Sugar Industry Covered Up Research Linking Sugar to Cancer and Heart Disease for Half a Century

November 24, 2017 at 3:25 pm




Fifty years ago, the sugar industry secretly funded a famous study blaming fats for coronary heart disease, while downplaying the role of sugar, researchers discovered last year while digging through old records.




The study, published in in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1965, made headlines just as scientists around the world were starting to make the association between sugar and heart disease, seemingly intended to get them to look the other way. The link today is crystal clear and uncontroversial.

Now the same researchers have found documents revealing the industry also covered up its own study linking sugar to cancer a few years later.

The study, dubbed Project 259, was funded by the sugar industry’s national trade organization, then called the Sugar Research Foundation.  It found a high-sugar diet was strongly correlated with bladder cancer in rats.

Not happy with the findings, the foundation terminated the study and kept them buried for until researchers from the University of California San Francisco dug them up and published them in PLOS Tuesday.




Project 259 would have strengthened the case against sucrose as a risk factor in coronary heart disease and would have caused it to be “scrutinized as a potential carcinogen,” wrote lead researcher Cristin E. Kearns.

One recent study suggest sugar not only feeds cancer cells, but actually creates them.

Imagine how helpful it would have been to have this information 50 years ago. Maybe instead of a decades long “war on fats” policymakers would’ve had a more successful “war on sugar.”