A new study finds that sugar consumption is linked to larger fat deposits around the heart and abdomen, which are dangerous to health.
The study was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Cardiovascular Society.
“When we consume too much sugar, the excess is converted into fat and stored,” said study author Ms. So Yun Yi, a doctoral student in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota.
“This fatty tissue around the heart and in the abdomen releases chemicals into the body that can be harmful to health. Our results support limiting the intake of added sugar, ”added Yi.
Excessive sugar consumption is a global problem. The six countries with the highest sales of sugary drinks per capita are Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, the United States, and Saudi Arabia. The demand for sugar is expected to increase in Asia, Africa and Russia.
This observational study looked at both sugary drinks (such as carbonated drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks) and the sugar added to foods and drinks for sweetness (e.g. when baking or in processed foods). Researchers analyzed the association between long-term sugar consumption and the fat stores around the heart and other organs.
Data were obtained from Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA), an ongoing cohort study in the United States that includes centers in Alabama, California, Illinois and Minnesota. A total of 3,070 healthy participants aged 18 to 30 were included in this study.
Food and beverage intakes were measured three times over a 20-year period (1985 to 2005). After 25 years (in 2010), a computed tomography (CT) scan of the chest and abdomen was performed to measure the fat volumes in the abdomen and around the heart.
Researchers found that consumption of sugar over the 20-year period was linked to fat volumes later in life. Higher intakes of both sugary drinks and added sugar were linked to a greater accumulation of fat around the organs progressively.
“Our results provide more evidence that excessive consumption of sugar and sugary drinks is linked to more fatty tissue. And, we know that fatty deposits are linked to higher risks of heart disease and diabetes, “said study author Dr. Lyn Steffen of the University of Minnesota.
She advised to reduce the amount of added sugar consumed each day.
“Have water instead of sugary drinks and choose healthier snacks than foods high in added sugar like cakes,” she said. “Read food labels to check how much sugar is added to what you buy. Look for ingredients like syrups, glucose, fructose, sucrose and maltose. Being more aware of hidden sugar will help you reduce it. “
“In addition to our individual efforts, governments, food manufacturers, restaurants, schools and workplaces have a role to play in raising consumer awareness of the sugar content of food and beverages and providing healthier alternatives, ”added Dr. Steffen.
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