The NYT Opinion recently ran a piece on a PLoS One study that links increased sugar availability to increased rates of obesity and diabetes. One of our favorite things about paleo is the natural decrease in sugar consumption that it brings to most diets, simply because it means eating real foods. The study corroborates this approach.
The key point in the article is this: “Each 150 kilocalories/person/day increase in total calorie availability related to a 0.1 percent rise in diabetes prevalence (not significant), whereas a 150 kilocalories/person/day rise in sugar availability (one 12-ounce can of soft drink) was associated with a 1.1 percent rise in diabetes prevalence.” Thus: 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 1 percent. (The study found no significant difference in results between those countries that rely more heavily on high-fructose corn syrup and those that rely primarily on cane sugar.)
The study meets the “Bradford Hill’ criteria – the medical standard for inferring causation. The big takeaway at the end of the article sums things up pretty well:
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.