Eating less sugar can improve children's health in less than two weeks, Touro University study finds
Eating less sugar can improve children's health in less than two weeks, according to a new study conducted jointly by Vallejo's Touro University California and UC San Francisco, officials of both institutions announced this week.
Lead author and pediatric endocrinologist Robert Lustig, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco, said the study proves it's not sugar's calories that are so bad for you.
Study participants were identified through UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco's Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health Clinic, the authors said. Recruitment was limited to Latino and African-American youth because of their higher risk for certain metabolic syndrome-related conditions like high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
The study tested 43 obese children between 9 and 18 with at least one other chronic metabolic disorder, by removing sugar, but maintaining calorie levels.
"They told us it felt like so much more food, even though they were consuming the same number of calories as before, just with significantly less sugar. Some said we were overwhelming them with food," Schwarz said.
After just nine days on the sugar-restricted diet, virtually every aspect of the participants' metabolic health improved, without change in weight, the authors said.
"This study demonstrates that 'a calorie is not a calorie.' The source of the calories determines where in the body they go. Sugar calories are the worst, because they turn to fat in the liver, driving insulin resistance, and driving the risk for diabetes, heart, and liver disease," Lustig said. "This has enormous implications for the food industry, chronic disease, and health care costs."
Study funding came from the National Institutes of Health, UCSF Clinical Translational Science Institute and Touro University.