The American Heart Association has urged people to cut their added sugar intake because of evidence that it can cause the following health conditions:
- Obesity – Scientists at the Medical Research Council found that eating more sugar is associated with obesity.
- High blood pressure – A high-fructose diet raises blood pressure in men, according to research reported at the American Heart Association’s 63rd High Blood Pressure Research Conference.
- Heart disease – Researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that people who consume higher amounts of added sugar are more likely to have heart disease risk factors.
- Type 2 diabetes – Research conducted at the University of California-San Francisco indicates that sugar intake could be directly linked to type 2 diabetes.
Added sugar consumption far too high
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that far too many Americans are consuming too many calories from added sugars. The report revealed that nearly 13% of adults’ total caloric intake are coming from sources such as sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
Sugar: The bitter truth – video
Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, explores the damage caused by sugary foods in this video from 2009. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin.
Consumers need information on “added sugars” – video
Dr. Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist, wrote in the BMJ in 2013 that dietary advice on added sugar is damaging people’s health. Dr. Malhotra said “not only has this advice been manipulated by the food industry for profit but it is actually a risk factor for obesity and diet related disease.”
Food labels in the USA and Europe contain only information on total sugars per serving, and tell us nothing about added sugar. “It is therefore almost impossible for consumers to determine the amount of added sugars in foods and beverages,” Dr. Malhotra added.
Prof. Tim Noakes, Director at the Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, University of Cape Town, South Africa, wrote in the same journal: “Sugary sports drinks are promoted as essential for athletic performance, but are used predominantly by those without real athletic aspirations. Users need to understand that exercise may not protect them from the negative consequences of an excessive sugar intake.”
In the video below, Dr. Miriam Vos, assistant professor of pediatrics (gastroenterology) at Emory University School of Medicine explains what “added sugars” are and how they are different from the natural sugars we find in fruit or milk.