Pacific Standard has profiled Cristin Kearns, a former dentist who has partnered with journalist Gary Taubes and researcher Stanton Glantz to fight sugar-industry influence on the U.S. government’s standards for health and dental care using similar tactics as those Glantz used against cigarette manufacturers in the 1990s. Now a researcher working for Glantz at the University of California, San Francisco, Kearns first became interested in the subject after reading a government-published handout at a dental conference with suggested advice for diabetic patients, including “’[i]ncrease fiber, reduce fat, reduce salt, reduce calories,’ and it didn’t say anything about reducing sugar,” she told the magazine.

Kearns has since reportedly tried to identify where the sugar industry has influenced nutritional science through privately funded studies or roles in policy discussions. “Maybe, for some creative attorney down the road, some of [Kearns’] research or research like that could help in crafting discovery requests,” a staff attorney at the Public Health Law Center at the William Mitchell College of Law told Pacific Standard.

Kearns is currently exploring whether industry-funded scientists “published scientific papers that favorably but inaccurately summarized the results of experiments on whether eating too much sugar leads to disease.” She argues that the scientists may have “deliberately muddled the issue,” while Glantz finds them to be “pretty naïve” and blames the “companies and their lawyers and their PR people, who know how to manipulate those good values and use them to really stand in the way of the development of knowledge.” See Pacific Standard, January 18, 2015.

Details about Kearns’ 2012 article with Taubes appear in Issue 459 of this Update, while information about the 2015 study conducted with Glantz appears in Issue 558.