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Sugar intake

Sugar is the main cause of Type II diabetes, not other factors

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: sugar intake, type II diabetes, factors

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(NaturalNews) The precise connection between sugar intake, obesity, and Type II diabetes has been a hotly-debated point of contention in the scientific community for many years. But new research published in the open-access journal PLoS One appears to have made a significant breakthrough on the subject, as it pinpoints sugar intake as a primary cause of Type II diabetes, independent of other factors such as obesity and being overweight.

A cohort of researchers examined data on sugar intake and diabetes prevalence in 175 countries, many of which have relatively low obesity rates compared to the U.S. These same researchers then parsed this data, taking into account all potential influencing factors such as types of foods eaten, total calories assimilated, and socioeconomic variables such as aging, living conditions, and income levels. Physical activity levels were also taken into account, as exercise is considered to be a significant factor in diabetes risk.

After carefully adjusting their analysis to account for and exclude these outside factors, as well as meet the stringent standards of the so-called "Bradford Hill" criteria, it was determined that the high availability of sugar in a society is directly linked to increased diabetes prevalence. The more sugar that is available to individuals, in other words, the higher the overall rate of diabetes, while societies with less sugar availability have lower diabetes rates.

"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," explains the study, as quoted by The New York Times (NYT).

All forms of refined sugar may be equally threatening, according to study

What this means is that sugar, specifically, is a more significant causative factor in triggering diabetes than mere calorie intake, or even just being overweight or obese. In other words, being overweight or obese in and of itself may not play nearly the same size role that sugar plays in causing diabetes. However, overweight or obesity triggered in large part by excess sugar consumption may be one in the same with excess sugar consumption by a "skinny" person in terms of diabetes risk.

"No other food types yielded significant individual associations with diabetes prevalence after controlling for obesity and other confounders," adds the study. "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."

What sets this study apart from similar studies conducted in the past is that all influencing factors were taken into account and properly controlled in order to arrive at the most accurate and conclusive findings possible. According to Rob Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and one of the study's four primary authors, it would be virtually impossible to construct a study more accurate and robust.

"You could not enact a real-world study that would be more conclusive than this one," Lustig is quoted as saying to NYT.

Interestingly, this particular study did not find any major disparities in diabetes risk among types of sugar consumed, whether it be genetically-modified (GM) beet sugar, traditional cane sugar, or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Many processed foods that contain refined flours and white rice, for instance, may also be high-risk when it comes to diabetes, as these quickly turn into basic sugars inside the body after consumption.

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