New research suggests the more one’s energy comes from sugar, the higher the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The research, published in the journal BMC Medicine, found that diets higher in free sugars — a category that includes sugar added to processed foods and sodas, as well as that found in fruit juice and syrups — raise one’s risk of heart disease and stroke.
The results suggested that each 5% increase in the share of a person’s total energy intake that comes from free sugars was associated with a 6% higher risk of heart disease and a 10% higher risk of stroke.
By comparison, U.S. guidelines suggest that added sugars should make up no more than 10% of one’s daily calories.
“Avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages is probably the single most important thing we can be doing,” said Walter Willett, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard University who was not involved in the study.
Our body needs a certain amount of sugar to function daily, where these sugars are then broken down into smaller compounds and used for metabolic processes. Typically these sugars can be obtained from either natural or refined sugars. Natural sugars are normally found in fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy.
However, refined sugars are a whole other story. As hinted by the name, it goes through extraction and additional processes to reach the final product. These refined sugars do not have any nutrients and are normally used as a flavour enhancer and preservatives in foods. It is found in most beverages, pastries, canned foods and sauces too!
Long term consumption of refined sugars could lead to diseases such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and liver diseases too. Even though our body cannot tell the difference between these 2 sugars, natural sugars come with other benefits such as vitamins and minerals whereas refined sugars are empty calories.
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