Sugar not only makes you fat, it increases heart disease

USA Today reports that research published online in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that “consuming too much added sugar … increases your risk of death from heart disease.” According to the study’s lead author, Quanhe Yang, a senior scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The risk of cardiovascular disease death increases exponentially as you increase your consumption of added sugar.”

Bloomberg News reports that investigators “looked at data from several National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.” The study indicated that those “whose sugar intake is about a quarter or more of their total daily calories had twice the risk of dying from heart disease than those who whose intake was 7 percent.”

Meanwhile, “for those whose intake of added sugar was about 19 percent, their risk of dying from heart disease was about 38 percent higher.”

The AP reports, “Yang … called the results sobering and said it’s the first nationally representative study to examine the issue.”

The Los Angeles Times “Science Now” blog reports that the researchers found that “71.4% of U.S. adults get more than the recommended 10% of their daily calories from added sugars.”

On its website, NBC News reports that in an accompanying commentary, Laura A. Schmidt, professor in the school of medicine at University of California, San Francisco, said, “If you look at all packaged foods, 77 percent of them have sugar added to them,” adding that many “foods you think are quite savory tasting have sugar added to them. So it makes it very hard for the consumer to know when they’re getting too much sugar.”

On its website, CNN reports that “sugar is classified by the Food and Drug administration as “generally safe,” which allows manufacturers to add unlimited amounts to any food.”

In an email to CNN, an FDA spokesperson wrote, “There is a difference between setting the limit for nutrients or other substances in food and setting limits for what people should be consuming.”

The spokesperson added, “With regard to setting a regulatory limit for added sugar in food, FDA would carefully consider scientific evidence in determining whether regulatory limits are needed, as it would for other substances in food.”


This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician.  If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

4 thoughts on “Sugar not only makes you fat, it increases heart disease

  • Genna

    I just wondered what your recommendation on average for the amount of sugar one should consume in a day. But in the amount of Tablespoons or cups instead of giving a percentage.

  • Genna,

    According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are: Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons), and Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).

    To put that into perspective, one 12oz can of coke contains 140 calories from sugar, while a regular sized snickers bar contains 120 calories from sugar. But it’s important to note that there is no need for added sugars in the diet. They don’t serve any physiological purpose. The less you eat, the healthier you will be.

    Dr. Walt

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