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Oct 28, 2015 08:38 AM EDT

Reducing sugar intake improves children's health in 10 days


A new study reveals that cutting the intake of sugar in obese children reduces several metabolic diseases in as little as ten days, UPI reports.

The study suggests that parents should pay careful attention to the intake of sugar rather than just counting calories when making changes to their kids' diets to control obesity.

According to New York Times, the new study was financed by the National Institutes of Health and published Tuesday in the journal Obesity.

The researchers found that obesity in children is leading to the Fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes.

The study revealed that controlling the intake of sugar by children while maintaining their normal daily caloric intake reduced symptoms of metabolic disease and even resulted in weight loss.

"When we took the sugar out, the kids started responding to their satiety cues," said Dr. Jean-Marc Schwarz, a researcher at Touro University California, in a press release.

"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."

For the study, the researchers worked with 44 obese children between the ages of 9 and 18, who showed symptoms of metabolic syndrome. The children were put on a specific diet for nine days that reduced their sugar intake from 28 percent of their diet to 10 percent, while maintaining the level of protein, fat, and carbohydrates intake.

According to New York Times, Dr. Frank Hu of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said that the study "strengthens the existing evidence on the relationship between added sugar intake and metabolic disease."

Dr Frank was not part of the research study.

"This kind of study is very difficult to do," he said. "But it provides a proof of concept that in a high risk population, reducing consumption of added sugar can have multiple metabolic benefits."

In the study, the sugar taken out of the children's diets was replaced with starches.

"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 Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco.

"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."

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