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 (636 Responses)
  1. Bryan

    I don't know. When I cut out sugar completely or significantly, I dropped weight and felt better. I ate lean meats for protein, fruits and vegetables for carbs and healthy oils for fats. Reintroducing sugars(breads, desserts, soft drinks, etc ) made me feel sluggish. That's just my experience.

    February 4, 2014 at 08:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ewfjcopwaef

      If you cut out sugars completely then your body would cease to function. Sugar, fat, and sodium are all absolutely essential to human life.

      February 4, 2014 at 09:14 | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      You are exactly right. Sugar is poison to our bodies and we do not need it at all. The person who thinks it is required to live has no clue about health. Sugar makes us sick and does nothing positive for our health.

      February 4, 2014 at 09:28 | Report abuse |
    • wes

      Ur body will function totally fine with no added sugar

      February 4, 2014 at 09:31 | Report abuse |
    • JR

      @ewfjcopwaef- There's plenty of good carbs in fruits and veggies for energy. You don't "need" added sugar on top of that.

      February 4, 2014 at 09:46 | Report abuse |
    • Furball

      @Emily – You are absolutely wrong in every aspect of your statement. Sugar is not poison to our bodies, and we do absolutely need it to live. If you have no sugar in your body you will die. The problem is when people consume too much sugar they increase their chances of getting sick.
      Please do yourself a favor and read about the necessary benefits of sugar as well as where you can find sugar (you may be surprised how many foods have sugar but don't taste sweet).

      February 4, 2014 at 09:52 | Report abuse |
    • souljacker

      No, the body does not need added sugar. All the nutrients we need are found in unprocessed natural foods such as meat from animals and vegetables and fruits. There is absolutely no need to EVER eat anything that is man-made or processed.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:00 | Report abuse |
    • floridian for choice


      At least we may have a aid against diabetes if we can end prohibition.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:02 | Report abuse |
    • Papa Bear

      The real key here is added sugars... you don't need to cut out sugar completely... just the added sugar, not the natural ones from fruits... but of course everything must be eaten in moderation.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:09 | Report abuse |
    • SKR

      Well, of course. Too much of anything will make you feel sluggish. Heck, too much protein is bad for you.

      The key is moderation, and always has been. A small slice of cake is fine, just don't eat the entire thing. A handful of potato chips is OK, just don't eat the entire bag.

      Mankind has been consuming sugar in one form or another since prehistoric times, and it's no more lethal than any other substance. It will make you fat if you eat too much of it. Just use common sense and you can enjoy the occasional cupcake or cookie. Just don't eat the entire package!

      February 4, 2014 at 10:11 | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Oye, semantics. Yes, we need sugars (glucose, fructose, galactose, etc.) to live, as they are a primary energy source for the body. The article is talking about ADDED sugars- additional sweeteners in food. What the scare tactic article fails to state is that the VAST majority of the "studies" showing added sugars contribute to the rates of obesity, cancer, etc. also show that this intake correlates with a generally unhealthy diet. In other words, healthy people are not generally eating the kinds of food that sugar is added to. Simple. This does not mean that the sugar molecules from the sucrose added to your chocolate milk is any more dangerous that the sugar molecules naturally contained in the milk- your body cannot tell the difference. BUT, if you're drinking chocolate milk, you're probably (and I make an assumption here) not always making the healthiest choices for your body.

      So, simple takeaway- focus on eating generally healthy foods, not JUST avoiding "added sugar".

      February 4, 2014 at 10:23 | Report abuse |
    • VinUSA

      Your brain needs glucose, but your liver will create this through a process of ketosis when you don't consume carbs. Starch is almost exclusively made up out of glucose molecules, and if you don't overdo it but get it from fruits and vegetables, you'll get plenty without inducing blood glucose and subsequent insuline highs and lows. The toxicity comes in with the fructose, which makes up half of your table sugar and more than half of HFCS. Your body cannot burn this directly, so it converts it into triglycerides in your liver. The spikes of these cause your cholesterol to increase and puff up into LDL (or even worse VLDL). The fructose load on your liver can actually generate liver damage. The inflammation promoting properties of sugar (one of the worst actors there is) cause cancer growth.

