Taking in too much of added sugar is linked to weight gain which ultimately ups the risk of dying due to heart diseases, says a study.
Sugar is essential as it provides energy. But one can always ask as to how much sugar is too much. According to the World Health Organisation, less than 10% of total calorie intake should comprise added sugar. This amounts to about 70g sugar for men and 50g for women.
Study's lead author Dr Quanhe Yang at the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta found that people who receive one fourth of their daily calories from added sugar had over three times the chance of dying from cardiovascular disease.
Eating too much of sugar can be in the form of sugary drinks, desserts and sweets. In 2010 in the US, adults got about 15 per cent of their daily calories, ie about 300 calories a day, from added sugars. But according to American Heart Association, women should take in no more than 100 calories a day from added sugars, which means 6 teaspoons of sugar, and for men the figure is not beyond 150 calories a day, which is about 9 teaspoons. One can of regular soda contains about 140 calories of added sugar which is about 7 per cent of daily calorie requirement.
"Ours is the first study using a nationally representative sample to look at the total amount of added sugar and the association to cardiovascular disease death," said Dr Yang.
High blood pressure, increased triglycerides (blood fats), low HDL (good) cholesterol, fatty liver problems and diabetes are all associated with excessive intake of added sugar.
Professor Naveed Satta of the British Heart Foundation Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre at the University of Glasgow said, "We have known for years about the dangers of excess saturated fat intake, an observation which led the food industry to replace unhealthy fats with presumed 'healthier' sugars in many food products. However, the present study, perhaps more strongly than previous ones, suggests that those whose diet is high in added sugars may also have an increased risk of heart attack."