Every cell in our body needs sugar to work well. Sugar is a natural energy source. However, the question is how much and what sugar we need. An excess of added sugar leads to cardiovascular disease.
Natural Sugar vs. Added Sugar
The sugar in whole foods, i.e., fruits, vegetables, and cereals, is suitable for our body. Because plant foods contain fiber, minerals, and antioxidants, our body responds differently to whole food sugar than added sugar. Sugar consumed from whole foods decomposes more slowly and provides energy to our body gradually.
Large amounts of added sugar consumption can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and addiction. Added sugar is sugar used to produce industrially processed foods. And even in foods where we would not expect it, such as smoked meat, cheese, soups, or bread.
“Excess sugar’s impact on obesity and diabetes is well documented, but one area that may surprise many men is how their taste for sugar can have a serious impact on their heart health,” says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Sugar and Your Heart
In a 15-year study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Dr. Hu and his colleagues have found that high sugar intake increases the risk of death from heart disease. Study participants consumed 20% calories from added sugar an average. The risk of dying from cardiovascular disease increased by 38% compared to those who consumed 8% of calories as added sugar.
“Basically, the higher the intake of added sugar, the higher the risk for heart disease,” says Dr. Hu.
The exact mechanism is not known yet. Doctors are leaning towards several indirect contexts. High amounts of sugar overload livers. Livers converts excessive amounts of sugar, as well as alcohol, into fats.
“The effects of added sugar intake – higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease – are all linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke,” says Dr. Hu.