It’s the American way to indulge in a little junk food from time to time. From fast food, to snack cakes from the grocery store, it is undeniable that many Americans have a sweet tooth. In recent years there has been a push from consumers for companies to not only make nutritional facts more readily available, but to also improve the overall nutrition of their products. In particular, people are paranoid about the fat content of the products that they are ingesting. This could be because of the severe health related issues that stem from American eating habits, including heart disease. These eating habits, coupled with the harmful ingredients of processed foods, have severely compromised the health of millions of Americans. However, it has come to light that consumers may have been mislead in regards to the real health concern behind their “junk food”. According to an article entitled, “How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat” author Anahad O’Connor discusses a massive cover up that was financed by the sugar industry. Apparently, in the 1960’s, the sugar industry “paid three Harvard scientists the equivalent of about $50,000 in today’s dollars to publish a 1967 review of research on sugar, fat and heart disease. The studies used in the review were handpicked by the sugar group…” (O’Connor). This means that the sugar industry manipulated the media, and the findings, to favor sugar. While simultaneously shifting the blame of obesity and heart disease to fat content, thus tailoring the public’s view of nutritional content. This cover up may have severely impacted the health of millions of Americans, which leads us to question the ethical implications of media exploitation.
I am in no way insinuating that consumers would completely change their eating habits if they knew the actual impact that sugar has on their health. People are going to continue to eat what they want, regardless of the implications. Additionally, the public is aware that processed sugar is not great for them, it seems to be a commonly accepted fact. However, it is important to note that for over half of a century, the general public has been manipulated, by the sugar industry, into believing that heart disease is almost entirely dependent on saturated fats and the fat content of their food. This seriously calls into question the ethical standards of major companies, particularly the sugar industry as a whole. Those who are in charge of information distribution have manipulated scientific findings to meet their agenda. Taking advantage of consumers who have trust in the scientific community as well as the companies that they are purchasing from. Knowing that studies can be bought and twisted leaves little room for trust between big industry and the general public. Is it ethically right for scientists to sell their credibility and approval, knowing the true information that they have studied? Personally I feel that if a person is willing to lie for the sake of money, they have lost the very essence of their human integrity. By selling out to major companies, these scientists are no longer standing for the simple pursuit of knowledge, they are willingly endorsing whatever they can to make an easy pay check. If you cannot trust a person who specializes in uncovering the truth behind commonly used products, there is no room to trust in anything that these major companies are saying.