In a study published in the February 2014 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University, and the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed two health database with a total of with 42,880 cases (31,147 for the time trend analysis and 11 ,733 for the association study) to determine the association between the amount of added sugar intake and mortality from cardiovascular.
According to the study abstract, from 2005-2010 “most adults consumed 10% or more of calories from added sugar (71.4%) and approximately 10% consumed 25%.”
Researchers compared “participants who consumed 10.0% to 24.9% or 25.0% or more calories from added sugar with those who consumed less than 10.0% of calories from added sugar.”
As summarized by Rachael Rettner, Senior Writer for Live Science, “people who consumed between 17 and 21 percent of their daily calories from added sugar were nearly 40 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular disease over a 14-year period than those who consumed about 8 percent of their daily calories from added sugar.”
Where does sugar reside? In addition to soda, packaged foods are the main culprit. In a comment in the JAMA Internal Medicine issue, Dr. Laura A. Schmidt of University of California, San Francisco fingered packaged foods:
“…77 percent of them have sugar added to them. For example, it’s added to breads, it’s added to bagels, it’s added to ketchup, it’s added to salad dressing … Foods you think are quite savory tasting have sugar added to them. So it makes it very hard for the consumer to know when they’re getting too much sugar.”
The study's conclusions:
“Most US adults consume more added sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet. We observed a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk for CVD mortality.”
In summary, added sugar is associated with an increased risk of dying from heart disease. While association is not causation, the study does provide support for diets that shun processed foods such as the Paleo diet. More importantly, it may increase the medical community's attention to further studies on the effects of added sugar in out diet.