A new study suggests that eating less sugar may moderately but significantly reduce body weight.
Eating foods high in refined sugars causes a large increase in blood glucose. When the blood glucose rises, the pancreas is signaled to release insulin. Instead of turning the glucose into glucagon, which can immediately be used as energy in the body, the body releases too much insulin. The result is increased storage of fat in the body.
Many health conditions, including obesity and diabetes, have been associated with excess sugar consumption. Obesity occurs when an individual has an increased amount of body fat. Overconsumption of foods such as candy, sodas and desserts may lead to weight gain and obesity. Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a chronic health condition where the body is unable to produce enough insulin and properly break down sugar in the blood. About 80 percent of individuals with type 2 diabetes are overweight.
In a recent study, researchers conducted a comprehensive literature search for studies evaluating the effects of sugar consumption on body weight in both adults and children. To be included, each study needed to report total sugar intake, intake of foods or drinks containing sugar or intake of a component of total sugar, along with a body fat measurement. Thirty well-designed clinical trials and 38 cohort studies were ultimately identified for inclusion.
The researchers found that in adults who did not previously maintain any regular dietary restrictions, lower sugar intake was associated with a significant reduction in body weight (0.80 kilogram). Conversely increased sugar intake was significantly linked to weight gain (0.75 kilogram). A change in body weight was lacking when sugar was substituted with carbohydrates of equal energy.
The results for children showed that overall weight was not affected by lower sugar intake; however, the authors noted that there was a low compliance rate to the recommended diet in these trials. When reviewing data on the consumption of sweetened beverages, the highest consumption was linked to a 55 percent increased risk of being overweight or obese when compared to those who consumed the least.
The authors concluded that sugar consumption may significantly affect overall body weight. Additional research is warranted to further evaluate these findings.
For more information about sugar free diets, please visit Natural Standard's Health & Wellness Database.