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Industry influence moved focus of US dental research away from sugar, documents indicate

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h1322 (Published 11 March 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1322
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

The sugar industry successfully shifted the focus of a major US initiative to reduce tooth decay from research into the role of dietary sugar towards interventions that would not require a reduction in sugar consumption, concludes a new study of government and industry documents.1

The analysis of the documents by Cristin Kearns, Stanton Glantz, and Laura Schmidt of the University of California in San Francisco appears in the 10 March issue of PLOS Medicine.

“The documents show that the sugar industry knew that sugar caused dental caries as early as 1950 and did not attempt to deny the causative role of sucrose in tooth decay,” Kearns and her colleagues wrote. “Instead, through trade associations, the sugar industry adopted a strategy to deflect attention to public health interventions that would reduce the harm of sugar consumption, rather than restricting intake.” Among the interventions the industry promoted were enzyme containing food additives to reduce plaque and vaccines against cariogenic bacteria.

In the study the researchers analyzed internal sugar …

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