About 50 years ago the powerful lobby of American sugar, the current Sugar Association, did not release two studies in which there were shown health risks due to a diet rich in sugars. For the researchers, this is yet another proof of the ‘sabotage' put in place by the lobby.

The sugar industry has kept hidden scientific studies on the health risks arising from the consumption of sugary foods. This was revealed by a University of California research team, the same that last year had already hit hard the Sugar Association, former Sugar Research Foundation (SRF), the main trade association for the sugar industry in the United States. The researchers, coordinated by Professor Stanton Glantz, showed that in the ‘60s and ‘70s the SRF, to manipulate the (first) worrying data on coronary risks related to the consumption of sucrose, made sure to point the finger at the fats and cholesterol, with the aim of diverting attention from sugars. The SRF was even accused of paying three researchers at the prestigious Harvard University in 1967 to point out that the "problem" were fats and not sugars.

With the new study, Glantz and colleagues have shown that two studies conducted on mice – project code 259 – were just kept hidden, not to reveal the ‘counterproductive' data. About 50 years ago the SRF commissioned two separate researches to evaluate the impact of a diet rich in sugars on animal models: in the first it emerged that, compared to mice with a balanced diet of cereals, fish, beans and other foods, those fed with sugars presented a greater risk of stroke, heart disease and higher triglyceride levels in the blood. In the second study, it emerged instead that rats fed with sugars showed higher levels of an enzyme associated with bladder cancer in humans. Both studies were blocked and were never published.

As a defense, the current Sugar Association stated that it had found the aforementioned research in its archives, but that they were closed because they went beyond the scheduled times, and exceeding the budget did not fit into a new organizational plan of the company. For Glantz and colleagues, on the other hand, it is the umpteenth clear proof of the attempts to sabotage the real risks of sugar, now known by various researches. The modus operandi would not be unlike that of the alcohol industry, as demonstrated by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine at the prestigious Karolinska Institute, which highlighted how information about the risk of developing cancer because of alcoholic beverages is distorted and omitted. Details of the new research have been published on PloS Biology.