Is sugar really bad for you?
People who eat more sweets are at higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer… but that may not actually be sugar’s fault. BBC Future investigates the latest findings. Consumption of high fructose corn syrup in the US increased tenfold between 1970 and 1990, more than any other food group. Researchers have pointed out that this mirrors the increase in obesity across the country. This may be because high fructose corn syrup, unlike other foods, doesn’t lead to a rise in leptin – a hormone which helps us feel full. Meanwhile, sugary drinks, which usually use high fructose corn syrup, have been central to research examining the effects of sugar on our health. One meta-analysis of 88 studies found a link between sugary drinks consumption and body weight. In other words, people don’t fully compensate for getting energy from soft drinks by consuming less of other foods – possibly because these drinks increase hunger or decrease satiety. But the researchers concluded that while the intake of soft drinks and added sugars has increased alongside obesity in the US, the data only represents broad correlations. And not everyone agrees that high fructose corn syrup is the driving factor in the obesity crisis. Some experts point out that consumption of the sugar has been declining for the past 10 years in countries including the US, even while obesity levels have been rising. Overall, evidence that added sugar directly causes type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity or cancer is thin. Yes, higher intakes are associated with these conditions. But clinical trials have yet to establish that it causes them. …… Read