Cutting Sugar Improves Children’s Health In Just 10 Days
By Joanne Beccarelli
The proof is here to end the ongoing debate.
Sugar is no longer just another calorie to manage when monitoring a child’s health. Its consequence on health are much more significant than that.
A new study published in the journal Obesity and funded by the National Institute of Health, the University of California at San Francisco and Touro University, finally isolates the effects that added sugar has on children’s health. The method of study and corresponding results definitively point to reducing added sugars to improve metabolic syndromes.
Rather than evaluate dietary consumption of added sugars (those extra sweeteners added to products – usually in the form of sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup), this study instead investigated if issues could be resolved by cutting back or restricting these added sugars.
The Study Benchmarked, Then Altered Added Sugars
Using a group of 8-18 year old obese children with existing metabolic syndromes (but not full onset of diseases), the research was designed to isolate what would happen to their health with changes made to added-sugars only.
This study stepped away from typical approaches where participants select foods and self-report consumption. Rather, researchers established prior benchmarks for each individual, including their caloric intake and food nutritional distribution.
Then, nutritionists applied specific changes to only the carbohydrate component of foods and traded out added sugar for other carbohydrates such as fruit, bagels, cereal, pasta, and bread. This allowed them to keep nutritional make-up consistent with their benchmarked diet.
Finally, the daily foods were provided to the children to eliminate the uncertainty of selection, compliance and reporting.
This type of control allowed the results to be attributed solely to added sugars, which reduced total calories from 28% to 10% (the current recommended maximum level) and not calorie or carbohydrate reduction. It also answers questions about impacts to health from added sugars separate from weight reduction or exercise.
Here’s What Happened!
In only 10 days, the health benefits of removing added sugars were identified and significant enough, that they could change a child’s life.
- Glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity measurements improved dramatically, even though total carbohydrates and calories were consumed at the same levels as benchmarked.
- LDL cholesterol, the ‘bad’ cholesterol, dropped by over 12%.
- Triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood that can increase risks of heart disease, dropped by 46%.
- AST, a measurement used to evaluate for liver diseases, dropped significantly by 13%.
- Diastolic blood pressure dropped by almost 7%, even though systolic blood pressure remained close to benchmark levels.
What Does This Mean?
At the top of the list, this study validates that all calories are NOT created equally.
A calorie may be a calorie in the strictest definition that it is “the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1 °C,” however, this study proves that calories from added-sugars and calories from other carbohydrates impact the human body in very different ways.
Furthermore, the results of the study suggest that, by removing added sugars, metabolic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension and fatty liver disease can be turned around in as little as 10 days.
Being able to positively impact a child’s health by changing what they eat and not simply how much they eat could lead to more families and children feeling that change is easier than they previously thought.
Joanne Beccarelli is a holistic health coach, juicing junkie, writer, soon to be cookbook author and recovered emotional eater. Inspired by many great voices in the health-thru-food revolution, Joanne found her way out of hiding in shame (losing almost 100 lbs in the process) and stepped away from the corporate world. She now dedicates every day to helping others who are overwhelmed, overworked, and overstressed, find awareness, fulfilment and better health.
Joanne has a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from eCornell/T. Colin Campbell Foundation, and became a Certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She is also a member of American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP), and the International Association of Health Coaches (IAHC).
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