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CrossFit Health is an investigation into the ills of modern medicine and the wilful abuse of the public’s trust in science. The lessons learned from the legal dismantling of fake science, a crooked journal, and perjuring scientists have given us a forensic view as to how everything might have gone so wrong. We’re calling the combination of runaway medical costs and disease rates — which many profit from but none combat effectively — “The Mess.”

Cristin Kearns was managing dental clinics for Kaiser and researching the link between gum disease and Type 2 diabetes when she came across a brochure with the CDC’s dietary recommendations for diabetics. The bad advice she found in the brochure forever altered the trajectory of her career and led to her development of a large digital archive — a record of instances in which the Sugar Association, a 501(c)6 formerly known as the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF), used public relations campaigns and industry funding to influence scientific research, education, and public policy in support of its mission to promote sugar consumption.

Watch How Big Sugar Influences Nutrition Science: A First Glimpse at Sugar Industry Documents

In October 2013, cardiologist and professor of evidence-based medicine Dr. Aseem Malhotra published an editorial in the BMJ entitled “Saturated Fat Is Not the Major Issue.” There, he contradicted popular wisdom about saturated fat consumption contributing to heart disease and claimed the medical establishment’s focus on lowering cholesterol to improve heart health had led to the overprescription of statin drugs with negative side effects. Though the scientific evidence was on his side, many in the scientific and medical communities were not. Here he describes the history and inner workings of the ongoing conflict and the lessons to be gleaned from it.

Read More The Great Statin Scam – Time to Clean up the Mess

Dr. Jason Fung has grown wary of scientific research that purports to be “evidence based.” A well-known nephrologist and author, Fung often speaks about Type-2 diabetes reversal and the metabolic effects of intermittent fasting, but in this presentation from Dec. 15, 2018, he turns his focus toward the many ways the foundations of evidence-based medicine have become corrupted by financial conflicts of interest. Those corruptions include Big Pharma's habit of buying practicing physicians with gifts, influencing scientific publications by paying off their editors, and skewing the medical research through tactics such as selective publication and changing the trial endpoints — all of which may lead to the unnecessary or even dangerous overprescription of drugs.

WatchDr. Jason Fung: Financial Conflicts of Interest and the End of Evidence-Based Medicine

Dr. Zoë Harcombe has become an expert in the corruption and error plaguing the health sciences — a dire situation that she, like CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman, refers to as “The Mess.” Harcombe defines “The Mess” as “the escalating disease (and) the escalating medical costs, which many people are profiting from but none are combatting effectively.” During a presentation delivered on July 31 at the 2019 CrossFit Health Conference, Harcombe outlined many factors that contribute to this growing problem — specifically, the role of dietitians and the food and beverage industry in influencing how and what we eat, accreditation that regulates who can offer dietary advice, and the disparity between what we are told to eat and what the evidence suggests we should eat.

Watch Dr. Zoë Harcombe on the Mess: The Money Vs. the Evidence

Australia’s most iconic health charity, the National Heart Foundation (NHF), has partnered with cereal giant Sanitarium to promote the health benefits of Sanitarium’s cholesterol-lowering Weet-Bix. The NHF’s endorsement of the product and Sanitarium’s marketing campaign for the cereal both are based upon health benefits found in a single study — funded and performed by Sanitarium. Dr. Maryanne Demasi discusses this obvious conflict of interest and shares scholars’ responses. As Dr. Zoë Harcombe has observed, “People can't trust that which has been paid for.”

Read MoreIs Advice from the Heart Foundation Trustworthy?

Commercial interests have discovered numerous ways to co-opt the loyalty of health professionals to promote company-sponsored studies and marketing messages. Here, Dr. Maryanne Demasi describes just a few of the indications that Australia’s National Heart Foundation (NHF) has sold its soul to industry. She focuses specifically on the NHF’s ties to junk food and pharmaceutical companies, citing responses from various scholars who have expressed deep concern over how the NHF’s receipt of industry funding might threaten public health.

Read MoreHas the Australian NHF Sold Its Soul?

“I think there is a vast myth that scientists are somehow objective and honest,” Dr. Terence Kealey said during a presentation at a CrossFit Health event at CrossFit Headquarters on March 9, 2019. During his presentation, Kealey discussed the myth of scientific objectivity, drawing examples widely from history as well as his personal experiences within many of the most reputable scientific institutions. “We commit to paradigms, and then we bend the data to it,” Kealey explained. “Now, you get money not for being right; you get money for satisfying the prejudices of the people who sit on the committees in the NIH and NSF.”

Watch Dr. Terence Kealey and the Myth of Scientific Objectivity

Dr. Maryanne Demasi lists several examples that indicate people have steadily been losing confidence in the medical sciences and professions since the 1980s. She also presents a few factors she believes have contributed to the trend. For instance, President Ronald Reagan’s defunding of the NIH and private industry's subsequent infiltration of the medical sciences have led to a litany of corrupt practices that have exacerbated the problem and put lives at risk, she explains.

Read MoreIn science we trust — or do we?

Professor Peter C. Gøtzsche discusses the first of the 10 myths of psychiatry that he outlines in his article “Psychiatry Gone Astray”: the myth that mental illness is caused by a chemical imbalance and can be fixed with drugs. Gøtzsche argues there is no evidence to support the myth and says psychiatric disorders should be treated with psychotherapy rather than medications. “Antipsychotics have no specific effects at all on psychosis,” he explains.

Read MoreThe Harmful Myth About the Chemical Imbalance Causing Psychiatric Disorders

These two papers, one from 2018 and one from 2019, analyze the effectiveness of measures Coca-Cola has taken in an apparent effort to ensure transparency regarding the scientific research it funds. The 2019 paper assesses contracts between Coca-Cola and multiple academic institutions and claims Coca-Cola’s stated principles geared toward preserving researcher independence are ultimately undermined by the fact that the company retains the ability to terminate a research program at any time. The 2018 paper evaluates Coca-Cola’s transparency lists and finds that the company fails to share a complete list of its research activities and researchers often fail to disclose Coke funding.

Read MoreTwo studies on Coca-Cola’s lack of transparency in commercial research funding

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