home
RSS
February 3rd, 2014
04:01 PM ET

Sugar not only makes you fat, it may make you sick

In recent years, sugar - more so than fat - has been receiving the bulk of the blame for our deteriorating health.

Most of us know we consume more sugar than we should.  Let's be honest, it's hard not to.

The (new) bad news is that sugar does more damage to our bodies than we originally thought.  It was once considered to be just another marker for an unhealthy diet and obesity.  Now sugar is considered an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, as well as many other chronic diseases, according a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

“Sugar has adverse health effects above any purported role as ‘empty calories’ promoting obesity,” writes Laura Schmidt, a professor of health policy in the School of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, in an accompanying editorial. “Too much sugar doesn’t just make us fat; it can also make us sick.”

But how much is too much? Turns out not nearly as much as you may think.  As a few doctors and scientists have been screaming for a while now, a little bit of sugar goes a long way.

Added sugars, according to most experts, are far more harmful to our bodies than naturally-occurring sugars.  We're talking about the sugars used in processed or prepared foods like sugar-sweetened beverages, grain-based desserts, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, candy, ready-to-eat cereal and yeast breads. Your fruits and (natural) fruit juices are safe.

Recommendations for your daily allotment of added sugar vary widely:

- The Institute of Medicine recommends that added sugars make up less than 25% of your total calories
- The World Health Organization recommends less than 10%
- The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to less than 100 calories daily for women and 150 calories daily for men

The U.S. government hasn't issued a dietary limit for added sugars, like it has for calories, fats, sodium, etc.  Furthermore, sugar is classified by the Food and Drug administration as "generally safe," which allows manufacturers to add unlimited amounts to any food.

"There is a difference between setting the limit for nutrients or other substances in food and setting limits for what people should be consuming," an FDA spokesperson wrote in an e-mail to CNN. "FDA does not set limits for what people should be eating."

"With regard to setting a regulatory limit for added sugar in food, FDA would carefully consider scientific evidence in determining whether regulatory limits are needed, as it would for other substances in food."

There is some good news. While the mean percentage of calories consumed from added sugars increased from 15.7% in 1988-1994 to 16.8% in 1999-2004, it actually decreased to 14.9% between 2005 and 2010. But most adults still consumed 10% or more of their calories from added sugar and about 1 in 10 people consumed 25% or more of their calories from sugar during the same time period.

Participants in the study who consumed approximately 17 to 21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, compared with those who consumed approximately 8% of calories from added sugar, the study authors concluded.

“This relative risk was more than double for those who consumed 21% or more of calories from added sugar,” they wrote.

The Sugar Association said in a statement there "are a number of major flaws with this new study and the sensationalism associated with targeting sugar is fueling the media." The authors conclude that "an observational study like theirs is not proof of cause and effect," the association noted, and "extensive knowledge gaps exist."

"Bottom line: All-natural sugar has been consumed safely for centuries, and when consumed in moderation, has been and should continue to be part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle," the statement said.

Schmidt writes in the study that these new findings “provide physicians and consumers with actionable guidance. Until federal guidelines are forthcoming, physicians may want to caution patients that, to support cardiovascular health, it’s safest to consume less than 15% of their daily calories from added sugar.”

That’s the equivalent, Schmidt points out, of drinking one 20-ounce Mountain Dew soda in a 2,000-calorie diet.

“From there, the risk rises exponentially as a function of increased sugar intake,” she writes.

In a statement, the American Beverage Association said the study "shows that adult consumption of added sugars has actually declined, as recently reported by the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

"A significant part of that reduction is from decreased added sugars from beverages due, in part, to our member companies' ongoing innovation in providing more low- and no-calorie options. Furthermore, this is an observational study which cannot - and does not - show that cardiovascular disease is caused by drinking sugar-sweetened beverages."

Despite our changing scientific understanding and a growing body of evidence on sugar overconsumption as an independent risk factor in chronic disease, sugar regulation remains an uphill battle in the United States.  This is contrasted by the increased frequency of regulation abroad, where 15 countries now have taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages.

“‘Sin taxes,’ whether on tobacco, alcohol, or sugar-laden products, are popular because they are easy to enforce and generate revenue, with a well-documented evidence base supporting their effectiveness for lowering consumption,” writes Schmidt.

But forget about the short-term monetary cost.  Before you reach for that next sugary treat, think long and hard about the long-term cost to your health.


soundoff (513 Responses)
  1. Vicki

    "Added sugars, according to most experts, are far more harmful to our bodies than naturally-occurring sugars. We're talking about the sugars used in processed or prepared foods like sugar-sweetened beverages, grain-based desserts, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, candy, ready-to-eat cereal and yeast breads. Your fruits and (natural) fruit juices are safe."

    Sigh. Wasn't it just a couple of weeks ago when CNN ran an article telling us that bananas were bad for us because they are full of sugar and calories? In that article they stated the opposite to the above statement. They said that sugar is sugar and your body can't tell the difference between natural and processed. So which is it? There are so many contradictory articles about our health I don't think anyone believes anything they read any more. I think we can all assume that too much sugar in our diet is bad for us. Everything in moderation pretty much sums it up.

