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Sugar & Weight: Industry Responds

The Sugar Association declined to comment on the study, but says the news release "is a classic example of misrepresented science."

But the American Beverage Association issued this statement: "This study confirms that it's calories that count when it comes to weight loss, not uniquely calories from sugar. As the authors noted, when calories from sugar were replaced with calories from carbohydrates, there was no change in weight. This would not have been the case if sugars had a unique effect on body weight."

Sugar & Weight: Perspective

The results suggest sugar increases body weight mainly by encouraging overeating, according to Walter Willett, MD, PhD, MPH, chair of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. He co-wrote an editorial to accompany the study.

However, he writes, many questions remain about sugar and weight.

The 10% limit set by the WHO ''could be viewed as a realistic practical goal," he says.

Keeping sugar to 10% of calories, if on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, would mean eating and drinking just 200 calories a day of sugars.

One way to cut down is to eat whole fruit and not drink sweetened juices, says Ping Zhou, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist at The Children's Hospital of Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.

Sugars from whole fruits have not been linked with weight gain, according to Willett.

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