The sugar industry began funding research that cast doubt on sugar’s role in heart disease — in part by pointing the finger at fat — as early as the 1960s, according to an analysis of newly uncovered documents.
The analysis, published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, is based on correspondence between a sugar trade group and researchers at Harvard University, and is the latest example showing how food and beverage makers attempt to shape public understanding of nutrition.
In 1964, the group now known as the Sugar Association internally discussed a campaign to address “negative attitudes toward sugar” after studies began emerging linking sugar with heart disease, according to documents dug up from public archives. The following year, the group approved “Project 226,” which entailed paying Harvard researchers today’s equivalent of $48,900 for an article reviewing the scientific literature, supplying materials they wanted reviewed, and receiving drafts of the article.
The resulting article published in 1967 concluded there was “no doubt” that reducing cholesterol and saturated fat was the only dietary intervention needed to prevent heart disease. The researchers overstated the consistency of the literature on fat and cholesterol, while playing down studies on sugar, according to the analysis.
“Let me assure you this is quite what we had in mind and we look forward to its appearance in print,” wrote an employee of the sugar industry group to one of the authors.
The sugar industry’s funding and role were not disclosed when the article was published by the New England Journal of Medicine. The journal did not begin requesting author disclosures until 1984.
In an editorial published Monday that accompanied the sugar industry analysis, Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at New York University, noted that for decades following the study, scientists and health officials focused on reducing saturated fat, not sugar, to prevent heart disease. The American Heart Association cites a study published in 2014 in saying that too much added sugar can increase risk of heart disease.
— Associated Press
The Boston Police Department’s body-camera program was launched Monday after repeated delays by the city’s largest police union.
The six-month pilot program began as scheduled and without a hitch, department spokeswoman Myeshia Henderson said.
One hundred rank-and-file officers, chosen by a department consultant, and eight volunteers, who are members of the department’s command staff, are participating. The officers represent a racial and gender cross-section of the department and are assigned to divergent areas of the city.
The program was delayed while the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association negotiated with the city over the terms of an agreement for 100 officers in the 2,140-member department to wear cameras.
An agreement reached in July called for officers to volunteer. When none did, police Commissioner William Evans ordered officers to wear them. The union went to court seeking an injunction, saying Evans had violated the agreement.
A judge ruled on Friday that Evans has the authority to order officers to wear cameras.
— Associated Press
Nine killed in Memphis house fire: Nine people — five children and four adults — died early Monday in Memphis’s deadliest house fire in decades, and one other child is fighting for life at a hospital, authorities said. Firefighters initially spotted light smoke outside the single-story, wood-and-brick home in south Memphis when they arrived about 1:20 a.m., Memphis Fire Services Director Gina Sweat said. She called it the deadliest fire in Memphis since the 1920s. More recently, seven people died in a fire here in 2008, fire department spokesman Wayne Cooke said.
Sailor gives birth on aircraft carrier: A sailor who never reported being pregnant has given birth to a baby girl aboard an aircraft carrier at sea. U.S. Naval Forces Central Command spokesman Cmdr. Bill Urban told the Virginian-Pilot the 7-pound infant was recently born on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Persian Gulf. Both mother and daughter are doing well and were airlifted to a shore-based hospital. The Navy requires expectant mothers to self-report a pregnancy within two weeks of a doctor’s confirmation. Expectant mothers are allowed to remain on ship up to the 20th week of pregnancy.
— From news services