Reliance on Observational Methodology and Intake Estimates Fuels Flawed Conclusions, Is Not Proof of Causation

The Sugar Association takes seriously issues regarding cardiovascular health. However, it is difficult to reconcile the correlation being drawn between ‘added sugar’ and cardiovascular health in a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine on February 3, 2014, especially when recognizing American per capita consumption of sucrose has declined by a dramatic 35 percent during the last 40 years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Statement from The Sugar Association:

“There are a number of major flaws with this new study and the sensationalism associated with targeting sugar is fueling the media. 

“For example, the authors conclude their article with the stipulation that an observational study like theirs is not proof of cause-and-effect. 

The authors further concede that the lack of unambiguous data sources forced them to estimate intake levels of ‘added sugar.’

“The authors acknowledge that what is consumed on a single day might not represent what is eaten over a longer time.

“The authors also acknowledge that multiple biological mechanisms may be required to explain the mathematical associations observed between caloric sweeteners and cardiovascular disease risk. The authors rightfully point out that extensive knowledge gaps exist.

“This study lacks precision because it simplistically lumps together distinctive caloric sweeteners like all-natural sugar (sucrose), the chemically different variations of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and other man-made products, all of which are very different. All of these different sweeteners have been lumped together under the deceptive ‘added sugar’ designation. 

“When hypothesis and sensationalism overshadow objective science, consumers lose and it’s a setback in the fight against cardiovascular disease and other lifestyle disorders. 

Bottom line: all-natural sugar has been consumed safely for centuries, and when consumed in moderation, has been and should continue to be part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.”

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