High-Sugar Diet and Cholesterol–Linked!

April 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm Leave a comment

I wanted to share some recent findings with you now that you all have your PhD in cholesterol. This came across my screen yesterday, so it’s perfect timing.

If you’ve read the news or my blog, you know that Americans are eating too much sugar. In fact, the average American is eating 21 teaspoons of added sugar a day…which is almost 3x more than heart disease prevention guidelines suggest. That’s HUGE.

Excess sugar can contribute to diabetes, obesity, and other conditions linked to heart disease. However, new findings are showing that excess sugar in the diet is linked to unhealthy cholesterol, as well.

Appearing in this weeks’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, people in the study who ate the most added sugar had the lowest HDL (“good” cholesterol) and the highest blood triglyceride levels.  Conversely, people with the lowest sugar consumption had the highest HDL and lowely triglyceride levels.

The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 100 calories from sugar for women, and 150 calories for men (The equals out to about 6 teaspoons for women and 9 for men) . The average can of regular soda has about 8-10 teaspoons of sugar. Certain breakfast cereals with 16 grams of sugar has about 4 teaspoons. So you see, sugar can add up VERY quickly.  For a list of popular foods and their amounts of sugar, check out this website.

When looking at the ingredients of foods, watch out for a label that has the word “syrup,” or words that end in “ose” (sucrose, fructose, and dextrose). These are all sugars, just as “evaporated cane juice” is as well. Keep in mind that agave nectar, honey, and maple syrup, while touted as “healthier,” are still just sugar.

Experts suggest that the first place to look to cut sugars is beverages, as they have become the top source of sugars in our diet. This also includes fruit and sports drinks. Ever take a look at the sugar content in a vitamin water? It’s just sugar water with clever packaging.

This week, pay attention to labels and find all the hidden sugars you can…it can be a fun, yet startling and eye-opening, game! They’re everywhere!

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Entry filed under: nutrition.

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