Can sugar kill you? In previous blogs we discussed the fact that sugar is a siren killing us softly with her song. Now there is new and reliable evidence that excess sugar can increase your risk of dying from heart disease.
In an article recently published in the JAMA Internal Medicine magazine the investigators reported that people whose sugar intake accounted for more than 25% of their total daily calories had twice the risk of dying from heart disease than those whose intake was less than 7% of their total calories.
It does not take that much extra sugar to make a difference. The problem is that sugar is hidden in so many processed foods. This results in most Americans eating more than the safest amount of sugar. For example having a cinnamon roll with your morning coffee, a sugary soda at lunch and some ice cream after dinner would put you in a high risk group. Someone who normally consumes 2,000 calories a day would substantially increase their risk of heart disease by drinking only two 12 ounce sodas a day.
In our opinion this has been the most important and reliable study to document the link between sugar consumption and heart disease. The researchers are not certain about the exact mechanism that is responsible for the increased incidence of heart disease. In previous blogs we have reported that excess sugar has been shown to increase blood pressure and levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. It may also increase inflammation linked with heart disease.
According to the researchers, sugar from fresh fruits and vegetables does not count in the unhealthy tabulation of bad sugar calories. This does not make complete sense to us since sugar is sugar is sugar. We think that it may also be the chemicals and additives present in processed foods that are partly responsible for the increase in heart disease reported in this study. In any event it makes sense to follow the dictates of moderation in eating. Focus on fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed foods and avoid extra sugar calories whenever you can.