The interests of the food industry to fund nutrition and health research are not limited to promoting scientific advances. Recently, several systematic reviews conducted about the effect of sugar-sweetened beverages and health outcomes have shown some biased conclusions in studies that acknowledge industry sponsorship. In this context, the Nutrition Working Group of the Spanish Epidemiology Society presented a scientific session entitled Food industry and epidemiologic research at its annual meeting. In a round table, four experts in nutrition research presented their points of view about whether the food industry should fund nutrition-related research and the related potential conflicts of interest of the food industry. All the experts agreed not only on defending independence in nutritional epidemiology regarding the design, interpretation and conclusion of their studies but also on the crucial need for guaranteed scientific rigor, scientific quality of the results and measures to protect studies against potential biases related to the conflicts of interest of funding by the food industry. Drs Pérez-Farinós and Romaguera believe that the most effective way to prevent conflicts of interest would be not to allow the food industry to fund nutrition research; Drs Marcos and Martínez-González suggested the need to establish mechanisms and strategies to prevent the potential influences of the food industry in selecting researchers or institutional sponsorship and in the analysis and results of the studies, to ensure maximum independence for researchers, as well as their professional ethics.
Keywords: Conflictos de intereses; Conflicts of interest; Diet and health research; Financiación; Food industry; Funding; Industria alimentaria; Investigación sobre dieta y salud.
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