Harvard’s Sugary Sweet Scandal

-By, Alison Poussaint

How does the consumption of sugar truly affect our bodies? Sugar is a vital part of our diets that can be found in anything from Coca Cola® to Hershey’s® products to the banana sitting on the kitchen counter. However, one must be able to distinguish between these types of sugars. There are the sugars found in fruits and various animal products such as honey that contain a great amount of nutrients, but there are also heavily processed and artificially manufactured sugars found in foods such as sandwich bread and cereals that negatively affect the health of millions of Americans.

Starting in the late 1900s, Americans knew that too much sugar would cause weight gain as well as tooth and bone decay. However, in the 1960s, Harvard scientists discovered through various studies that consuming a large amount of sugar could have a more detrimental and life-threatening risk: heart disease. In the late 1960s, the Sugar Research Foundation, consisting of researchers from Harvard University, published articles that claimed saturated fats were the main cause of heart disease. This idea was widely published and eventually accepted as truth. As a result, many Americans began eating diets low in saturated fats, and their fears regarding increased consumption of sugar lessened. These scientists purposely disregarded other studies done by their peers that suggested sugar was a possible cause of heart disease in Americans.

So, why did Harvard scientists publish such a deceitful study? The sugar industry, it turns out, fearing that its businesses would be harmed, paid these Harvard scientists around fifty thousand dollars to keep their silence about the correlation between sugar and heart disease. They thought that if Americans began to realize the potential danger of sugar, the sugar industry would be dramatically impacted, possibly losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit. One could argue that many cases of obesity, coronary heart disease, heart attacks, and other health problems can be attributed to these scientists’ willful deception of the American public.

Though saturated fats are likely related to coronary heart diseases as well, scientific studies have shown sugar to be the primary culprit. The actions of the sugar industry and its affiliated scientists deceived and harmed millions of Americans, who now suffer from heart diseases and glucose-related illnesses due to the consumption of excess sugar. If this information had not been withheld, would scientists have been able to do more research, produce more studies, and better inform the public?