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Is sugar responsible for obesity and diabetes epidemics?

ANI  |  Washington D.C [U.S.] 

Gary Taubes, journalist and author, argues that sugar could be a fundamental cause of the global and diabetic epidemics, with detrimental effects on the human body.

Bringing the matter to forefront, emphasises that "we must do more to discourage consumption while we improve our understanding of sugar's role" which according to him goes beyond just empty calories.

further writes that it has long been suspected by the doctors that sugar is a fundamental cause of and type 2 But until recently, the ideas of fat consumption and total have taken over the debate regarding and nature of a healthy diet.

In 2016, the of obesity and were described as 'slow-motion disasters' by Margaret Chan, Director-General, Organization (WHO). She also suggested that the probability of preventing this 'bad situation' from getting 'much worse' was 'virtually zero'.

Official estimates state that one in every 11 people is affected by in the and one in every 16 people in the UK. The estimates also suggest that diabolical twins - obesity and diabetes - may cost US as much as $1bn (£740m; €850m) a day.

raises the question that "Why, despite all our best efforts, have these gone unchecked?" He adds that a simple reason is that our understanding of the root cause is fundamentally flawed.

Over the past decade, a renewed interest in the possibility that calorific sweeteners have major roles in causing obesity and diabetes have taken home in people's minds and therefore, major public organizations are now recommending limited or no consumption of these 'free sugars'.

However, Taubes argues that the recommended usage only targets its calories rather than its potential for causing

He asks "What if the problem is the sugar itself?". He states that sugar metabolises in a different manner than other carb-rich foods. The evidence that sugar has harmful qualities independent of its calories is still ambiguous. He states "If it is true, though, it changes how we must communicate the dangers of sugar consumption".

He warns that while restricting the amount of sugar consumption in a healthy diet is a good start "but we don't know if the level recommended is safe for everyone. It could be that for people who have obesity or diabetes, or both, even a little is too much. And the ubiquity of may make it difficult for many people to maintain a healthy level of sugar consumption".

He concludes that given the scale of the obesity and diabetes epidemics, "then a concerted programme of research to establish reliable knowledge on this subject should be among our highest priorities. Meanwhile, we can acknowledge the uncertainties while still recommending strongly against consumption".

The research was published in The BMJ.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, January 08 2018. 14:25 IST