13.4% of research in top nutrition journals in 2018 was funded by food manufacturers

13.4% of research in top nutrition journals in 2018 was funded by food manufacturers

A new analysis of studies published by leading nutrition journals in 2018 shows that 13.4% were conducted with food industry participation, casting doubt on their findings.

Experiments involving industry are more likely to yield conclusions favorable to industry interests, says Gary Sacks of Deakin University. The analysis is published in PLOS ONE.

Food companies can get involved in nutrition research to help generate new knowledge. For example, they can fund academic research or send employees to research groups. But a growing body of evidence suggests that food industry involvement could potentially bias nutrition research in favor of industry interests, possibly to the detriment of public health.

Sachs and colleagues evaluated all peer-reviewed articles published in 2018 in the 10 most-cited scientific journals on nutrition and diet. The analysis showed that 13.4% of all articles were related to food companies (196/1461), with some journals having a larger share than others.