    February 3, 2014 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Greg

      Your body cannot tell the difference. Your body only recognizes three things, fat, protein, carbohydrate. They should be eaten in that order. Try cutting carbs out and see how addictive they really are.

      Again, carbohydrates are what make you fat, not fat.

      February 3, 2014 at 18:04 | Report abuse |
    • Betty Crocker

      You can't be serious. Arguing against any article that says sugar is bad for you is ridiculous. It's amazing how people ignore the RDA for vitamins and minerals. Almost nobody should eat more than 2,000 calories per day. 25% of that is 500 calories of added sugar! That means you have only 1,500 cal left to get 10 mg of vitamin E, 2 micrograms of copper etc. Last month was an article that said that nuts are high in protein. That's absurd, but lots of people believe that you can eat 500 calories of fat in a handful of nuts safely. Nuts have few vitamins and minerals too. That kind of diet leaves only 1,000 cal to get your RDA amounts of micronutrients, which is impossible. Sugar is poison.

      February 3, 2014 at 18:56 | Report abuse |
    • SnakePlissken

      I'll go out a limb here and suggest that if God made it, or a billion years of Nature made it, then its good for you, and if some capitalist-pig makes it, its bad for you.

      February 3, 2014 at 19:04 | Report abuse |
    • Dan A.

      It depends on who sponsored the study. It seems that sugar is good for you if that's the outcome the sponsor wants, and bad for you if that's the outcome the sponsor wants. Follow the money to find out if sugar is good or bad for you.

      February 3, 2014 at 20:03 | Report abuse |
    • Jerome

      Pure, White and Deadly, By John Yudkin

      How sugar is killing us and what we can do to stop it.

      February 3, 2014 at 21:16 | Report abuse |
    • Barry

      To be fair Greg, fat makes you fat, but carbs make the fat. 😉

      February 3, 2014 at 21:41 | Report abuse |
    • Mac

      Absolutely true, Vicki. Sugar is sugar. it doesn't matter where it comes from. This article talks about "added sugar" as if it is made in an evil scientist's lab. Sucrose (table sugar) IS natural, and comes from sugar cane and plenty of other plants. "Natural" sugars, which are sugars that New Age lefties think are okay for you, are just as potentially bad for your health as sucrose. The astounding lack of scientific knowledge and dishonesty found in people who write articles like this is shocking. You want "natural"? How about this: sucrose is composed of one molecule of fructose ("natural" fruit sugar which is totally awesome and okay) and one molecule of glucose, which is the basic sugar your body runs on. So, what's "unnatural" about sucrose? This whole "sugar is evil" movement is nothing more than cheap controlling politics and laughable New Age ignorance. These are the same people who talk about how awful tobacco is, and then smoke marijuana and act as if it's health food.

      February 3, 2014 at 22:11 | Report abuse |
    • Brett

      All sugars are not equal, that's hogwash. There are different molecular chains involved in different types (which is why they have different names). Just play with google and type in words like "monosaccharide", "glucose", "fructose", "sucrose", "disaccharide", etc.

      February 3, 2014 at 22:51 | Report abuse |
    • Ian Monam

      No, the article said that the bananas had been cultivated to have such a high sugar content that they were bad for primates in captivity.

      February 3, 2014 at 23:23 | Report abuse |
    • sweeeetness

      LMAO...Everyone is a sugar expert now. The body uses sugars the same way but does not process all sugars the same. Everyone attacks processed sugar but most sugar we absorb today are through starches and corn syrup. When people say CARBS they need to be specific since fruit is in the carbohydrate group. Yup,,,fructose, dextrose, maltose,sucrose and lactose are all types of sugars. Breast milk is made mostly of water and sugars. Try living without meat and eat all the sugar you want and lay with little fermented drink and you'll go a long way...

      February 4, 2014 at 00:15 | Report abuse |
    • Evert van Vliet

      No matter the contradiction; Not being able to opt for a diet lacking additives unless one is willing (and able) to make a study out of everything consumed a/o paying through the nose for the 'all natural' products has become the norm.
      And that's even besides the fact that processed foods too are way more expensive than they should be, if only because of all the acreage consumed to produce bio-feuls….after all, we don't want to get sick right?

      Common sense dictates to remove the 'for profit' addition, it seems to work addictive and providing ways not to provide what's needed for human kind, let alone the rest of nature on this awesome planet.

      Life will kill you, so much is for sure.

      February 4, 2014 at 03:45 | Report abuse |
    • Jordan

      Mac....when people talk about "natural" sugar, they are referring to sugars that are naturally found in foods. Like the sugars in fruit. They are not referring to the way it is made.

      You are referring to natural sugars being added to foods. This is still added sugar, even if the sugar is naturally derived.

      February 4, 2014 at 08:04 | Report abuse |
    • Shape

      The lack of knowledge about sugar here is funny. I'm entertained by the people that have just googled something and now think they are sugar experts.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:18 | Report abuse |
    • Vnederlander

      Your body absolutely CAN tell the difference. Stop listening to health fad followers. Go to the website for the AMA, Mayo Clinic, or another reputable MEDICAL source to learn about how sugars are metabolized. Your body ABSOLUTELY knows the difference, apparently much better than some of these so-called "health experts."

