New study: Replacing sugar is beneficial

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A new study from the University of California in San Francisco says that sugar is associated with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess belly fat and abnormal cholesterol. The study was led by Dr. Robert Lustig.

Normally, health professionals have told their patients who complain of these symptoms to diet and exercise in order to lose weight. While this is still the best approach, this new research suggests that patients may see faster results if they target their sugar consumption in particular.

The study examined 43 obese children between the ages of nine and 18. Each of their diets were altered by replacing the sugary foods with starchy foods. The overall amount of calories stayed the same.

“We took chicken teriyaki out, and put turkey hot dogs in. We took sweetened yogurt out, and put baked potato chips in. We took pastries out and put bagels in,” says Lustig. “So there was no change in the children’s weight and no change in calories.”

The result: Their blood pressure decreased, cholesterol decreased, liver function tests improved, and even fasting blood sugar and insulin levels in their bodies dropped.

“After nine days of having their total dietary sugar reduced to 10 percent of their daily calories, however, they showed improvements in all of these measures. Overall, their fasting blood sugar levels dropped by 53 percent, along with the amount of insulin their bodies produced since insulin is normally needed to break down carbohydrates and sugars. Their triglyceride and LDL levels also declined and, most importantly, they showed less fat in their liver.”