by Jen Jenkins, Market Analyst
Over the past several months we have often blogged on the topic of sugar and soda consumption and the possible detrimental effects both may have on human health. Sugar is quickly claiming the spotlight as the most villainous of foods that we consume, due to soaring rates of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease — all sugar-related disorders. Up until now, however, there has not been a study that truly proves sugar is a lone culprit in the rise of these chronic diseases. Dr. Robert Lustig is the reason we may now have, in his words, “hard and fast data that sugar is toxic irrespective of its calories and irrespective of weight.”
A new study developed by Dr. Lustig, out of the University of California, San Francisco, tested the effects of removing sugar from the diet of 43 children while keeping their weight and the amount of calories consumed exactly the same. Previous studies argued that it couldn’t be proven that removing sugar alone creates positive outcomes, since removing sugar also lowers calorie consumption and induces weight loss. To overcome this argument, Dr. Lustig made sure the children weighed themselves daily. If the children were losing weight, he had them eat more of the foods provided, to keep their weight the same. According to Dr. Lustig, after only 9 days “everything got better.”
Overall, their fasting blood sugar levels dropped by 53%, along with the amount of insulin their bodies produced since insulin is normally needed to break down carbohydrates and sugars. Their triglyceride and LDL levels also declined and, most importantly, they showed less fat in their liver. – Time
The main goal of this study was to look at sugar and how its negative effect on the body isn’t correlated with other diet concerns, calorie consumption, or weight loss. In fact, Dr. Lustig admitted that the diet the children were fed was far from ideal and still loaded with processed foods. Despite that, there were very noticeable improvements in the children’s health. Dr. Lustig is hoping these findings, along with new ones that continue to emerge, will encourage the U.S. Department of Agriculture to consider this new information on sugar when finalizing the updated Dietary Guidelines for 2016.
For more information on why not everyone is convinced by this new study and for other concerns expressed by experts, see this Time article.