Obesity has become a plague that is sweeping the United States. Approximately one third of American adults are obese, and the prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents between two and 19 years of age is around 17 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The startling obesity statistics have been attributed primarily to poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle choices. However, making an effective change toward a healthier lifestyle may be possible in small and surprisingly simple steps.
A study published this week in Obesity (2015) uncovered some significant data that may help adults and children battle obesity and find a healthier way to live. The study funded by the National Institute of Health, University of California, San Francisco, and Touro University in California, involved 43 obese children.
Researchers reduced the amount of added sugar in the diets of participants while maintaining the same caloric intake and physical activity output over the duration of 10 days. The study concluded that after nine days, the children had decreased their cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and blood pressure. They had also shed a little weight.
Jean-Marc Schwartz, senior researcher of the study and professor at Touro University stated, “The positive message is that you can very quickly reverse a bad picture [of health] in a very simple way. I have never seen results as striking or significant.” Lead author of the study, Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at Benioff Children’s Hospital, University of California, San Francisco, also noted that added sugar intake needs to be regulated and is in fact harmful to health.
The study also comes on the heels of the Food and Drug Administration’s new labeling requirements for added sugars. Food manufacturers will now be required to list a Daily Value (DV) or daily percent value for added sugars per the 10 percent total recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Of course, most of the food industry is up in arms over the new requirements, claiming there is a lack of proof associating sugar and negative health effects. This new study may shed some light and offer more undeniable evidence of how bad added sugars are for health. “This study demonstrates that a calorie is not a calorie,” Lustig commented to media sources.
This is not the first study to oust added sugar. The American Heart Association (AHA) urges you to cut your added sugar intake to no more than half your calorie intake. The AHA also states, “Added sugars contribute zero nutrients but many added calories that can lead to extra pounds or even obesity.”
Currently the problem with added sugars is that you may not even know you are consuming them in some of the products you buy. Until the food industry fully complies with the FDA’s new requirements, your added sugar intake may be unknown. The best alternative to added sugars is to eat more foods with natural sugars, like fruits. Steer clear of processed or manufactured foods and eat a diet of locally grown fruits and veggies. This is a surefire way to ensure you will get the nutrients you need without the added sugars.
Do you know if there are added sugars in your food?
Stephen Seifert is a writer, professor, adventurer and a health & fitness guru. His flair for travel and outdoor adventure allows him to enjoy culture and traditions different than his own. A healthy diet, routine fitness and constant mental development is the cornerstone to Stephen’s life.