Replacing Sugar Can Yield Benefits In Just Days, Study Finds

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By Kat Gal

Oh, sweet sugar… I am the last one who wants to bad mouth sugar; I certainly had my own love affair with it. Those sweet memories from summer camps of passing around our stash of chocolate bars or stuffing my face with unlimited amounts of chocolate muffins and cakes in the college cafeteria still make my heart fuzzy.

I bet you have such memories too, back when sugar felt like love.

But, let’s face it, sugar is toxic. It makes you sick, tired and fat.

Wait, weren’t calories the bad guys?! Looks like calories are not actually the culprit of your issues.

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According to new research, it’s less important to count calories than it is to count grams of sugar. 

A study by Dr. Robert Lustig at the University of California, San Francisco, links sugar to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions, including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess belly fat and abnormal cholesterol. The study also found that patients with metabolic syndrome had higher rates of heart attacks and strokes.

Until now, healthcare professionals simply would suggest to patients with metabolic syndrome to lose weight through diet and exercise and to count calories. You probably have heard similar advice yourself.

The advice is not completely faulty; a healthy diet – which includes not overeating – and an adequate amount of exercise of at least 30 minutes a day is necessary and beneficial to you. But, rather than worrying about calories, counting your sugar grams along with these things seems to be just as if not more important, according to Lustig’s research.

Results In Just 9 Days

The study examined 43 children between the ages 9 and 18. Sugary foods were replaced with starchy foods, the amount of calories kept the same. The only difference was removing sugar from their diet.

Within 9 days, the researchers noticed that everything got better. The children’s blood pressure decreased, cholesterol decreased and liver function tests improved. Their fasting blood sugar and insulin levels dropped too.

Breaking Down Sugar

When it comes to sugar, it is important to understand how your body metabolizes glucose and fructose, sugar’s two components.

“When you metabolize fructose in excess, your liver has no choice but to turn that energy into liver fat and that liver fat causes all of the downstream metabolic diseases,” explained Lin.

Lin agreed that as a society, we are eating way too many calories, but suggested that – while paying attention to our portion sizes – we should pay attention to our sugar intake as well.

Next time when you are wanting something sweet, go for a piece of fruit that is full of fiber or a sweeter green smoothie.

What is your relationship with sugar like? How are you reducing your sugar intake in your daily life?

Feel free to share with us in the comments below!

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Kat Gal

Kat Gal

Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
Kat Gal
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