Americans love sugar—and our kids are no exception. But our infatuation with the sweet stuff is wreaking havoc on our health and contributing to a growing obesity problem. The good news? It’s never too late to help kids adopt better eating habits, and a new study shows that when we say goodbye to sugar, better health is quick to follow.
Childhood obesity expert and University of California professor Robert Lustig examined the link between a high-sugar diet and metabolic syndrome using a group of more than 40 obese children—all of whom suffered already from at least one chronic health issue (such as high blood pressure or signs of fatty liver).
After just 10 days of following a diet in which all sources of added sugar were removed, all of the children in the study showed vast improvements in health. On average, triglyceride levels dropped 33 points and LDL cholesterol levels decreased by 5 points. Lustig and his team also noted improvements in blood sugar and insulin levels (associated with a reduced risk of diabetes) as well as improvements in liver function.
Lustig and his colleagues believe the same benefits likely apply to adults, and they recommend families start slowly by identifying sources of added sugar in the diet. Then, small changes may be made to swap sugary foods and beverages for healthier options.