Kids Who Cut Sugar for 9 Days Can Radically Improve Health
Children who stop eating processed sugar for just nine days may see dramatic health benefits, researchers reported this week.
The study, led by a team at the University of California San Francisco, included 43 obese Latino and black children between the ages of 9 and 18. All of the children in the study also had high blood pressure, too much fat in their livers or high cholesterol.
The kids were fed a specific diet that did not exclude processed foods like pizza, but that did exclude added sugar from foods like sweets or sodas. Each child followed a diet similar to what they normally ate - minus only the processed sugar.
"This 'child-friendly' study diet included various no- or low-sugar added processed foods including turkey hot dogs, pizza, bean burritos, baked potato chips, and popcorn that were purchased at local supermarkets," researchers wrote.
After just nine days on the diet, serious health improvements were seen, while the kids also reported feeling less hungry.
"They told us it felt like so much more food, even though they were consuming the same number of calories as before, just with significantly less sugar. Some said we were overwhelming them with food," said Jean-Marc Schwarz, study author.
The childrens' blood pressure reduced by an average of five points, and their LDL or "bad" cholesterol fell 10 points. Additionally, blood sugar and insulin levels were reduced and weight loss was the norm.
"Despite intensive efforts to maintain each participant's body weight at baseline levels, weight decreased by (about two pounds) over the 10 days of intervention," the researchers wrote.
While the fast results were surprising to the researchers, they note that sugar can affect metabolism in a variety of ways - including causing the liver to store excess sugar into fat or causing the body to retain excess sodium and, therefore, water weight.
"I have never seen results as striking or significant in our human studies; after only nine days of fructose restriction, the results are dramatic and consistent from subject to subject," Shwartz said.
Source: NBC News