Financial conflicts of interest may bias studies examining the link between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and weight gain or obesity, a Spanish study has found.
The authors found that authors who stated conflicts of interest were five times more likely to conclude that the relationship between soft drinks and weight gain was inconclusive than those without such conflicts.
The findings published in PLOS Medicine raise concerns over the accuracy of results from research funded by the food and drink industry.
Such concerns are supported by recent randomised controlled trials in children that show a link between sugar sweetened drinks and changes in weight.
“Our findings serve to draw attention to possible inaccuracies in scientific evidence from research funded by the food industry,” the researchers say.
The authors say little is known about the effects of industry sponsorship on nutrition research even though it’s important to know that such information is free of bias.
The global soft drink market is worth more than USD 200 billion.
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