      February 4, 2014 at 12:57 | Report abuse |
  2. BOOFER

    do people really STILL have to be told that sugar is bad for you? where are we?

    February 3, 2014 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. HurpDurp

    Another day, another "X is bad for you and here's why" article. Get ready, in a few weeks they'll run another article outlining some of the positive effects of sugar and send a completely different message.

    Way to go, mainstream media.

    February 3, 2014 at 17:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. nitrous

    Wait – sugar has benefits! Rum – yum!

    February 3, 2014 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Greg

    I've been Paleo / Low Carb ever since reading several studies and listening to many nutritionists. Calorie dense carbohydrates are the absolute worst thing you can eat, period. This list includes every bread, cake, oat, wheat, cereal, rice, potato, carrot product, period. It makes you fat, makes you sick... and you become addicted. Gluten and carbohydrates releases morphine type chemicals in the brain, and when you cut out carbs, your brain screams for them (cravings) not because it needs glucose to function but because it wants that high just like a heroin addict, it's just as addictive. Don't believe me, cut carbs out 100% for a week and tell me if you don't get the overwhelming desire to eat grains and sweets, you will, guaranteed.

    My diet is 75% fat, 20% protein, 5% carbohydrates. I eat butter, cream, a whole package of bacon friend in coconut oil. My body burns fat and only fat for fuel and to feed the brain (ketones). My bad cholesterol is great, my good cholesterol is great, my triglycerides are fine, and my blood sugar is perfect. I'm 6' and weigh 170 at 37 years of age.... all I eat is bacon, fat, fat, some veges, and more fat, saturated fat, regular fat, you name it and my health is fantastic.

    Eating fat doesn't make you fat, eating sugar and carb do, and leads to alzheimer's, dementia, heart disease, stroke, heart attack, and cancer. So go ahead, think that eating fat free food is good for you, you're killing yourself.

    February 3, 2014 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lulany

      Your point about carbs may very well be valid but I don't think anyone in their right mind would recommend getting so much of your protein and fat from bacon as it is a well established fact that cured or treated meats contain carcinogens and should be limited as much as possible.

      February 3, 2014 at 18:32 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      On that low a carb count, I'd love to watch you run a marathon. Sugar doesn't make you as fat as too many calories, period, do.

      February 3, 2014 at 19:21 | Report abuse |
    • Betty Crocker

      You obviously know nothing about your body's need for vitamins and minerals.

      February 3, 2014 at 19:31 | Report abuse |
    • John Shore

      Great to hear this. Is there a book or starting point diet online or other way you would suggest?

      February 3, 2014 at 20:15 | Report abuse |
    • David

      What you describe may be low carb, but it is not paleo. Though there does seem to be this morphed view of what paleo is is, but a true paleo diet has a lot of vegetables in it... 9 cups of leafy greens, bell peppers, etc, etc. Yes, no starchy vegetables like potatoes, but you need these veggies. If you are only getting 5% of your calories from carbohydrates then this is not paleo, and you aren't eating enough greens for optimal health. And BTW, I do consider myself pretty much paleo as well. My TOTAL sugars for the day (included added, which are basically nil) are around 35grams, and my total carbs is around 100g... Kale, spinach, broccoli has a lot of carbs. You just aren't going to get the nutrients you need with only fats.

      February 3, 2014 at 21:27 | Report abuse |
    • kismet

      So the cavemen ate bacon, butter, cream and coconut oil? What a crock.

      February 3, 2014 at 21:52 | Report abuse |
    • Mac

      Man, I guess if you want to believe this stuff, believe it. You have founded a new religion. Scientifically, though, it's absolute nonsense. Wow. In all those biochemistry courses I took, I never knew that carbohydrates release "morphine-like" chemicals in the brain.

      Gonna go down to 7-11, buy a Coca Cola, and get totally wasted tonight.

      February 3, 2014 at 22:18 | Report abuse |
    • Erik

      As far as body fat goes, it's far less what you eat and more how much you eat. If you have a constant positive energy balance, you're going to gain weight.

      I'm just a few years younger than you, have a body like a fitness model, and eat a normal, balanced diet. Most of my calories come from carbohydrates and yes, I do eat white bread and white rice. I have impeccable cholesterol levels, a low resting heart rate, low blood pressure, and body fat in the low single digits.

      So I eat a vastly different diet, but still get superior results. What do I do differently? I lift weights and run 52 miles a week. Food is an energy source. If you move, you're going to need fuel. I move a lot, so I need a lot of fuel.

      It's that simple.

      February 4, 2014 at 00:37 | Report abuse |
    • rosaadriana

      Well that doesn't sound like much fun. Who wants to live like that?

      February 4, 2014 at 08:12 | Report abuse |
  6. Shel Silverstein

    So you're takin' better care of your body
    Becoming more aware of your body.
    Responding to your body's needs.
    Everything you hear and read about diets,
    Nutrition and sleeping position and detoxifying your system,
    And buying machines that they advertise to help you exercise.
    Herbs to revitalize you if you're traumatized.
    Soaps that will sanitize.
    Sprays to deordorize.
    Liquid to neutralize acids and pesticides.
    Free weights to maximize your strength and muscle size.
    Shots that will immunize.
    Pills to re-energize you.

