Will reducing sugar in drinks help fight obesity and diabetes?

obesity and diabetes

When it comes to losing weight, there’s a prevailing belief that if you just work hard enough, cut down on sweets and focus on your weight loss goals, the weight will fall off. While it’s true that’s a great plan, what if the government stepped in to help?

That’s what a recent study from the United Kingdom proposes. New research published in the medical journal Lancet calls for the UK government and the food industry to team up to reduce the amount of sugar in sweetened beverages over time, which the study shows could lead to fewer cases of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The plan would reduce sugar and sweeteners by less than 10 percent year over year, an “imperceptible” amount. In 5 years, sugar would be down 40 percent, which the study says would leading to a drop of more than a quarter of a million new cases of type 2 diabetes over the subsequent two decades.

Dallas Bariatric Surgeon, Dr. Dirk,  says this plan is not the best, but the core idea is an obvious one — of course a reduction in calories would lead to fewer cases of obesity. On the other hand, it would not do much for those already overweight.

“Once obese and diabetic people reduce their sugar intake, there is only a small (2 percent) reduction in obesity and diabetes,” Dr. Dirk says. “What that means it is important not to become obese or diabetic. Once a person enters either diagnosis, there is a very small chance of curing those conditions by just reducing sugar consumption alone.”

The study was based on a salt reduction program that is credited with lowering stroke deaths by 42 percent in just eight years. Now, the success of the salt program is slowly being implemented in other countries.

Whether this strategy would work or not, it would make products healthier, theoretically without losing sales or upsetting customers. Stopping new cases of obesity is an honorable goal, and it could assist those already obese in efforts to lose weight. For the most part, however, they would have to go back to basics and put in the hard work it takes to drop the pounds.

“If diabetes and obesity are part of your life right now, make a change, reduce the total amount of sugar (carbohydrates) you consume every day combined with daily aerobic exercise,” Dr. Dirk says. “If that does not help, it is time to think about your obesity surgery options.”

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