      In short: sugar is poison. The difference between the US and the WHO guidelines are entirely due to lobbying and have nothing to do with your health. 10% calories is already way too much; 0% is better.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:30 | Report abuse |
    • Nezhtal

      It's not just refined sugars. It's carbohydrates, which our bodies convert to sugar anyway. When I consume carbs in any form other than fruits and vegetables I retain water, feel sluggish and my energy level plummets. Since changing my diet to fresh vegetables, protein, healthy fats and a very small amount of fruit I've lost over a hundred pounds and feel twenty years younger. I wish I'd learned it a long time ago but that infernal "food pyramid" that was supposed to show us how to eat healthy had the exact opposite effect, and not just on me.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:58 | Report abuse |
    • Daryl

      It would have been nice if they had distinguished between sugar – Sucrose – and High Fructose Corn Syrup. To my knowledge, there has been no sugar in soft drinks and many other items in years. The manufacturers all went to the High Fructose Corn Syrup and stopped using sugar for economic reasons.

      February 4, 2014 at 15:12 | Report abuse |
  2. Fred

    The second sentence of this article ends in a preposition. I feel CNN's writers could use a little more education in proper grammar.

    February 4, 2014 at 08:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fred

      Correction, the third sentence has problems.

      February 4, 2014 at 08:16 | Report abuse |
    • Cecil Burrow

      If you can't even count, I don't think you should be criticizing other people's grammar.

      February 4, 2014 at 08:43 | Report abuse |
    • secondstorywindow

      Fred, Merriam-Webster disagrees.


      February 4, 2014 at 09:26 | Report abuse |
    • Klmabcghi

      Get a life.

      February 4, 2014 at 09:26 | Report abuse |
    • Pad

      To paraphrase Churchill to highlight the impracticality of proper grammar at times - ending a sentence in a preposition is something up with which I will not put. (I think it's preferable to break the rules on occasion.)

      February 4, 2014 at 09:46 | Report abuse |
    • LittlebabyJesus

      I feel you could use an education in getting a life.

      February 4, 2014 at 09:48 | Report abuse |
    • bob

      Your first sentence ends with, "a preposition."

      February 4, 2014 at 09:52 | Report abuse |
    • Witness Protection

      The rule about not ending a sentence in a preposition is arbitrary and is ignored by most significant writers. It belongs with the misconception about beginning a sentence with a conjunction.

      February 4, 2014 at 09:52 | Report abuse |
    • SKR

      Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put. 🙂

      February 4, 2014 at 10:11 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      It's grammatically correct to end a sentence with a preposition in English. In Latin, it would be incorrect. English is derived from Latin, but that rule does not hold true in both.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:24 | Report abuse |
  3. buddy

    Looks like the 'High fructose Corn Syrup' industry has struck back by paying off this So-Called Professor in their on going which one is natural war. Too much of anything is not good for you. Consuming Sugar in Moderation is better than small amounts of 'High Fructose Corn Syrup'!

    February 4, 2014 at 08:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TH

      Buddy, high fructose corn syrup is processed sugar. It's exactly what the article is stating you need to limit. Sugar has many names now.

      February 4, 2014 at 08:52 | Report abuse |
    • Sokesky

      What are you, the shill for C&H? Processed sugar is bad for you. Sweeten with fruit or honey, both are unrefined. Table sugar is refined, just like HFCS.

      February 4, 2014 at 09:05 | Report abuse |
    • gager

      Moderation is meaningless. Both sugar and high fructose corn syrup are unhealthy in any amounts. No one is being paid off.

