I love when “new” research proves something so shocking many people find it hard to believe.
And in this instance, it’s something I’ve been writing about for the last 20 years. (It sort of makes me think I should be running for public office. How does Dr. Fred for President sound? Better than most of the current options — that’s for sure!)
According to a recent study published in the journal Obesity, cutting out most of the “added” sugar from a child’s diet — even if they are still consuming the same amount of calories — can immediately reverse metabolic problems such as high cholesterol and hypertension (high blood pressure).
Now, for anyone who has actually been keeping up on the literature, this isn’t a new revelation. Studies have shown time and time again that when you ingest just one teaspoon of sugar, it immediately hampers your immune response by slowing the ability of white blood cells to protect your body.
And research also shows that just one sugary meal immediately increases oxidative stress in the blood stream, which leads to high cholesterol, elevated blood sugar, and higher blood pressure.
This latest study proves, once again, that your body can repair itself when sugar is taken out of the equation. But it’s making more waves than any of the previous research on sugar’s harmful effects — perhaps because it involved children. (I mean, we wouldn’t want to deprive our children of sugar, would we? I would if it meant my children would be healthier but hey, that’s just me.)
Researchers from UC San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco recruited 43 obese Latino and African-American children between ages 9-18 who had at least one metabolic disorder to see what effects cutting sugar from their diets would have.
The idea was to see if reducing sugar specifically made any difference in metabolic health. So the researchers designed a diet that didn’t cut calories. Instead, they swapped sugary foods with starchy foods like bagels, cereal, and pasta, so the intake calories and carbs was the same. But, total sugars were reduced from 28% to 10% and fructose was decreased from 12% to 4%.
After 9 days the researchers measured the results, and even though the children did not lose any weight, virtually every aspect of their metabolic health improved dramatically:
- Diastolic blood pressure decreased by 5 points
- Triglycerides went down by 33 points
- LDL cholesterol was reduced by 10 points
- Fasting blood glucose went down by 5 points
- Insulin levels were cut by 1/3
- And liver function improved.
And this was after just 9 days! Imagine what the results would be in a few months, years — or even a lifetime? And imagine how much better they would be if the kids had also ditched starchy carbs?
Since I can’t say it any better myself (although I have been saying it for years), perhaps it’s time you heard it from the study authors themselves. They concluded:
“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.”
The researchers also said:
“This study definitively shows that sugar is metabolically harmful not because of its calories or its effects on weight; rather sugar is metabolically harmful because it’s sugar.”
This truly dispels the myth that all calories are created equal.
Funny enough, when the kids’ diets didn’t have added sugar, they reported feeling fuller and thought they were eating more than usual. Even though the total calorie count was the same.
The reason? Removing sugar from your bloodstream helps your body recognize the cues for being satiated, so you don’t overeat.
The same thing happens with my New Hamptons Health Miracle. Which is one of the reasons it is so easy to follow.
This study did come up short in a few ways. There was no control group (unless you count the millions of kids who DO eat mounds of added sugar every day) and it only lasted a few days.
But if this study proved anything, it was that eliminating just one thing — sugar — has a profound, favorable effect on overall health.