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Reduced Sugar Intake Improves Health of Overweight Children and Adults

Reduced Sugar Intake Improves Health of Overweight Children and Adults

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  • Metabolic function can be improved in overweight children and adults by reducing sugar intake
  • About 75 percent of packaged foods and drinks contain high-fructose corn syrup
  • High consumption of sugar is associated with increased fat synthesis in the liver

Overweight children and adults who reduce their sugar intake have shown improved measures of health in less than two weeks, reveals a new study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA).

Osteopathic physicians suggest overweight children and adults to reduce their sugar intake to improve their metabolic function.


High-fructose corn syrup is a simple sugar fructose. Keeping this simple sugar fructose off the menu can help prevent health issues like obesity, type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease.

The research team noted that fructose generates the conversion of sugar to fat.

The results of several carefully controlled studies have been summarized by JAOA review. These results found an association with high consumption of sugar and increased fat synthesis in the liver.

Fructose is not metabolized in the brain and also does not provide any nutritional value. The hunger doesn't go away as the body converts fructose to fat and the body cannot recognize that you've eaten it.

Tyree Winters, DO, an osteopathic pediatrician focused on childhood obesity, said that many patients are always hungry, as what they are eating is not helping heir bodies to function.

Cut Down on High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Fructose has been identified as a damaging type of simple sugar by JAOA review.

About 90 percent of fructose is metabolized in the liver and is converted to fat faster than glucose by 18.9 times, when compared to glucose, where only 20 percent is metabolized in the liver and the rest 80 percent is metabolized throughout the body.

High-fructose corn syrup is found in about 75 percent of packaged foods and drinks as it is cheaper and is found to be 20 percent sweeter than raw sugar.

Fructose stimulates the metabolic pathways, which converts it to fat and is stored in the body, increasing weight. Simultaneously, the brain thinks that the body is starving and therefore, becomes lethargic and less likely to exercise.

Dr. Winters said: "If we cut out the high-fructose corn syrup and make way for food that the body can properly metabolize, the hunger and sugar cravings fade. At the same time, patients are getting healthier without dieting or counting calories, as this one change has the potential to prevent serious diseases and help restore health."

Limit Sugar Intake to Fight Overweight and Obesity

Once an individual gains particular amount of weight and also developed eating habits that rely on packaged and processed foods with high-fructose corn syrup, change can be appalling.

Historically, physicians have advised patients to restructure their daily diet and to start exercising intensively, and a plan to check the changes that occur in the body after a month or more. But this approach was found to be hardly working, as obesity epidemic is ever increasing.

Dr. Winters has suggested to check the blood instead for about every two weeks after the patients have agreed to begin to limit their sugar intake. This method helps patients see clear benefits for their effort.

"That single change in diet improves metabolic results in less than two weeks. Imagine the power of doing a 'before and after' comparison with a patient, so they can see for themselves that their health is improving. Seeing those results, instead of just stepping on a scale, can motivate them to keep going," Dr. Winters explains.

Role of Fructose in Obesity

Sugar is generally categorized as an "empty caloric food" and is commonly put under the starch category. Table sugar or sucrose is made up of half glucose and half fructose. It's the fructose that makes it sweet and is the molecule we crave to consume. At the same time, it's the fructose that is harmful and is the cause for metabolic diseases.

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a sweetener made from corn. In composition, HFCS is nearly identical to table sugar (sucrose), which is composed of 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose.

It is used in foods and beverages because of the various benefits it offers. In addition to providing sweetness at a level equivalent to sugar, HFCS makes foods such as bread and breakfast cereal "brown" better when baked, gives chewy breakfast bars their soft texture and also preserves freshness. Fructose consumption in the form of a big gulp does not reduce the volume of food needed to feel satiated, leading to excessive food consumption.

  1. Jean-Marc Schwarz, Michael Clearfield, Kathleen Mulligan. Conversion of Sugar to Fat: Is Hepatic de Novo Lipogenesis Leading to Metabolic Syndrome and Associated Chronic Diseases? The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, ( 2017). Vol. 117, 520-527. DOI:10.7556/jaoa.2017.102

Source: Eurekalert

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