RSSA sugar induced health crisis

Posted on Wed, 25 Jun 14

A sugar induced health crisis

Sugar is only one of several factors that contribute to serious health problems but it is a very important one, and a new review points out why, and what we can do about it.

A review by two of the worlds foremost experts on diet, diabetes and obesity in the leading journal Diabetes Care links sugar, especially added sugars and sugar sweetened beverages, to serious adverse health effects.

The evidence provides a strong case against sugar with “meta-analyses suggest that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) is related to the risk of diabetes, the metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. Drinking two 16-ounce SSBs per day for 6 months induced features of the metabolic syndrome and fatty liver.” And “randomized controlled trials in children and adults lasting 6 months to 2 years have shown that lowering the intake of soft drinks reduced weight gain.”

“About 75% of all foods and beverages contain added sugar in a large array of forms” they point out, and “consumption of soft drinks has increased fivefold since 1950.”

So what can we do about it? The authors make a call to action and suggest the following:

Recommendations for individuals:

  1. Chose water, unsweetened coffee, or tea in place of calorically sweetened beverages.
  2. Chose and eat fruit rather than drink fruit juice or fruit drinks.
  3. If you drink calorically sweetened beverages, reduce your levels to the average 6 ounces per day for adults (.19 years) and 7 ounces for kids aged 218 years, which was the intake in 19771978.

Recommendations for society:

  1. Reduce average intake of sugar to the levels seen in 19771978.
  2. Make healthy alternatives comparable in cost to the items they are expected to replace.

Recommendations for government:

  1. Provide greater subsidies for vegetable and fruit crops.
  2. Provide added financial incentives for government-funded food programs to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.
  3. Provide incentives for stores in low income areas to carry fresh produce.
  4. Add guidance about beverages and sugar intake to Dietary Guidelines.


Bray GA, Popkin BM. Dietary sugar and body weight: have we reached a crisis in the epidemic of obesity and diabetes?: health be damned! Pour on the sugar. Diabetes Care. 2014 Apr;37(4):950-6.

Tags: Sugar, Obesity, Diabetes

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