The following is a reprint our our clinic’s Health Report from last week. It is about the groundbreaking study that found that consuming too much added sugar increases your risk of death from heart disease. What is new about this research is that these effects are IN ADDITION to the known effects of sugar to cause weight gain, and the resulting increased risk of disease from weight gain alone.
Consuming too much added sugar — found in bread, soda, juice drinks, cookies and candy — increases
your risk of death from heart disease, according to a new study published in February 2014 in JAMA
Internal Medicine. “The risk of death from cardiovascular disease increases exponentially as you increase
your consumption of added sugar,” says the study’s lead author, Quanhe Yang, a senior scientist with the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Rachel Johnson, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association and a nutrition professor at the University
of Vermont, says, “Now we know that too much added sugar doesn’t just make us fat, it increases our
risk of death from heart disease.” On average, adults in the US consume about 15% of their daily calories — about 300 calories a day, based on a 2,000-calorie diet — from added sugars. That’s far more than the American Heart Association’s recommendation of less than 100 to 150 calories a day, or less than 6-9 teaspoons. The World Health Organization recommends consuming less than 10% of calories from added sugars.
One can of regular soda contains about 140 calories of added sugar. That’s about 7% of the daily calories of
someone eating 2,000 calories a day. Added sugars include table sugar, brown sugar, high-fructose corn
syrup, maple syrup, honey, molasses and other caloric sweeteners in prepared and processed foods and beverages. It does not include sugars that occur naturally in foods.
Other research has tied a high intake of added sugars, to other health conditions, including obesity, high
blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and risk factors for heart disease and stroke. The study looked at data from
more than 31,000 people. The researchers looked at data about deaths from heart disease (heart attacks,
stroke, heart failure, hypertension), and they compared added-sugar intake to death from heart disease. They
controlled their results for a wide range of heart-disease risk factors, including high blood pressure, total
cholesterol, smoking, physical activity, diet and weight.
The paper’s senior author Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of
Public Health, says excessive intake of added sugar appears to negatively affect health in several ways. It
has been linked to the development of high blood pressure, increased triglycerides (blood fats), low HDL
(good) cholesterol, fatty liver problems, as well as making insulin less effective in lowering blood sugar.
The study found that people who consumed more than 21% of daily calories from added sugar had double
the risk of death from heart disease as those who consumed less than 10% of calories from added sugars.
People who consumed seven or more servings a week of sugar-sweetened beverages (5 cans of soda) were at
a 29% higher risk of death from heart disease than those who consumed one serving or less.
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