Is sugar toxic? This is a question that many have pondered over amid skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates in many developed nations. A new study, publicized in the New York Times this week, answers “yes.”
The number one problem with the American diet is sugar, according to a new study publicized Wednesday after Mark Bittman, in a New York Times article, described the ubiquitous sweetener as “toxic.”
The study found that when people ingest more sugar, there is an increased chance of diabetes, regardless of obesity. The study was published in a PloS One issue on Feb. 27 and used “econometric models of repeated cross-sectional data on diabetes and nutritional components of food from 175 countries,” according to an abstract.
Regarding sugar, “no other food types yielded significant individual associations with diabetes prevalence after controlling for obesity and other confounders,” the abstract reads. “Differences in sugar availability statistically explain variations in diabetes prevalence rates at a population level that are not explained by physical activity, overweight or obesity,” it continues.
Rob Lustig, an author of the study with the University of California, San Francisco, said the paper was highly comprehensive.
“You could not enact a real-world study that would be more conclusive than this one,” he told the Times.
The study took into account poverty, aging, obesity, urbanization, and physical activity. It also controlled other foods.
The study found that “for every 12 ounces of sugar-sweetened beverage introduced per person per day into a country’s food system, the rate of diabetes goes up” by 1 percent, Bittman said, and concluded: “The take-away: it isn’t simply overeating that can make you sick; it’s overeating sugar. We finally have the proof we need for a verdict: sugar is toxic.”
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