Bad science, but very well-funded

(Joey) #1

Another illustration of how industry-funded research destroys scientific credibility…

“When you only look for what you want to see, you only see what you look for."

As I’ve often said, I love science. It’s the scientific community that scares me.

(May the blessing of bacon be always with you) #2

The sugar industry used the same strategy to destroy the market for a couple of the early non-sugar sweeteners: sodium cyclamate and sodium saccharin. In that case, the claim was that they caused cancer, a charge that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration takes very seriously. Some animal studies in which the rats were treated with a carcinogenic chemical and then fed enormous doses of the sweeteners prompted the FDA to recall them from the market. The sugar industry must not be as powerful in Canada, because Canada never banned either substance, and for a while there was a brisk smuggling trade to get them across the border.

Once the original studies were critiqued and new studies, not paid for by the sugar industry, failed to confirm them, the FDA eventually allowed one of them to be sold again (I think it was cyclamate; I don’t recall whether saccharin was ever un-banned or not). But a lot of people still avoid both of them. Likewise, the nasty things people say about aspartame have never been confirmed in randomised, controled tests, but a lot of people still consider it the devil’s handiwork.

And of course the red-meat-causes-cancer folks are still going at it. And the idea that eating red meat causes diabetes is still being taken seriously by certain researchers.

On a completely unrelated note, I notice that PubMed has stopped showing researchers’ conflicts of interest in the papers they author; I wonder why?

(Joey) #3

Fraudulent science, as reflected in such studies, is what destroys the truthiness of real science.

When organized religion ruled most of the world, you simply needed some high priest to pass along a whisper heard from God and the masses were led to believe it.

Now that a large segment of the world’s population understands that science has a firmer grasp on reality, the “perversion of research” is replacing soft whispers from on high. And, as before, we are led to believe it.

Apparently the devil’s handiwork continues.

(May the blessing of bacon be always with you) #4

Let’s just say that many people are willing to be misled, and there is no lack of people who seem to have a vested interest in misleading them. The means used is essentially irrelevant. Religion was used when it had the power of the State, and now it is science that is used, since research has become so expensive that the State now effectively controls the power of science.

The relationship between science and religion is a touchy subject; don’t get me started. Suffice it to say that the usual trope of scientists being enlightened atheists and believers being credulous and ignorant is a canard. For example, the immediate past Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and the current Pope both have doctorates in biology, as well as doctorates in theology. So it is clearly possible to simultaneously a scientist and a believer.

(Joey) #5

Belief can be a powerful thing.

(Bob M) #6

I had looked into this issue when I got our puppy. I thought pretty much what the article thought.


My dogs have been on a grain free dog food since they were puppies. They went keto before me. I also add a generous helping of meat, usually chicken, for added protein. They are now age 12 and 13, quite grey but full of pep.

(Joey) #8

Our yellow lab ate overpriced prescription chow (and lots of meds supposedly to ward off potential liver issues?) for the entire 13 yrs we had him (…or he had us) ever since we brought him home from the shelter.

Instead he died of cancer.

We vowed to never do that Rx + prescribed food again. Next doggie is going keto with us. He never begged for wheat. :dog:

(Bob M) #9

If I don’t eat most grains, particularly wheat, I find it hard to feed my dog. That’s why I was having a hard time believing grains = good and grain-free = bad for dogs.


My father worked for Ralston Purina when I was a child. He love to tell a story about a man who worked cleaning up the spilled Chex cereals that was poured from bulk loaders. Ralston had just started a program for encouraging employee suggestions This man used to take some of the spilled cereal home mix it with a little bacon grease and feed it to his dogs He suggested that Ralston could get into the dog food business this way and was awarded a $50 gift certificate Ralston proceeded to generate a multi billion dollar business I think my dad was trying to tell me that I should start my own company rather than work for someone else but I failed to follow that suggestion

(Bob M) #11

Thanks for posting this, @SomeGuy. I cite to the article all the time in dog forums.

Of course, most people aren’t jaded by reading many studies in epidemiology and don’t know the influence big business has in these areas.