Food companies distort nutrition science. Here’s how to stop them. – by Julia Belluz on March 3, 2016


About a year ago, Marion Nestle finally got sick of the rotten state of nutrition science.

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Everywhere she looked, she found glaring conflicts of interest. “Without any trouble, I could identify industry-funded nutrition studies by their titles,” says the New York University professor. “It was so obvious.”

Nestle kept seeing studies with very specific names, like, “Concord grape juice, cognitive function, and driving performance,” or, “Walnut ingestion in adults at risk for diabetes.” These papers were funded by the food industry — a grape juice maker, walnut growers — and nearly always reached glowing conclusions about the food in question. (Study: Concord grape juice can make you a better driver!)

Nestle had been researching nutrition long enough to know that there’s rarely clear evidence that specific foods have such miraculous health effects. Healthy eating patterns can have a positive impact, yes. But independent researchers seldom discover that, say, a single food like walnuts can help stave off diabetes, as this study found.

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