A team of researchers at the University of Otago and the Riddet Institute in New Zealand reported new findings that cutting back on sugar less effective on weight loss than previous research had indicated in the Jan. 15, 2013, issue of the British Medical Journal.
The researchers analyzed the results of 71 studies (30 randomized controlled trials and 41 cohort studies) of sugar intake and body fatness to summarize evidence on the association between intake of dietary sugars and body weight in both adults and children.
They found that advice to reduce free sugars was associated with an average 0.8 kg (1.76 lb.) reduction in weight (in studies that ran for up to 8 months), while advice to increase intake was associated with a corresponding 0.75 kg increase.
Free sugars were defined as sugars that are added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer; plus those naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices.
The scientists also acknowledge that the extent to which population based advice to reduce sugars might reduce risk of obesity "cannot be extrapolated from the present findings, because few data from the studies lasted longer than ten weeks." The researchers conclude that "when considering the rapid weight gain that occurs after an increased intake of sugars, it seems reasonable to conclude that advice relating to sugars intake is a relevant component of a strategy to reduce the high risk of overweight and obesity in most countries."
The research was reviewed at the Eureka Alert website the date of publication.