Excess Sugar May Double Heart Disease Risk, Study Finds

In this Sept. 8, 2013 file photo, a vendor sells cotton candy at Safeco field during a baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Seattle Mariners, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren,File)

[Business Week]

 In this Sept. 8, 2013 file photo, a vendor sells cotton candy at Safeco field during a baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Seattle Mariners, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren,File)
In this Sept. 8, 2013 file photo, a vendor sells cotton candy at Safeco field during a baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Seattle Mariners, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren,File)

High sugar consumption may double the chance of dying from heart disease, according to a study that adds to evidence that high levels of the sweetener in processed foods and drink is bad for a person’s health.

People 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, according to the research today in JAMA Internal Medicine. For those whose intake of added sugar was about 19 percent, their risk of dying from heart disease was about 38 percent higher.

Today’s study is the first to link on a national level the amount of sugar American adults eat to their risk of dying from heart disease after taking into account weight, age, health, exercise and diet, said lead study author Quanhe Yang, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Research has already linked sugar consumption to diabetes, weight gain and obesity.

“Too much sugar can make you fat; it can also make you sick, sick from diseases like cardiovascular disease, which is the No. 1 killer in America,” said Laura Schmidt, a school of medicine professor at the University of California at San Francisco, in a telephone interview. “Small amounts of sugar are fine. It’s consuming massive amounts of sugar that’s a growing problem in America.”

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