    But remember that for all your pain and gain
    Eventually the story ends the same...
    You can quite smokin', but you're still gonna die.
    Cut out cokin', but you're still gonna die.
    Eliminate everything fatty or fried,
    And you get real healthy, but you're still gonna die.
    Stop drinkin' booze, you're still gonna die.
    Stay away from cooze, you're still gonna die.
    You can cut out coffee and never get high,
    But you're still gonna, still gonna, still gonna die.

    You're still gonna, still gonna, still gonna die.
    Still gonna, still gonna, still gonna die.
    You can even give aerobics one more try,
    But when the music stops playin', you're still gonna die.
    Put seat belts in your car, you're still gonna die.
    Cut nicotine tar, you're still gonna die.
    You can exercise that cellulite off your thigh.
    Get slimmer and trimmer, but you're still gonna die.
    Stop gettin' a tan, you're still gonna die.
    You can search for UFO's up in the sky
    They might fly you to Mars where you're still gonna die.

    You're still gonna, still gonna, still gonna die.
    Still gonna, still gonna, still gonna die.
    And all the Reeboks and Nikes and Adidas you buy
    You can jog up to heaven and you're still gonna die.

    Drink ginseng tonics, you're still gonna die.
    Try high colonics, you're still gonna die.
    You can have yourself frozen and suspended in time,
    But when they do thaw you out, you're still gonna die.
    You can have safe sex, you're still gonna die.
    You can switch to Crest, you're still gonna die.
    You can get rid of stress, get a lot of rest,
    Get an AIDS test, enroll in EST,
    Move out west where it's sunny and dry
    And you'll live to be a hundred
    But you're still gonna die.

    You're still gonna, still gonna, still gonna die.
    Still gonna, still gonna, still gonna die.
    So you'd better have some fun
    'Fore you say bye-bye,
    'Cause you're still gonna, still gonna, still gonna die.

    February 3, 2014 at 18:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • T

      So lets just do all those things and die faster! Right? Oh, wait...

      February 3, 2014 at 19:32 | Report abuse |
    • TED

      Al true but how do you want your last ten years to be like? Popping pills to keep your organs from failing?

      February 3, 2014 at 20:25 | Report abuse |
    • Wayne N. Hedani

      Shel:

      Loved it. Still, Life Never Dies.
      Aloha,
      Wayne

      February 3, 2014 at 21:07 | Report abuse |
  7. learnusa

    they used to tell Americans this all the time but manufacturers needed sugar to place in their products. (the process they used is long and drawn out. to long a story to tell here. it was sneaky and crooked and full of government corruption) they believed it was the only way to get more Americans to eat their products. people wanted products to be low fat but still taste good so they added sugar. sugar is in almost EVERYTHING. go have a look in your fridge. anything with syrup, fructose, glucose, dehydrated cane juice is my fave, agave, dextrin and dextrose... all of it is SUGAR. only sugar that is good for you is that in fruits and veggies and not to much of it either.

    February 3, 2014 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Brad

    Yes, yes, those of us IN THE KNOW already are aware of this. What about the sugar found in tap water, postage stamps, and emitted from halogen-powered dirigibles hidden in the clouds?

    February 3, 2014 at 18:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Fiona

    I take these scare tactics with a grain of salt (!), since the real picture is so much larger, and much more complicated. It's easy to demonize added sugars, but all that matters is a person's overall diet and physical fitness. If you doubt this, look at the Swiss. They have a per-person, annual consumption of chocolate that tops 25 pounds. Yet as a group, they are a healthy and active bunch. Not a lot of obesity in that country. What they do have is a culture that values real food, outdoor activity, healthy lifestyles. Where the average us diet falls flat is in too much reliance on processed and fast foods, and too much consumption of sodas and other liquid forms of sugar, and too little emphasis on outdoor sport.

    February 3, 2014 at 18:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. shawbrooke

    I think that things can be overdone. Taxing sugar is one of them. Education is the key here. Soon all food will be taxed extra since it seems that each week there is a new health scare.

    February 3, 2014 at 18:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. JB

    Sugar is legal and makes you sick. Here is your real gateway drug.

    February 3, 2014 at 18:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. WRE

    Get your blood tested now. Cut carbs almost completely out of your diet for 4 months. Get your blood tested again. Your cholesterol will likely be more or less the same, except your bad levels will have fallen and your good levels will have increased. Your blood pressure will be lower, and your triglycerides will have decreased significantly. Perhaps most importantly, you will be 10-15 pounds lighter.

    February 3, 2014 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • David

      Yep. I did this exact thing, and it worked. All my cholesterol and sugar levels are in very good health. They were awful before. Doc said, "I could give you a pill, but that is only treating the symptom. Doing the hard work of consistent exercise and really cleaning up your eating (cutting sugar back) is the best solution." And I did lose 20 lbs.