      February 4, 2014 at 09:15 | Report abuse |
    • westc2

      LIke the other poster said...High fructose corn syrup is the worst of the worst of processed sugar. That's what you find in things like Mtn. Dew, Coke, Pepsi. As a former heavy drinker of these types of drinks, I can say that I feel much better/healtier since I cut them out a couple years ago. They are basically flavored poison.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:19 | Report abuse |
    • Dr Tod Policandriotes

      Exactly this, real sugar from sugar cane is not that bad, it is the added sugars like "high fructose corn syrup" that are killers. Companies use them to make more MONEY due to the greedy people wanting to use those waste products rather than using pure sugar cane. Yes, high fructose corn syrup is a byproduct. These people that write these articles do not know how to distinguish between the types of sugars. They simply put them all in one basket. Regardless, to much of anything is bad for us, even vitamin A.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:24 | Report abuse |
  4. Shane

    Eat less and exercise more. Eat 1400 calories a day, exercise 400 calories a day.
    Overeating and laziness is the problem. Not sugar.
    Carbs aren't the boogie man everybody makes them out to be.Calories are calories wherever they come from.
    Count your calories. Burn more than you consume. Simple as that.
    myfitnesspal dot com is a good place to start.

    February 4, 2014 at 08:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jo

      If you look into the science of how insulin and sugar regulation in your body work you will see that your statement is simply not true. Sugar results in a production of insulin in your body that is not the same as when you eat fat/protein calories. We were told a calorie is a calorie for so long and it appears to make sense on the surface – I followed this for years and never lost weight. If you are willing to learn a bit more about insulin and biology and fat storage/regulation you will learn a lot of interesting information that might change your viewpoint on the old calorie is a calorie way of thinking.

      February 4, 2014 at 08:42 | Report abuse |
    • TH

      Jo is right, Shane. The science now shows that a calorie is not in fact a calorie. And sugar acts like a drug in your system without nutritional value.

      February 4, 2014 at 08:54 | Report abuse |
    • Sokesky

      The amount of calories you eat depends on your body size. 1400 calories is too low for someone who is 6'2" and too high for someone who is 5'.

      February 4, 2014 at 09:07 | Report abuse |
    • smartaz

      Netting 1000 calories a day isn't very healthy.

      February 4, 2014 at 09:26 | Report abuse |
    • Grandma 4

      Wrong! A calorie isnt a calorie, I started to eat less carb and more fat, today I consume more than the double of calories than before but I have lost half of my weight in one year. I am much healthier today, according to my doctor, than I was a year ago. My cholesterol levels are much better and my bloodsugar is stable.

      February 4, 2014 at 09:45 | Report abuse |
    • mdaneker

      Nice website plug. You're information is off though. In my early twenties I had to nearly starve myself and exercise like mad to even make a dent in my weight. As it is in my 40's I only eat a small amount of food each day and steer clear of most processed garbage and by all my meat from a local butcher and I'm still overweight. I work 60+hrs a week and have three children, you want to say I'm overweight because I'm lazy and I eat too much you're insulting and delusional.

      If anything is killing me its the first twenty years of HFCS wasteland that conditioned and programed my body in irreversible ways.

      February 4, 2014 at 09:54 | Report abuse |
    • VinUSA

      On the surface a calorie is a calorie. But a sugar calorie will generate an insulin spike, which will result in a drop in blood sugar levels later, leaving you yearning for more. A fat calorie does nothing of the sort. Your body actually has a regulating mechanism of hormones produced by your fat cells that will tell you to stop eating and start expending energy. The real bad news is that sugar consumption interferes with that mechanism. In short: a fat calorie will tell you to stop eating; a sugar calorie will tell you to come back for more.Guess who ends up eating more calories...

      February 4, 2014 at 10:36 | Report abuse |
  5. TiredOfThis

    So, you're born, you eat, you die. Life is bad for you, it can only lead to death. Stop trying to profit from it.

    February 4, 2014 at 08:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. James Yancy

    Well said Buddy, they don't mention what kind of sugars, another deliberate deception by the subsidized corn industry.
    While real sugar gets hammered with taxes.

