Forget about adding that teaspoon of sugar to help the medicine go down. According to a new study, adding sugar to packaged foods and drinks may be a big reason that Americans are taking medicine in the first place.
It's long been known that too much sugar in the diet can lead to obesity, which can lead to Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Now, according to research published in JAMA Internal Medicine, there is a statistical analysis to show what even small amounts of sugar are doing to the hearts of Americans. In short, they are doubling (or worse) our risk of dying from heart disease.
The average American gets about 300 calories or 15 percent of their daily total from added sugars. That compares to the World Health Organization's recommendation that people consume less than 10 percent of added calories from sugar added to products.
The research study led by Quanhe Yang, a senior scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that 71 percent of adults consume more than 10 percent of their daily calories from added sugars. About 10 percent get 25 percent of more of their calories from added sugars, which include brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, maple syrup and molasses in addition to common table cane sugar. Sugars from fruits are not included.
People who got between 17 and 21 percent of their calories from added sugars had a 38 percent higher risk of succumbing to heart disease than people who consumed below 10 percent of their calories.
To get an idea of how quickly an average person can pile up calories from sugar, consider that a single can of soda contains about 140 calories. People who drank seven or more servings of beverages sweetened by sugar per week were at a 29 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease than those who consumed less.
On a slightly positive note, Americans are currently getting about 15 percent of their total calories from added sugars, down from 17 percent in 2004.
Which party is most responsible for Americans' consumption of added sugars in processed foods and drinks?