T Nation

Sugar & Obesity: No Link?

Interesting story from Yahoo news:

SUN VALLEY, Idaho (Reuters) - There is no link between sugar and obesity because health problems linked to weight gain are caused by increased consumption of calories and a lack of exercise, a U.S. sugar industry group said Wednesday.

“Every major, comprehensive review of the total body of scientific literature continues to exonerate sugars intake as the causative factor in any lifestyle disease, including obesity,” Andrew Briscoe, president and chief executive of the Sugar Association, said at the annual meeting of the main U.S. industry group American Sugar Alliance.

The Sugar Association promotes the consumption of sugar as a part of a healthy diet and lifestyle through the use of sound science and research, he said.

The group’s main point is that excessive consumption of calories and a lack of exercise would spur weight gain, regardless of sugar consumption.

Briscoe said that U.S. per capita consumption of sugar has declined to an estimated 63 pounds in 2002 from 102 pounds in 1972. Including waste, spoilage and other loss, the actual per capita sugar consumption figure declines to 45 pounds per person.

“We believe in calories in and calories out. Sugar is not a part of obesity issues,” he said.

Briscoe said most consumers on average estimate the number of calories in a teaspoon of sugar at 76 calories when the actual number is 15.

So, if it is calories in vs calories out, what part of “sugar is nothing but empty calories” is it that they don’t understand?

[quote]Chris Shugart wrote:

SUN VALLEY, Idaho (Reuters) - There is no link between sugar and obesity because health problems linked to weight gain are caused by increased consumption of calories and a lack of exercise, a U.S. sugar industry group said Wednesday.
[/quote]

I nominate this opening sentence as the stupidest damn thing I’ve heard all month.

It’s almost as bad as the tobacco industry telling us that smoking isn’t bad - it’s the cancer that kills.

To add to what VROOM said…

Where is the fact that sugar-sweetened and laden foods are almost always a) high-caloric b)stimulate appetite and c)are almost always over-eaten?

Geeez…

Mufasa

Besides which, what about the link between excessive sugar and diabetes?

If it weren’t so sad/scary, I’d have to laugh.

I have to wonder if Big Sugar is fiddling with some numbers here. Given that soft drink consumption is through the roof and kids drink more soda than water… are they all swilling diet? I doubt it.

interesting article and posts for sure…

but let’s not forget that i can become one big fat, obese bastard by eating nothing but fried chicken, tatter-tots and greaseburgers.

sugar is only part of the equation.

SNICKERS bars for everyone!

MicroSlash - “Doing my part for the American sugar industry since 1986…”

[quote]Chris Shugart wrote:

Briscoe said that U.S. per capita consumption of sugar has declined to an estimated 63 pounds in 2002 from 102 pounds in 1972. Including waste, spoilage and other loss, the actual per capita sugar consumption figure declines to 45 pounds per person.

I have to wonder if Big Sugar is fiddling with some numbers here. Given that soft drink consumption is through the roof and kids drink more soda than water… are they all swilling diet? I doubt it. [/quote]

Wow…

Another interesting aside is soda machines in schools. Are there still some groups pushing for these abominations to get taken out completely?

It’s sad, but the few big soda companies tend to sponsor so many school activities/functions, they actually seem to have a pretty good stronghold on the educational system.

-Nate

[quote]Chris Shugart wrote:

Briscoe said that U.S. per capita consumption of sugar has declined to an estimated 63 pounds in 2002 from 102 pounds in 1972. Including waste, spoilage and other loss, the actual per capita sugar consumption figure declines to 45 pounds per person.

I have to wonder if Big Sugar is fiddling with some numbers here. Given that soft drink consumption is through the roof and kids drink more soda than water… are they all swilling diet? I doubt it. [/quote]

BINGO!

HFCS is killing as many Americans down the road as tobacco is today. Parents please do your kids a huge favor–if you do nothing else nutritionally, get them away from soda.

It’s not the only culprit here, but it is simply the biggest, easiest group of wated calories on the market.

CHRIS IS A TANK.

Mufasa hit it on the head and it ties in to what Rainjack said that it’s not the smoking that kills you, it’s the cancer, emphysema, etc. It’s true that sugar doesn’t cause you to gain weight - it’s the subsequent surge of insulin that lowers blood sugar and makes you hungrier than before you ate the sugary snack that causes weight gain.

[quote]Chris Shugart wrote:
I have to wonder if Big Sugar is fiddling with some numbers here. Given that soft drink consumption is through the roof and kids drink more soda than water… are they all swilling diet? I doubt it. [/quote]

I think the problem there is that soda is sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup, probably worse than real sugar, also and enemy of sugar growers. so I don’t think this organization is counting to gallons of soda kids drink per day in the US.

Starkmann
P.S. I hate Pepsi corp and Coca Cola because I am a weak willed fatty who can’t seem to stay on the wagon when it comes t that crap.

In one of my medical research classes, a classmate ran recent NHANES data and found no correlation with child overweightness and sugar-sweetened beverages. We could not believe the results. We were shocked. She looked at both girls and boys between like 11-17 yr. old with other variables and confounders. Every which way she ran the data, there was no real correlation. She found some trends, but nothing concrete. I should say some of the published data is ambigious. It seems that common sense would say there is a link. We still believe there is a link, but just don’t how to get there yet. I guess only time will truly tell when the kids have similar central adiposity of 55 yr. old glutton.

