Added sugars raise heart disease risk

Added sugars raise heart disease risk

We’ve all been warned about the dangers excess sugar can cause, but a recent study adds another danger to the list: an increased risk for dying from heart disease.

The study, published in the January issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, found that those who got 17 to 21 percent of their calories from added sugar had a nearly 40 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease compared to those who consumed 8 percent of their calories from added sugar. The risk more than doubled for those who consumed 21 percent or more of their calories from added sugar.

Added sugars are sugars and syrups added to foods and drinks when they’re processed or prepared. They have often been cited for contributing to obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Some examples of added sugars include:

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Grain-based desserts
  • Fruit drinks
  • Candy
  • Read-to-eat cereals
  • Yeast breads

This term does not apply to naturally occurring sugars, which can be found in foods like fruits and fruit juices.

According to the study, most U.S. adults consume about 22 teaspoons of added sugars daily. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends:

  • No more than 6 teaspoons or 100 calories a day of sugar for women
  • No more than 9 teaspoons or 150 calories a day of sugar for men

The study also revealed that sugary drinks are the largest source of added sugars in the American diet. Rachel Johnson, registered dietitian and chair of the AHA’s nutrition committee said, in a statement, that sugar-sweetened beverages should be limited to 36 ounces or 450 calories a week.

A can of regular soda packs about 35 grams of added sugars, which translates to almost 9 teaspoons or 140 calories. Reducing or cutting out soda, fruit, sports and energy drinks as well as enhanced waters, sweetened teas and sugary coffee drinks can go a long way toward that goal, said Johnson.

The study recommends that federal guidelines and regulatory strategies be put in place to help consumers control their sugar intake.

“We should have added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label so consumers can tell how much added sugars are in the products they are buying,” added Johnson.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.