Ridiculous Study of the Month: Sweets Make Kids Fat


Here is a study which may make you cringe.  It turns out that kids who “snack on cookies and cake may be more likely to wind up overweight”.  Mind blown.  Wants some more?  Well, here you go you little knowledge monkey:

  • Children who ate the most sweets after the meal and threw the biggest tantrums when the treats were taken away had greater odds of gaining excess weight than kids who grazed on salty foods or didn’t put up a fuss when their snack was removed, the study found.
  • “Our study suggests that those kids who particularly like sweets are at greater risk of weight gain,” Lumeng said.
  • “Depending on the child, some families may need to be more vigilant than others about keeping sweets out of the house and limiting how easily accessible they are.”
  • All were from low-income families receiving subsidies for health care, food and early childhood education services.
  • While the study only included low-income families, the findings mirror results from other research that linked eating sweets after meals to obesity in wealthier households, Lumeng said.

So, tell me, did you learn something?

Yeah, didn’t think so.  Glad money is being paid for crap like this.


Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  11 comments for “Ridiculous Study of the Month: Sweets Make Kids Fat

  1. Sir Hakum of Hugo
    May 10, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Beth, that is a fantastic link. I also viewed Dr. Lustig’s Youtube lecture on Fructose.
    Pretty compelling.
    Gatorade is so gone.
    Gimmee back my cream cheese.

    • Beth
      May 10, 2016 at 10:31 am

      Yes, Sir, the foundational lecture by Dr Robert Lustig at UCSF in 2007 is 1 1/2 hour long and most people do not want to listen that long, but Sugar: The Bitter Truth is well worth the time.


      Science is worth the time.

      For the public there will be a documentary called, “Sugar Coated.” I haven’t seen it yet.

  2. Beth
    May 9, 2016 at 11:46 am

    This study, I am sure, was funded by the food industry. Dr. Robert Lustig seems like Don Quixote in his uphill battle with them

    Sugar also has clear potential for abuse. Like tobacco and alcohol, it acts on the brain to encourage subsequent intake. There are now numerous studies examining the dependence-producing properties of sugar in humans6. Specifically, sugar dampens the suppression of the hormone ghrelin, which signals hunger to the brain. It also interferes with the normal transport and signalling of the hormone leptin, which helps to produce the feeling of satiety. And it reduces dopamine signalling in the brain’s reward centre, thereby decreasing the pleasure derived from food and compelling the individual to consume more1, 6.

    The Sugar Conspiracy

    • May 11, 2016 at 9:57 am

      I disagree. Robert Lustig is the Ancel Keys of sugar. In case you don’t know, Keys is the asshole we have to blame for the fat obsession that turned out to be nothing. Lustig may believe that sugar has been proven to be a toxic villain. You know who disagrees? Endocrinologists. (See “Diet Patterns, Adipokines, and Metabolism: Where are We and What is Next?” Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental “Much more research […] is needed”.)

      Lustig may believe that sugar is addictive. You know who disagrees? Addiction experts. (See “Is Food Addiction a Valid and Useful Concept” in Obesity Reviews, and “Obesity and the Brain: How Convincing is the Addiction Model” in Nature Reviews Neuroscience.)

      If fructose is always bad, then it must be particularly bad when comes in a pure form…from fruit. But almost nobody would suggest that fruit is bad for you. In fact, the only really damning studies on sugar look at only added sugar, specifically excluding naturally-occurring sugars. But if you want to study the chemical effects of sugar on the body, you need to include all the sugar. And if you don’t include all the sugar, then you are not studying sugar.

      To put it another way, if the context of the sugar matters so much that it can make the sugar not matter at all, then the context is the only thing that matters and THAT is what you are studying. For example, in “Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults” JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found that people who ate 17-21% of their calories as added sugar are 38% more likely to die of CVD than people who ate only 8% of their calories as added sugar.

      Here is the problem with blaming sugar for that result: the food industry adds sugar to everything. So the amount of added sugar you are eating is really just a surrogate measure for how much processed food you are eating. Someone eating 17-21% added sugar is eating more than twice as much processed food as someone only eating 8% added sugar. Haven’t we just explained why there is a difference between the two groups? Do we really need to blame sugar?

      There are two things, and possibly ONLY two things, we know about nutrition – whole plants improve your health and overeating compromises your health. What are the chances that someone eating 17-21% added sugar is eating fewer vegetables and overeating more often than someone eating only 8% added sugar? It is an absolute given. The two things we know for sure about nutrition perfectly explain the difference between the two groups. It kind of makes me wonder what these people thought they were studying. Are they really suggesting that sugar is the one and only thing making processed food bad?

