Monday, August 13, 2007

You are eating more sugar than you think!

I was going to call this post "Fat People Lie about how much they eat!"....but that may not have been helpful.

The BBC highlighted an interesting article - and also drew out the conclusions which are a little bit obscure in the abstract.

Basically, previous studies have not been able to link sugar intake with how fat people were. The problem however was that people were not being accurate in reporting how much they were eating - they didn't list all the sugar they were stuffing in (OK I'll be fair - if you are eating a dodgy diet with lots for processed food there will be a lot of hidden sugars in there).

Anyway, a new urine test was able to identify exactly how much sugar people were eating and the outcome was that it was now clear that sugar consumption and obesity are linked after all! Not really a shock.

The study is here

Epidemiologic Assessment of Sugars Consumption Using Biomarkers: Comparisons of Obese and Nonobese Individuals in the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer Norfolk

Sheila Bingham1,2,3, Robert Luben2, Ailsa Welch3, Natasa Tasevska1,5, Nick Wareham3,4 and Kay Tee Khaw3

1 Medical Research Council Dunn Human Nutrition Unit, 2 Medical Research Council Centre for Nutrition and Cancer Prevention and Survival, 3 European Prospective Investigation of Cancer Norfolk, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge, and 4 Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, Cambridge, United Kingdom; and 5 Nutritional Sciences Research Division, Franklin Wilkins Building, King's College London, London, United Kingdom

Requests for reprints: Sheila Bingham, Wellcome Trust/Medical Research Council Building, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2XY, United Kingdom. Phone: 44-1223252760; Fax: 44-1223252765. E-mail:

We have previously shown that urinary sugars excretion in 24 h urine collections can serve as an independent biomarker of sugars consumption. In the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC) Norfolk study of nutrition and cancer, this biomarker in spot urines has been assessed in a cross-sectional comparison of 404 obese individuals aged 45 to 75 years with a body mass index (BMI) of >30 kg/m2 and 471 normal weight individuals aged 45 to 75 years with a BMI of <25 kg/m2. In individuals of normal weight, sucrose, protein, and vitamin C intake were positively and highly significantly related to biomarkers in spot urine or plasma (P < 0.001), but there were no significant associations between biomarkers and food intake reports in the obese. Odds ratios for a BMI of >30 were significantly elevated for urinary sucrose [trend per milligram per liter quintile, 1.13; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 1.02-1.25; P = 0.016], and the odds ratio for urinary sucrose/fructose ratio was highly significant (trend per quintile, 1.264; 95% CI, 1.142-1.401; P < 0.001). No associations for sugars intake and obesity were found using a food frequency questionnaire, and dietary vitamin C was apparently associated with increased risk (P < 0.001) despite an inverse association for plasma vitamin C. Nutritional biomarkers of consumption can complement existing methods for assessing cancer risk from diet in epidemiologic studies. (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2007;16(8):1651–4)

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