Touro University and University of San Francisco study: Cutting sugar improves obese children’s health in 10 days

31 Oct

Patti Neighmond reported in the NPR story, It Takes More Than A Produce Aisle To Refresh A Food Desert In other words, much of the obesity problem is due to personal life style choices and the question is whether government can or should regulate those choices. The issue is helping folk to want to make healthier food choices even on a food stamp budget. See, Cheap Eats: Cookbook Shows How To Eat Well On A Food Stamp Budget A University of Buffalo study reported that what a baby eats depends on the social class of the mother.

Roberto A. Ferdman of the Washington Post wrote in the article, The stark difference between what poor babies and rich babies eat:

The difference between what the rich and poor eat in America begins long before a baby can walk, or even crawl.
A team of researchers at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences found considerable differences in the solid foods babies from different socioeconomic classes were being fed. Specifically, diets high in sugar and fat were found to be associated with less educated mothers and poorer households, while diets that more closely followed infant feeding guidelines were linked to higher education and bigger bank accounts.

“We found that differences in dietary habits start very early,” said Xiaozhong Wen, the study’s lead author.
The researchers used data from the Infant Feeding Practices study, an in depth look at baby eating habits, which tracked the diets of more than 1,500 infants up until age one, and documented which of 18 different food types—including breast milk, formula, cow’s milk, other milk (like soy milk), other dairy foods (like yogurt), other soy foods (like tofu), 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice, and sweet drinks, among others – their mothers fed them. Wen’s team at the University at Buffalo focused on what the infants ate over the course of a week at both 6- and 12-months old.

In many cases, infants were fed foods that would surprise even the least stringent of mothers. Candy, ice cream, soda, and french fries, for instance, were among the foods some of the babies were being fed. Researchers divided the 18 different food types into four distinct categories, two of which were ideal for infant consumption—”formula” and “infant guideline solids”—two of which were not—”high/sugar/fat/protein” and “high/regular cereal.” It became clear which babies tended to be fed appropriately, and which did not….

Science Daily reported in What do American babies eat? A lot depends on Mom’s socioeconomic background:

Dietary patterns of babies vary according to the racial, ethnic and educational backgrounds of their mothers, pediatrics researchers have found. For example, babies whose diet included more breastfeeding and solid foods that adhere to infant guidelines from international and pediatric organizations were associated with higher household income — generally above $60,000 per year — and mothers with higher educational levels ranging from some college to post-graduate education.

Cutting sugar in a child’s diet is important to improving the child’s health.

Stephen Feller reported in Cutting sugar improves obese children’s health in 10 days:

Decreasing the amount of sugar in obese children’s diets reduced several metabolic diseases in a recent study in as little as 10 days, suggesting parents pay more attention to sugar intake than calories when making changes to their kids’ diets.
Metabolic syndrome is a group of diseases that occur together, including high blood pressure, high glucose, excess fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels, that can lead to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes, diseases associated with metabolic syndrome, are now also being found in children, researchers said, because of obesity and other conditions potentially caused by poor diets.
Researchers sought to find whether the cumulative results of metabolic disease could be blamed on obesity, calories or something else in the diet, finding that restricting sugar among children but maintaining their normal daily caloric intake reduced symptoms of metabolic disease and even resulted in weight loss….

The researchers worked with 44 children between the ages of 9 and 18, 27 were Hispanic and 16 were black, and all were obese and showed symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Participants were asked to consume a specific diet for nine days that maintained protein, fat, and carbohydrates but reduced dietary sugar from 28 percent of their diet to 10 percent.

The sugar taken out of the children’s diets was replaced with starches such as bagels, cereal and pasta, though they were still permitted to eat fruit. The researchers also note the diets were intentionally dominated with “kid food” — turkey hot dogs, potato chips and pizza — bought at local supermarkets.

Throughout the nine-day study, participants weighed themselves and underwent testing on day 0 and day 10, or before and after started the diet. Following the diet, researchers reported decreases in blood pressure, triglycerides, bad cholesterol, fasting glucose and insulin levels, and improvement in liver function.

Although some children also exhibited weight loss, on average 1 percent of body weight throughout the study, researchers increased caloric intake to maintain weight during the study….


Isocaloric fructose restriction and metabolic improvement in children with obesity and metabolic syndrome

1. Robert H. Lustig1,*,
2. Kathleen Mulligan2,3,
3. Susan M. Noworolski4,
4. Viva W. Tai2,
5. Michael J. Wen2,
6. Ayca Erkin-Cakmak1,
7. Alejandro Gugliucci3 and
8. Jean-Marc Schwarz5

Article first published online: 26 OCT 2015
DOI: 10.1002/oby.21371
© 2015 The Obesity Society


Early View (Online Version of Record published before inclusion in an issue)
How to CiteAuthor InformationPublication HistoryFunding Information
1. Funding agencies: NIH (R01DK089216), UCSF CTSI (NCATS-UL1-TR00004), and Touro University.
2. Disclosure: The authors declared no conflict of interest.
3. Author contributions: All authors had access to the study data and are responsible for the conclusions. Study concept and design: Lustig, Schwarz, Mulligan; acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: all authors; drafting of the manuscript: Lustig; critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: all authors; statistical analysis: Erkin-Cakmak, Mulligan; obtained funding: Lustig, Schwarz, Noworolski, Gugliucci, Mulligan; administrative, technical, or material support: Lustig, Schwarz, Mulligan, Gugliucci, Tai, Wen; study supervision: Lustig, Schwarz, Mulligan.

