Date of Submission
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Science and Management
Recently published scientific articles have led to mixed nutritional advice on dietary saturated fatty acids. Lesser et. al (2007) identified that mixed conclusions in scientific articles on sweetened beverages might be attributed industry funding, as articles funded by the beverage industry are four to eight times more likely to report conclusions in favor of the sponsor’s products. This thesis applies Lesser’s methods to determine whether industry funding influences the inconsistent conclusions on saturated fatty acids. This thesis analyzes 100 articles on foods high in dietary saturated fatty acids. While studies with food industry funding are more likely to produce favorable conclusions, this trend is not significant (p= 0.205). On the other hand, the odds ratio of a favorable versus an unfavorable conclusion in articles where investigators disclosed a food industry related conflict of interest is 2.67 (95% CI, 1.03 to 6.88). The prevalence of both industry funding and conflict of interest have increased over time, yet the percent of articles reporting favorable conclusions has not changed over time. This suggests that while industry funding and conflict of interest might skew nutrition research, the mixed conclusions in articles on saturated fatty acids are largely influenced by other factors. Therefore, all nutrition-related scientific articles on saturated fatty acids should be critically evaluated before informing dietary recommendations.
Muskal, Lili, "Healthy Skepticism: The Relationship between Funding Source and Conclusion in Nutrition-Related Scientific Articles on Saturated Fat" (2019). CMC Senior Theses. 2036.