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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Want to lose weight? Cut back on Added Sugar.

Looking to lose weight before summer?  So many people focus on cutting back starches to lose weight when cutting back on added sugars may be more beneficial.  People are more willing to cut back on the slice of bread but not the sugared soda.  As stated by Laura Schmidt, professor of Health Policy at UC San Francisco, “Too much sugar does not just make us fat; it can also make us sick.” Is Sugar Making Us Sick? Recent research shows that cutting back on added sugars is a good way for obese kids to lose weight.  (The Berkeley Wellness Letter highlighted this study in “Yes, it’s the sugar”, March 2016.)  Cutting back on nutritious foods needed for growth is not a good idea when a child is trying to slim down. But added sugars add calories and not nutrients needed for growth and development.
What did the research find about added sugars?
Two universities, University of San Francisco and Touro University of California studied 43 obese kids ranging in age from 9-18.  These kids were given a controlled diet for only 9 days.  The focus of the diet was to cut back on added sugars.  Not starches but added sugar.  And added sugars made up a good part of these obese kids’ diet, a whopping 28 percent.  Nearly a third of their calories were from added sugars in their diet.  Not only did the controlled diet not cut back on starches, they ADDED STARCHES, like breads, cereals, and even pasta to the diets of these kids.  They also added some whole fruit to ensure the carb calories the same.  The controlled diet didn’t even cut back on calories – the calories stayed the same.  Yet, the kids lost some weight, about 2 pounds by the tenth day of the study.  Surprisingly, most of the kids reported they couldn’t eat all the food, as apparently, the starchy foods were more filling than all the added sugar foods they had been eating.

Health Improved – in only a nine day period, a number of health indicators improved:

  • Blood pressure dropped
  • Triglyceride levels were lowered
  • LDL – the “bad” cholesterol dropped
  • Fasting blood sugar dropped

So not only did the obese kids lose weight on a diet that didn’t lower calories, they also improved their health and in only 9 days of an added sugar reduction. 

Conclusion:  The study authors concluded that maybe different calories are metabolized differently in our bodies.  Added sugar calories seem to be metabolized differently than starch calories.  The author noted that cutting back on added sugar should be just as effective in adults. 
For more information, see:  Is Sugar Making Us Sick? And Added sugar and Health Risks

Sources:  Obesity and Added Sugar, Is Sugar Making Us Sick?, Yes, it’s the sugar, Berkeley Wellness Letter, March 2016.   Image source:  Sugar

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