Study: Dietary Added Sugars Pose Heart Attack, Stroke and Diabetes Risk

JAMA report also links dietary added sugars to risk of stroke and diabetes.

ByABC News via logo
April 20, 2010, 10:25 PM

April 21, 2010— -- The average American consumes about 156 pounds of added sugar each year per capita, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That's troubling, especially when those statistics are coupled with the results of a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association which says there's a significant correlation between dietary added sugars and an increased risk for diabetes, heart attack and stroke, "Good Morning America's" medical contributor Dr. Marie Savard said this morning on the show.

Published this week, this is the first major study to look at sugar and blood fats. It found that added sugar has adverse effects on the level of blood fats and therefore, on the heart.

Natural vs. Added Sugar

Sugars occur naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables and milk, but manufacturers add extra sugar during processing, to boost the flavor or aid with preservation. Consumers may also add sugar to foods on their own.

American adults eat about 104 grams of sugar per day, but the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 25 grams per day for women and to 37.5 grams a day for men, Savard said.

Savard pointed out that teens were getting more than six times their recommended sugar intake -- or 161 grams per day.

Savard reviewed certain foods that have naturally occurring sugars:

When fruit is dried, though, the sugar becomes more concentrated, so consumers may be tempted to eat more to feel fuller.