Scientists still trying to figure out how added sugar affects your health


This big study (~26,000 individuals), didn’t determine causation, but observed that Europeans who had one can of sugar sweetened drink had a higher incidence of type II diabetes. No such link was found for juice or nectar. I used to love an occasional coke, but this and other studies have made me drop it.

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I don’t understand why they keep doing studies that don’t differentiate between kinds of sugar.

"Thanks to soda and the sneaky added sugars in store-bought foods, 25% of Americans consume a diet that is 25% sugar. In fact, all it takes to hit that is three cans of soda on top of an otherwise sugar-free diet. "

How do you measure that a diet is “25% sugar?” By weight? by source of calorie? By volume?

Also, how do you conclude that three cans of soda create a situation where 25% of your diet is sugar without knowing the rest of your diet?

Boing Boing: You are better than this sloppy work. Be clear, always.


hey, that’s great news! It means that until we have lots of impossible-to-argue-with scientific evidence proving that a 25% sugar diet is harmful to us, we can keep drinking 3 cans of soda a day! Or maybe cut it down to 2 cans to play it safe. Thanks, modern-western-perspective-on-science!

"How do you measure that a diet is “25% sugar?”

I’m fairly sure that it is by calories. That’s the usual way it is written about.

“Also, how do you conclude that three cans of soda create a situation where 25% of your diet is sugar without knowing the rest of your diet?”

Multiplication, mostly. The blurb says “in an otherwise sugar free diet” so… 182 calories in a coke (all sugar) * 3 cans = 546 * 4 = 2184. I think 2000 calories is one of the standard daily amounts therefore 3 cokes would be a bit over 25%.


Thanks for the link. I knew this couldn’t be the only such study regarding sugar in the diet.

This is sloppy reporting due to vague use of terms. The last paragraph of the article specifies that the “sugar” used in the experiment was HFCS. There’s a growing body of evidence that HFCS is far more dangerous to the body than sucrose (because it’s in essence “predigested” and hits the bloodstream like a runaway train). The vague term “sugar” makes the reader think “table sugar”; no inference about table sugar can be drawn without specific testing.

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In before the corn people and others claim that corn sugar = fruit sugar, despite, as you say, research showing problems with HFCS and no research showing similar problems with unsweetened fruit juice or fruits.

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If scientists are baffled as to the effects of huge amounts of sugar in our diet, how can they possibly determine what GMO foods are doing to us? It just demonstrates to me how complicated this all is and how little we truly understand.

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Despite the issues people have pointed out in the reporting about the study, I’m interested to know what they discover.

Back when the big diet was low fat, I lost a lot of weight counting calories. A lot of my diet actually was sugar or sweeteners, because I have a sweet tooth. I just knew how much I could eat and still lose weight. So, it probably wasn’t an overall healthy diet but I looked great.

Recently I read a great book Why Calories Count that basically says that the only factor in weight control is calories, and it described some really wild experiments done with all kinds of weird combinations of food that point to this conclusion.

Anyway, I know that weight control and optimum health aren’t the same thing, but I do think there are a lot of people who do what I did and get a fairly high portion of calories from sugar in order to maintain a calorie limit. It’d be nice to get a broader picture of healthy eating than just slimming. Plus, if the extra sugar really makes no difference as long as calories are down, a lot of people might figure out a way to eat “healthy” that works for them and not worry so much about, say, cutting out all pleasure from food in order to be good.

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I read somewhere that one of the reasons there is so much more sugar in our diet is because of the switch to HFCS, because it takes four times as much of it to taste as sweet as regular sugar.

The difference between HFCS and “table sugar” is about 10% more fructose than sucrose. (Things I learned arguing about this on the internet just last month!) When people say “table sugar” they think sucrose, they are wrong.

I’m anti all processed sugars. Maple Syrup and honey are all I need thank you! :slight_smile:

Perhaps like this guy?

Yep - exactly. He I think was trying to show his students that losing weight was just a calories in calories out equation but that nutrition was about more than that. He got a lot of press for the weight loss, but I understand that his whole point was to show his kids that there was more to good nutrition than just losing weight.

I think that the typical person who carries a few extra pounds is probably not the health disaster that doctors like us to think, and that the true issues lie with those who are really underweight and really overweight.

I don’t think that’s right. I think the reason that manufacturers use it is is to use LESS product and they do that by making the High Fructose Corn Syrup taste MORE sweet.

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I’m guessing you’ve never eaten corn syrup or HFCS before. Something like Karo corn syrup tastes exactly like you’d expect sweetness wise.

I think the main reason manufactures use it is because the government subsidizes corn to the point of HCFS being cheaper than any sugar/water mixture. From a transportation and mixing perspective it certainly has it’s advantages, but nothing that couldn’t be achieved with regular sugar simple syrup. That’s why most non-American soda is sweetened with real sugar, not HFCS.

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It’s not that it isn’t sweet, it’s just that when added to recipes,you have to quadruple it to get the same level of apparent sweetness in the finished product.

This is the study that made me doubt that all calories are created equal.

Yes, it’s only rats, but an equivalent study on humans has not been done, except for that huge largely unmonitored study where they replaced the sucrose with HFCS in the diets of most Americans and sort of noticed the population of the US is fatter. It would be relatively easy for people involved in the corn lobby to put rats or for that matter their own executives on a corn sweetener only diet to debunk this study. Until someone has, I’m saying HFCS may well be more metabolically dangerous than sucrose.