The evidence against sugar continues to mount– now there’s good evidence that sugar in the diet may contribute to heart disease risk.
Researchers looked at the diets of over 6,000 people over the course of 7 years (from 1999-2006) and put each person in one of 5 groups depending on the percentage of added sugars in their diets.
Those who consumed less than 5% of total calories as added sugars were the reference group; the second group consumed between 5-10% of total calories as added sugars, the third group 10%-17.5%, the fourth group 17.5% to just under 25%, and the fifth group consumed a whopping 25% or more of total calories as added sugars.
Next the researchers looked at measures in the blood known to be associated with heart disease. Among other things they looked at HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, triglycerides and ratio of triglycerides to HDL (a low ratio means very low risk for heart disease).
Here’s what they found.
If you were in the groups that consumed higher levels of added sugar, you were 50% to 300% (!) more likely to have low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.
You were also far more likely to have high triglyceride levels (which I consider far more serious than high cholesterol), and a high ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol.
We already know that sugar raises levels of insulin, the fat-storage hormone, and in that way can contribute to diabetes and obesity.
This research shows that added sugars can contribute to heart disease risk as well.