Sugar scandal shows you can’t trust ‘scientific studies’

President Barack Obama proclaimed that “science is settled” when it comes to global warming and climate change. His loud and clear message is that when secular science states a “fact,” there should be no dispute.

Well, that’s just a lie.

When I was growing up in the 1960s and for decades, the American public was told that if you ate fat, you got fat. So we got a slew of low-fat or no-fat products and we replaced whole milk with 2 percent milk or skim milk. We stopped eating butter and we switched to vegetable oil.

And we all fretted about cholesterol levels.

Guess what? On September 12, the JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) reported a conspiracy by the sugar industry in the mid-1950s that promoted the concept that “leading nutritionists” were convinced that dietary fat and cholesterol cause heart disease.

These sugar executives reasoned that if they demonized fat, Americans would eat more sugar. We did. Instead of eggs and bacon for breakfast, we started eating sugary cereals. Instead of eating cheese for an afternoon snack, we began to eat cookies.

To boost their scheme, in 1967 they paid Harvard University “scientists” to downplay the harm of sugar and to basically manipulate nutrition science. They blamed fat for heart disease.

(Which is the same thing Barack Obama is doing now with the myth of global warming.)

Sugar moguls secretly predicted that demonizing fat would cause a 20 percent dietary shift to carbohydrates in America.

This was such a dangerous shift in science that people are comparing “big sugar” to “big tobacco.”

Interestingly, consumption of sugar fell after that 1967 report. Consumption of beet and cane sugar dropped about 38 percent (according to government figures) between 1970 to 2005. But consumption of sweeteners – mostly high-fructose corn syrup – rose almost 20 percent in that time period.

American consumption of flour and cereal products jumped by 41 percent and use of corn skyrocketed with an 183 percent increase. Consumers cut their consumption of fat by 25 percent from 1965 to 2011 while increasing carbohydrates by more than 30 percent.

And we all got fatter by eating less fat and more carbohydrates.

The sugar moguls weren’t the only culprits, according to JAMA Internal Medicine. In 1941, Quaker Oats, General Foods, the American Biscuit Company and others formed the “Nutrition Foundation,” which funded millions of dollars of “research” to benefit their products. The message was crystal clear – if fat goes down, carbohydrates go up.

And saturated fats were the primary target. In 1961, the American Heart Association’s nutritional guidelines demonized butter and lard and told Americans to switch to products with unsaturated vegetable oils like margarine and Crisco.

Vegetable oils were invented in the early 1900s and their use blossomed in that century. As sweetener use increased by almost 20 percent, vegetable oil use jumped by 91 percent.

Wesson oil paid scientists through the “Wesson Fund for Medical Research” and they condemned saturated fats, telling Americans they contributed to heart disease. The Corn Products Company published a vegetable oil diet book that was given to doctors to pass along to patients.

Even though a handful of scientists criticized the conflict of interest in having carbohydrate producers fund scientific attacks on fat consumption, the scheme worked like a charm. A lucky charm.

The corruption was gradual. Scientists, particularly those in higher education, can’t do research without funding. It’s just human nature that if someone pays for a study, that you would hope that your research would at least be compatible with his or her interests. If the research shows just the opposite, you don’t get next year’s grant. And the credo of professors is, “publish or perish.”

I’m sure many scientists believed in their slanted research. Common sense seems to dictate that eating fat makes you fat and that fat people have more heart problems. Some of those scientists in the 1960s had published papers on the danger of fat in the diet long before they were funded by the sugar industry.

In 2014, I was very frustrated because I put on a lot of weight. I have always had a sweet tooth. I tried dieting and it didn’t work. I tried fasting. I would fast for up to three days a week to lose weight. I would invariably drop a few pounds but they would come back after the fast.

I went for weeks fasting on Mondays. I drank water but ate nothing and drank nothing with calories. There is a spiritual aspect to fasting and it has health benefits beyond losing weight.

But two years ago, I wondered about the impact of carbohydrates in my diet. I decided to cut my carbohydrate intake to 100 grams a day. This is easy to calculate due to food labeling. And I tried to get those carbs from vegetables.

I wanted to make a lifestyle change that I could sustain. I worked hard at limited carbs and lost 30 pounds over the course of several months.

Since then, I have kept the weight off for two years. I have not lost more weight because I have increased the number of carbs. If I had the discipline to stay under 100 grams a day, I think I could lose even more weight.

Here’s the lesson. Don’t blindly trust science and don’t trust Obama. Both will let you down.

And don’t be afraid to eat some fat while you cut down on your carbs. You will lose weight.