How Much Sugar is Too Much?
The federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest an upper limit of 25 percent of daily calories come from added sugar. Doesn’t that seem really high? If you have an extra 500 calories to spare, wouldn’t it be wise to spend it on something with some nutritive value? Aside from a waste of calories, a new study shows that adults who consume high levels of sugar have significantly elevated levels of several risk factors for heart disease.
The study, conducted by a group of researchers at the University of California, Davis, and in Japan suggests that the generally-accepted guidelines for sugar may be too lenient and should be reconsidered. The results of their study were reported online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, and will appear in the journal’s October print edition.
“While there is evidence that people who consume large amounts of sugar are more likely to have heart disease or diabetes, it has been controversial as to whether high-sugar diets may actually promote these diseases,” said Kimber Stanhope, the study’s senior author and a research scientist at UC Davis.
“Our new findings demonstrate that several factors associated with an elevated risk for cardiovascular disease were increased in individuals who consumed 25 percent of their calories as fructose or high fructose corn syrup,” Stanhope added.
As described in the UC Davis news, the researchers examined 48 adult participants between the ages of 18 and 40 years. For five weeks before the study, subjects were asked to limit daily consumption of sugar-containing beverages to one 8-ounce serving of fruit juice. The participants were then divided into three groups, each group consuming 25 percent of their daily calories as fructose, high fructose corn syrup or glucose. The researchers found that within two weeks, study participants consuming fructose or high fructose corn syrup exhibited increased bloodstream concentrations of three known risk factors for heart disease: LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and a protein known as apolipoprotein-B, which can lead to plaque buildup in arteries.
The American Heart Association recommends that people consume only five percent of their daily calories as added sugar. How much added sugar do you consume?