Processed foods, beverages bad for heart

Added sugars in processed foods and beverages may increase risk for heart disease factors, says a new study.

 Processed foods, beverages bad for heartThe study analysed US government nutritional data and blood lipid levels in more than 6,000 adult men and women between 1999 and 2006.

They were divided into five groups according to the amount of added sugar and caloric sweeteners they consumed daily.

Researchers found that people who consumed more added sugar were more likely to have higher cardiovascular disease risk factors, including higher triglyceride levels and higher ratios of triglycerides to HDL-C, or good cholesterol.

“Just like eating a high-fat diet can increase your levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, eating sugar can also affect those same lipids,” says study co-author Miriam Vos, assistant professor of paediatrics, Emory School of Medicine.

In the US, total consumption of sugar has increased substantially in recent decades, largely due to an increased intake of “added sugars”, defined as caloric sweeteners used by the food industry and consumers as ingredients in processed or prepared foods to increase the desirability of these foods, Vos and colleagues note.

In the study, the highest-consuming group consumed an average of 46 teaspoons of added sugars per day. The lowest-consuming group consumed an average of only about three teaspoons daily, says an Emory release.

The study was published in the Tuesday issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

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