Tags: sugar | teeth | decay | caries program | industry | soft drinks

Report: Sugar Industry Shaped Fight Against Tooth Decay

By    |   Thursday, 12 Mar 2015 07:38 AM

Documents unearthed from 1959 to 1971 have revealed that the sugar industry worked to get U.S. government dental experts to avoid advising Americans to eat less sugar.

Instead, the industry was able to direct research on tooth decay toward dental plaque, vaccines to prevent decay, and fluoride, according to a historical analysis published in PLOS Medicine and reported in The Washington Post's Wonkblog.

Scientists pretty much knew that sugar was tied to tooth decay. The government launched the National Caries Program in the 1960s to eradicate tooth decay. The program included physicians and researchers who also served on the industry's own International Sugar Research Foundation.

The recommendations of the National Caries Program overwhelmingly adopted the industry's advice with some phraseology taken almost verbatim from the sugar foundation.

The National Caries Program basically accepted that telling Americans to decrease sugar intake was a non-starter, notwithstanding that it would help put a stop to tooth decay, according to Wonkblog.

Industry spokeswoman Tonya Allen said it was "challenging" to be asked for comment on documents that dated back to the Nixon administration. She said, "Sugar has been safely used by our mothers and grandmothers for hundreds of years."

Health advocates have said that a federal excise tax on sugary drinks and a change by the Food and Drug Administration in how sugary products are labeled could help improve Americans' health.

But imposing excise taxes or changing labeling is generally opposed not just by the sugar industry but also by related trade associations representing bakers, beverage companies, frozen food manufacturers, corn refiners, dairy producers, confectioners and vending machines operators, the Post reported.

Tooth decay remains widespread in the United States. "Eradicating it, as we aspired to in the 1960s, might be a bit far-fetched.

"But it's easy to imagine there could have been more progress made if the government had not been influenced so much by the industry," wrote the Post's Roberto Ferdman on Wonkblog.

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Documents unearthed from 1959 to 1971 have revealed that the sugar industry worked to get U.S. government dental experts to avoid advising Americans to eat less sugar.
sugar, teeth, decay, caries program, industry, soft drinks
321
2015-38-12
Thursday, 12 Mar 2015 07:38 AM
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