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Too much sugar consumption increases heart disease death risk

Too much sugar consumption has been associated with serious health conditions including obesity and diabetes. New research links increased sugar consumption with cardiovascular mortality, reported JAMA on Feb. 3, 2014. It has been suggested by epidemiologic studies that higher intake of added sugar is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. However, few prospective studies have investigated the association of added sugar intake with CVD mortality.

Sugary candy

Researchers have found that people who had excessive amounts of added sugar in their diet had increased risks of dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD), reports MedPage Today in a review of this research. Over 15 years it was observed that people who had 10 percent to 24.9 percent of calories come from increased sugar were 30 percent more likely to experience cardiovascular death than those with less than 10 percent.

There was a very dramatic increase in the risk of death up to 175 percent in those people getting 25 percent or more of their calories from added sugar. Laura Schmidt, PhD, MPH, of the University of California San Francisco, has said that this study "underscores the likelihood that, at levels of consumption common among Americans, added sugar is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease mortality above and beyond its role as empty calories leading to weight gain and obesity."

The researchers concluded that most US adults consume more added sugar than is recommended to maintain a healthy diet. They observed a significant association between added sugar consumption and increased risk for CVD mortality. The researchers think there is a need for federal guidelines to help consumers set safe limits on their consumption of sugar. In the meantime Schmidt suggests that physicians may want to caution patients that, in order to support cardiovascular health, it is safest to consume less than 15 percent of their daily calories in the form of added sugar.

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