Study: Too much sugar increases risk of death

MARQUETTE, Mich. — A study released by the Centers for Disease Control establishes that consuming too much added sugar — often found in regular soda, cakes, cookies and candies — significantly increases the risk of death from heart disease.

"The risk of cardiovascular disease death increases exponentially as you increase your consumption of added sugar," says the study's lead author, Quanhe Yang, a senior scientist with the CDC.

Yang and his research team reviewed data from more than 31,000 people who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which evaluates dietary habits based on in-person interviews.

Among Yang’s findings, published online by the Journal of the American Medical Association, are that:

  • People who consumed more than 21% of daily calories from added sugar had double the risk of death from heart disease as those who consumed less than 10% of calories from added sugars;
  • A person on a 2,000-calorie diet who consumes 21% of their daily calories from added sugar would be eating 420 calories from added sugar, which would be roughly three cans of regular soda a day; and
  • People who consumed seven or more servings a week of sugar-sweetened beverages were at a 29% higher risk of death from heart disease than those who consumed one serving or less.

Rachel Johnson, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association and a nutrition professor at the University of Vermont, said, "Now we know that too much added sugar doesn't just make us fat, it increases our risk of death from heart disease."

"I always advise my patients, medical colleagues, family and friends and just about everybody I meet to avoid these added sugars,” said James Surrell, a board certified colon and rectal surgeon. “There is way too much sugar added to our food and drinks available today, including non-diet soft drinks, candy, cookies, cakes, fruit drinks and many other items as well. Read all labels and avoid high sugar. As scientifically noted by the CDC and AMA, these added sugars are very, very unhealthy.”

Now, based on Dr. Yang’s study, adopting a low-sugar regimen will also extend your life. 

“The key to rapid and sustained weight loss can be summed up in just one word: choice," Surrell said. "Choose not to eat refined sugar, and choose to eat more fiber. That’s it."

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