Sugar 101: High Fructose Corn Syrup Increases the Risk of Heart Disease

By Crissie Mergogey

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in America. It is common knowledge that diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol lead to heart disease. But did you know that added sugars, like high fructose corn syrup can also increase the risk of heart disease?

Researchers at University California, Davis conducted a study on the impacts of heart health and  sugary drink consumption. Test subjects were given varying levels of added high fructose corn syrup in their drink and then had their blood tested hourly for heart disease risk factors, such as triglycerides. They found that 10 percent of added sugars were enough to lead to an increased risk for hearth disease.

When excess sugars are consumed, they are converted into fat in the liver and then enter the bloodstream. In a way, consuming excess sugar is like eating high amounts of fat. High levels of fat in the bloodstream can clog arteries. When arteries become clogged, there is high risk for heart attack and stroke.

Foods with the highest amounts of high fructose corn syrup are obvious – soda, many juices and candy. It is not always simple to avoid foods with added sugars. Many foods that are
promoted as healthy, are actually made with high fructose corn syrup.

Yogurts, salad dressings, canned fruit, and many bottled sauces and marinades are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Reduced fat foods often use the processed sweetener to make up for the lost flavor that occurs when fat is removed. To avoid common foods that can lead to heart disease, read the label carefully and watch out for unnecessary sweeteners.

Is it better to eat foods sweetened with sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup? Actually, no. Table sugar and high fructose corn syrup are both made up of similar amounts of glucose and fructose. Consuming excess of either sweetener will have the same negative effect on heart health. To keep your heart healthy, it is best to avoid added sugars in your diet. 

Although you should watch out for added sugars, you should not be afraid of natural sugars in fruit and other whole foods.

Sugars in fruit are accompanied by fiber, water, and many other nutrients that are good for you and your heart. The body and brain run on glucose, so feed it sugar in a natural form, which is found in whole fruits, vegetables and grains.

 

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