A new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that people who consume high amounts of added sugar in processed or prepared foods had lower levels of HDL (good cholesterol), higher levels of triglycerides – fat molecules found in the blood which are associated with heart disease and higher levels of LDL (bad cholesterol).
The consumption of large amounts of added sugars, a prominentsource of low-nutrient calories, is a relatively new phenomenon.It was not until the mid-19th century that these sweetenersbecame widely available and consumption began to increase dramatically.Individuals in the United States now consume a substantialproportion of their total energy as added sugars. The adultsin this study consumed nearly one-sixth (15.8%) of their dailycalories from added sugars. This represents a substantial increasefrom 1977-1978, when added sugars contributed only 10.6% ofthe calories consumed by adults.
Recommendations to reduce cardiovascular disease risk have longpromoted a diet low in fat and cholesterol to lower levels ofserum total cholesterol and LDL. Possibly as a result,the consumption of added fats and oils appears to have decreased,and intakes of refined carbohydrates appear to have increased.
While the overall effect of these dietary trends is unclear,the researchers say there is a need to review the dietary recommendations to seehow they influence intake of added sugars and to develop furtherunderstanding of the role different carbohydrates and sugarsplay in increasing risk of chronic disease.