Robert Lustig and associates looked at sugar consumption and diabetes rates in 175 countries and found a strong link between sugar and type 2 diabetes. It’s not proof of causation, just suggestive. From the abstract:
Duration and degree of sugar exposure correlated significantly with diabetes prevalence in a dose-dependent manner, while declines in sugar exposure correlated with significant subsequent declines in diabetes rates independently of other socioeconomic, dietary and obesity prevalence changes. 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.
Read the rest.
Steve Parker, M.D.
Reminder: Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes is now available on Kindle. Also, the Advanced Mediterranean Diet is naturally quite low in sugar.
Reference: Basu S, Yoffe P, Hills N, Lustig RH (2013) The Relationship of Sugar to Population-Level Diabetes Prevalence: An Econometric Analysis of Repeated Cross-Sectional Data. PLoS ONE 8(2): e57873. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057873
Thanks to Dr. Stephan Guyenet and Jeremy Landen for this sugar consumption graph. I’d never seen one going this far back in time.
Dr. Guyenet writes:
It’s a remarkably straight line, increasing steadily from 6.3 pounds per person per year in 1822 to a maximum of 107.7 lb/person/year in 1999. Wrap your brain around this: in 1822, we ate the amount of added sugar in one 12 ounce can of soda every five days, while today we eat that much sugar every seven hours.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that added sugars provide 17% of the total calories in the average American diet. A typical carbonated soda contain the equivalent of 10 tsp (50 ml) of sugar. The average U.S. adult eats 30 tsp (150 ml) daily of added sweeteners and sugars.
Note that added sugars overwhelmingly supply only one nutrient: pure carbohdyrate without vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, antioxidants, etc.
Do you think sugar consumption has anything to do with diseases of affluence, also known as diseases of modern civilization? I do.
Was our pancreas designed to handle this much sugar? Apparently not, judging from skyrocketing rates of diabetes and prediabetes.