Yes, anti-sugar crusader Dr. Robert Lustig, he of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco, published a paper today announcing, definitively, that sugar is bad: Too much of it can cause diabetes and heart disease in children. I’m not a doctor, but here’s my response: no shit.
At least he was thorough! For the study, Lustig met with 43 obese kids and, for 10 days, replaced the sugary things in their diet with starchy foods. He writes in the Guardian:
We were astonished at the results. Diastolic blood pressure decreased by five points. Blood fat levels dropped precipitously. Fasting glucose decreased by five points, glucose tolerance improved markedly, insulin levels fell by 50 percent. In other words, we reversed their metabolic disease in just 10 days, even while eating processed food, by just removing the added sugar and substituting starch, and without changing calories or weight. Can you imagine how much healthier they would have been if we hadn’t given them the starch?
Too much of anything is a bad thing, but Lustig’s study uncovered some nuances about the types of calories we consume. He continues:
This study establishes that all calories are not the same (“a calorie is not a calorie”); substituting starch for sugar improved these children’s metabolic health unrelated to calories or weight gain. While this study does not prove that sugar is the sole cause of metabolic disease, it clearly demonstrates it is a modifiable one.
Makes sense! Although food and beverage companies are already on the warpath: As an American Beverage Association spokesman puts it, “That’s the problem with studies like this. They raise an alarm without the proof.” For me, the problem is that this all sounds a little too much like a Parks and Recreation episode. But still, prayers up for sugar!
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