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22-04-2010 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Added sugar intake linked to lipid levels


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MedWire News: People’s intake of added sugars is associated with their lipid profiles, shows an analysis of NHANES data.

Dietary added sugar – that added to processed food and drink to improve taste – is usually sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup. This source of low-nutrient calories comprised nearly a sixth (15.8%) of the total daily calorie consumption of the 6113 adults interviewed as part of the NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) 1999–2006.

Levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides rose with increasing added sugar consumption, whereas high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels fell, report Miriam Vos (Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA) and colleagues.

People getting less than 5% of their calories from added sugars – the recommended amount – had average HDL cholesterol levels of 58.7 mg/dl (1.5 mmol/l), compared with 47.7 mg/dl (1.2 mmol/l) among people gaining 25% or more of their daily calories from added sugar.

The latter group was three times more likely than people with recommended added sugar intake to have low HDL cholesterol levels, the researchers report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Triglyceride values were 105 mg/dl (1.2 mmol/l) for people with recommended added sugar intake versus 114 mg/dl (1.3 mmol/l) for those gaining 25% or more of their daily calories from added sugar. Among women, the corresponding LDL cholesterol levels were 116 versus 123 mg/dl (3.0 vs 3.2 mmol/l), but LDL cholesterol levels were not associated with added sugar intake among men.

Vos et al note that the cross-sectional design of NHANES cannot determine whether high intake of added sugar causes, or even precedes, dyslipidemia.

But they conclude: “Although long-term trials to study the effect of reducing added sugars and other carbohydrates on lipid profiles are needed, our data support dietary guidelines that target a reduction in consumption of added sugar.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Eleanor McDermid