HealthExcess added sugars can harm health, according to a study

Excess added sugars can harm health, according to a study

(CNN) — Consuming too many free sugars, also known as added sugars, may seem harmless at the time, but it could increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a new study.

Free sugars are those that are added during food processing, those that are packaged as table sugar and other sweeteners, and those that are found naturally in syrups, honey, fruit and vegetable juices, purées, pastes, and Similar products in which the cellular structure of the food has been broken down, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They do not include the sugars naturally present in dairy or structurally whole fruits and vegetables.


According to a new study, consuming a high amount of free or added sugars from foods such as sugary baked goods could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Credit: altitudevisual/Adobe Stock

Previous studies have suggested that the relationship between carbohydrate consumption and cardiovascular disease may depend on the quality, rather than the quantity, of the carbohydrates consumed, according to the new study published Monday in the academic journal BMC Medicine.

To test that theory, the authors of the latest research evaluated diet and health data from more than 110,000 people who participated in the UK Biobank, a cohort study that collected data between 2006 and 2010 from more than 503,000 adult residents of the United Kingdom.

People included in the new study participated in two to five 24-hour online dietary assessments, recording their food and drink intake several times in each 24-hour period. After more than nine years of follow-up, the researchers found that total carbohydrate intake was not related to cardiovascular disease. However, when they analyzed the differences in outcomes based on the types and sources of carbohydrates eaten, they found that a higher intake of added sugars was associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and a larger waist circumference.

Read Also:   They create a contraceptive pill for men with the ability to paralyze sperm for a few hours

The more added sugars the participants consumed, the greater their risk of cardiovascular disease, heart disease and stroke. According to the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, all heart disease is a cardiovascular disease, but cardiovascular disease refers to all types of disease that affect the heart or blood vessels, such as stroke, congenital heart defects and peripheral arterial disease.

Higher intake of free sugars was also linked to higher levels of triglycerides, a type of fat that comes from butter, oils and other fats eaten, as well as extra calories the body doesn’t immediately need. Having high triglyceride levels, defined as having more than 150 milligrams per deciliter, can increase the risk of heart disease such as coronary artery disease.

“This study adds much-needed nuance to public health debates about the effects of dietary carbohydrates,” Maya Adam, MD, director of Health Media Innovation and Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine. Adam was not involved in the study. “The most important thing is that not all carbohydrates are created equal.”

Added sugars vs. sugars in whole foods

The link between a higher intake of added sugar and the risk of cardiovascular disease lies in the differences between how the body metabolizes free sugar versus sugar in whole foods.

Read Also:   Danish scientists discover an unknown superpower of latte

“Added sugar intake can promote inflammation in the body, and this can cause stress on the heart and blood vessels, which can lead to increased blood pressure,” said Brooke Aggarwal, an assistant professor of Medical Sciences at the division of cardiology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Aggarwal was not involved in the study.

“Added sugars are often found in processed foods that have little nutritional value and can lead to overeating and excessive calorie intake, which in turn leads to overweight/obesity, a well-established risk factor for disease. of the heart,” Aggarwal said via email.

Based on their findings, the authors suggest substituting non-free sugars for added sugars naturally found in whole fruits and vegetables to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and nutrition and cardiovascular health experts agree.

“Whole-food carbohydrates take longer to break down into simple sugars, and one part of them — the fiber — can’t be broken down at all,” adds Adam. “This means that intact, whole grains don’t cause the same blood sugar spikes that we experience when we eat simple sugars. Blood sugar spikes trigger insulin spikes, which can throw off our blood sugar levels and… be the underlying cause of long-term health problems.

Additionally, fiber from whole-food carbohydrates acts as an “internal cleaning brush” as it passes through the digestive system, Adam added. “So, in general, we need a certain amount of these ‘good carbs’ in our diet to stay healthy.”

Read Also:   The Spanish tuberculosis vaccine, effective as immunotherapy against BCG-resistant bladder tumors

Total fiber intake should be at least 25 grams daily, according to the FDA.

Reduce the consumption of free sugars

Awareness is the first step in cutting back on added sugars, so check nutrition labels when you shop, says Dr. Leana Wen, CNN Medical Analyst, ER physician and professor of public health at George University Washington. Wen was not involved in the study.

“Many times, people think about cutting calories or not eating fatty foods, but they may not be aware of the dangers of added sugars,” Wen said.

“When we buy packaged foods, even the ones that don’t seem sweet to us, like bread, breakfast cereals, flavored yogurts, or condiments, these foods often have a lot of added sugar, and that adds up,” Adam said.

Cut back on sugary drinks and opt for sweetened water with slices of fruit, suggests Aggarwal. Have fresh or frozen fruit for dessert instead of cakes, cookies, or ice cream. Foods higher in fiber can also help keep you full longer, he added.

Cooking and baking at home more frequently is one of the best ways to reduce sugar in the diet, Adam said.

“The American Heart Association recommends that added sugars account for less than 6% of daily calories, which is equivalent to about 6 teaspoons of sugar per day for women and 9 for men,” explains Aggarwal.

Finally, efforts to change the diet should not be limited to the kitchen or the supermarket. “Try to get at least seven to eight quality hours of sleep a night, as we tend to choose more sugary foods when we’re tired,” says Aggarwal.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Posts

Read More

What is Down syndrome? Data, causes and characteristics of this condition

(CNN) -- Here's a look at Down syndrome, a...

Candida auris: Threat from this emerging fungus is spreading at an alarming rate in the US, study alerts

(CNN) -- Clinical cases of Candida auris, an emerging...

The key exercise routine to anticipate the appearance of cellulite

Not having cellulite is rarer than having it. ...