Sugarproof Science

Here we provide the details and links to the research studies cited in the book organized by Chapter. For each citation, the text in bold refers to the relevant text from the Chapter


16. Low-calorie sweeteners, which can mimic many of sugar’s effects on the body, have also been shown to reprogram developing cells to become fat cells

Simon, BR, Parlee, SD, Learman, BS, Mori, H, Scheller, EL, Cawthorn, WP, Ning, X, Gallagher, K, Tyrberg, B, Assadi-Porter, FM, Evans, CR, and MacDougald, OA. “Artificial sweeteners stimulate adipogenesis and suppress lipolysis independently of sweet taste receptors”. J Biol Chem, 2013. 288(45): p. 32475-89.

17. This 2008 Corn Refiners Association ad took a beating from the viewing public

“Corn Refiners Association HFCS Commercial”.

18. A study published in 2018 found that certain strains of the bacteria Clostridium difficile thrive on trehalose and cause intestinal distress

Collins, J, Robinson, C, Danhof, H, Knetsch, CW, van Leeuwen, HC, Lawley, TD, Auchtung, JM, and Britton, RA. “Dietary trehalose enhances virulence of epidemic Clostridium difficile”. Nature, 2018. 553(7688): p. 291-294.

19. The results of the first study, published in 2011

Ventura, EE, Davis, JN, and Goran, MI. “Sugar content of popular sweetened beverages based on objective laboratory analysis: focus on fructose content”. Obesity (Silver Spring), 2011. 19(4): p. 868-74.

20. And then verified in three different independent laboratories

Walker, RW, Dumke, KA, and Goran, MI. “Fructose content in popular beverages made with and without high-fructose corn syrup”. Nutrition, 2014. 30(7-8): p. 928-935.

21. In one human study, forty adult volunteers were asked to drink two different varieties of Dr Pepper in random order

Le, MT, Frye, RF, Rivard, CJ, Cheng, J, McFann, KK, Segal, MS, Johnson, RJ, and Johnson, JA. “Effects of high-fructose corn syrup and sucrose on the pharmacokinetics of fructose and acute metabolic and hemodynamic responses in healthy subjects”. Metabolism, 2012. 61(5): p. 641-51.

22. Made by bees from plant nectar, it consists of mostly fructose (30 to 45 percent by weight) and glucose (25 to 40 percent by weight), with the rest made up of maltose, sucrose, and other sugars

Ajibola, A, Chamunorwa, JP, and Erlwanger, KH. “Nutraceutical values of natural honey and its contribution to human health and wealth”. Nutr Metab (Lond), 2012. 9: p. 61.

23. And in other cases they are not broken down at all and can affect gut health

Suez, J, Korem, T, Zeevi, D, Zilberman-Schapira, G, Thaiss, CA, Maza, O, Israeli, D, Zmora, N, Gilad, S, Weinberger, A, Kuperman, Y, Harmelin, A, Kolodkin-Gal, I, Shapiro, H, Halpern, Z, Segal, E, and Elinav, E. “Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota”. Nature, 2014.

24. And in other cases they are not broken down at all and can affect gut health

Bian, X, Chi, L, Gao, B, Tu, P, Ru, H, and Lu, K. “Gut Microbiome Response to Sucralose and Its Potential Role in Inducing Liver Inflammation in Mice”. Front Physiol, 2017. 8: p. 487.

25. The most recent estimates show that 25 percent of children consume products with alternative sweeteners; a toddler who drinks more than one diet soda containing saccharin or sucralose a day would exceed the daily maximum. So would a teen who drinks four or five

Young, J, Conway, EM, Rother, KI, and Sylvetsky, AC. “Low-calorie sweetener use, weight, and metabolic health among children: A mini-review”. Pediatr Obes, 2019: p. e12521.

26. The World Health Organization recommends that adults and children get less than 10 percent of their daily calories from “free” sugar (ie added sugars plus sugars from juice), and they state that reducing “free” sugar to 5 percent of daily calories would provide additional health benefits

World Health Organization. Nutrition for Health and Development, “Guideline. Sugars intake for adults and children”. 2015, World Health Organization,: Geneva, Switzerland. p. 1 online resource (1 PDF file (vii, 49 pages)).

27. The AHA recommends zero added sugars for children under two years of age and proposes that children ages two to nineteen consume less than 25 grams per day

Vos, MB, Kaar, JL, Welsh, JA, Van Horn, LV, Feig, DI, Anderson, CA, Patel, MJ, Cruz Munos, J, Krebs, NF, Xanthakos, SA, Johnson, RK, American Heart Association Nutrition Committee of the Council on, L, Cardiometabolic, H, Council on Clinical, C, Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the, Y, Council on, C, Stroke, N, Council on, E, Prevention, Council on Functional, G, Translational, B, and Council on, H. “Added Sugars and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Children: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association”. Circulation, 2016.

28. Take dozens of teenagers, give them different things to eat or drink, and then see if they succumb to the sugar roller coaster. This was the premise of an ingenious study led by a colleague at USC, Dr. Donna Spruijt-Metz

O’Reilly, GA, Belcher, BR, Davis, JN, Martinez, LT, Huh, J, Antunez-Castillo, L, Weigensberg, M, Goran, MI, and Spruijt-Metz, D. “Effects of high-sugar and high-fiber meals on physical activity behaviors in Latino and African American adolescents”. Obesity (Silver Spring), 2015. 23(9): p. 1886-94.

29. Similar results have been observed in younger children, too

Goldman, JA, Lerman, RH, Contois, JH, and Udall, JN, Jr. “Behavioral effects of sucrose on preschool children”. J Abnorm Child Psychol, 1986. 14(4): p. 565-77.

30. This 1995 paper looked at twenty-three previous studies that examined the effects of sugar consumption on children’s behavior and energy levels, and it concluded that sugar had no clear effects

Wolraich, ML, Wilson, DB, and White, JW. “The effect of sugar on behavior or cognition in children. A meta-analysis”. JAMA, 1995. 274(20): p. 1617-21.