Sugar consumption 'more important in heart disease than saturated fat'

15 January 2016

A new study has offered evidence that sugar consumption could play a greater role in the development of heart disease than saturated fats.

Published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, the research from Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute evaluated the evidence to date linking saturated fats and sugars to coronary heart disease, considering basic science, epidemiology and clinical trial data.

They concluded that sugar consumption, particularly in the form of refined added sugars, are a greater contributor to heart disease than saturated fats, which in some cases can actually be beneficial, particularly when they are able to increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, known commonly as "good cholesterol".

By contrast, the overall effect of consuming a diet high in sugar is likely to be more detrimental to overall health, as these are linked more exclusively to low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the "bad" form of cholesterol.

It was noted that sugars occurring naturally in fruits and vegetables pose no increased risk for heart disease, with the problem stemming from the refined sugars found in extremely processed food.

Dr James DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular research scientist at Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute, said: "After a thorough analysis of the evidence, it seems appropriate to recommend dietary guidelines shift focus away from recommendations to reduce saturated fat and towards recommendations to avoid added sugars."

Posted by Philip Briggs

 


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