—is not sufficient to alert readers to the extent to which industry funding influences research results and professional opinion. As is well established from experimental and observational research, drug company gifts and grants can have substantial effects. To recipients, however, these effects are almost always unconscious, unintentional, and unrecognized, making them especially difficult to prevent. For more examples of nutrition scientists on the take from food industry, one only has to look at a recent New York Times which exposed Coca-Cola funding for scientists who shift the blame for obesity from sugary drinks to lack of physical exercise, or how the food industry paid for academics to publish journal articles on GMO foods. Another report called into question whether the American Society of Nutrition has any credibility given it’s long history of food industry funding for science. Politics are alive and well in the food industry and just might be lurking in your cupboard. For more examples of nutrition misinformation and the influence of the food industry, read my previous blog on the funding of Dr.Theresa Nicklas, a former member of the National Dietary Guidelines Committee.