A new study indicates that cutting most of the sugar from a child's diet can immediately improve health.
Researchers note that the step will improve health even if the diet still contains the same amount of calories and carbohydrates as before, a new study suggests.
Researchers put a group of 43 obese children on a nine-day diet that severely restricted sugar intake, but replaced added sugars with starchy foods to maintain the children's intake of calories and carbs.
That diet caused immediate reductions in their hypertension and improvement in their blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
"Every aspect of their metabolic health got better, with no change in calories. 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," said study author Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in San Francisco.
Dr. Jeffrey Mechanick, director of metabolic support in the division of endocrinology, diabetes and bone disease at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine in New York City said that the study raises serious concerns about the health effects of sugar.
"It's an important study that adds to the weight of evidence, and really calls out for us to examine the fact that eating patterns, and what a healthy eating pattern is for the American public, are as important as total caloric intake," said Mechanick, who is president-elect of the American College of Endocrinology and a past president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
The study was published online Oct. 27 in the journal Obesity.