      February 3, 2014 at 22:28 | Report abuse |
    • mhcommuter

      I did that – cut carbs to as low as possible, 30-50 a day – I went from 265 to 210 in 4 months (I'm 6'6") – blood pressure went from borderline needing medication to "like a kid's" per the nurse, triglicerides dropped way low, my overall cholesterol did go up slightly, but the good over bad reversed – it had been really bad ratio wise, it corrected. Felt great at 210. Need to get back to it – 10 years later, I've allowed my weight back up – but a funny thing is happening – I don't drink sugar, eat plentiful healthy fats, and even though my weight is back up, my blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglicerydes are all in check – sugar, and all carbs are evil – they drive a huge urge to have more – when you cut them back, within 3 days, you WILL stop craving them. Then the weight drops. Of course, if you cheat, ice cream still tastes mighty good – and once you have it, the urge suppression is gone. But it is the way to health for all of us fat , carb-loving, americans.

      February 4, 2014 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
  13. GAry

    I dunno....I'm eating carbs, sugars and more, every day. And I also exercise a half hour and run an hour every day. I really believe in my soul that it is a balance between what you eat and what you do. More calories than you burn = more pounds. Burn more calories than you eat = less pounds. You can't create fat from nothing....or was Einstein wrong (i.e. mass from nothing is impossible..)

    February 3, 2014 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mhcommuter

      Gary- I'd highly recommend reading Atkins – never thought I could read a diet book, but was entranced. In summary – when you eat a carb, it turns to sugar – body has to regulate sugar in the bloodstream, so it releases insulin – insulin converts sugar to fat, and triggers body to store it, driving blood sugar low, so,.... there's the urge for the second candy bar. If you eat chicken, or beef, or nuts, no insulin is released, the dietary fat is burned as energy – NOT stored (without the release of insulin). haven't read it for a while, but this is pretty accurate to what the book said (by memory) – and when I did the diet – it did EVERYTHING it said it would – blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, cravings, check, check, check...... So I believe it implicitly. protein Power is a similar message, as is the South Beach Diet – South Beach is a little softer in recommended carbs, but under the covers its Atkins Redux.

      February 4, 2014 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
  14. Green Sunflowers

    I have a SUPER hard time figuring out what my food pyramid (or whatever shape) is supposed to look like. I've cut out meat, dairy, eggs and most nuts due to their fat content. I eat mostly fruits and veggies now and I throw in a bagel with honey for breakfast (someone call the fat police!) or plain cereal with rice milk. I only drink water or carrot juice and a very occasional soy chai latte. I'm trying to eat so healthy that I feel like I have an eating disorder because all I ever say is "Oh, I can't eat that". I don't have an eating disorder but COME ON. I screwed it all and ate a spinach stromboli just so I could eat some FOOD the other day. I really don't want to be sick but I get like 0% protein because of everything I'm NOT supposed to eat. I wish chicken and cheese grew from the ground.

    February 3, 2014 at 19:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KW

      Sounds like you should try some soy-based meat replacers, or more rice and potatoes. You can get protein from spinach and other greens, too.

      February 3, 2014 at 20:05 | Report abuse |
    • Slow down

      Mistake #1 giving up meat. There is nothing wrong with meat within reason. Mistake #2 believing fat is inherently bad for you. It isn't. It is an essential source of nutrition. It is about the type of fat and source that you should be concerned. Eggs are good for you. the saturated fats that are inherent in lean meat/poultry are fine. Olive oil is fine. Cold-pressed coconut oil is fine. Big jug polyunsaturates ("vegetable oil", soy oil, corn oill, canola oil...) should be avoided. Added sugars should be avoided, along with juices from concentrate. Almost all of your carbohydrates should come from lower-starch vegetables, fruits, nuts. Otherwise, there is no health-related reason to give up most of what you mentioned.

      February 3, 2014 at 20:12 | Report abuse |
    • Slow down

      "Soy-based meat replacers" should be avoided by most people. They are worse for you than meat could ever be...unless you want a dose of cognitive impairment.

      February 3, 2014 at 20:14 | Report abuse |
    • Jordan

      You should listen to "slow down". You don't want to get sick, then stop eating the way you are. You're actually doing almost the exact opposite of what you should be.

      February 4, 2014 at 08:07 | Report abuse |
  15. J Jeffries

    This study adds to the growing literature that added sugar promotes detrimental cardiovascular events. However, this study has a number of issues that most of the prior studies had as well. One is that this study would only show an association between added sugar consumption and cardiovascular death. Another is the way that the data is collected and analyzed. The original NHANES data (used by this study) used a 24 hour dietary recall. Imagine if your doctor asked to remember what you ate yesterday. Many people are unable to recall to 100% accuracy what they had eaten a day ago. Now, let's say that in the survey you said that you had a bowl of cereal for breakfast. The study authors would analyze this with a certain percentage of added sugar, despite not knowing the actual contents of the cereal. Eating a bowl of Frosted Flakes is going to have a widely different amount of added sugar than a bowel of Cheerios. Also, what you ate yesterday might not at all reflect what you ate the day before – the study only used 24 hour dietary recalls which does not reflect an overall average of sugar consumption over time. That is the problem with these survey-type studies. This is not to say that the results of this study are not important, but it does not provide an actual conclusion to this topic. For more reading, check out http://www.advcardiologyassoc.com/articles/02032014.htm

    February 3, 2014 at 19:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. tednugent'sdiapers

    It's Obama's fault.

