51 years ago, a bribe and a lie involving Harvard scientists Drs. Frederick Stare and Mark Hegsted led to one of the worst scandals ever in human nutrition… and you’re still paying for it with your health to this day.
A shocking revelation made the front page of the New York Times just days ago…1
The story announced a new report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) — one of the most prestigious medical journals in the country.2
The report contains proof that sugar companies bribed leading doctors to lie to you… to tell you sugar was safe when they knew it wasn’t.
In 1965, in fact, the Sugar Association paid two Harvard scientists $6,500 to twist the facts surrounding sugar.3
They wanted to blame fat for the health problems sugar seemed to be causing. Why? So they could keep selling you more sugar.
They succeeded, and it led directly to the chronic disease and obesity epidemics we’re facing today. These epidemics have claimed the health and lives of billions of people.
In this article, I’ll show you how deep this rabbit hole goes… and you’ll learn some things you won’t find in the New York Times article. Read on…
How they got away with selling poison…
Starting in the early 1950s, evidence began to appear that eating sugar might cause heart disease.4
So, the sugar industry formed the Sugar Association. It was the Association’s job to keep the public image of sugar squeaky clean.5
The Association sought out scientists who were trying to prove that fat was the major health threat, not sugar. They gave funding to these scientists to try to push their research ahead of anti-sugar research.6
One of these scientists was Ancel Keys, author of the Seven Countries Study and father of the low-fat diet craze.
(You might remember this name from my blog “Saturated With Lies: The Truth about Fat” – which I published back in April.)
Ancel Keys received sugar industry funding for many years at his lab in Minnesota.7
However, by 1962, the Sugar Association was getting worried. Maybe payrolling scientists wasn’t enough! The evidence against sugar was growing too fast.8
So, John Hickson — the Sugar Association’s vice president — started tracking down all the research that wasn’t friendly toward sugar.9
In December 1964, Hickson reported back with bad news…
Multiple scientists — including John Yudkin, Europe’s leading nutritionist — had found major evidence that sugar caused both heart disease and diabetes.10
(You may remember that name, John Yudkin, from another blog I wrote and published here in May, “Sweetened To Death: Exposing Sugar for What it Is.”)
In order to silence all this damaging anti-sugar research, Hickson made a proposal:
The Sugar Association would fund pro-sugar research of their own… at the highest academic level: Harvard University.11
Several months later, they secured their inside man: Frederick Stare, founder and chair of the Harvard School of Public Health.12
Dirty Ivy League Secrets.
Dr. Frederick Stare was the perfect man for the job… because he’d already been taking money from the sugar industry for years.
In fact, just 5 years earlier, Dr. Stare wanted to build a new building for his department at Harvard. So, General Foods — a major sugar industry player — threw in $1 million ($8.1 million in today’s money) to get the project done.13
So, in 1965, with this influential Ivy League “yes man” on board… the Sugar Association launched “Project 226.”14
Project 226 was the codename for their secret plan to create a major falsified nutrition report. It would use faulty science to “debunk” all the anti-sugar studies. And it would be published in the most prestigious medical journal possible.15
Now, remember I told you there were TWO Harvard scientists involved in this plot?
Along with Dr. Frederick Stare was Dr. Mark Hegsted. He was hand-picked to write the “Project 226” report for a share of the bribe.16
The Sugar Association’s vice-president, John Hickson, would correspond directly with Dr. Hegsted, coaching him on how to skew the report in sugar’s favor.17
The memos between these two men show how corruption really works.
In November 1966 — after months of work — Dr. Hegsted submitted the final draft of the report for Hickson’s approval. It was exactly what the Sugar Association was looking for. Hickson wrote back happily:
“Let me assure you this is quite what we had in mind and we look forward to its appearance in print.”
~Hickson to Dr. Hegsted, November 196618
Several months later, the review was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.19,20
The report firmly concluded sugar was NOT to blame for America’s growing health problems. And because it came from Harvard, the entire medical community listened.21,22
This is what corruption at the highest level looks like…
A secret project funded by Big Sugar called “Project 226” turns into a report written by Harvard scientists and published in a major medical journal.
It’s actually frightening how far they went to deliberately mislead the American public. But sugar was big business, and there was just too much money at stake.