    February 4, 2014 at 08:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Carolyn

    You think? Man's body is made to work for the sugar it gets. In other words eat fruit not pure sugar. All the refinement we have done to foods can be a problem. And as the old saying goes, everything in moderation.

    February 4, 2014 at 08:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Richard

    I think we all know that anything not eaten in moderation is bad for us. The problem is that most of us are not getting the exercise we should, much less the exercise we would need to burn off the sugar. I'm a diabetic. Type 2 and it's genetic. I am 6'1 and weigh 200. I'm not overweight and I do exercise. When i was diagnosed by fasting blood sugar was 170 and the threshold for diabetes was 160. Now they are telling people that the threshold is 100. Is it really or is it a ploy to sell more pills? I think the threshold depends on the person and their own body. I do what I need to do and the doctor still isn't happy. My blood sugar does not ever drop below 100 and if it does, I feel really bad. I think we need to pay attention to what they say, but instead of taking it as Gospel, learn our own bodies.

    February 4, 2014 at 08:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Colin

      You are right about the addition of exercise to a healthy lifestyle, but the American culture of instant gratification doesn't fit in the fitness industry. Here is a project that is attempting to change that: http://igg.me/at/getamericafit

      February 4, 2014 at 10:32 | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Hate to break it to you, but unless you are just extremely muscular, you are overweight. Your BMI is 26.4. Above 25 is overweight. Above 30 is obese.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:45 | Report abuse |
  9. wrm

    Don't be so lazy. If you're going to write all of this cr4p about sugars, then be specific as to what kind(s). Added sugar, not added sugar, real sugar, fake sugar; none of those descriptors make _any_ sense when it comes to relating their effects to people. Take a couple of paragraphs to define your terms up front.

    February 4, 2014 at 08:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Megan Hunsdale

    Sugar plantations screw up the ecosystems in far away places – in countries that don't need anymore problems! So a no-win situation. Stop eating such gross food people! Wake up!

    February 4, 2014 at 08:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Keith

      it is corn killing us, not sugar cane

      February 4, 2014 at 09:28 | Report abuse |
    • HA25

      Mass-produced Coffee is far worse than sugar for those countries.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:24 | Report abuse |
  11. Ron

    In 1979, I read the book "Sugar Blues" by William Duffy. I have known the deadly effects of sugar for 35 years. It has taken that long for this information to reach the American public. I am a 61 year old vegan and loving the RAVE diet! This post is for those have eyes to read and those who have to hear. If you want to live a healthy life make a change!

    February 4, 2014 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. AJ Croteau

    As far as I'm concerned, SODA IS POISON!!! That's the stance I took last August when i swore off soda and so far i've lost almost 90 pounds... I was sluggish, I had back problems, I couldn't walk very far without being in immense pain in my legs and thighs... Literally within weeks, I had more energy than i knew what to do with...

    February 4, 2014 at 09:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Kevin

    "Sugar"? Please specify which type of sugar. Sucrose? Fructose? Without this information, it can be very misleading.

    February 4, 2014 at 09:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Keith

      There is a big difference, we so not digest high fructose corn syrup as well as other sugars so it is stored as fat.

      February 4, 2014 at 09:28 | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Good point.

      February 4, 2014 at 09:28 | Report abuse |
    • Tommy Tuttle

      They specify "added" sugar. Which is pretty all-encompassing in that it doesn't differentiate between cane sugar and HFCS... but it does differentiate between the naturally-occurring sugar in orange juice and the added sugar in, say, Pepsi. I'm not sure it matters a whole lot whether you eat fructose, glucose or sucrose, and the article doesn't say. Personally, I wouldn't worry about that - few people will drink so much OJ that they harm their health, where many people drink enough soda to do it. I think that's where it begins and ends, simply not eating massive amounts of processed sweetened food. Going on an extreme diet to avoid every gram of one particular type of sugar, does not seem to be what they're advocating at all.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:51 | Report abuse |
  14. smartaz

    Studies show that everyone that has ever taken a single sip of soda will eventually die.

