High-Sugar Diet Linked to Cholesterol
Added Sugars in Diet Triple Risk of Having Low Level of 'Good' Cholesterol
WebMD News Archive
April 20, 2010 -- The average American eats the equivalent of about 21
teaspoons of added sugar a day -- about 2 1/2 to 3 times more than new heart disease prevention
guidelines say they should.
Excess sugar is known to contribute to obesity, diabetes, and other conditions
linked to heart disease, and now new
research links it to unhealthy cholesterol and triglyceride
People in the study who ate the most added sugar had the lowest HDL, or good
cholesterol, and the highest blood triglyceride levels. People who ate the
least sugar had the highest HDL and the lowest triglyceride levels.
Eating large amounts of added sugar more than tripled the risk of having low
HDL, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.
The study appears in this week’s issue of the Journal of the American
Added Sugar, Empty Calories
Added sugar is defined as any caloric sweetener used in processed or
prepared foods. Beyond increasing calories, added sugars have no nutritional
In guidelines released late last summer, the American Heart Association
recommended limiting added sugar in the diet to no more than 100 calories
a day for most women and 150 calories for most men.
That’s about 6 teaspoons of sugar a day for women and 9 teaspoons for
To put this in perspective, the average 12-ounce can of regular soda has
between 8 and 10 teaspoons of sugar. A breakfast cereal with 16 grams
of sugar per serving has about 4 teaspoons.
In the newly published study, daily consumption of added sugars averaged
about 360 calories a day, or 16% of total daily calories.
That is an increase of about 6% in just over three decades, researcher
Miriam Vos, MD, of Atlanta’s Emory University tells WebMD.
“This is a dramatic increase, but it is not too surprising given the
proliferation of processed foods with large amounts of added sugar,” she
Vos and colleagues analyzed data on 6,113 adults who participated in the
large, ongoing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from
1999 to 2006.