People In The UK Ate More Sugar In The Past But Had Lower Rates Of Obesity

Related:

Kempner’s kidney patients went on a sugar and rice diet and lost weight:
Sugar Does Not Make People Fat, Case-In-Point: Kempner’s Rice And Sugar Diet

Cubans, during their Special Period, ate primarily sugar and rice for energy and lost weight. Their rates of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer also went down:
Impact of Energy Intake, Physical Activity, and Population-wide Weight Loss on Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Mortality in Cuba, 1980–2005, American Journal of Epidemiology, 2007

Diet composition in Cuba also changed during the study period. By 1993, carbohydrate, fat, and protein contributed 77 percent, 13 percent, and 10 percent of total energy, respectively, whereas in 1980 their respective contributions were 65 percent, 20 percent, and 15 percent. The primary sources of energy during the crisis were sugar cane and rice.

2 thoughts on “People In The UK Ate More Sugar In The Past But Had Lower Rates Of Obesity

  1. Richard Curtin

    There’s some kind of synergy that might be accountable for the epidemic that hasn’t been connected yet. This explosion & the present day understanding, it’s almost too simplistic… aka “Reductionist” as T C Campbell says. Some exponential effect that’s hard to quantify. Just my opinion. Love hearing Yudkins name..who’s Next…Cleave?

    Reply
    1. Bix Post author

      This is a good point. I do think that looking at single nutrients (reductionism), in this case sugar, can teach us. But it does so at the expense of looking at those nutrients relative to others, and relative to the wider environment.

      I do not think that sugar, in itself, is harmful or “toxic.” It can become harmful in a body that is being overfed, especially with a lot of fat. When cells have taken on their full, when they can’t comfortably store more fat, then they naturally become resistant to hormones like insulin that are trying to stuff more fat into them. Dumping sugar into a body that is insulin resistant becomes harmful, it is a recipe for diabetes.

      So, while a diet with a lot of sugar is not bad, it becomes bad when someone is eating a lot of fat.

      The Cubans did not eat a lot of fat with their sugar, nor did Kempner’s patients, nor did the Okinawans (their carb was potatoes). A high-carb diet really only works against a backdrop of low-fat. Otherwise it’s a disaster.

      Reply

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