Sugar Equals Poor Cardiovascular Nutrition

Filed Under: Heart Health, Food and Nutrition

Just this year, Dr. Sinatra wrote in his newsletter Heart, Health & Nutrition about a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association showing that diets high in added sugars raise the levels of blood fats and increase cardiovascular disease risk. Specifically, people who ate about 20 percent of their daily calories in the form of sweeteners of any kind were much more likely to have lower HDL good cholesterol levels and higher triglyceride levels.

In the study, Emory University researchers surveyed about 6,000 adults and determined that average sugar intake was 16 percent of daily calories—21.4 teaspoons, about 359 calories. These findings also support guidelines released last year by the American Heart Association recommending that men keep their daily intake of added sugars below 150 calories (10 tsp.) and women limit themselves to 100 calories (6 tsp.).

I found the study perhaps most interesting for what it didn’t say: that sweeteners contribute to higher blood viscosity, a major overlooked component of cardiovascular problems. Research shows sugar stokes inflammation and increases C-reactive protein (CRP), and the added calories also contribute to weight gain and abdominal body fat, in turn, generating more CRP.

An earlier 2001 Harvard study found ultra-high CRP levels among women who ate large amounts of high-glycemic carbohydrates (ones that break down into glucose more quickly), such as potatoes, cereals, white bread, muffins, and white rice. Those women also tended to be overweight. So go easy on the sugar and limit your intake of foods that contain added sugar. Your body, especially your heart, will thank you.

For more information on healthy heart nutrition, visit

DISCLAIMER: The content of is offered on an informational basis only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health provider before making any adjustment to a medication or treatment you are currently using, and/or starting any new medication or treatment. All recommendations are "generally informational" and not specifically applicable to any individual's medical problems, concerns and/or needs.

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