The Financial Bias Found in Studies Favoring Milk and Sweet Drinks

Typically, drug companies fund studies that are biased in their favor about 80 percent of the time as well as non-profit groups that endorse equally dubious product-based solutions. So, it should come as no shock, the beverage industry also stacks the deck in their favor greatly when it comes to studies for which they pay versus those stemming from impartial sources.

To determine bias, three scientists reviewed more than 100 studies published between 1999-2003 about milk, juices and soft drinks. Two scientists evaluated the results without knowing what entities sponsored them. A third knew the funding sources of the same studies, but not the conclusions, and rated them based on whether a favorable result would be of benefit to an entity's financial interests.

Of the 22 studies paid for completely by the beverage industry, only three were judged negative, while the lion's share (14) were deemed favorable. The results were tilted far more to the center, however, when it came to independently funded research: Twenty-four reported positive results, versus 20 with negative findings and eight judged to be neutral.

Unfortunately, the positives are much more attractive, researchers say, seemingly sticking like glue as governmental and health agencies often use them to justify flawed, compromised dietary guidelines that do more harm than good.

PLOS Medicine January 8, 2007 Free Full Text Study

USA Today January 8, 2007

EurekAlert January 8, 2007