    February 4, 2014 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Keith

    It is the high fructose Corn syrup making people fat,

    February 4, 2014 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Tim

    I gotta have my pop tarts.

    February 4, 2014 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. JR10

    This article was written for our benefit. If the sugar is not natural then it is bad for you. Why do you need it spelled out? Excercise, drink water, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables along with nuts and grains and you will most likely not need a doctor telling you to lose weight or have him put you on some type of medicine for high blood pressure, diabetes or cholesterol. Again this articles are for your benefit. Take the good out of it.

    February 4, 2014 at 09:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. cwiz

    And how exactly are we supposed to do that (practically) when everything has added sugar or, worse, high fructose corn syrup? Rather than simply talking about goals, true leaders take action. Start forcing sugar regulation if it's really that dangerous.

    February 4, 2014 at 09:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • strugglewithgluten

      A little research will demonstrate that various world health organizations have and continue to try to get stronger regulations on sugar. However, the sugar industry is as powerful as the oil industry. They have tons of money and have powerful friends – everywhere. So what you're proposing is almost impossible in today's world. People need to make better choices for themselves instead of depending on someone "regulating" for them. It's a choice and you and I can easily make that choice. I did and it's made such a huge difference in my overall health.

      February 4, 2014 at 09:38 | Report abuse |
    • amanandhishoe

      It's rather easy to cut out all added sugar. Don't buy processed food. Purchase whole fruits and vegetables. Cook. Bake your own bread. It's not that hard.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
  19. Byron

    Breakfast cereals are absolutely loaded with added sugar.

    February 4, 2014 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. strugglewithgluten

    I found out about 1.5 yrs ago what sugar was doing to me the hard way. As a result I had to stop eating any additional sugars beyond what I get in fruits or regular foods (non processed) which I did. My health did a 180 in a hurry.

    I would say if eating sugar doesn't do anything to you, by all means. Sugar away. But if you're struggling with constant sicknesses of one sort or another, I'd highly consider taking a good look at what you're putting into your mouth.

    February 4, 2014 at 09:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. mdaneker

    What I really hate about reports on these "studies" is that they say "adults who consume X amount have increased" okay, but of those adults how many are overweight, drinkers & smokers? Did we only sample clean, otherwise healthy people or could we factor our obesity and other vices? Was it one for one comparing? what's the data and how was the conclusion reached?

    February 4, 2014 at 09:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Daniel

    Looks like Dr. Atkins was right all along. I avoid sugar like the plague to this day.

    February 4, 2014 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. oPleas3

    Aside from natural sugars contained in fruits, pure cane sugar is the only kind you should eat - and even then, it should be in moderation. There are so many bad side effects from eating too much sugar, especially artificial/processed sugar. For example, tumor growth is fueled by sugar.

    A good way to eat healthy is to remember the acronym GOMBS:
    G – Greens
    O – Onions
    M – Mushrooms
    B – Berries
    S – Seeds & Nuts

    In addition to eating healthy, you should always exercise and get plenty of sleep. It takes work, but it will make you feel much better in the long run.

    February 4, 2014 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Stan

    The biggest risk for dying is living. We all die some day. I'm not going to pretend I'll live to 200 years old if I change a few things in my diet.

    February 4, 2014 at 09:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom

      Stan, you're a moron.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:51 | Report abuse |
  25. Jane

    Oh for crying out loud, lets just ban it "for the kids".

    February 4, 2014 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Leena


    February 4, 2014 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. IreneN

    I can't help but notice that our grandparents ate nothing but sugar and fat and cholesterol, yet they are still around in their 80 and 90s. Some of those who saw Great Depression lived to day to tell the story. Younger "health-obsessed" generation consume synthetic vitamins by the truckload, count calories and eat inedible "food" like stinking preprocessed mush from cans, cartons and frozen packages and keep dropping like flies in their 60s and early 70s. Vitamins in a pill form is a scam because our body requires each and every one of them to arrive in a form of micro-elements in a blood stream, and that comes from the right foods naturally processes by our stomach, and cholesterol number is nothing but a way to make you pay more for your insurance. Your brain needs sugar. The secret of our older generations is so simple – cooking fresh ingredients at home, breathing fresh air and moving their upper and lower extremities naturally by walking and doing some physical work outdoors, not in a sweaty stuffy gyms.They fed natural products to their bodies and burnt the excess in natural ways too. Moving our fat behinds between a car seat, an office chair and a couch in front of TV does not help much even if you take a handful of vitamins and drink sugar-free drinks in between.