    February 3, 2014 at 19:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mac

      Wow, really? Did he finally take the blame for something?

      February 3, 2014 at 22:22 | Report abuse |
  17. abbydelabbey

    I am not surprised. We were not designed to eat sugar as we know it today. Fruits and vegetables, yes, but not "table sugar" or "high fructose corn syrup."

    February 3, 2014 at 20:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mac

      Wrong. Just wrong. Major wrong. Wrong-o-matic. Amazingly wrong. Just so wrong. Totally and completely wrong.

      February 3, 2014 at 22:24 | Report abuse |
  18. Serge Storms

    You can start by skipping the sodas and drink water. And read the labels in the supermarket, a little information might make you somewhat less kookoo for cocoa puffs.

    February 3, 2014 at 20:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. gstlab3

    remember that all those whole grains and flour turn into massive amounts of sugar as well and can cause spikes in blood sugar or insulin spikes fi you want to know.
    all of it is pretty bad stuff lots of gmo grains are mostly composed of starches and have less fiber than they used too.

    February 3, 2014 at 20:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. crop1981

    I've got a great idea! Why doesn't everyone eat out of their own damn plate and stop worrying about what's on someone elses?

    February 3, 2014 at 20:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • yeah

      How to I up-vote this a million times. 🙂

      February 3, 2014 at 22:54 | Report abuse |
    • LqM

      crop1981 wins the Internet today.

      February 3, 2014 at 23:16 | Report abuse |
  21. Janey

    Sugar is addictive, but what about all of this added salt? Processed food is so salty, it's mindblowing. Whole food is the way to go, and if you must eat grains, by all means consume whole grains. I would not touch them, but you know, to each his or her own.

    February 3, 2014 at 21:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. auntieroux

    Every time I see an obese teenager in a grocery store buying a brick of regular soda I want to cry. I got fat, but not until I was older and it has been a real struggle. I didn't drink regular sugared beverages, kept my calories as low as I could stand, joined a gym, ate a high-protein/low carb diet. Nothing made any difference – but I sure bulk up fast and could beat men much taller than I am at arm-wrestling – ha! I had a test done that measured my metabolism when I was 50. The test said that I could maintain my current weight by eating 1000 calories a day, but I would never lose weight. I weighed nearly 300 pounds. I had gastric bypass because my heart was enlarged. Now many foods make me extremely ill – and guess what, they are the ones with sugar and hyper-gluten. So I figure that the things that make me sick now are probably the things nobody should be eating in the first place.

    February 3, 2014 at 21:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. ironwolf56

    Have a boring humorless life and maybe MAYBE live a few years longer; that's basically what all these kind of articles tell us.

    February 3, 2014 at 21:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joey

      I'm sugar free and my life is NOT boring or humorless. I'm in my early 30's and I can already see the benefits of cutting out sugar, simple carbs, and processed foods. That stuff wreaks havoc on your system, so no, I'd rather live a full, healthy life where I have energy and don't get sick. By the way, eating smart doesn't mean eating bland. I regularly eat steak and other fatty meats. I get carbs from organic rice and starchy vegetables. Fruits and vegetables taste sweeter and I enjoy the essence of food more. Stop letting the food industry control your lives!

      February 3, 2014 at 22:43 | Report abuse |
    • Coach Irf

      Looking good and picking up girls isn't boring

      February 4, 2014 at 00:04 | Report abuse |
  24. Kurt

    Remember, CNN's sponsors sell loads of sugars, so this is the PG version of the truth. You suck CNN.

    February 3, 2014 at 21:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Andrew

    Where does honey fall? Is that an ok sugar or something I should avoid?

    February 3, 2014 at 21:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. brian

    This has been known for a few decades now.

    February 3, 2014 at 22:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Joey

    How is this news? I thought this was common knowledge.

    February 3, 2014 at 22:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. DoctorMax

    I rest my case.

    February 3, 2014 at 22:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. puddintane

    Dopers now claim smoking wee cures cancer, so it also counteracts anything bad sugar does to the body. There its on the Web, so its Fact

    February 3, 2014 at 22:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. UriNation

    Chocolate is the staple of life.

    February 3, 2014 at 23:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Roger Bird

    Duh!

    February 3, 2014 at 23:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Suga daddy

    Just came from the gym. I wonder how many bloggers here sit all day commenting on blogs meanwhile eating fats and sugars??!! Get you self moving people!

    February 3, 2014 at 23:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • American Worker

      True.

      People need to get out and know life rather than making uninformed comments.

      February 4, 2014 at 00:17 | Report abuse |
  33. That's just crazy talk

    LIES! Sugar is good! Eat more of it, every day!

    February 4, 2014 at 00:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Roger Bird

      So says a negative population growth advocate.

      February 4, 2014 at 18:26 | Report abuse |
  34. American Worker

    This report is true.

    My health was adversely affected by too much sugar. Especially in soft drinks. The caramel in the sodas was irritating my lungs, the caffeine was wearing me down, and the sugar was making me heavy.

