A new research has found that a diet high in sugar can cause health damage even when a person is not overweight.
Signs of impaired heart functioning were seen in mice that were fed a sugar-rich for just 12 weeks, as part of a study conducted at the University of Melbourne.
Kimberley Mellor said the results pointed to commonly held misconceptions about healthy eating, and an "overlooked" potential driver in the steady rise of type 2 diabetes.
"And all of these foods that we think of as healthy because they are low fat are actually not, because of their high sugar content," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Mellor as saying.
The mice were fed food high in fructose-the substance that gives sugar its sweet taste-which is a common food additive particularly in the form of high-fructose corn syrup.
The mice showed signs of oxidative stress in their hearts, which leads to a breakdown of cardiac cells and a disruption of the way these cells react to calcium, an essential process that enables the heart to beat.
"Fructose intake has increased so much over the last few decades and this has been in line with an increase in type 2 diabetes.
"There has been a view that diabetes is involved with obesity, but actually we know that many diabetics are not obese and some are not even overweight," said Mellor
The results were presented at the 5th Australian Health and Medical Research Congress, in Melbourne.