Why is the independence of the CSIC so important for us to eat healthy and well?
Just a few days ago we had breakfast with the news of a new deception on the part of the food industry, specifically in the sugar industry. The coffee of many was choked when verifying that, for decades, the sugar industry had paid scientists and financed their studies so that they decoupled sugar as a cause of the development of cardiovascular diseases, in favor of fats.
Far from being an isolated case, there are many other cheat-based realities within the history of the scientific study of nutrition. All of them built on half-truths that leave the consumer, at least, confused and unprotected. Unfortunately, these types of practices that promote misinformation among public opinion threaten to compromise the health of a large part of society. Not to mention the loss of credibility suffered by the institutions that promote them.
Who works in the field of food research?
The field of scientific research on food is covered by both private and public institutions. The independence and absence of economic interests of the latter make them reliable organizations that guarantee the veracity of the results of their investigations and, consequently, the safety of consumers in the matter of food. This, in a world built around trust, is tremendously important.
In Spain, the largest public institution dedicated to research is the State Agency for the Higher Council for Scientific Research or CSIC. It is attached to the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, through the State Secretariat for Research, Development and Innovation, and its main objective is to develop and promote research for the benefit of scientific and technological progress, for which it is open to collaboration with Spanish and foreign entities, as well as with the private sector.
According to its Statute (article 4), the CSIC's mission is to promote, coordinate, develop and disseminate scientific and technological research, of a multidisciplinary nature, in order to contribute to the advancement of knowledge and economic, social and cultural development, as well as the training of personnel and the advice of public and private entities in this matter.
What is the role of the CSIC and why is it important for us to eat well and healthy?
The role of the CSIC in the country's science and technology policy is essential. Its activity ranges from basic research to technological development and is organized around eight different scientific-technical areas, among which is the Food Science and Technology Area, which we are approaching today today we are approaching in a I try to explain how it works.
Being a public body financed for the most part by the State, the CSIC is independent from the private sector and is free to direct its investigations according to the interests that the latter may have. This is a guarantee for consumers and that, in terms of food, we eat well and healthy.
How does the Food Science and Technology Area work?
The Food Science and Technology Area deals with aspects ranging from health and well-being in relation to food consumption, to the production and / or suitability of raw materials, passing through the links of transformation and preservation of food themselves. It also studies the reuse of co-products or by-products that could be derived during the production, transformation or processing of food.
To understand a little better the internal functioning of the Food Science and Technology Area of the CSIC, we have spoken with Tomás García-Cayuela, Doctor in Food Sciences located in the Department of Food Biotechnology and Microbiology of the Research Institute in Food Sciences. Food or CIAL, one of the many branches of activity of the CSIC.
García-Cayuela tells us that "the study of food is an area in constant evolution. As knowledge accumulates, science is refined and concepts that were considered definitive cease to be so. However, random tests have little validity and are not more than part of a puzzle that must be put together to see the whole clearly ".
It also emphasizes the importance of working based on the scientific evidence provided by meta-analyzes or a set of scientific studies on a specific question when formulating definitive conclusions. It also tells us how rigorous the publication process is for each separate study, which is scrutinized by the scientific journal in which it is published before being released.
Professional prostitution is a problem from which the consumer is not 100% free, but that goes with each individual. García-Cayuela comments that the recent news about the sugar industry has not caught him by surprise because, although most scientists work with the interests of the population in mind, there are also those who put their own before any other regardless of the consequences .
Can the protection of consumer interests be guaranteed?
Based on all of the above, we could say that there is a fine line between science and industry and that it is inevitable that scientists and the private sector work together. Scientists depend on the food industry because it is the one that provides them with the materials to do the experiments.
But the relationship must be transparent and the results (always based on meta-analysis) clearly explained. In this way, consumers will have accurate information on which to base our decisions regarding food and we will have guaranteed the protection of our interests.
Images | Saludand and banoootah_qtr on Flickr
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