[quote]fractional knowledge wrote:
In one of my medical research classes, a classmate ran recent NHANES data and found no correlation with child overweightness and sugar-sweetened beverages. We could not believe the results. We were shocked. She looked at both girls and boys between like 11-17 yr. old with other variables and confounders. Every which way she ran the data, there was no real correlation. She found some trends, but nothing concrete. I should say some of the published data is ambigious. It seems that common sense would say there is a link. We still believe there is a link, but just don’t how to get there yet. I guess only time will truly tell when the kids have similar central adiposity of 55 yr. old glutton.[/quote]

Why would you be shocked that obesity is not related to simply one thing? That isn’t shocking. They are fat, not because of sodas, but because of their overall lifestyle. That is just as lame as blaming obesity on Mc Donald’s. If the kids were running 3 miles a day and were involved in sports, they could probably get away with eating a daily Big Mac. Add that same Big Mac back in on some kid who waddles to class, never walks more than 30 steps on his own and who can give you the run down on PSP video software, and you will get one fat ass bastard.

I think some people are overreacting to this. Technically speaking, the sugar industry is right - sugar consumption doesn’t automatically lead to obesity.

However, given how easy it is to overconsume sugar (in contrast to overconsuming, say, vegetables), the sugar industry’s comments certainly are misleading.

As far as the medical research you’re talking about goes, I don’t think the lack of correlation between sugar intake and obesity for 11-17 year olds is surprising at all. Afterall, as I remember those ages, everyone, skinny and obese alike, consumed copious amounts of soda, candy and other sweets.

Just be wary of letting your preconceptions lead you astray. If an exhaustive search fails to show correlation, the let it be. Look at other factors.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
fractional knowledge wrote:
In one of my medical research classes, a classmate ran recent NHANES data and found no correlation with child overweightness and sugar-sweetened beverages. We could not believe the results. We were shocked. She looked at both girls and boys between like 11-17 yr. old with other variables and confounders. Every which way she ran the data, there was no real correlation. She found some trends, but nothing concrete. I should say some of the published data is ambigious. It seems that common sense would say there is a link. We still believe there is a link, but just don’t how to get there yet. I guess only time will truly tell when the kids have similar central adiposity of 55 yr. old glutton.

Why would you be shocked that obesity is not related to simply one thing? That isn’t shocking. They are fat, not because of sodas, but because of their overall lifestyle. That is just as lame as blaming obesity on Mc Donald’s. If the kids were running 3 miles a day and were involved in sports, they could probably get away with eating a daily Big Mac. Add that same Big Mac back in on some kid who waddles to class, never walks more than 30 steps on his own and who can give you the run down on PSP video software, and you will get one fat ass bastard.[/quote]

You are correct that overall lifestyle is the root. However, diet is a huge part and most of these kids consume quite a bit of soda and other sugar sweetened beverages. I should also say that obesity is not the only problem especially with children. The other problem is diabetes.

[quote]fractional knowledge wrote:
You are correct that overall lifestyle is the root. However, diet is a huge part and most of these kids consume quite a bit of soda and other sugar sweetened beverages. I should also say that obesity is not the only problem especially with children. The other problem is diabetes.[/quote]

Why, again, are you trying to make such a hardcore connection between obesity and sodas? Do you honestly think kids are all fat because of Coke? Inactivity would be my guess as the number one cause of obesity, not sodas.

[quote]spect8or wrote:
I think some people are overreacting to this. Technically speaking, the sugar industry is right - sugar consumption doesn’t automatically lead to obesity.

However, given how easy it is to overconsume sugar (in contrast to overconsuming, say, vegetables), the sugar industry’s comments certainly are misleading.

As far as the medical research you’re talking about goes, I don’t think the lack of correlation between sugar intake and obesity for 11-17 year olds is surprising at all. Afterall, as I remember those ages, everyone, skinny and obese alike, consumed copious amounts of soda, candy and other sweets.

We still believe there is a link, but just don’t how to get there yet.

Just be wary of letting your preconceptions lead you astray. If an exhaustive search fails to show correlation, the let it be. Look at other factors. [/quote]

Technically speaking, yes, sugar is not causing obesity. The sugar industry is misleading like you said and it that is a problem just like other industries that mislead consumers.

She did look at other factors: physical activity, gender, ethnicity, BMI, and poverty-income ratio. When she threw some of these variables in the trend weakened even more.

The fact of the matter is quite a few things contribute to this problem, but the idea was to try to pin point a potential area. She wanted to see if there was strong correlation. This was done for fun and not done as a serious study.

As for letting bias get in the way, this is something researchers face just like anyone would. We just thought because some of the literature we had discussed that discounted the connection was poorly designed. While some of the more positively correlated studies were a little better designed. Bottom line, you are right about preconceived notions. We have to be careful about keeping those in check.

[quote]Chris Shugart wrote:

Briscoe said that U.S. per capita consumption of sugar has declined to an estimated 63 pounds in 2002 from 102 pounds in 1972. Including waste, spoilage and other loss, the actual per capita sugar consumption figure declines to 45 pounds per person.

I have to wonder if Big Sugar is fiddling with some numbers here. Given that soft drink consumption is through the roof and kids drink more soda than water… are they all swilling diet? I doubt it. [/quote]

I have no doubt that the figures are being fiddled with. Look at it this way: the people doing the study define sugar as coming from sugar cane. All of a sudden, they don’t have to include things like corn syrup, which is the major sweetener in soft drinks.

Sugar intake is dropping cause everything is now sweetened with corn syrup, which they can exclude from the studies cause it doesn’t fit their definition of sugar. Food companies do the same thing with alcohol sugars not counting towards the carboydrate levels of a food.