Cutting Sugar Can Quickly Improve Children’s Health
Cutting out sugar from a child’s diet can improve blood pressure, cholesterol and other markers of health in as little as 10 days, suggests a new study from the National Institutes of Health.
The results of the research, published in the journal Obesity, sheds more light on the long-debated question of whether or not it is sugar alone that harms health, or if it’s the subsequent weight gain that causes health problems.
Researchers removed foods that contained added sugar from children’s diets, and replaced them with other forms of carbohydrates so actual calorie intake didn't change. After the swap, sugar levels accounted for only 10 percent of daily calories, in line with recommendations by the dietary guidelines committee.
Participants included 43 children between the ages 9 and 18, all who were black or Hispanic and diagnosed as obese, with at least one or more signs of metabolic syndrome. Prior to the experiment the group had been consuming an average of 27 percent of daily calories from sugar.
Though there was little change in weight, researchers saw “dramatic improvements” in health. LDL cholesterol level fell 10 points, diastolic blood pressure fell five points, and levels of certain fats in the blood fell 33 points. Improvements were also seen in blood sugar and insulin levels.
This data supports the previous expert claim that “all calories are not created equal.” Calories from sugar, the research suggests, can especially lead to Type 2 diabetes or related metabolic disease.