Cardiovascular Disease Risk and Sugar Intake

MedicalReseach.com Interview with:
Quanhe Yang, PhD
Division for Heart Disease
and Stroke Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
Atlanta, GA 30341

MedicalReseach.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Yang: The majority of US adults consume more added sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet. On average, Americans consume about 15% of daily calories from added sugar.  About 70% of adults consume more than 10%of calories from added sugar and another 10% consume more than 25% of calories from added sugar. When you compare those who consume 7.5% (lowest quintile) of calories from added sugar with participants who consume between 17%-21% (quintile 4) of calories from added sugar, the latter group has a 38% higher risk of CVD mortality. But the risk of CVD death more than doubles  for those who consume  ≥21% (highest quintile) of calories from added sugar.
MedicalReseach.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Yang: Our results suggest that the association between higher intake of added sugar and risk for CVD mortality appeared  to be non-linear, i.e., the increased risk of CVD mortality accelerated as the percentage of added sugar increased.

MedicalReseach.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Yang: This research will be useful in helping those who are in charge with preventing heart disease and stroke set customized strategies for reducing risk and improving cardiovascular health. Our results support current recommendations to limit the intake of added sugars in US diets.

MedicalReseach.com :What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Yang: Our study is the first to use national representative samples to examine the association between usual percent of calories from added sugar (sugar added during processing or preparing food, not naturally occurring as in fruit and fruit juices) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality with assessment of added sugar intake at baseline only. A large cohort study with repeated measures of added sugar intakes will help to improve our understanding of the relationship between higher intake of added sugar and the development of CVD and CVD mortality.

Children and adolescents in the US consumed more calories from added sugar than adults. Further studies are needed to examine the relationship between the higher intake of added sugar and potential health consequences including the risk for developing CVD among US children and adolescents.

Citation:

Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults

Quanhe Yang PhD, Zefeng Zhang MD, PhD, Edward W. Gregg PhD, W. Dana Flanders MD, ScD, Robert Merritt MA, Frank B. Hu MD, PhD

JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(4):-. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13563