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Industry-funded soda studies overwhelmingly downplay health risks.

Stashed in: #health, Awesome, Fat!, Coca Cola, Diabetes, Sugar, Food Industry, Diet Soda, Cognitive Bias

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If you want to feel better about snacking on some Halloween treats, you could look to one of a handful of studies showing no connection between obesity and the consumption of sugary drinks and snacks.

There’s just one problem — those studies are likely to have been funded by food companies.

In fact, a new University of California study shows, studies with financial ties to sugary drinks are significantly less likely to find a link between those products and obesity or diabetes than are independent studies.

The result, said the study’s author, is that the idea of sugar consumption causing obesity is often reported as controversial, rather than definitive.

“That controversy has been manufactured by the industry itself, which is harnessing the science to its own ends,” said Dr. Dean Schillinger, professor at the University of California San Francisco.

So all of the articles that did not find an association between sugar-sweetened beverages and obesity/diabetes were funded by sugar-sweetened beverage companies.


We identified 60 studies (28 trials and 32 systematic reviews/meta-analyses of trials) that examined the effects of SSB consumption on obesity- and diabetes-related outcomes (Figure). Twenty-six articles (8 trials and 18 systematic reviews/meta-analyses) described no associations, and 34 articles (20 trials and 14 systematic reviews/meta-analyses) described positive associations. Studies funded by the SSB industry were significantly more likely to find no associations than independently funded ones; 26 of 26 negative studies (100%) had funding ties to this industry, whereas only 1 of 34 positive studies (2.9%) had such ties (relative risk, 34.00 [95% CI, 4.93 to 234.47]; P < 0.001).


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