    To stay healthy and live longer, we need a clean planet, clean air and lots of movement, not FDA-preapproved cans and vitamins. Nature took care of all the vitamins and sugars way before FDA and managed health care system came about.

    February 4, 2014 at 09:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. SeriouslyThough

    Raw or Demerera sugar are unproven to be healthier. White processed and corn sugar are the unhealthy choices. Unfortunately, the American gov't and the big agriculture lobbies want you to believe otherwise.

    February 4, 2014 at 09:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SeriouslyThough

      And artificial sweeteners interfere w/your body's ability to process ordinary sugars. That's why people who consume artificial sweeteners find it so hard to lose weight.

      February 4, 2014 at 09:50 | Report abuse |
  29. john

    Amazing! So, processed foods such as refined sugar are bad for you and cause disease?!?! NO way!

    I'm amazed at how basic it is. Eat naturally....mainly fruit and veggies, supplement with lean meats. Cut out processed and frozen foods and foods that have shelf lives of months and years. You'll feel better, be healthy, be more alert and lose weight. Get some exercise as well and viola, you're on your way to being healthy.

    February 4, 2014 at 09:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Jonathan

    I just love how everyone posting comments thinks what they know about sugar is the absolute end all to the knowledge of the item. Sugars are good because of this, no sugars are bad because of this and I just know it blah blah blah, you are wrong I am right. Trolls.

    February 4, 2014 at 09:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Doug de Fogles

    I am a chiropraktor and know lots about this stuff. Sugar actually makes us live longer. If you look at the increase in
    life expectancy for Americans since 1900 and the increase in sugar consumption since that time, you will clearly see the
    enormous benefit it has on our health. My grandma is 103 years old and she has eaten two pints of ice cream every day of
    her life since she was 10. The clear culprit is bottled water!!! Since it's popularity began to rise in 1983, the rate of Fetal Alcohol Sydnrome has quadrupled. Let's be smart people and get back on the Mountain Dew!

    February 4, 2014 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Mike

    38% increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease.

    Okay, but what's my base chance contracting the disease?

    1.38 x R means nothing if I don't know what R is.

    February 4, 2014 at 09:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tommy Tuttle

      Nobody knows what R is. It's a different number for each person. Your initial odds are based on genetics, which vary from individual to individual. You can bet that R falls within a range, though. You can look up the average incidence and assume you're close to it, or within a couple standard deviations anyway.

      Or you can ignore all that stuff, 'cause it doesn't matter. You know those car heaters that don't have any numbers on 'em? You don't sit around and say "gosh, I have no idea how to set this because the temperature isn't labeled anywhere." You turn the knob left to make it colder, and right to make it warmer. Warmer than what? Warmer than you are right now. Similarly, that 38% change is based on where you are right now. Wherever that happens to be.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:03 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Let me try this differently.

      Let's say a person is sky diving and that the odds of a particular parachute failing to open are 1 in 10 million. Let's say that this person is then given a different parachute with odds of a failure double the first brand.

      This person may look at the odds, come to the conclusion that 1 in 5 million is still a very small number and engage in the behavior anyway.

      And the individual is acting completely rationally.

      Likewise, a person may evaluate the odds of cardiovascular disease and conclude that a couple of bowls of ice cream a week are a worthy trade off. This evaluation cannot be made without knowing the base chances.

      If the author's aim is to inform his/her readership, a critical piece of information has been left out.

