Added Sugar Linked To Higher CVD Death Risk
By Dr. James Palermo // February 5, 2014
TOO MUCH SUGAR CONSUMED, ESPECIALLY IN SODAS
ABOVE VIDEO: Daily News video chronicles the findings of the CDC research published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, which found over 70 percent of adults in the U.S. consume 15 percent of their daily calories from added sugars in foods and drinks, and that high level of consumption increases the risk of cardiovascular mortality.
Most Americans consume more added sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet. New research has found a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk for cardiovascular mortality.
Past research has firmly linked “added” dietary sugars, which include table sugar, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, molasses and other caloric sweeteners in prepared and processed foods and beverages, to the development of obesity, high blood pressure, increased triglycerides (blood fats), low HDL (good) cholesterol, fatty liver problems, as well as making insulin less effective in lowering blood sugar.
Although all of these conditions are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, few studies had examined the association between added sugar consumption and death from cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Recently published data from research out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) exploring the issue using long-term data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, demonstrated that levels of consumption of added dietary sugars common among Americans represent a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease mortality.
AMERICANS CONSUME FAR MORE ADDED SUGAR THAN IS HEALTHY
The analysis included 31,147 people who participated in the survey from 1988 to 2010 for a time trend analysis and 11,733 who were included in the wave from 1988 to 1994 and were followed through 2006 for the mortality analysis.
According to the study’s lead author, Quanhe Yang, PhD, of the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, “The risk of cardiovascular disease death increases exponentially as you increase your consumption of added sugar.”
On average, adults in the USA in 2010 consumed about 15% of their daily calories, or about 300 calories a day, based on a 2,000-calorie diet, from added sugars, which is far more than the American Heart Association’s recommendation that women consume no more than 100 calories (5 percent) a day from added sugars, and men consume no more than 150 calories a day (7.5 percent).
30% HIGHER RISK OF CVD DEATH WITH HIGH SUGAR CONSUMPTION
Through a median follow-up of nearly 15 years, study participants who had 10 to 24.9 percent of calories come from added sugar were 30 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who consumed less than 10 percent of their calories in foods containing added sugar.
Also, according to the study published online in JAMA Internal Medicine, the risk of death during the follow-up period spiked up to 175% for those consuming 25% or more of their calories from added sugar.
Added sugar is ubiquitous in processed and prepared foods, such as sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages; dairy, non-dairy and grain-based desserts; fruit drinks; ready-to-eat cereals; yeast breads; and candy. Sugars that occur naturally in fruits, fruit juice, and milk and dairy products are not considered “added” in this study.
THREE CANS OF REGULAR SODA A DAY DOUBLES CVD DEATH RISK
There are about 140 calories of added sugar in one 12-ounce can of regular soda, which accounts for about 7 percent of the daily calories of someone consuming 2,000 calories a day.
Study participants who consumed more than 21 percent of daily calories from added sugar (about three cans of regular soda) doubled their risk of death from heart disease compared to those who consumed less than 10percent of calories from added sugars.
Study participants who consumed between 17 to 21 percent of daily calories from added sugar had a 38 percent higher risk of death from heart disease than those who consumed less than 10 percent of calories from added sugars.
Study participants who consumed seven or more servings per week of sugar-added beverages were 29 percent more likely to die from heart disease than those who consumed one serving or less.
SUGAR-SWEETENED BEVERAGES ACCOUNT FOR OVER 37% OF ADDED SUGAR CONSUMPTION
The 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,” Laura Schmidt, PhD, MPH, of the University of California San Francisco, wrote in an accompanying editorial.
“The results reported by Yang and colleagues support the logic for singling out sugar-sweetened beverages for taxation,” Schmidt wrote. “Sugar-sweetened beverages are by far the single largest source of added sugar in the American diet, accounting for 37.1 percent of all that is consumed nationally.”
“These findings provide physicians and consumers with actionable guidance,” she added. “Until federal guidelines are forthcoming, physicians may want to caution patients that, to support cardiovascular health, it is safest to consume less than 15 percent of their daily calories as added sugar.”
In rebuttal to the published findings of association between consumption of added sugar and CVD mortality, the American Beverage Association said in a statement: “This is an observational study which cannot and does not show that cardiovascular disease is caused by drinking sugar-sweetened beverages.”