Sugar has taken its share of lumps in health headlines lately, and for good reason. Increasingly, studies show that it is one of the most toxic (and legal) substances that you could put in your body. Research from Dr. Robert Lustig, well known for his study of the effects of sugar, shows the difference between the sugar “haves” and “have nots.” In this case, it’s much better to do without.
In just nine days, a substitution diet, reducing sugar from 28 to 10 percent, made a major difference in glucose tolerance and LDL cholesterol levels for children ages 8-18. The food substitutions were simple, removing sugary foods in exchange for starches, although it turned out that carbohydrate consumption decreased and protein intake increased slightly, while fat consumption remained constant. Bear in mind that this was not a weight-reducing diet – simply a sugar-reducing one. The participant’s weight didn’t change much – it wasn’t the intent of the study – but their state of health improved dramatically.
Diastolic blood pressure levels decreased by 4.9 mm/HG, fasting insulin decreased by 53 percent, and peak insulin decreased by 56 percent, just to name a few of the results.
As the researchers state, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes are chronic conditions now seen in children. If an easy-to-follow diet can yield positive results in just over a week, there is hope for many individuals who feel trapped by the foods they eat and the negative effects on their health. Each day provides another opportunity to reverse the damage, and set on a new dietary path.
Objective: Dietary fructose is implicated in metabolic syndrome, but intervention studies are confounded by positive caloric balance, changes in adiposity, or artifactually high amounts. This study determined whether isocaloric substitution of starch for sugar would improve metabolic parameters in Latino (n = 27) and African-American (n = 16) children with obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Methods: Participants consumed a diet for 9 days to deliver comparable percentages of protein, fat, and carbohydrate as their self-reported diet; however, dietary sugar was reduced from 28% to 10% and substituted with starch. Participants recorded daily weights, with calories adjusted for weight maintenance. Participants underwent dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and oral glucose tolerance testing on Days 0 and 10. Biochemical analyses were controlled for weight change by repeated measures ANCOVA.
Results: Reductions in diastolic blood pressure (−5 mmHg; P = 0.002), lactate (−0.3 mmol/L; P < 0.001), triglyceride, and LDL-cholesterol (−46% and −0.3 mmol/L; P < 0.001) were noted. Glucose tolerance and hyperinsulinemia improved (P < 0.001). Weight reduced by 0.9 ± 0.2 kg (P < 0.001) and fat-free mass by 0.6 kg (P = 0.04). Post hoc sensitivity analysis demonstrates that results in the subcohort that did not lose weight (n = 10) were directionally consistent.
Conclusions: Isocaloric fructose restriction improved surrogate metabolic parameters in children with obesity and metabolic syndrome irrespective of weight change.
Link to complete study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/oby.21371/full
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