The Sugar Association Statement on Kearns JAMA Study
We acknowledge that the Sugar Research Foundation should have exercised greater transparency in all of its research activities, however, when the studies in question were published funding disclosures and transparency standards were not the norm they are today. Beyond this, it is challenging for us to comment on events that allegedly occurred 60 years ago, and on documents we have never seen.
Generally speaking, it is not only unfortunate but a disservice that industry-funded research is branded as tainted. What is often missing from the dialogue is that industry-funded research has been informative in addressing key issues.
We question this author’s continued attempts to reframe historical occurrences to conveniently align with the currently trending anti-sugar narrative, particularly when the last several decades of research have concluded that sugar does not have a unique role in heart disease.1
Most concerning is the growing use of headline-baiting articles to trump quality scientific research—we’re disappointed to see a journal of JAMA’s stature being drawn into this trend.
The Sugar Association is always seeking to further understand the role of sugar and health, but we rely on quality science and facts to drive our assertions.
- The FDA recognizes “that U.S. consensus reports do not support a cause and effect relationship between added sugars consumption and risk of obesity or heart disease …” (FDA, Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels Final Rule, May 27, 2016)
- The systematic reviews performed by the UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) concluded that, “Randomized controlled trials examining cardiovascular risk factors, body weight, inflammatory markers and risk factors for type 2 diabetes demonstrate no effects of increasing sugars intake.” (United Kingdom Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) report, Carbohydrates and Health, July 17, 2015)
- The American Diabetes Association states that sugar is not different than starch with respect to blood glucose and lipid levels, when consumed up to 35% of calories. Of note, current intakes of added sugars in the U.S. are only ~13% of calories. (Evert AB, Boucher JL, Cypress M, et al. Nutrition therapy recommendations for the management of adults with diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2014;37 Suppl 1:S120-143.)