Studies that find no link between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and poorer metabolic health are likely underwritten by producers of these sweetened beverages or were written by researchers who have financial ties to the industry.

In a new study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers looked at studies that were published between January 2001 and July 2016, which tested the health effects of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages. The researchers excluded in their analysis studies that were sponsored by competing industries such as those that market dairy products and bottled water.

The analysis, which involved 60 studies, revealed that all of the 26 papers that failed to find a link between sugar-sweetened drinks and obesity or diabetes received funding from industry sources. Of the 34 that found a connection, only one study was funded by the industry.

"It was almost a one-to-one correlation," said study researcher Dean Schillinger, from the University of California, San Francisco. "We found that sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) industry-funded studies were 34 times more likely than independent studies to have no association between their product and diabetes and obesity."

Based on their findings, the researchers wrote that the industry appears to manipulate contemporary scientific processes that could generate controversy and advance their business interests at the expensive of people's health.

In a statement, the American Beverage Association (ABA), which represents the non-alcoholic beverage industry, said that the industry has the right and even the responsibility to engage in scientific research.

It added that the research the industry funds adhere to the highest standards of integrity for scientific inquiry. It also argued that the analysis made by Schillinger's team aims to influence people in areas near San Francisco and Boulder, Colorado, which are set to vote for soda taxes next week.

ABA has given millions of dollars to fight laws that would tax and label sugary drinks. There have also been instances in the past in which funding by the sugary drinks and soda industry raised concerns.

In 2015, Coca-cola faced accusations of funding a misleading research about diet and exercise, downplaying the restriction of calories and putting emphasis on exercise to maintain a healthy weight. Health experts think that the company wants to sway the public to believe that physical exercise can counter the effects of a bad diet.

When reading research favorable to food products, beverage company Nestle advises the public to ask who funded the study. The research needs to be viewed with more skepticism if it is industry-funded.

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