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

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e7492 (Published 15 January 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:e7492

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

It is always very difficult to study individual components of the human diet. The quest to uncover the ultimate cause of obesity and/or cardiovascular disease seems to hold much interest in the scientific world. Ultimately the public become confused by so many conflicting theories.

Sugar, unlike fat is not an essential nutrient. Sugar is only added to food in the same way as salt and pepper to make it more palatable. Sugar content is particularly high in food aimed for consumption by children. Do children only consume 10% of their diet as sugar, I very much doubt it.

Glucose is of course ultimately the human bodies’ fuel; excess glucose unused by activity is stored as fat. All carbohydrate is converted to glucose. The problem with high sugar diets is they cause insulin spikes followed by a rapid low blood glucose level which often leads to a need for another sugar rush. This undoubtedly leads to problems such as insulin resistance and abdominal obesity. People lead erratic lives with lack of consistency such as regular meal times and expect good health. Consumption of fats and proteins slow digestion and so aid satiety, because they don’t contain glucose/sugar, they don't contribute to erratic blood sugar levels. A balanced diet is paramount to good health. It is such a travesty that the essential component of fat in the diet has been given such a bad reputation.

The study by Morenga et al (1) reviews ‘free living people involving ad libitum diets’ – this is the crux of the problem; diet and lifestyle need to be major considerations, we can’t just do whatever we like. A more holistic approach on how to achieve optimal individual health is urgently required.

(1) Morenga Lisa Te, Mallard Simonette, Mann Jim. Dietary sugars and body weight: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials and cohort studies BMJ 2013;346:e7492

Competing interests: No competing interests

22 January 2013
Jane E Collis
Independent Researcher
No affiliation
Kenilworth Warks UK
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