Eating an excessive amount of fat isn’t the only thing that increases your risk of heart disease. Mounting evidence suggests that sugar plays a direct role on the health of your ticker. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who took in more than 17.5% of their calories from added sugars were 20 to 30% more likely to have high levels of triglycerides, a type of fat that’s found in your blood. When you consume more sugar than you need for energy, the excess sugars form triglycerides, which are then stored in fat cells.
The same study found that people who got 25% or more of their calories from added sugars were more than 3 times more likely to have low levels of HDL (the good cholesterol that helps prevent plaque buildup by carrying cholesterol from your arteries to your liver where it is then excreted) than those whose diets included less than 5% sugar. Both high triglycerides and low HDL levels contribute to atherosclerosis—the hardening of your arteries—a condition that increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.
The case against sugar is so compelling that, in 2009, the AHA released guidelines suggesting people limit intake. Women should eat less than 6 teaspoons a day; men are to keep their intake to 9 teaspoons.
Until next time,