Saturday, April 24, 2010

Excessive sugar bad for heart: Study

While excessive sugar had long been known as a factor contributing to obesity, diabetes and heart disease, a new study links it to high levels of bad cholesterol.

Aiming to prevent rather than simply treat disease, health officials had recently urged FDA to start regulating the sodium intake in foods. The new study adds to mounting pressure on food companies to make their foods healthier.

According to the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, individuals who eat more added sugar are at a greater risk of higher blood levels of triglycerides. Eating large amounts of added sugar was also associated with a tripled risk of having low HDL levels, the major risk factor for heart disease.

"Just like eating a high-fat diet can increase your levels of triglycerides and high cholesterol, eating sugar can also affect those same lipids," said lead researcher Miriam Vos.

Scientists, therefore, urged individuals to limit their sugar consumption, recommending them to follow the existing guidelines in which women should eat no more than 100 calories of added processed sugar per day — six teaspoons, 25 grams, while men should keep it to just 150 calories — nine teaspoons, 37.5 grams.