Surprise: Sugar is Bad for Your Weight

A new review of all major trials once again show what everybody already ought to know: Sugar is bad for your weight.

The New meta-analysis on sugar sparks old debate

BMJ: Dietary sugars and body weight: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials and cohort studies

Is anybody surprised?

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  1. Shocking... truly shocking. I can't believe no one thought about this before.
  2. grinch
    From the study:

    "The most obvious mechanism by which increasing sugars might promote weight gain is by increasing energy consumption to an extent that exceeds energy output and distorts energy balance. For sugar sweetened beverages, it has been suggested that energy in liquid form could be less satiating than when derived from solid foods, resulting in increased consumption.104 Solid foods containing sugars are typically (although not invariably) energy dense, and frequent and substantial consumption of energy dense foods is associated with excessive weight gain and other measures of excess adiposity. We observed that isoenergetic replacement of dietary sugars with other macronutrients resulted in no change in weight (fig 5). This finding strongly suggested that energy imbalance is a major determinant of the potential for dietary sugars to influence measures of body fatness".

    In other words, sugar is empty calories, it has no magical effect on fat metabolism.

    Replies: #3, #4
  3. I don't agree with that statement.

    Glucose and fructose are metabolized in very different ways.

    Two diets, equal in every respect except that one group drinks a glucose-sweetened drink and the other a fructose-sweetened drink. Fructose group experiences adverse effects on health in various ways, glucose group does not.

    "These data suggest that dietary fructose specifically increases DNL, promotes dyslipidemia, decreases insulin sensitivity, and increases visceral adiposity in overweight/obese adults."

    A new study in humans found that fructose didn't increase satiety like glucose did:

    Then there are other things like hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance and leptin resistance, that can be attributed to excess fructose intake in the context of a western diet.

    There's a lot more to sugar than empty calories, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Conventional wisdom hasn't caught up to this yet.

    Reply: #5
  4. The key word is "isocaloric" replacement. Problem is that eating too much sugar (or other bad carbs) makes you eat too many calories, i.e. makes you too hungry. This problem is hidden by doing isocal replacements.

    Isocaloric replacements are interesting in the lab, but they're not very relevant for discussing people eating ad lib during everyday life.

  5. I agree. I wrote a post on the difference between glucose and fructose at
  6. bill
    Grinch #2:

    Nobody is claiming a "magical effect".

    They are claiming a physiological effect. Did this study replace sugars isocalorically with fat?


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