OBJECTIVES: To compare the response by overweight individuals, counselled in a work environment, to energy-reduced diets in which the amount of sucrose-containing foods is varied.
DESIGN: Two energy-reduced diets were designed as a weight-reducing programme. A low-sugar diet (LSD) providing 5% of its energy from sucrose and a sugar-containing diet (SCD) providing 10% of its energy from sucrose incorporated as sweet foods were devised. Both diets were constructed to contain about 33% of the energy from fat. The diets, designed to provide a deficit of 2.51 MJ/day (600 kcal/day) per individual, were randomly allocated to subjects in an 8 week parallel design study.
SUBJECTS: Ninety-five subjects were recruited from a large service industry if they were more than 7 kg (1 stone) in weight above body mass index (BMI) 25 kg/m2. Sixty-eight subjects completed the programme.
MEASUREMENTS: Fortnightly body weight measurements were taken using calibrated scales; BMI at baseline and week 8; and nutrient intake using 2 day food record diaries at baseline and weeks 2, 4 and 8.
RESULTS: Weight loss over the 8 weeks was 2.2 kg (LSD) and 3.0 kg (SCD). BMI changed from 29.2 on the LSD and 30.1 kg/m2 SCD at baseline to 28.2 and 28.8 kg/m2 at week 8 respectively. The actual prescribed commercially added sucrose intakes were 5% energy (LSD) or 10% energy (SCD). Reported percentage energy from fat was significantly lower on the SCD (and would seem to support the theory of an inverse relationship between fat and sugar) than on the LSD, where there was seen to be no significant reduction. There was no evidence of micronutrient dilution that could be directly attributed to the sucrose content of the diets.
CONCLUSION: These results provide no justification for the exclusion of added sucrose in weight-reducing diets.
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JA West and AE de Looy would like to thank the Sugar Bureau for their support and Michael Lean at Glasgow University for his invaluable comments.
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West, J., de Looy, A. Weight loss in overweight subjects following low-sucrose or sucrose-containing diets. Int J Obes 25, 1122–1128 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ijo.0801652
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