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Medical Research: Facts or Funded?

Search the internet for a weight loss plan and you'll find hundreds of diet programs out there, all claiming to be the best, and most of them providing conflicting dietary advice.

It seems that even some major health organizations can't get their facts straight. The American Heart Association still recommends using highly processed and inflammatory vegetable oils instead of coconut oil? Really?

The same rings true when looking at medical research on nutrition as well. One study blames sugar for heart disease and obesity, the next points the finger at red meat, while another concludes that overconsumption of calories, regardless of where they come from, is the true culprit. These aren't high school science projects. This is coming from researchers, physicians, and PhDs from major medical institutes and universities. In light of all the conflicting evidence reported, it's no wonder people are skeptical. Dr. Jason Fung, a Nephrologist in Toronto, Canada, sums it up quite blatantly (and accurately) in a post from his blog, Intensive Dietary Management:

But why? The answer is $$$$. Simply, the public does not trust doctors because they know that many doctors, especially those in academic medicine and the universities are on the take. A terrific study from Dr. Vinay Prasad illustrates the problem precisely. He reviewed 37 ‘expert’ physicians who spoke on behalf of drug companies. Not surprisingly, they were all getting significant amounts of money from Big Pharma – a median of $39,316. These were not simply run of the mill doctors either. There is a clear correlation between the number of articles they had written (or been cited) and the amount of money received. This means that these ‘experts’ are those professors and doctors at all the best universities all over the world. These are the doctors that lecture other doctors and medical students. In general, the more prominent a physician, the more money he is taking from industry.

This funding isn't limited to pharmaceutical companies. It's rampant across all areas of research, and clearly impacts results. Recently, a New York University nutrition professor tracked studies funded by food and beverage companies in 2015, and found that out of 168 studies, 156 showed biased results that favored the sponsor's interests.

In another example, this study in the journal Nutrients summarizes other research studies in an attempt to give an overview of current evidence related to added sugar and health considerations. Their conclusion? That current evidence does not support sugar as the culprit for metabolically based diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, and overconsumption of calories is the single greatest health threat.


If you continue to read the article, you will find that one of the researchers, Dr. James M. Rippe, a Harvard-trained cardiologist, has received "consulting fees" from the following companies: ConAgra Foods, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo International, The Coca Cola Company, the Corn Refiners Association, and Weight Watchers International.


Sounds like he's on the payroll of a lot of companies that would benefit from research stating that sugar doesn't cause obesity or type II diabetes.

Even major medical organizations aren't immune - between 2012 and 2014, the American Diabetes Association received $140,000 from Coca Cola.



Moral of the story? Don't forget to look at where the interests of researchers and organizations lie. Sometimes, it is not in the best interest of public health.


At Medical Weight Loss Specialists of Bismarck, our program is based on good, unbiased nutritional science. As an independent provider, we are not obligated to push the agenda of any larger corporation. Our #1 priority is YOU.

Contact us today to learn more about our program and how we can help you reach your health and weight loss goals!