Big Sugar's Sweet Little Lies


Log from Blammo's picture

The article describes just one way in which business profits warp the course of scientific inquiry.

170 million (metric) tons of sugar are produced annually, worldwide. You probably eat 33 kg of that total yourself every year. The industry rakes in about $75billion per year.

The world spends about 2% of what it makes from its routine business on science and research. The US spends a little less than 3%. That's for all science, across every discipline.

From this, we might assume that research specific to promoting and improving sugar and the sugar industry could easily be funded by about $1billion to $2billion per year ( Obviously, the sugar industry prefers to fund science that ultimately makes it more profitable, and has a vested interest in suppressing results unfavorable to that end.

If sugar is found, in a scientifically verifiable way, to be unhealthy, then who profits? Well, you do, I suppose, since you will know that you should cut your consumption of it. But are you spending 3% of everything you earn on science? You might think that you are when you surrender taxes, but in the most shocking of revelations, much of the $150billion spent on publicly funded science goes to the military (50%). Sugar research might, between health care, general science, and agriculture, manage a fraction of 25% of the public science budget, or a maximum of $38billion.

To match the potential of industry-funded science, sugar alone would need to get 2.5% of all remotely-relevant tax-fed research budgets, and more than 85% of that research would need to directly impact public health concerns.

And that ignores the fact that the state also wants the science that it funds to make its businesses more profitable, and therefore more exploitable for its own ends.

Scientists need to eat and pay rents, too. And being intelligent creatures, they tend to shy away from jobs that would guarantee their future poverty, and possibly risk having their careers destroyed by persistent, coordinated, and well-funded smear campaigns by businesses threatened by any potentially unprofitable truths that may be revealed.

So when money and politics get involved, no one even bothers to investigate whether or not excessive fructose consumption is the greatest single factor for deaths from lifestyle-linked diseases. Anyone who would can expect to see colleagues--scientists who set a lower price on their own ethics--contradicting any inconvenient results from the driver's seats of their new luxury cars.