Without a doubt, 2015 was the year where concerns and questions about the relationship between the soda industry and academia reached a fever pitch.
There are many interesting tidbits in a recent Mother Jones article titled “Coca-Cola Spends Millions of Dollars Funding Research That — Surprise! — Says Soda Is Just Fine”, which looked at the top academic recipients of Coca-Cola funds (all of whom have taken more than $1.5 million from Coke since 2010).
- “Research on the outcomes of scientific studies has consistently found that industry-funded studies are far more likely to show favorable outcomes for the funder. A 2007 study in the American Journal of Public Health analyzed studies on the relationship between sugary beverage consumption and obesity, and found that industry-funded studies were far more likely to find little or no relationship between the two. “The people who take the money from industries don’t believe they’re biased,” says Kelly Brownell, a co-author of the study and the dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. But “the research on that is pretty clear.”
- “Independent scientists may have biases of their own, but their overarching research goal is to improve public health,” wrote Marion Nestle, a public health professor at New York University, in a recent Guardian opinion piece. “In contrast, the goal of soda companies is to use research as a marketing tool.”
The top 5 university and college recipients: Louisiana State University, University of South Carolina, Emory University, University of Alabama, and University of Georgia.