Consuming Sugar

Did You Know that there are Heart-Harming Consequences of Consuming Sugar?!



Did you know that there are heart harming consequences of consuming sugar?  Saturated fat has taken the blame as the major dietary villian of heart disease, but mounting research suggests that sugar is one of the heart’s worst enemies.

Both sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup are major components of Western diets. Sweetened drinks such as soft drinks are the largest contributor to added sugar intake in the U.S. The use of added sweeteners containing fructose (sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup) has increased by 25 percent over the past thirty years.

In recent decades, rising intake of sugar sweetened beverages – including soft drinks, fruitades, fruit drinks, vitamin water drinks, sweetened iced tea and lemonade—has closely paralleled the increase in obesity. It has long been suspected that sugar-sweetened beverages may be responsible for the obesity epidemic; however, only recently have large epidemiological studies established the association between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and long-term weight gain, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk.

One of the newest studies about sugar’s effect on heart health, published in the journal Circulation, found that teenagers who consume larte amounts of sugary foods and drinks are more likely to have risk factors for heart disease. The results of the study indicated that the more added sugar

teenagers consumed, the more significant was the association with factors known to increase cardiovascular disease risk.  For example, the higher the intake of added sugars, the lower the mean high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels.  Added sugars also were positively associated with levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and triglycerides.

A study on adults drew similar conclusions.  The study found that the higher the consumption of sugar, the lower the levels of HDL cholesterol and the higher the levels of triglycerides. A recent report from the Nurses’ Health Study showed that women who consumed diets with a high-glycemic load (increased intake of sweets or highly processed starches and sweets) had an increased coronary hear disease (CHD) risk.

The increase in dietary consumption of sugar has gone hand in hand with a dramatic rise in the prevalence of insulin resistance, a condition that is linked to poor heart health. Excessive fructose intake, particularly, of high fructose corn syrup,  has the potential to adversely influence systemic and cellular metabolism via insulin resistance.  Because the heart is both insulin sensitive and glycolysis dependent, it may be especially vulunerable to fructose and sucrose over-consumption.

One of sugar’s most destructive effects on the heart is its tendency to encourage the formation of AGEs-advanced glycation end products—in the body.  AGE formation in the body results from the same process that caramelized sugar when it’s cooked and the process that turns bread brown during toasting.  This process is known as the Maillard reaction

Proper dietary choices are, of course, important in stopping the damaging effects of AGEs on the heart.  However, AGEs are widespread in the diet.  AGEs also are produced in the body as a result of imbalanced metabolic processes and can’t be avoided.

In conclusion, sugar and refiend carbohydrates increase the production of AGES in the body, creating an effect similar to caramelization.