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Consumption of added sugars hits lipid profile

05/20/2010 - Articles

Consumption of added sugars hits lipid profile

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD

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Added sugars, like high fructose syrup, are used in processed or prepared foods to increase their sweetness and general palatability to the consumer. Over recent years, there has been a large increase in the US population’s intake of added sugars. But few studies have examined the impact of added sugars on health.

Researchers at Emory University, Atlanta, now report on a study of how added sugars affect lipids like cholesterol in the blood which, in turn, has implications for heart health. They looked at a group of over 6,000 adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2006 and grouped them according to the amount of added sugars in their diet. The groups were: added sugars less than 5% of total calorie intake, 5 to less than 10%, 10 to less than 17.5%, 17.5 to less than 25% and over 25%.

The participants’ HDL-C, triglyceride and LDL-C levels were also measured. HDL-C is high density lipoprotein cholesterol (‘good’ cholesterol) and LDL-C is low density lipoprotein cholesterol (‘bad’ cholesterol). Cases of dyslipidemia were also noted. Dyslipidemia – that is, abnormal lipid profile signifying heart disease risk – is defined as lower HDL-C (less than 40 mg/dL for men, less than 50 mg/dL for women), higher triglycerides (130 mg/dL or more (or a high ratio of triglycerides to HDL-C (greater than 3,8).

The researchers found that daily consumption of added sugars was, on average, 3.2 ounces, which is 21 teaspoons, amounting to 359 calories and nearly 16% of daily calorie intake. They note that this is much more than in 1977-78, when added sugars contributed only 10.6% of daily calorie intake.

Among those consuming more added sugars, HDL-C was lower. Among those consuming less than 5% of daily calorie intake as added sugars, HDL-C was 58.7 mg/dL while it was 47.7 mg/dL among those consuming more than 25%. Moreover, higher consumption of added sugars was also associated with higher triglyceride levels and higher ratios of triglycerides to HDL-C. Added sugars clearly have the potential to pose a risk of heart health, through their impact on lipid profile. Given that added sugars are a modifiable component of the diet – just check the label – it’s important to be aware that taking in too much may not be good for you.

 

Source:

Welsh J et al Caloric sweetener consumption and dyslipidemia among US adults Journal of the American Medical Association April 21 2010;303:1490-1497

 

Created on: 05/20/2010
Reviewed on: 05/20/2010

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