Here is the press release from Touro University:

For Immediate Release

Contact: Andrea E. Garcia:
W: (707) 638-5272
C: (707) 704-6101
Contact: Jennifer O’Brien, Asst. Vice Chancellor/Public Affairs
W: (415) 502-6397
UC San Francisco


Obese Children’s Health Rapidly Improves with Sugar Reduction Unrelated to Calories
Study indicates that calories are not created equal; sugar and fructose are dangerous

(Vallejo, CA – October 27, 2015) – Reducing consumption of added sugar, even without reducing calories or losing weight, has the power to reverse a cluster of chronic metabolic diseases, including high cholesterol and blood pressure, in children in as little as 10 days, according to a study by researchers at Touro University California and UC San Francisco.
“I have never seen results as striking or significant in our human studies; after only nine days of fructose restriction, the results are dramatic and consistent from subject to subject,” said Jean-Marc Schwarz, PhD of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Touro University California and senior author of the paper. “These findings support the idea that it is essential for parents to evaluate sugar intake and to be mindful of the health effects of what their children are consuming.”

Lead author Robert Lustig, MD, MSL, pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco added, “This study definitively shows that sugar is metabolically harmful not because of its calories or its effects on weight; rather sugar is metabolically harmful because it’s sugar,” he said. “This internally controlled intervention study is a solid indication that sugar contributes to metabolic syndrome, and is the strongest evidence to date that the negative effects of sugar are not because of calories or obesity.”

The paper will appear online on October 27, and in the February 2016 issue of the journal Obesity.

Restricting Sugar Intake
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood glucose level, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels — that occur together and increase risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Other diseases associated with metabolic syndrome, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes, now occur in children — disorders previously unknown in the pediatric population.

Participants were identified through the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health Clinic (WATCH) at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, an interdisciplinary obesity clinic dedicated to targeting metabolic dysfunction rather than weight loss. Recruitment was limited to Latino and African-American youth because of their higher risk for certain conditions associated with metabolic syndrome, such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

In the study, 43 children between the ages of 9 and 18 who were obese and had at least one other chronic metabolic disorder, such as hypertension, high triglyceride levels or a marker of fatty liver, were given nine days of food, including all snacks and beverages, that restricted sugar but substituted starch to maintain the same fat, protein, carbohydrate, and calorie levels as their previously reported home diets. Baseline fasting blood levels, blood pressure, and glucose tolerance were assessed before the new menu plan was adopted. The study menu restricted added sugar (while allowing fruit), but substituted it by adding other carbohydrates such as bagels, cereal and pasta so that the children still consumed the same number of calories from carbohydrate as before, but total dietary sugar was reduced from 28 to 10 percent, and fructose from 12 to 4 percent of total calories, respectively. The food choices were designed to be “kid food” – turkey hot dogs, potato chips, and pizza all purchased at local supermarkets, instead of high sugar cereals, pastries, and sweetened yogurt.

Children were given a scale and told to weigh themselves every day, with the goal of weight stability, not weight loss. When weight loss did occur (a decrease of an average of 1 percent over the 10-day period but without change in body fat), they were given more of the low-sugar foods.

“When we took the sugar out, the kids started responding to their satiety cues,” said Schwarz. “They told us it felt like so much more food, even though they were consuming the same number of calories as before, just with significantly less sugar. Some said we were overwhelming them with food.”

Reducing Harmful Metabolic Effects of Obesity

After just 9 days on the sugar-restricted diet, virtually every aspect of the participants’ metabolic health improved, without change in weight. Diastolic blood pressure decreased by 5mm, triglycerides by 33 points, LDL-cholesterol (known as the “bad” cholesterol) by 10 points, and liver function tests improved. Fasting blood glucose went down by 5 points, and insulin levels were cut by one-third.

“All of the surrogate measures of metabolic health got better, just by substituting starch for sugar in their processed food — all without changing calories or weight or exercise,” said Lustig. “This study demonstrates that ‘a calorie is not a calorie.’ Where those calories come from determines where in the body they go. Sugar calories are the worst, because they turn to fat in the liver, driving insulin resistance, and driving risk for diabetes, heart, and liver disease. This has enormous implications for the food industry, chronic disease, and health care costs.”

Other authors of the study include Susan Noworolski, PhD, Viva Tai, RD, MPH, Michael Wen, MS and Ayca Erkin-Cakmak, MD, MPH of UCSF, Alejandro Gugliucci MD, PhD of Touro University and Kathleen Mulligan, PhD of UCSF and Touro University.

Funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), UCSF Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and Touro University. None of the authors report any conflicts of interest.

About the Touro College and University System:
Touro University California is a Jewish nonprofit, independent graduate institution of higher learning founded in 1997 on three Judaic values: social justice, the pursuit of knowledge and service to humanity. The university, home to 1,400 students, has professional programs in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physician assistant studies, public health, nursing, and education. Faculty, staff and students have a powerful commitment to academic excellence, evidence-based professional practice, inter-professional collaboration, and active engagement with a global community. To learn more, visit or call 707-638-5200.

About UCSF:
UC San Francisco (UCSF) is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy, a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational and population sciences, as well as a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and two top-ranked hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco. Please visit

Video: Study finds child’s health dramatically improves by cutting out sugar
By Vince Cestone and Dan Kerman | October 27, 2015

Physicians agree that good eating habits are something that should start at an early age. But still, some people become obese while they are still children. But now, a new study finds a child’s health can dramatically improve simply by cutting out one type of food. Researchers at UCSF and Touro University put 43 obese kids on a diet for nine days. They didn’t cut calories or carbs…..

Moi blogs about education issues so the reader could be perplexed sometimes because moi often writes about other things like nutrition, families, and personal responsibility issues. Why? The reader might ask? Children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of society’s problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family.


Dr. Wilda Reviews Book: ‘Super Baby Food’

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr.

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