Sugary Treats Might Break Your Heart

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Heart disease related death linked to sugar consumption in adults

April 7, 2014 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

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(dailyRx News) Passing up a sweet treat can take willpower, but a new study suggests it’s for the best, as consuming extra sugar calories may be bad for your heart.

A new study looked at sugar consumption in American adults and its health effects.

The research showed that most adults consumed more than the recommended amount of sugar for a healthy diet.

The authors found a strong association between heart disease and the amount of sugar an adult consumed.

"Discuss safe diet options with your physician."

This study was led by Quanhe Yang, PhD, of the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Yang and his team looked at the data from more than 40,000 American adults, found in three of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). The NHANES is a program designed to analyze the health and nutritional status of Americans using a telephone survey, which is conducted every few years.

The research team set out to study the effect of added sugar on the nation’s health. Added sugar is any sugar that is added when food is packaged or cooked. Such foods may include sugar-sweetened beverages, dairy and grain-based desserts and candy.

The data showed that the percent of daily calories from added sugar varied between each study. The total percentage of calories from these sugars was 15.7 percent from 1988-1994. That total increased to 16.8 percent for the study covering 1999-2004 and dropped again to 14.9 percent during the 2005-2010 study.

The World Health Organization recommends limiting calories from added sugar to less than 10 percent of your daily total.

The researchers found that the risk of heart disease-related death increased as the percentage of added sugar in the diet increased.

This study revealed that adults who consumed 17 to 21 percent of their calories as added sugar were 38 percent more likely to die from heart disease than people who limited their percentage of added sugar consumption to 8 percent of their total caloric intake.

The research showed that 71.4 percent of adults consumed more than 10 percent of their daily calories as added sugar in the NHANES for 2005-2010. The same study said that 10 percent of adults reported their added sugar consumption as 25 percent of the total caloric intake during the same period.

The authors of this study concluded that American adults consume more than the recommended percentage of added sugar for a healthy diet, which is associated with a greater risk of death from heart disease.

These authors noted that this study was limited by the inclusion of data that required participants to recall their dietary intake, which may have led to underreporting of calories.

This study was published April 7 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

No conflicts of interest were reported.

Review Date: 
April 6, 2014
Last Updated:
April 8, 2014