By Ana Alvarez
A recent study has revealed that decreasing the sugar intake in obese children can reduce chronic metabolic diseases in as little as ten days.
In the study, the researchers worked with 43 obese children between the ages of 9 and 18, who had at least one chronic metabolic syndrome. The children were put on a specific diet for nine days that restricted their sugar intake from 28% of their diet to 10%, and reduced fructose in their diet from 12% to 4%, while maintaining their previous levels of protein, fat, and calorie intake. During the study the sugar taken out of the children’s diets was replaced with starches and other carbohydrates.
After just 9 days on the sugar-restricted diet, every aspect of the participants’ metabolic health improved, without a change in weight. “All of the surrogate measures of metabolic health got better, just by substituting starch for sugar in their processed food — all without changing calories or weight or exercise,” said lead author Robert Lustig, MD, MSL, pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco. “This internally controlled intervention study is a solid indication that sugar contributes to metabolic syndrome, and is the strongest evidence to date that the negative effects of sugar are not because of calories or obesity.”
Jean-Marc Schwarz, PhD of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Touro University California and senior author of the paper commented, “I have never seen results as striking or significant in our human studies; after only nine days of fructose restriction, the results are dramatic and consistent from subject to subject.”
This study reveals that all calories are not equal, because sugar calories turn to fat in the liver, increasing risks for heart and liver diseases and increasing risks for diabetes. Researchers suggest that parents should pay careful attention to sugar intake, rather than calorie intake, when making changes to their children’s diets to control obesity.
As parents we have control over what our kids eat; let’s be mindful and provide them with good nutrition to ensure that they lead healthier and happier lives.