This review was only the beginning… In 1970, Ancel Keys’ historic Seven Countries Study was published. In the study, Keys famously blamed fat for heart disease. 23
This was another major sigh of relief for the sugar industry — but not for your health!
Soon after that, many legitimate and uncorrupted anti-sugar scientists were deliberately discredited.
Meanwhile, more and more influential decision-makers landed on the sugar industry’s payroll…24
People like Edwin Bierman, who was considered one of the top experts on DIABETES.25
People like senators Larry Craig and John Breaux. These two managed to shut down a World Health Organization proposal to change nutrition guidelines for the public. (The new guidelines would have called for less sugar in the diet.)26
And what about the two Harvard scientists who were bribed by the sugar industry in 1965, Dr. Stare and Dr. Hegsted?
Well, Dr. Stare was on the advisory committee for the USDA’s historic 1985 nutrition guidelines.27 Here’s a direct quote from the official USDA pamphlet:
“Contrary to popular belief, too much sugar in your diet does not cause diabetes.”
~100% false statement inserted into USDA’s 1985 nutrition guidelines28
In fact, the only problem the USDA tied to sugar that year was dental cavities. Type II diabetes, heart disease, and obesity were completely ignored.29
So, was Dr. Stare still in Big Sugar’s pocket? Looks like it to me.
As for Dr. Hegsted… he eventually became the head of nutrition for the USDA!30 I guess it pays to be crooked.
This new JAMA report puts the final nail in the coffin of what I’ve been talking about since I made the “3 Harmful Foods” video over a year ago.
It also supports two blogs – “Saturated With Lies” and “Sweetened To Death” – which I published on this site five months ago.
And there’s a reason I’ve talked about the corruption behind sugar for so long. It’s because I want you to know the truth. I want you to be able to make the best decisions for your health — and the health of your family.
And in the interest of knowing the truth, I think it’s about time we kicked big industry lobbyists out of health science and nutrition policy.
How about you? Do you agree? Comment below and let me know your thoughts.
And be sure get your friends and family in on the discussion. There are share buttons at the top and bottom of this page. Share with everyone you think would want to know about this corruption.
Nothing’s for sale here. There are no ads on this page. I just want as many people as possible to see this and chime in.
Dr. Amy Lee, MD
1 O’Connor A. Sugar Backers Paid to Shift Blame to Fat. The New York Times. September 13, 2016: A1.
2 Kearns CE, Schmidt LA, Glantz SA. Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research: A Historical Analysis of Internal Industry Documents. JAMA. Published online ahead of print, September 12, 2016. DOI:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.5394.
3 Ibid. at A1.
4 Ibid. at 1.
5 Taubes G, Couzens CK. Big Sugar’s Sweet Little Lies –
How the industry kept scientists from asking: Does sugar kill? Mother Jones. Nov/Dec 2012. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/10/sugar-industry-lies-campaign. Accessed September 17, 2016.
6 Id. at 1.
7 Id. at 1.
8 Kearns et. al. at 1.
9 Id. at 1.
10 Id. at 1.
11 Id. at 1.
12 Id. at 1.
13 Taubes et. al. at 1.
14 Ibid. at 1.
15 Id. at 1.
16 Id. at 1.
17 Id. at 1.
18 Id. at 1.
19 McGandy RB, Hegsted DM, Stare FJ. Dietary fats, carbohydrates and atherosclerotic vascular disease. N Engl J Med. Jul 27, 1967; 277 (4): 186-92 contd. DOI: 10.1056/NEJM196707272770405.
20 McGandy RB, Hegsted DM, Stare FJ. Dietary fats, carbohydrates and atherosclerotic vascular disease. N Engl J Med. Aug 3, 1967; 277 (5): 245-7 concl. DOI: 10.1056/NEJM196708032770505.
21 Ibid. at 1.
22 Ibid. at 1.
23 Keys A (Ed). Coronary Heart Disease in Seven Countries. Circulation. 1970; 41 (Suppl.1): 211.
24 Taubes et. al. at 1.
25 Id. at 1.
26 Id. at 1.
27 Id. at 1.
28 United States Department of Agriculture. Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 1985. Health.gov Website. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/1985thin.pdf?_ga=1.236812676.429643227.1474349563. Accessed September 19, 2016.
29 Id. at 1.
30 O’Connor at A1.
About the Author