    February 4, 2014 at 00:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Little Lulu

    bunk, bunk, bunk. I love sugar.. I don't eat it a lot, but I like wholesome desserts made with real ingredients like sugar, and flour, and creams and chocolate. And everyone tells me how fit, young and happy I look. I think they're disregarding some of the good qualities of sugar too. Everything has its pros and cons. But for me, a life without sugar at all.. is a life not really worth living or certainly would not be very pleasurable.

    February 4, 2014 at 01:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Tired...

    I'm really tired of other people trying to tell me how to live. I don't drink much if at all, I've never smoked, I don't take any recreational drugs. Pretty much my only vice are a couple of cans of soda a day, but dammit, it's my freedom of choice and my body and I'll do with it as I please. And BTW, I'm not over-weight, my blood work numbers are all within normal bounds and I don't have high blood pressure.

    February 4, 2014 at 01:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Erik

    Look.

    Eat a balanced diet.

    Paleo? Low carb? They're just gimmicks. Bread and pasta don't have any special properties that cause weight gain. It's just easier to overeat with them included in your diet. Pasta is often served with copious amounts of cheese, which is high in fat. At 9 calories per gram, the fat in the cheese is more than double the caloric density of the pasta. Carbohydrate has 4 calories per gram. If you have a hamburger, the vast majority of the calories are coming from the burger itself. Hamburger is high in fat and therefore calorically dense. Desserts are similar. Yes, they have a high amount of sugar, but it's what they're paired with. Almost all desserts are made with eggs (the yolks have significant fat) and cooking oils (which are entirely fat). This substantially increases their caloric density.

    Now if you only eat the burger and throw away the bun, you do eat less calories. But you'd also eat fewer calories if you just ate half the burger to begin with.

    I am someone who has always done an obscene amount of exercise. Since I was a teenager, I've run ridiculous amounts. I am currently in my mid-30's and run 52 miles a week. I also lift weights most days. At that level of exercise, I need to eat approximately 3200 calories per day to remain in energy balance - not losing and not gaining weight. If I suddenly became sedentary, yet maintained a 3200 calorie per day diet, I would rapidly gain weight - approximately 2.5 pounds per week. If I did that for a year, I would gain 140 pounds. It wouldn't matter if I was "paleo" and just eating bacon and veggies. If I suddenly stopped exercising and maintained my high caloric intake, I would get fat quickly.

    Instead, I eat over 3,000 calories a day and have body fat in the low single digits. You could call it the Michael Phelps diet.

    Do I eat white rice? Yes.
    Do I eat bread? Yes.
    Do I avoid any specific food entirely? No.

    It's all about your energy balance, folks.

    February 4, 2014 at 01:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Truth

    Don't count calories. Count carbs. Then you will lose weight. Hell simply drinking only water will cut the majority of Americans carb intake by half. I challenge anyone overweight who reads this to drink water for 2 months as your drink of choice. You WILL lose a minimum of 10 pounds. Do you have the willpower to do so?

    February 4, 2014 at 02:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Haha

    No s ex, no smokes, no sugar. No will to live.

    February 4, 2014 at 02:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. SixDegrees

    I'd like to see a study actually designed to look at this issue, instead of dredging through prior studies on different topics looking for secondary effects. The results just aren't as compelling, and may be illusory, since they weren't considered or controlled for in the original research.

    February 4, 2014 at 03:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. intrasurgicals

    I read your blog.. its amazing. you having very good content. very helpful to all.
    Surgical product Manufacturer and Suppliers
    Infusion Set and Syringes Manufacturer and suppliers

    February 4, 2014 at 04:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Truth

    Eat tufu, soy and water
    that's it

    February 4, 2014 at 06:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. perset

    Sugar is my worst enemy.....last year (Jan. 2013) I had gastric bypass surgery. I was 255 lbs at that time....Since then, I have not knowingly taken any sugar into my body. I realize that there is some sugar in everything..... I am down to 190 lbs and feel great. As long as I don't eat sugar, I keep losing weight. SUGAR IS MY WORST ENEMY....

    February 4, 2014 at 06:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. JRGidaho

    The really pathertic thing about this whole article is the link between sugar and chronic disease has been postulated and well supported by biochemical and physiological research fro well over 50 years. The problem is the medical industry has ignored the facts and been out chasing 'The Cure' through drugs with ongoing support of the US government.

    The solution to virtually all our health problems is to eat Real Food and ignore the propaganda of the medical-pharmaceutical-agriculrtural-government-industrial complex.

    February 4, 2014 at 07:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Ryan

    I'd rather live 50 years on burgers and cookies than 100 on bran flakes and kale.

    February 4, 2014 at 07:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. jay hawk

    Sugar yes. corn and sugar beets is GMO and is sprayed with ROUNDUP (active agent glyphosate) that causes intestinal track problems, cancer, women problems. Monsanto got approved by FDA for glyphosate in 1970 and started using it. After 1980 all kinds of diseases increased and started including ADHD, autism, and intestinal problems to name a few.

    February 4, 2014 at 07:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Will

    I wish i could agree, i have been skinny all my life and nothing puts any fat on my bones.

