Free SAT Practice Questions

Question 1 of 1
Section: Reading Passage

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[1] Fat was the food villain these past few decades but sugar is quickly muscling in to take its place. [2] As rates of sugar-related disorders such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease climb, experts believe that when Americans rid themselves of fat, they simply replaced it with sugar in all its forms.

[3] But to prove that the rise of the chronic diseases was actually linked to higher sugar consumption is a challenge. [4] Dr. Robert Lustig, from the department of pediatrics at the University of California wanted clearer answers. [5] Now, in a paper published recently, he and his colleagues believe they have come up with definitive evidence that sugar is toxic.

[6] In most lab studies, the doses of sugar that scientists test are quite high; they want to see what the effect is quickly and may not have time to wait to study the more gradual effects that might emerge. [7] And in studies where people reduce the amount of sugar they eat, for instance, those people end up eating fewer calories overall, so it's difficult to know whether any changes are due to the removal of sugar or to the drop-in calories. [8] However, Lustig and his colleagues think they've produced the hard and fast data that sugar is toxic irrespective of its calories and irrespective of weight.

[9] Lustig's confidence comes from the unique study of 43 Hispanic or African-American children aged eight to 18 years old. [10] He collected detailed food questionnaires from each of them to understand the average amount of calories they ate per day, then designed a special menu for each of them for nine days that matched the total numbers of calories they would normally eat. [11] The only difference in the diet was that most of the sugar the children ate was supplanted by starch — the overall number of calories remained the same. [12] The children weighed themselves daily, and if they were losing weight, they were told to eat more of the provided food in order to keep their weight the same throughout the study.

[13] Lustig noticed that all the health parameters got better. [14] Some of the children went from being insulin resistant, a precursor state to developing diabetes, to insulin sensitive. [15] Overall, their fasting blood sugar levels dropped by 53%, along with the amount of insulin their bodies produced since insulin is normally needed to break down carbohydrates and sugars. [16] Their triglyceride and LDL levels also declined and, most importantly, they showed less fat in their liver. [17] Because some of the children lost weight, to convince themselves that the effects weren't due to the small amount of weight that some of the children lost, Lustig and his team compared those who lost weight to those who didn't during the study, and found similar improvements in both groups.

[18] The diet he provided the children isn't considered ideal from a health perspective — starches are a considerable source of calories and can contribute to weight gain. [19] But Lustig relied on the starches to prove a point — that the effect sugar has on the body goes beyond anything connected to its calories and to weight. [20] Despite the unhealthy diet, the children still got better. [21] And that is the point that he is trying to make.

[22] Not everyone is convinced that the results definitely prove sugar, and not weight loss, is the culprit, however. [23] Susan Roberts, professor of Nutrition, USDA Nutrition Center notes that because some of the children lost weight, it's still possible that shedding the pounds helped their metabolic measures to improve. [24] She also points out that the children self-reported their initial diet, which can often be inaccurate.



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Sub-Question 1 of 10

What is the central claim of the passage?

ATo prove that fat is not the culprit in any disorders
BTo bring a consensus on the ill-effects of sugar
CTo describe a disruptive new research on human body
DTo justify that sugar is definitely toxic
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