Health of obese children can be improved in just 10 days by reducing sugar intake, says a study!
Obesity is a major cause of worry especially in case of children brought up in developed urban areas. Excess weight gain is always known to bring along with it numerous health problems. Parents of obese children are always concerned about the health of their children. Metabolic syndrome is known to affect obese children and their health adversely. That is the reason why maintaining body weight is a major concern for children as well as for adults.
1 What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome refers to a cluster of health conditions. Here we have listed down these health conditions:
- Increased blood glucose level
- Excess body fat especially around the waist
- Abnormal levels of cholesterol
- Increased blood pressure
2 How does Metabolic Syndrome Affect Human Health?
A metabolic syndrome in a child is a warning sign as it may lead to many different health problems as the child grows up. Here we have listed down a few of the major health concerns that may be indicated by metabolic syndrome in a child:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Heart Disease
- Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
While obese children are more prone to get these diseases when they grow up, there are also chances of getting these diseases in childhood itself.
3 The Study Conducted on Obese Children
The WATCH (Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health Clinic) helped to identify participants for the study. It identified 43 children who fall in the age group of 9 to 18 years and have at least one of the Metabolic Syndrome conditions. The diet of these children was regulated for nine days. They were given foods including snacks and beverages. The only change in the diet was made by replacing sugars by starch. This ensured that the fat, protein and calorie intake of the child is not affected. The diet permitted fruits but added dietary sugar was restricted.
4 Facts Revealed By The Study
By altering the diet of the children being studied, their total sugar intake was reduced from 28% to 10% and their total fructose intake was reduced from 12% to 4%. They were fed on kid food such as hot dog, pizza and potato chips. Each of the children were given weighing scales to measure their weight everyday. The objective was to ensure that the weight remains stable by reducing sugars without altering the overall calories. The results revealed something quite different from the common expectation.
There was actually a reduction in weight after the new diet was started. Each aspect of the metabolic health of these children also showed remarkable improvement.
LDL Cholesterol – that is commonly referred to as bad cholesterol – reduced by 10 points. The triglycerides reduced by 33 points. There was also a 5mm decrease in diastolic blood pressure. The insulin levels in the body of the participating kid went down by one third. The fasting blood glucose also reduced by 5 points. This remarkable change happened in just 10 days after altering the diet.
5 What the Experts Say?
One of the authors on the paper on this study, Jean-Marc Schwarz from Touro University, California feels optimistic with the revelations of the study. He feels that the results of the study are striking and significant. He says that it shows that the bad picture of health can be reversed quickly by simple reducing the sugar intake.
Doctor Robert Lustig, paediatric endocrinologist of Benioff Children’s Hospital, who was from the University of California, was also the lead author of the study conducted. Lustig revealed that every aspect of the health of child participants improved while they continued to eat junk food, just because they reduced the intake of sugar. He argued that increased sugar intake is thus the major cause of metabolic syndrome. He added that sugar calories are the worst and the other calories may not be as harmful.