    February 4, 2014 at 07:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. djthbp

    Dr. Atkins was vilified for promoting low-carb eating. Turns out he was right. It's not the fat that makes you fat... it's the carbs. If your body burns it's stored fat for fuel, that prevents the fat from being stored in your arteries. When it burns the sugar you ingest (since it's more readily converted into fuel), then the fat you eat gets stored in all the most dangerous places in your body... and you get fat... and that INCLUDES bread and pasta, unless its whole grain bread and pasta. The AMA owes a huge apology to Dr. Atkins AND to the millions who followed its upside-down food tables.

    February 4, 2014 at 07:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. TronGod

    Let’s see, I have studies problems with health for many years. I have been overweight since I was out of Boot Camp over 30 years ago...that is, the weight standard per height ratio that doctors have posted all over the world. I am 69" tall male, and according to the poster and posting on the web, I should not weigh over 169 lbs. I entered US Navy boot camp at 161 lbs, and exited with a weight of 172 lbs...in peak physical condition (I would later gain weight to 237 lbs in the US Navy at the age of 27...that increase was due to OVEREATING...and lack of physical exercise). I was forced to enter a physical training program, that included regular weigh-ins and healthy eating habit training, and became a certified US Navy nutritionist as a member of our physical fitness teams. I went from 237 lbs to 172 lbs again (now, remember that would still be considered overweight), ran our Physical Fitness Test (PFT) 1.5 mile run in 7:32, I ran a first place 5k run, and a 10K 1st place Captains Cup Run, a 2:38:12 Marathon, and could bench press 385 lbs to my 172 lb frame. When I was 34 years old, and still in peak physical condition, I had a heart attack, it would have killed me had my running partner not been with me that day. I was eating healthy, reduced my intake of fats and sugars, and according to my doctors, I developed a condition called hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels, below 70mg/dL). My health kick had done something to trigger my drops in blood sugar levels, my pancreas began producing massive amounts of Insulin. "Insulin is a peptide hormone, produced by beta cells of the pancreas, and is central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. It causes cells in the liver, skeletal muscles, and fat tissue to absorb glucose from the blood." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insulin. This damage has never reversed its course, and as I grow older the condition gets worse. Now, when I take in fats, sugars, or proteins, my body reacts with rapid drops in blood sugar levels, this is a direct result of eating too few calories is sugars for too long of a period. Yes, that is a fact, as military doctors have followed my case, along with the VA doctors for almost 20 years.
    So, why do I explain my life story on this subject? Well, it is to tell the readers that sugar is NOT your enemy…NOT taking in sugar is very dangerous. Healthy weight management is finding the correct balance of sugar, fats and proteins. So, talk to doctors…and for God’s sake, do not just stop eating sugars because some moron posts a story with no facts to the effects of eating too little sugar also. The story must report all sides, and should focus on eating right for YOUR body! Talk to your personal physician and see where your numbers lay…they are a good indicator of your actual health…not the numbers on a scale, or if you look overweight or not. 🙂

    February 4, 2014 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. TronGod

    Let’s see, I have studied problems with health for many years. I have been overweight since I was out of Boot Camp over 30 years ago...that is, the weight standard per height ratio that doctors have posted all over the world. I am 69" tall male, and according to the poster and posting on the web, I should not weigh over 169 lbs. I entered US Navy boot camp at 161 lbs, and exited with a weight of 172 lbs...in peak physical condition (I would later gain weight to 237 lbs in the US Navy at the age of 27...that increase was due to OVEREATING...and lack of physical exercise). I was forced to enter a physical training program, that included regular weigh-ins and healthy eating habit training, and became a certified US Navy nutritionist as a member of our physical fitness teams. I went from 237 lbs to 172 lbs again (now, remember that would still be considered overweight), ran our Physical Fitness Test (PFT) 1.5 mile run in 7:32, I ran a first place 5k run, and a 10K 1st place Captains Cup Run, a 2:38:12 Marathon, and could bench press 385 lbs to my 172 lb frame. When I was 34 years old, and still in peak physical condition, I had a heart attack, it would have killed me had my running partner not been with me that day. I was eating healthy, reduced my intake of fats and sugars, and according to my doctors, I developed a condition called hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels, below 70mg/dL). My health kick had done something to trigger my drops in blood sugar levels, my pancreas began producing massive amounts of Insulin. "Insulin is a peptide hormone, produced by beta cells of the pancreas, and is central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. It causes cells in the liver, skeletal muscles, and fat tissue to absorb glucose from the blood." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insulin. This damage has never reversed its course, and as I grow older the condition gets worse. Now, when I take in fats, sugars, or proteins, my body reacts with rapid drops in blood sugar levels, this is a direct result of eating too few calories is sugars for too long of a period. Yes, that is a fact, as military doctors have followed my case, along with the VA doctors for almost 20 years.
    So, why do I explain my life story on this subject? Well, it is to tell the readers that sugar is NOT your enemy…NOT taking in sugar is very dangerous. Healthy weight management is finding the correct balance of sugar, fats and proteins. So, talk to doctors…and for God’s sake, do not just stop eating sugars because some moron posts a story with no facts to the effects of eating too little sugar also. The story must report all sides, and should focus on eating right for YOUR body! Talk to your personal physician and see where your numbers lay…they are a good indicator of your actual health…not the numbers on a scale, or if you look overweight or not.

    February 4, 2014 at 08:04 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6

Leave a Reply to GAry


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.