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Sugar study: Research finds added sugar has unsweetened effects on your heart

Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

Back in the olden days (about ten years ago), a spoonful of sugar helped the medicine go down; thanks in part to Mary Poppins. Today, that same spoonful of sugar can cause your body and heart to shut down!

Do you realize how much sugar you consume in one day? Based on the Raleigh Food Examiners research (found on, here are some of the products where sugar content and glycemic levels play hide and seek:

High-Sugar / High-Glycemic Foods, Sugars, GI

  • Sugar, white, granulated or lump 99.9, 68
  • Sugar, white, confectioner's, powdered 97.9, 68
  • Sugar, raw 96.2, 68
  • Sugar, brown 96.2, 68
  • Sugar, cinnamon 93.6, 68
  • Skittles 76.0, 70
  • Nougat, chocolate covered 74.4 65
  • Licorice 70.0, 78
  • Currants, dried 67.3, 64
  • Date 63.4, 103
  • Hard candy 62.9, 70
  • Nougat, with caramel, chocolate covered 60.7, 65
  • Raisins 59.2, 64
  • Gumdrops 59.0, 78
  • Smacks, Kellogg's 56.0, 71
  • Malt-O-Meal Golden Puffs 56.0, 71
  • Granola bar, nonfat 55.3, 61
  • Breakfast bar, cereal crust with fruit filling, fat free 55.0, 72
  • Wheat, puffed, presweetened with sugar 55.0, 71
  • Milk, condensed, sweetened, undiluted 54.4, 61
  • Milk, condensed, sweetened 54.4, 61
  • Puffed wheat cereal, presweetened 53.9, 71
  • MARS Bar 52.1, 65
  • Cookie, vanilla with caramel, coconut, and chocolate coating 50.5, 63
  • Fruit leather 49.2, 99
  • Raisins, cooked 48.1, 64
  • Fig, dried, uncooked 47.9, 61

We are eating excessive amounts of added sugar and a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine demonstrates it. Researchers studied how much sugar participants consumed and looked at the similarities between added sugar consumption and cardiovascular mortality.

The majority of adults in the study, which looked at average adult sugar consumption between 2005 and 2010, ate or drank over 10% of their total calories in added sugar. About one in 10 adults took in 25% or more of calories from added sugar.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons or 24 grams (100 calories a day) of sugar for women and no more than 9 teaspoons or 36 grams (150 calories day) for men.

Your view of sugar is about to sour because the Institute of Medicine says that our daily sugar intake should not exceed 25% of total calories consumed. The WHO (World Health Organization) says this number should be no more than 10%.

So what does all this mean? Here are a few dangerous consequences on elevated sugar intake:

  1. Morbid obesity
  2. Diabetes
  3. Heart disease
  4. High blood pressure
  5. High cholesterol
  6. Increased cardiovascular mortality

Now is the time to make changes in your diet. Excess sugar, either hidden or added, can rob you of your health. Here are a few ways to evaluate your sugar intake and curb some habits:

  • For 1 week, keep a food diary: write down everything including the ketchup packet for your French fries and the pink packet you use in your coffee. Then look up the sugar contents for each item and see where you can improve
  • Minimize your processed food overload
  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Switch out a soda or fruit juice for a water twice a day
  • Find 10 minutes a day for exercise.

Sugar is the new salt when it comes to your heart and body. It is a sweet friend that will (and has probably already has) turn on you. Before it strikes you, make the first move and start cutting back. Many healthcare providers are telling their patients to look at sugar as poison. You want to stay strong and healthy for your family. Your heart is depending on you!

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