News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Otago study prompts renewed call to action on sugar

University of Otago study prompts renewed call to action on sugar

Embargoed until 12.30pm Wednesday 16 January 2013

A study commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) into what is known about the effects of sugar recommends that cutting down on the sweet additive should be part of a global strategy to tackle the obesity epidemic.

The University of Otago-led study is published today in the British Medical Journal, to ringing endorsement from US nutrition experts in an editorial concurrently published in the influential UK journal.

The study’s lead authors, research fellow Dr Lisa Te Morenga from Otago’s Department of Human Nutrition and the Riddet Institute of New Zealand, and Professor Jim Mann from Otago’s Department of Human Nutrition and Medicine and Edgar National Centre for Diabetes and Obesity research, found that there is now enough evidence from the research to show that cutting down on sugar has a “small but significant” effect on body weight.

The WHO has previously recommended that intake of “free sugars” should be less than 10 percent of total energy intake. Free sugars are sugars that are added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer; plus those naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices.

The WHO asked the Otago-led group to analyse the results of controlled trials and cohort studies of sugar intake and body fatness, and review the evidence on the association between consuming free sugars and body weight in adults and children.

After searching through nearly 8000 trials and 10,000 cohort studies published internationally up until December 2011, the researchers found 68 studies that directly looked at the effects of free sugars on body weight.

The results of this analysis show that reducing free sugars in the diet has a small but significant effect on body weight in adults - an average reduction of 0.8 kg. Increasing sugar intake was associated with a corresponding 0.75 kg increase in body weight.

This parallel effect, they suggest, seems be due to an altered energy intake, since replacing sugars with other carbohydrates did not result in any change in body weight.

The evidence was less consistent in children, mainly due to poor compliance with dietary advice. However, for sugar-sweetened beverages, the risk of being overweight or obese increased among children with the highest intake of sugary drinks compared with those with the lowest intake.

A separate BMJ editorial, from Professor Walter Willett from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and Professor of Pediatrics at the Boston Children’s Hospital David Ludwig, endorses the Otago findings, saying that action should be taken at many levels, including educational programmes, improvement in food and drinks provided at schools and worksites, as well as policy approaches, such as increasing tax on sugar laden drinks.

“Reducing the amount of sugar consumed in drinks deserves special attention because of the strength of the evidence and the ease with which excessive sugar is consumed in this form,” they write.

Dr Te Morenga, Professor Mann and colleagues acknowledge that the extent to which population based advice to reduce sugars might reduce risk of obesity "cannot be extrapolated from the present findings, because few data from the studies lasted longer than ten weeks."

But conclude that "when considering the rapid weight gain that occurs after an increased intake of sugars, it seems reasonable to conclude that advice relating to sugars intake is a relevant component of a strategy to reduce the high risk of overweight and obesity in most countries."

“It seems easier to overeat if your diet includes lots of sugary foods and drinks. When you overeat you gain weight,” says Dr Te Morenga.

Also in the BMJ, a feature discusses the 40th anniversary of the publication of the popular book - Pure, White and Deadly - written by the British physiologist John Yudkin, which claimed that high sugar consumption was associated with heart disease.

It considers new evidence linking fructose (found in nearly all added sugars) with insulin resistance - a precursor of heart disease – and suggests that Yudkin's warnings are finally being recognised, despite ongoing opposition from the sugar industry.

ENDS

Link to full paper:
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/doi/10.1136/bmj.e7492

Link to editorial:
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/doi/10.1136/bmj.e8077

Link to feature:
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/doi/10.1136/bmj.e7800

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

August 4: Centenary Of New Zealand Entering The First World War

PM John Key: I move, that this House recognise that on the 4th of August 2014, we will mark the centenary of New Zealand entering the First World War... More>>

ALSO:

Cyclists Net First NZ Gold

New Zealand won a gold meal and two bronzes on the first day of the Commonwealth Games. There was joy and heartbreak in an incredibly full day of sport. Here's how the New Zealanders fared. More>>

Cap Bocage: Anti-Mining Campaign Doco Debuts At NZ Film Festival

Playing at this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival, Cap Bocage is a close-up exploration of the forces that came into play when environmental issues and indigenous rights became intertwined in New Caledonia ... More>>

Film Fest:

More Film:

Sharon Ellis Review: A View From The Bridge

Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge is Circa’s latest big production, it opened on Saturday 19 July and it is a stunning triumph. More>>

Māori Language Week: He Karanga Kia Kaha Ake Te Tīhau Ki Te Reo Māori

The Māori Language Commission wishes to see social media swamped with Māori language tweets and messages for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori using the hashtag #tekupu. More>>

ALSO:

Book Vote: Kiwis Prefer Young Adult & Classics

To compile their Top 100 List for 2014, Whitcoulls again asked New Zealanders to vote for their favourite books and authors. And while classic novels continue to appeal to Kiwi readers, 2014 marks a significant new trend – the increasing popularity of novels for young adults. More>>

ALSO:

Five NZ Cities: Bill Bailey Back To The Southern Hemisphere

The gap between how we imagine our lives to be and how they really are is the subject of Bill’s new show Limboland. With his trademark intelligence and sharp wit, he tells tales of finding himself in this halfway place. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Book Television Is Coming

Carole Beu of The Women’s Bookshop in Auckland, Graham Beattie of The Book Blog and producer Deb Faith of FaceTV have raised enough money via crowd funding at Boosted – just under $7,000 so far – for 12 episodes, which begin production in September, and will be on screen later that month. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news