A report has revealed that British public health experts who advise ministers on obesity have received hundreds of thousands of pounds from the sugar industry.
According to the investigation by the British Medical Journal known (BMJ), funding from companies including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestlé has flowed into scientific research bodies such as the UK’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) for over a decade.
RT reports: Scientists whose work was at least partly funded and sometimes fully funded by the sugar industry include Professor Susan Jebb, the government’s obesity tsar.
Leading scientists blamed the government’s funding cuts for forcing researchers into the arms of Big Sugar, while one doctor told RT the findings were “disturbing.”
The report comes at a time when medical experts say daily guidelines on sugar intake are misleading, with the average Briton consuming two to three times the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended limit.
According to the BMJ’s investigation, one government-funded organization, the MRC’s Human Nutrition Research unit in Cambridge, received an average of £250,000 a year for the past decade from Big Sugar.
Other scientists received consultancy fees from Boots, Coca-Cola, Mars, Cereal Partners UK and Unilever. They have also sat on advisory boards for Coca-Cola, the Food and Drink Federation and the Institute of Grocery Distributors, the report claims.
Nutrition scientist Susan Jebb, who is the UK government’s adviser on obesity, received £1.37 million in industry funding between 2004 and 2015, according to the investigation.
This money came from food and retail companies including Cereal Partners UK, which operates under the Nestlé brand, Rank Hovis McDougal, Sainsbury’s, Coca-Cola’s Beverage Institute for Health and Wellbeing and Unilever.