      February 4, 2014 at 14:27 | Report abuse |
  33. Alex

    If one tried to avoid every single thing that could possibly harm them you'd be locked in a room eating only bland food, avoiding sunlight (might burn you and cause cancer), not talking on a cell phone (might cause a brain tumor), not surfing the internet (the blue light might keep you up) not watching TV (all the violence might make you angry and violent) and not having anything to drink (you might become an alcoholic). Literally everything you come in contact with has been proven by some study somewhere to be harmful.

    February 4, 2014 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Crimzin

    People really need to get a clue and stop using "sugar" and "added sugars" as synonyms. There's a big difference between natural cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

    As always, most of you people talking bout sugar like it's the devil would benefit more from getting off your lazy behinds and exercising than you would from meticulously counting your calories. The idea that sugar deserves to be mentioned as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease alongside saturated fat is ludicrous. Notice that the article gave no actual scientific justification for the assortment. The problem is that everybody is just out to make big time declaratory statements to generate attention for themselves. And people eat it up because it's a lot easier to demonize a substance than it is to take responsibility for your own health. Sugar is not "poison." Your body needs it to survive. Anybody who says differently is an ignorant charlatan who doesn't understand the meaning of the term "sugar."

    February 4, 2014 at 10:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • VinUSA

      For your benefit: sucrose as found in sugar is a dimer of one molecule glucose and one fructose. HFCS has about 55% fructose and 45% glucose. We need glucose since our brain burns nothing else but in a pinch we can make it through a process called ketosis. Too much glucose will lead to insulin spikes and this will lead to your cells becoming "insulin resistant" (meaning that you'll need to produce more and more insulin to get your cells to do something), which is one of the primary mechanisms leading to type 2 diabetes. I personally think that this is what lies behind the epidemic in pancreatic cancer, which is becoming one of the leading killers fast.

      Only the liver can handle fructose, and it turns it into triglycerides for storage as fat. One of the functions of cholesterol in your blood is to transport triglycerides. Prolonged peaks in triglycerides will unfortunately cause your cholesterol to rise and "puff up" into the LDL or VLDL.

      But there is more. Sugar is highly inflammatory. We know that heart attacks are not caused by slow obstruction of arteries: it's inflammation of thinner layers of plaque that cause parts of this to rupture and create an instantaneous blockage. There is a lot of evidence linking states of systemic inflammation to cancer.

      Sugar is poison. HFCS is mostly the same. The tiny amounts of micronutrients in "natural sugar" are not going to make a difference. We just have to start eating less.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:56 | Report abuse |
  35. Rebekka Borbon

    All of these comments are crazy. The problem we all face is that amount of refined, processed sugar that we consume. Naturally occurring sugar is fine for our bodies to process without difficulty. For example, lactose is a natural sugar found in milk and some other dairy products. This kind of sugar gets everything we need. If your regular diet consisted of 5-6 glasses of milk each day (whole or skim does not matter), then you would get protein and natural sugar. Lactose intolerance is a myth that people have used to justify using more processed products and spend less on milk products that have gotten more expensive. If we regularly drink milk and eat dairy then lactose intolerance would be erradicated and we would have all of the natural sugars in our diets that we need.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • VinUSA

      Some people can eat dairy without problems but for many milk is highly inflammatory. It has been linked conclusively to diabetes type 1. We even know the mechanism: partially digested milk protein makes its way into the blood stream and the body attacks it as a foreign substance. Unfortunately the milk protein is almost indistinguishable for the immune system from the specific cells in the pancreas that make insulin. In some people that leads to the immune system destroying the insulin producing cells. For others it leads to chronic inflammation with all sorts of other issues; most often without them knowing it.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:25 | Report abuse |
    • Craigles

      Rebekka!!! I totally agree with you! I am 95 and healthier than a 20-year-old! I drink 10 cups of skim milk a day and a box
      Fudgicals. I have zero diabetes and run a 6-minute mile. It has been reported that Harriet Tubman drank a gallon of milk
      every night before boarding the Underground railroad and she lived to 99. It's simple: drink milk and run everywhere you

      February 4, 2014 at 13:58 | Report abuse |
  36. Winston5

    When I gave up soda 5yrs ago, I lost 10lbs that I never gained back.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Justin

    Iv been drinking soda since I was young age and to this day I drink a average of 4-6 cans of pop a day and I'm still healthier then ever

    February 4, 2014 at 10:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. ug

    Prove it! cnn lies all the time like ovomit does...

