People commonly see sugar as a cause of obesity, resulting in a variety of health issues. But, what if just removing added sugar could impact health, even before it results in weight reduction? A study from the University of California, San Francisco, showed impressive changes from a group of children by doing just that for ten days.
The study looked at 43 children who were obese and pre-diabetic. Over ten days, the children were put on diets that replaced added sugars such as those found in candy, sugary cereal, and sugar-sweetened beverages, with complex carbohydrates found in fruits, bread and pasta.
Unlike other studies, the menu was planned to maintain the children’s body weight. This meant the children did not change how many calories they were eating. By only replacing added sugars, the researchers focused their attention on one key aspect of the children’s diets.
When the 10 days were up, there were some interesting results. The children’s health issues were largely positively affected, including lowering their blood pressure and heart rate. Since the researchers made sure the children had little to no weight loss during the study, the positive changes to their bodies can be directly tied to the removal of added sugars.
As the researchers note, the study supports the idea that reducing access to items such as soda and sugared cereal can improve health. They point to public health policies such as food labeling as a way to encourage healthier eating. Targeting sugar sweetened beverages is also effective. The DASH-NY tool, Local Strategies to Reduce SSB Consumption presents effective strategies used in New York City.