Cutting sugar could improve the health of obese kids in just 10 days, new research suggests. That’s almost longer than it would take for them to eat all their chocolate Easter bunny stash.
New research financed by the National Institutes of Health found dramatic improvements in kids’ blood pressure, cholesterol and other markers of health after removing added sugar from their diets and replacing foods that contained them with other carbs.
The study was created to help answer the long-debated question: Is it the sugar that’s harming health, or is the weight gain that comes from eating so much of it what contributes to illness over the long term?
After 10 days, the 43 children in the study showed dramatic improvements, despite losing little or no weight. The findings add to the argument that all calories are not created equal, and they suggest that those from sugar are especially likely to contribute to type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases, which are on the rise in children, the study’s lead author, Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Benioff Children’s Hospital of the University of California, San Francisco, told The New York Times.
“This paper says we can turn a child’s metabolic health around in 10 days without changing calories and without changing weight--just by taking the added sugars out of their diet,” he said. “From a clinical standpoint, from a health care standpoint, that’s very important.”
The research was published in the journal Obesity. A survey conducted last summer found that two-thirds of consumers are concerned about excess sugar, though their sugar-reducing behaviors vary widely.