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Sugar Industry Influenced Government Advice On Tooth Decay

Candy Causes Tooth Decay

A trove of industry documents being referred to in reports as the “sugar papers” have been analyzed by a team of researchers at UC San Francisco who claim the documents reveal that the sugar industry worked closely with the National Institutes of Health back in the 1960s and ’70s to develop a federal research program which focused on alternatives to sugar reduction when it came to tooth decay prevention in American kids.

The study, which was published in the journal PLOS Medicine on March 10, 2015, analyzed 319 sugar industry documents which were uncovered in a public collection at the University of Illinois.

Stanton Glantz, PhD, a co-author of the report, said that the tactics employed by the sugar industry “are strikingly similar to what we saw in the tobacco industry” during the same era.

These tactics are strikingly similar to what we saw in the tobacco industry in the same era

The documents revealed that a trade organization within the sugar industry which represented 30 international members had accepted the fact that sugar was a cause of tooth decay as early as 1950, but chose to instead to execute a strategy aimed at identifying alternative approaches to tooth decay reduction.

According to the study’s lead author, UCSF postdoctoral scholar Cristin Kearns, DDS, the study’s conclusion “was disappointing to learn” in light of the dental community having known that tooth decay prevention required the restriction of sugar intake.

The dental community has always known that preventing tooth decay required restricting sugar intake […] It was disappointing to learn that the policies we are debating today could have been addressed more than forty years ago.

The analyzed documents included over 1,500 pages of correspondence between sugar industry executives, meeting minutes and other reports deemed relevant. The documents spanned between 1959 and 1971.

What are your thoughts on the revelations derived by researchers studying the sugar papers?

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