Research and Bias

by Elizabeth Kifer, Professional Golf Management major

From a young age we are told that pop, smoking, and playing with fire are all bad things for our bodies. As a child our naïve minds took in everything our parents said because they were always right; or so we thought. Not everything our parents tells us will be 100% true, just like not everything scientists tell us about food nutrition is 100% factual.

This past week I uncovered some unsettling news about who our research comes from. At first glance, it comes from the scientists and professors at universities. However, if you dig a little deeper, it’s actually from large food corporations that are paying the middle man. This collaboration paints a very different story when evaluating the claims that the researches state.

Perhaps one some of the most compelling research done on this debate topic is found on Dr. Marion Nestle’s blog. Dr. Nestle is a professor at the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University and over the past year, she has uncovered some of these biases studies. After looking at a total of 168 funded studies, she found 156 of them to be favorable to the sponsor’s interest. And this is just the surface. Dr. Nestle did claim on her website that she has yet to thoroughly analyze the content of the studies and will be stopping the study. However, she strongly sees a possible correlation between the sponsor and scientist hired.

Below is a link to her website and list of large food corporations that have funded particular research:

This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

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