The New England Journal of Medicine is one the medical journals I hold in highest esteem. They publish some of the most ground breaking medical studies in the world, and it would be an honour to have a study accepted there. Often, their research helps guide best practises of physicians, and the work is always carefully reviewed and only published if it provides new knowledge.
You can thus understand my mild surprise in seeing that most of this week's journal was dedicated to research on whether sugar containing beverages contributes to weight gain in children. (full article here)
Seems fairly obvious, no?
In fact, there are two additional articles on the theme, as well as the highlight editorial, and a case study on the subject as well. Michael Bloomberg must be jumping for joy.
To briefly summarize this study though, 699 Dutch children (ages 4-11) were randomly and blindly given either an 8 ounce (250 ml) can of sugar-containing, or sugar-free drink. This would be the equivalent of about 104 extra calories per day for the sugar drink. Otherwise the groups were similar in all respects. Over the 18 months of the study, the group drinking the one can of sugar per day gained 1.01 kg (2.2 lbs) more than the sugar-free group, which was significant. Please do take note that this effect was due to only 104 extra calories per day, and the average U.S. child drinks more than 3 times this amount per day.
All kidding aside, this study does emphasize the need to avoid excess calories in not only our children's diets, but our own as well. Can we control this ourselves, or do soda bans, like those recently put in place in NYC, need to set in place for us?
Let me know what you think!