AtkinsFacts.org Ignores the 34 Studies "Supporting Atkins"
Most of the Studies Were Published by Atkins-Funded Researchers
In fact, as documented on the Atkins website (http://atkins.com/science/researchsupportingatkins.html), there are currently no fewer than thirty-four studies demonstrating the weight loss and other health benefits -- and absence of adverse health effects -- of a low carbohydrate diet.
Most of the 34 cited articles were published by Atkins-funded researchers--those given money by you directly or through the Dr. Robert C. Atkins Foundation.[691-710] Another 6 of the studies did not reveal the source of their funding.[711-716] (less than half of major scientific and medical journals require disclosure of conflicts of interest).
As you know, the Atkins Foundation was started by Dr. Atkins and has given millions of dollars to researchers to, in the words of co-founder Veronica Atkins, "prove Dr. Atkins right."
Asbestos corporations fund, publish and cite studies that downplay the risks of asbestos. Chemical companies fund, publish and cite studies that downplay the risks of their products. Tobacco corporations fund, publish and cite studies that downplay the risks of tobacco. It is not surprising that you, the billion-dollar Atkins Corporation, fund, publish and cite studies that downplay the risks of your product, the Atkins Diet.
Corporations have had a long history of misrepresenting science. Speaking at a trial at which DuPont was fined over $100 million for a "clear pattern of concealment and misrepresentation," DuPont's CEO said "When DuPont says what the science means, that is what the science is."
DuPont was actually one of the founders of the Formaldehyde Institute, which collaborated with other industry organizations to fund over 30 studies that downplayed the risks of formaldehyde. General Motors was able to pay for research showing that leaded gasoline was safe. The asbestos industry funded about a dozen studies that unanimously denied that asbestos caused lung cancer. The non-industry funded studies, of course, found just the opposite.
Corporate sponsorship can overtly or covertly influence the conduct and publication of research in a variety of ways. In particular, investigators may fear that future funding may be denied if they publish data unfavorable to the hand that feeds them. A study showed that the odds that researchers with tobacco industry affiliations would conclude that second-hand smoke was harmless, for example, are almost a hundred times higher than the odds non-affiliated researchers would come to such a conclusion.
Just because a corporation provides funding for research about its product, though, does that mean that the research is necessarily tainted? A historic trial in 1998 offered an unprecedented opportunity to answer that question. On May 8th, 1998, the tobacco industry "surrendered" to the State of Minnesota. As part of the settlement, more than 30 million pages of previously secret, internal corporate documents were released to the public. For the first time this allowed consumer advocates to find out just how much sway corporate interests had over academic research.
The documents detail a strategy of deceit and cover-up. To combat the wealth of evidence showing that cigarette smoking caused lung cancer, U.S. tobacco companies established entities like the Tobacco Institute. Exposed confidential reports showed that one of the industry's key strategies would be to fund and publish its own scientific research to downplay the risks, "enhance its credibility," and "improve its public image."
U.S. tobacco companies formed the Council for Tobacco Research ostensibly to "fund independent scientific research on the health effects of smoking." Not surprisingly, though, internal documents showed that their true aim was to create studies specifically designed to produce data to support their arguments. The Atkins Corporation seems to be taking tips from the tobacco industry.
You claim that you are relying on "sound science." This is the same name Philip Morris' public relations firm gave to a campaign to downplay the risks of cigarette smoke and "manipulate the scientific standards of proof for the corporate interests of their clients." Your attempt to recruit doctors into your "Atkins Physicians Council" to downplay the risks of the Atkins Diet is reminiscent of Philip Morris's secret campaign code named "Project Whitecoat."
Though the products of both industries have been condemned by the American Cancer Society, Heart Association, and Medical Association, you and the tobacco corporations both built up networks of scientists sympathetic to your position, funded independent organizations to give an impression of legitimate, unbiased science, and organized symposiums to publish non-peer reviewed research and give your funded research "a deep fragrance of academia."
Evidence shows that tobacco corporation-affiliated researchers routinely ignored data that didn't support their position. Might not Atkins-affiliated researchers be guilt of the same?