How key metabolic markers for disease can be changed by cutting sugar in a child’s diet in just 9 days.

A recent study1 argues that the health detriments of sugar, and fructose specifically, are independent of its caloric value or effects on weight.  The study included 43 (Latino and African American) kiddos who were given a sugar-restricted diet for 9 days.  These kids were diagnosed as obese and had at least one other chronic metabolic disorder, such as high triglyceride levels, a marker of fatty liver or hypertension. 

The sugar restricted meals they ate instead were “child friendly” and consisted of a variety of starches that were low or no sugar added processed foods.   Think starches like pizza, bean burritos, baked potatoes, turkey hot dogs, chips and popcorn.  These foods were substituted for the sugar in order to maintain the same amount of calories consumed.  All of the biomarkers were taken before and after the study. The results showed that by the end of the study all short-term measures of metabolic health had significantly improved without having to restrict caloric intake. So the net net is simply that if sugar is nixed from the diet while continuing to eat the same amount of food your child’s health significantly improves in just a bit over a week’s time.  An easy change toward better health don’t you think?

Of course future studies are needed to determine if this is a long-term fix. And other studies need to be done on other populations and ages as well. But hey, whether you or your family struggle with obesity or not it might be an interesting 9-day experiment to see if you too experience feeling the experience of improved health-go on give it a go ….

  • [1]Lustig, R.H., Mulligan, K., Noworolski, S.M., Tai, V.W., Wen, M.J., Erkin-CakMak, A., Gugliucci, A., & Schwarz, J. (2016, February 26). Isocaloric fructose restriction and metabolic improvement in children with obesity and metabolic syndrome. Obesity , 24(2), 453-460. doi:10.1002/oby.21371. Retrieved from

Fatty liver

An abnormal condition in which too much fat is stored in the liver. "Too much fat" means more than one tenth of the liver is made of fat.

SugarScience Glossary


A sugar that we eat. Also called fruit sugar. Most fructose comes in sucrose (table sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar), or from high-fructose corn syrup.

SugarScience Glossary

SugarScience is the authoritative source for evidence-based, scientific information about sugar and its impact on health.

Mary C. Wiley, PsyD

Mary C. Wiley, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist practicing in the Bay Area for nearly 20 years. She works primarily with addiction and mood disorders utilizing evidence-based approaches (cognitive -behavioral approach and mindfulness) therapies.

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