Sugar Should Not be Condemned as Primary Obesity or Diabetes Cause, Say Researchers

In a commentary featured in the April issue of Diabetes Care, researchers Kahn and Sievenpiper argue that blaming sugar, and specifically fructose, on the obesity and diabetes epidemics is misguided.

In the article, the researchers note that much of the research linking sugar to obesity and diabetes is based on observational data which cannot prove cause and effect. Among higher quality studies, results have shown that there is no evidence to associate sugars, such as fructose, with obesity or diabetes. Additionally, the researchers noted that it is much more likely that excessive intake of calories, and not specifically sugar, is to blame for poor health outcomes such as obesity. They also state that, “if there are any adverse effects of sugar, they are due to entirely to the calories it provides, and therefore indistinguishable from any other caloric food.”

The researchers concluded that, “Excess total energy consumption seems far more likely to be the cause of obesity and diabetes. Although many individuals can lose a substantial amount of weight and thereby also delay the onset of diabetes, to do so has relied on an overall reduction in energy consumption. Thus, if reduced energy intake is desirable, all caloric foods are candidates.”



Kahn R, Sievenpiper JL. Dietary sugar and body weight: have we reached a crisis in the epidemic of obesity and diabetes? We have, but the pox on sugar is overwrought and overworked. Diabetes Care, 2014. 37: 957-962.