High-sugar diet increases risk of heart disease in healthy people

High-sugar diet increases risk of heart disease in healthy people

Dr KK Aggarwal

A study from the UK has shown that healthy people who eat high amounts of sugar are at an increased risk of developing heart disease due to alteration in their fat metabolism.

The study reported October 4, 2017 in the journal Clinical Science examined two groups of men with either high or low levels of liver fat, and fed them a high (650 calories daily) or low sugar (≤140 calories daily) diet to find out if the amount of liver fat influences the impact of sugar on their cardiovascular health.

Men who had high levels of liver fat (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease [NAFLD]) had changes in their fat metabolism that are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes after 12 weeks on the high sugar diet.

What is important to note in this study is that when the group of healthy men with a low level of liver fat consumed high amounts of sugar, their liver fat increased and their fat metabolism became similar to that of men with NAFLD putting them at risk of heart disease.

With the festive season coming up, we all should take care to not eat too many sweets. Diwali sweets have very high content of white sugar and cause metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and consequent increase in blood pressure, blood sugar and body weight. Some sweets may be made in trans fats (vanaspati), which lower the good cholesterol and increase bad cholesterol.

The findings of the study are especially relevant for the young who regularly consume foods and drinks high in added sugars. Lifestyle disorders like diabetes, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, NAFLD are escalating in our country mainly due to an unhealthy lifestyle. What is of more concern is that these diseases are now affecting people at a younger age.

(Source: University of Surrey Press Release, October 4, 2017)

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