    February 4, 2014 at 10:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Tom Legare

    Don't really know what to make of these "fear mongering" alerts! If it so bad why doesn't the Government and industry do something about banning it or at least reducing it. Since virtually everything produced that we eat and drink now has sugar and high fructose what are we supposed to do!! Just something else you can worry the hell out of with...

    February 4, 2014 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. PuzzledInPeoria

    Little Debbie: The most dangerous female on Earth.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Say What?

    Why are we focused on Sugar when its the added stuff like HFCS (High fructose corn syrup), dyes, engineered, ect that are the real harm. Someone wants us to change the subject rather than focus on those! Don't be fooled!

    February 4, 2014 at 10:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Jon


    Know what also causes sickness and death? LIVING AND BREATHING. I look forward to your BS reporting squad taking up that mantel, too!

    Absolutely worthless article.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Todd

    The real trick is to slowly reduce our sweet tooth. If food companies would lower their amounts just a little every month from their production, we wouldn't really notice it, until their sugar usage is back down to a healthy level. That doesn't mean we won't have candy and junk food, but it would be a little less sweet then it was before.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Barb

    The article gets one important fact wrong. It says that fruit juice is healthy. Actually, the sugar found in fruit juice is no different than the sugar found in sweetened beverages. What makes fruit different is that the fructose is packaged in healthy fiber. Fruit juice has all of the healthy fiber removed.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Squeeezebox

    The real villain in this story is all the hidden sugar in prepackaged foods. It was added to make it taste better and it's making the customers sick. Why can't they leave the sugar and salt out and let us add it ourselves at the table?

    February 4, 2014 at 10:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. bilbfit

    Wine is the key. Drink enough of it and you won't crave the crappy sugars found in soft drinks and desserts. Hey, it works for the French!

    February 4, 2014 at 10:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Will

    There may be some truth to this. I have been drinking about 1 regular coke on a daily basis since i was about 19 years old. Had a mycardial infarction at the age of 50.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. ItsoNlYmE

    And what this article DOES NOT mean is that switching from sugar drinks to artificial sweetener drinks is the way to go. Aspartame and Sucralose (Nutrasweet and Splenda) are at least as bad, if not worse than sugar in their long term health effects (both really should be banned).

    The takeaway message here is: STOP DRINKING SODA, period.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. BritHawk

    What this article neglects to mention is that the study also reported that – " In general, people who consumed more added sugar also had more fat and cholesterol in their diets, and they ate less meat, vegetables and grains..."

    Sugar has become the new target by all the do-gooders in the health industry.

    This too shall pass and they will find something else to target.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. ann

    It isn't just sugars. Our culture eats an enormous amount of carbohydrates per meal. Even if you must cut back a small amount, it can have a impact on your overall health. I had borderline cholesterol and was told to cut back on fat and take fish oil. Well, I couldn't tolerate the fish oil pills and found cutting back on fat equaled feeling hungry a lot more often. Coincidentally I also was told to cut back on carbs because of too high blood sugar. Well, I worked really to get my blood sugars back in line following the lower carb guidelines and didn't do anything about the fats. Guess what? I go back in, my blood sugar looks great and my cholesterol now looks fabulous. Coincidence? I don't think so. If you do a google search on Carbohydrates and triglycerides you will find studies that back up what I am seeing. I've followed the lower carb diet religiously for the past 2 years and have not had a bad cholesterol reading since and I eat real butter, bacon, and any fat I want (in moderation as I have always done).

    February 4, 2014 at 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
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