I’m not surprised by this expose. Just as the Dairy Industry (Big Moo) has managed to “find” weight loss results when funding clinical studies, food manufacturers in general – and beverage producers in particular – “discover” nutritional benefits of their products and promote those discoveries to the public. Unfortunately, the nutrition science world is even more susceptible to corruption in studies than the pharmaceutical world!
As this article points out, it’s not so much that study results are deliberately misleading. The issue is that food manufacturers have many interesting ways of ultimately getting the results they prefer.
– Food companies pay for studies based on initial hypotheses that are already favorable.
– Food companies may conduct many studies but only use the favorable ones.
– Though conflicts of interest must be disclosed in any study, this is based on an honor system.
The Public Library of Science is one of my favorite resources for uncovering these sorts of shenanigans in the drug, food and beverage industries. In this particular article, PLOS finds that when beverage makers are involved in the study, the results are four to eight times more likely to be favorable. Coincidence?