Part of the series ILSI Human Nutrition Reviews pp 177-192

Sweetness and Obesity

  • Adam Drewnowski

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Increased prevalence of obesity in the United States has been paralleled by increased consumption of refined sugars and fat (Drewnowski et al. 1982b; Page and Friend 1978). According to USDA estimates for 1985, the average American consumed a total of 127.4 lb. (57.8 kg) of nutritive sweeteners, including 67.5 lb. (30.6 kg) of sucrose, consumed chiefly in processed foods and beverages. There is a popular belief that sugar is uniquely fattening. Overindulgence in soft drinks, sweets, and desserts has long been thought to be a causal factor in the development of obesity, adult-onset diabetes, and coronary heart disease (Yudkin 1966). To the obese, it is claimed, many of the most attractive, almost irresistible foods are those that are rich in carbohydrates, especially sugar (Yudkin 1983).