      You should not think monotonically about sugar. Clearly it is not bad all the time. As Paracelsus said, “The dose makes the poison.” Sugar is dose-sensitive and it is not detrimental if you don’t overeat it. As a practical matter naturally-occurring sugars are not detrimental because you can’t overeat them.

      As for this particular study about sweets making kids fat, it is ridiculous not because the conclusions were obvious but because they skipped a critical step in the causation. Eating sweets leads to overeating. Overeating makes you fat.

      “It is easier fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.” – Mark Twain

      • Beth
        May 11, 2016 at 11:19 am

        Thanks for your reply. From your comments you are not arguing against what Dr Lustig has said, but my comments. All of you comments are correct except those referring to him. Your harsh remarks are incorrect and indicate that you have not listened to his 2007 lecture I cited or this would be clear.

        No, I did not go into scientific detail. If someone actually wants the detail they will listen to the entire 2007 lecture, “Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth.” There is no substitute.

        As you state, we eat too much sugar because the food industry puts sugar into everything. Eating whole plants is healthy. No small amounts of sugar are not dangerous, but if you read the history of the amount of sugar per person we use you will see that people have not always eaten the way we do now.

        Please attack me for my lack of specificity. I accept the blame. Yet sugar in large doses is additive. Please get more information.

        • Sir Hakum of Hugo
          May 11, 2016 at 2:04 pm

          Great reply, Beth.
          Years ago I read “Sugarbusters”, the book that seems to me a bridge between the 1970’s Atkins diet and the later “South Beach Diet”.

          There was a set of wonderful graphs. The first showed the per capita sugar consumption in the US since 1900. The second showed the obesity rates since 1900 or so. There appears to be a parallel (sorry to the critics but advanced mathematical heuristics is beyond my barely able to do the checkbook cerebrum).

          And let us not forget the portion sizes. Dr. Lustig did address the growth of the Coca Cola serving size from 6.5 ounces up to the Big Gulp sizing. Other documentries had shown the growth in hamburger and other snack sizes.

          Sugar, along with excessive caloric intake, decreased physical activity, and decreased consumption of whole food nutrition, is a constant in the equation.

          The quick 30 second nutrition guide to patients I have been giving for years (about all one can do in a 15 minute time slot) is: Nothing white (sugar, corn, potatos,breads, rice, and no soft drinks, sweet tea (In South Georgia its safer than the water and twice as thick), or juices. Eat regular smaller but more freqeunt meals, nothing after 6 pm, drinks lots of water, 150 minutes a week of walking, eat lots of lean meats, fish, poultry, vegetables and whole fruits.

          Simple, but the rates of comliance approach negligible.
          Not the means for patients to conform or perform, it is often the lack of opportunity, finances or education. Mostly it is simply the lack of will.

        • May 11, 2016 at 3:46 pm

          Beth, you have it all wrong. I have no opinion about you at all. But I am absolutely arguing against what Lustig has said. Lustig is the worst type of Bad Guy, the kind that wears a white hat.

          I have watched Lustig’s Youtube video, and also read the book that put him on his crusade – Pure, White and Deadly (you would love it). If that is all you hear on the subject it sounds very convincing. If you seek out contrary points of view to make sure you are understanding it right, the shine falls right off that apple. I used to share your opinion until I really looked into it. If you are as well-read on this subject, then we can just agree to disagree.

          But if your opinion is based purely on Lustig, then, well, I think Mark Twain understands you really well.

  3. Steve O'
    May 9, 2016 at 8:27 am

    The reforms in American Medicine will very soon turn it into a consumer-driven enterprise. Modern Retail Medicine will likely yield the same results as the American Food Industry. Eat what makes you feel good. The “problem” of obesity has been earnestly discussed, and principally ignored, for many decades. “Fixing the problem” gives university people jobs. Ignoring the problem gives the commercial sector jobs. What will happen when the same “choice-based consumers” make their choices as pharmaceutical customers?
    DPC is like having your own personal trainer. That’s the only way out of this mess, I figure.

  4. Sir Lance-a-lot
    May 9, 2016 at 7:20 am

    Well, I, for one, will completely change my clinical practice based on this study.

    Now where are my goddamned Cheezy Poofs?!?

  5. Thomas Guastavino
    May 9, 2016 at 7:06 am

    I find it very telling that in the United States, as opposed to the rest of the world, the biggest nutritional problem that the poor face is not starvation, its is obesity.

    • Perry
      May 9, 2016 at 8:50 am

      …”the poor face is not starvation, its is obesity.”

      The other side of malnutrition.

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