Studies reported in leading nutrition journals often have ties to the food industry, and when they do — surprise! — the study conclusions are more likely to be favorable to the industry.

A new analysis found 13.4% of 1,461 such studies were either funded partly by the food industry or included a research team member with ties to industry. In either of those cases, the study results were more than five times as likely to be favorable to the food industry.

“These findings add to mounting evidence that industry involvement could bias research agendas or findings towards industry interests, while potentially neglecting topics that are more important to public health,” the researchers concluded December 16 in the journal PLOS ONE.

Conflicts of interest like this are typically noted in scientific papers, and responsible journalists aim to note the ties or simply opt not to write about the studies.

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