Excess sugar may cause heart attacks later

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

WASHINGTON - Teenagers fond of too much of sugar in their diet are likely to face a higher heart attack risk as adults.

A study found that teens who consume elevated amounts of added sugars in drinks and foods are more likely to have poor cholesterol and triglyceride profiles which may lead to heart disease later in life.

It also found that overweight or obese teens with the highest levels of added sugar intake had increased signs of insulin resistance - a precursor to diabetes, the journal Circulation reports.

Added sugars are caloric sweeteners added to foods or beverages in the manufacturing process or by the consumer, according to the American Heart Association.

“Adolescents are eating 20 percent of their daily calories in sugars that provide few if any other nutrients,” said Jean Welsh, study author and post-doctoral fellow in paediatric nutrition at Emory University School of Medicine, according to its release.

“We know from previous studies the biggest contributors of added sugars to the diet are sugar-sweetened beverages such as sodas, fruit-flavoured drinks, and sweetened coffees and teas.”

This is the first study to assess the association of added sugars and the indicators of heart disease risk in adolescents, Welsh says.

The National Health and Nutrition Survey of 2,157 teenagers (aged 12 to 18) found the average daily consumption of added sugars was 119 grams (28.3 teaspoons or 476 calories), accounting for 21.4 percent of their total energy.

Filed under: Heart Disease, Medicine, World

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