Is Plain Old Table Sugar Bad for You?

Did You Know…

…that a shocking new study proves this “sweet” substance can be incredibly toxic?      

Shocking findings from the University of Utah show a familiar “sweet” substance can seriously damage your health.  Many are well versed in the dangers of artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, and fructose, but researchers are now claiming plain old table sugar (officially called sucrose) can be just as damaging, and even deadly. 

A team of scientists recently linked refined sugar consumption to decreased fitness levels… lower odds of reproduction… and increased risk of death.

“We have shown that the levels of sugar that people typically consume—and that are considered safe by regulatory agencies—impair the health of mice,” James Ruff, the study’s first author, said.

About the Study

Researchers from the Department of Biology at University of Utah and the Nutrition and Metabolism Center at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute conducted the study.  What they observed was the catastrophic health fallout that ensued for mice fed a daily diet with 25% extra sugar compared to a control group.

That’s roughly the equivalent of adding three cans of soda to a healthy human diet, or about 500 calories of sugar to a 2,000 calorie diet.  The findings shocked the researchers, because although the National Research Council deems this a safe percentage of sugar, it was toxic for the mice.

Compared to their counterparts in the control group, female mice on the added sugar diet were twice as likely to die.  They also had fewer babies.  Life expectancy for males was not significantly affected; however, they were 25% less likely to successfully compete with their peers or to reproduce.

Sugar is the Enemy… of Mice and Men

Because mice often cohabitate with humans, “they’ve been living on the same diet as we have ever since the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago,” said biology professor Wayne Potts, the study’s senior author.  This makes the mouse “an excellent mammal to model human dietary issues,” Potts noted. For previous studies, mice were fed doses of sugar that far exceeded the amount people typically take in by consuming products such as…

  

  Candy and ice cream

    Soda

  Cookies and other baked goods
  Fruit drinks

To analyze the consequences of consuming a more moderate amount of sugar, the University of Utah team chose a dose equivalent to that ingested by 13% to 25% of people living in the United States.

“The big takeaway is the level of sugar we readily eat and think is safe causes major health declines in mice,” said study author James Ruff.  “We’re not just talking about some minor metabolic thing.”  Potts also stressed the relevance of the findings for humans, saying added sugar “exerts dramatic adverse impacts.”

Time to Extract Your Sweet Tooth

Potts summed up the detrimental impact of the amount of sugar consumed by a quarter of all Americans like this: “Would you rather be on the American diet… or have parents be full cousins?  This data is telling us it’s a toss up.”  In other words, the health risks of consuming a so-called “safe” level of sugar may be just as detrimental as the risks of producing offspring with close relatives.

In the wake of the study, Potts reduced his own refined sugar intake and encouraged his family to do the same.  Though Vasselli makes a valid point that more research should be done, the existing evidence makes a compelling case that we all should follow Potts’ example.

For those of you already wincing at the idea of kicking your sweet treat habit, remember that natural sources of sugar (like minimally processed foods… fruits… and even vegetables) are far less harmful. 

The Internet is a wonderful source for recipes that creatively re-imagine classic desserts without injurious ingredients like refined sugar.  Think of this as the push you need to seek out healthy alternatives to your favorite indulgences, many of which can be replicated and enjoyed without the sugar… or the risk.

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