Researchers reported that children who stayed away from sugar for nine days experienced major health improvements despite their diets remaining the same.
The team found that obese children benefited from the reduction of sugar since their blood pressure and cholesterol levels drastically improved in less than two weeks. Scientists believe that sugar is not harmful because of its calories, but because of what it does to the body.
In Europe, regulators are already debating whether a tax on sugar would be appropriate. Lawmakers plan to put a sugar tax of 10 to 20 percent on foods and beverages that contain added-sugar.
So far, the U.K. declined to adopt such a tax. British lawmakers promised that they would bar the marketing of sugary drinks and foods to children and take other measures.
Study authors were especially interested in finding a link between sugar and the metabolic syndrome, or a mix of diseases which includes high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease risk, risk of type 2 diabetes and many more.
The syndrome can also result in excess body fat, high cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Study participants that trimmed their sugar intake for nine days had lower blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and blood sugar levels and a better functioning liver. Their insulin levels also dropped by more than 30 percent.
The study, which was published this week in the journal Obesity, involved 43 obese children who were diagnosed with at least one obesity-related condition such as high blood sugar levels.
Children were asked to follow the same diet they were accustomed with for nine days but limit their sugar intake. Researchers, however, replaced the carbohydrates from sugar with healthier carbohydrates including pasta and rice.
Volunteers were not deprived by their favorite snacks such as French fries and pizza. But if children were on the verge of losing weight during the trial, researchers adjusted their diets to keep their weight stable.
Dr Robert Lustig, the lead researcher involved in the study, concluded that sugar is not harmful because of the bad calories or its contribution to weight gain, rather sugar is bad simply ‘because it’s sugar.’
“I have never seen results as striking or significant in our human studies,”
said Jean-Marc Schwarz, co-author of the study.
Researchers noted that they reduced sugar from 28 percent to 10 percent of total calories in those nine days. As a result, blood pressure levels decreased 5mm, while blood fats named triglycerides sank 33 points. Bad cholesterol dropped 10 points, while blood sugar levels shrank 5 points.
Moreover, all children were more responsive to satiety cues after having a meal. Some of them told researchers that they were given so much more food although the team didn’t alter their diets.
Image Source: Pixabay
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