The recent 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Report has finally included a recommendation to decrease sugar intake, saying: “Strong and consistent evidence shows that intake of added sugars from food and/or sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with excess body weight in children and adults.”
We applaud this step in the right direction! I remember when I was younger being told sugar isn’t bad for you… that it supplies energy and it’s fat free!
Fortunately the tide is turning. It’s been reassuring to see the popular press getting more daring in publishing articles about the research showing the sugar-disease connection.
But the research linking high sugar intake and disease has been around for a while. One wonders why, when the evidence has been there for years, has it taken so long to reach the guidelines?
Here is an example of a study that never rose to the popular consciousness. A half-decade ago, Reducing Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Is Associated With Reduced Blood Pressure was published in the American Heart Association’s (AHA) journal Circulation.
Even back in 2010 these authors acknowledged the well-established connection between disease and sugar, saying: “Increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) has been associated with an elevated risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type II diabetes mellitus. “
This particular prospective study looked specifically at sugared beverage consumption and its effect on blood pressure. Their research on more than 800 people who were followed for 18 months showed:
“Reduced consumption of SSBs and sugars was significantly associated with reduced BP. Reducing SSB and sugar consumption may be an important dietary strategy to lower BP.”
They also found that drinking diet soda or coffee was NOT associated with an increase in blood pressure.
In a recent article that was a collaborative effort between the AHA and MedPage, the AHA acknowledges that they are now pulling back from the low salt mantra. They are starting to embrace the quality research that has shown that sugar and a high-carbohydrate diet are not the best approach for cardiovascular disorders.
Blood Pressure: Sugar Worse Than Salt? includes an interview with the author of a recent research review published in the British Medical Journal Open Heart. James Dinicolatonio stated that sodium restriction guidelines were not evidence-based and were:
“the greatest con in preventive nutrition in human history…the emphasis on lowering dietary sodium in guidelines aimed at reducing hypertension is misguided and not evidence-based.”
“Added sugars probably matter more than dietary sodium for hypertension, and fructose in particular may uniquely increase cardiovascular risk by inciting metabolic dysfunction and increasing blood pressure variability, myocardial oxygen demand, heart rate, and inflammation.”
This is real, folks. Spread the word.
The sugar in your coffee is worse for you than the coffee is.
It’s also worse than the salt you put on your eggs.
And by the way, the dietary guidelines report also blessed eggs – so enjoy the variety they bring to a low-carb way of eating!