Darn, was I shocked! You see, the NewsTarget piece spotlighted internationally recognized obesity expert John P. Foreyt, Ph.D., a professor at Baylor College of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. I mean this guy is a much-revered hot-shot! He's quite well known all around the world.
How could this acclaimed expert be the same person who received Coca-Cola funding? Yikes, if this were true, talk about having an idol fall right in front of you!
What made reading the article even stranger is that this was the very same doctor who backed out at the last minute possible from my book SUGAR SHOCK! (FYI, I include quotes from about 250 experts.)
You see, I'd spent weeks trying to track down Dr. Foreyt to verify his quotes. (My publisher Berkley Books required that I get releases from everyone I quoted. Quite an overwhelming, labor-intensive project! Now you can understand why for about two months recently, I didn't post as much on my SUGAR SHOCK! Blog.)
Anyhow, when I finally did reach Dr. Foreyt via telephone, he said that he just didn't remember being interviewed for my book and he very abruptly insisted that I remove his quote. Frankly, his remarks really did need some sprucing up, but he wouldn't even do that. (Put it this way: We did not become fast friends.)
(Total disclosure here: I had not personally interviewed Dr. Foreyt; rather, given my pressing deadlines, one of my talented, experienced research assistants -- also a veteran journalist, like me -- had talked with him. Furtheremore, it was completely understandable that he didn't remember the interview, because I've been working on this book for so darn long -- 5 years -- and about three other experts also had forgotten that they'd given me quotes. Quite a strange experience! But they all still cooperated.)
Of course, I quickly complied with Dr. Foreyt's yank-his-quote request, despite the fact that it caused me major headaches and last-minute scrambling. I mean the book had already been typeset, and I had to call another expert, get some remarks on the same topic, and then plop in this other quote to fit the same amount of space.
So you can see why this critical story really struck me. I know it can be quite challenging to get funding for research, but did Dr. Foreyt really take money from Coke, as NewsTarget reports? Hey, maybe this isn't true after all?