Less sugar = fewer calories = weight loss

Photo by catface3 (Lia) via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

NPR’s food blog, The Salt, recently reported on a scientific “mega-study” that carefully examined the research literature on the role of sugar intake on human weight gain and loss. You will be shocked — shocked!!! — to learn that

the 68 studies … together confirmed that adults who upped their intake of sugary foods or drank sugar-sweetened drinks gained 1.6 pounds a year, while people who cut back on sugar lost about the same amount. The results were reported in the British Medical Journal.

“What’s emerged most clearly is that sugar in the form of [sweetened] water, sodas, fruit drinks, energy drinks, is especially problematic,” says Walter Willett, a professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and author of an editorial that accompanies the new study. He thinks that’s because it’s easier to drink than eat. “It’s almost impossible to eat 17 teaspoons of sugar, but it’s very easy to drink at 20-ounce soda with 17 teaspoons of sugar.”

The weight gain seen in the BMJ review is probably just due to the energy in sugar, the researchers say, not because of any uniquely bad effects of fructose or sucrose.

Head here for the full story, which includes some great links, including one to the Center for Science in the Public Interest “Xtreme Eating 2013” hall of shame.

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