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. J in NJ

    Sugar is the original gateway drug, followed by caffine, then alcohol.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ser


      February 4, 2014 at 10:46 | Report abuse |
    • Shape


      Far more people try Caffeine before tobacco. And far more people try Alcohol before tobacco. I would say if you want to define a gateway drug, then it would have to be Alcohol because its effects are easy to feel and define.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:36 | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      These doctors tell us that if we put anything into our mouths other than celery or carrot sticks our lives are in danger. Of course we'll starve to death but that is just an unfortunate side effect.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:00 | Report abuse |
    • ser

      @shape...thanks for the clarification...thurrrp

      February 4, 2014 at 12:14 | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Everything in moderation folks. Coffee drinkers? drink it black, enjoy the flavour. Eat one cookie (not that I can do that), instead of six, but just a thought........ Doc. says most refined items are not good for us, that includes refined sugar, white bread, and more. Pop is just nasty for our systems, I have drank my share over the years, mostly diet, but as of late, can't tolerate it, most likely old age and body saying no.......

      February 4, 2014 at 12:23 | Report abuse |
    • JB

      Agreed. We must switch to natural (organic) products to survive. White powder sugar is manufactured by man with chemical ingredinents. Diet (artificial sweeteners) is no better and I love diet soda, but I have to quit cause it's not helping me. I can't believe so much that is legal is more harmful than a health benefit like soda, tobacco, Alcohol, etc and cannabis is still illegal which has been proven to have health benefits from children with seizures, adults with diabetes and blood issues, and cancer patients. It makes no sense! I pray we educate ourselves and act on knowledge.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
    • AZ Golfer

      Sugar is in everything if you read the nutrition labels. Even natural fruits have sugar. It would be extremely difficult to get away from it. I think just hide the sugar bowl and throw away any sweets/junk food in the house.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:43 | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Do these studies consider other unhealthy lifestyle? Eating a high percentage of sugar and being obese probably go hand in hand generally, but would not have to. What about an otherwise healthy person who eats candy, vegetables and exercises on a total diet of 1500 calories a day? There doesn't seem to be anything in this study that explains what in sugar is "unhealthy" except for a link to outcome that could be caused by other factors. Maybe the science is in the studies that the article is summarizing, but it seems like a pretty weak presentation.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
    • d

      Go home J , you're drunk

      February 4, 2014 at 12:52 | Report abuse |
  2. Glenn

    I do believe your body would make its own sugar even if all you ate was fat and protein. Your body does, of course, need this sugar(glucose). So in short, you DO need sugar but you DON'T necessarily need it from your diet.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tamara

      yes your body requires sugar...but its the natural kind, ie fruits, honey, ect...not this processed poison we add into things ourselves!!

      February 4, 2014 at 10:49 | Report abuse |
    • rich

      Sorry Tamara, honey isn't good for you either. It's contains more fructose than high fructose corn syrup.

      Also don't forget that sugar causes tooth decay.

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

      Carnivores require almost no carbohydrates(which includes sugars). We can subsist as pure carnivores if we have to.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
    • caw

      Rich, Honey is a lot better for you than processed sugars. Studies have shown it to lower cholesterol and raises blood sugar less than when compared to other fructose and sucrose sources. It also has an antioxidant component.

      I agree that honey, along with all things, should be used in moderation, but it is not 'bad for you' just because it is almost entirely fructose.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:28 | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      @Glenn – I'm not an expert. But I remember reading a couple of studies back when the Atkins Diet was all the rage and it was talking about how our brains run mostly on carbohydrates. Since we are omnivores and not carnivores I'm not sure we would do all that well trying to follow a totally carnivorous diet.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:06 | Report abuse |
    • Glenn

      Your body makes its own sugar every time you burn fat. You are correct in that your brain needs this sugar. But it doesn't care if you made the sugar yourself or if you ate it.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
    • SpaceCowboy58

      @Tamara in terms of macronutrients and relevance to the above article, honey is just as bad for you as table sugar. Sugar within whole fruits is marginally better as the rate of digestion of the fruit limits blood sugar spikes to an extent, which can cause problems of their own (not discussed in the article/study).

      @caw Honey is healthiER, but it's still bad for you. Sure, eating broccoli while smoking a cigarette is healthier than just smoking, as you're getting your fiber, vitamins and antioxidants, but you're still smoking. Similarly, eating honey is the equivalent of eating a bunch of sugar plus a few micronutrients; in the end you're still eating a bunch of sugar.

      @Ally and Glenn: When protein is digested it is broken into amino acids. These can be resynthesized into new protein in the bod, such as muscle tissue etc. Many amino acids (among other non carbohydrate chemicals) are converted to glucose by gluconeogenesis. This is the same as blood sugar that came from eating grain, fruit or table sugar and can power the brain just as well.

      You can do just fine without sugar or carbohydrates in your diet. Carbs still have their place, but I'd go for something other than sugar or honey if my goal is to be healthy.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:54 | Report abuse |
  3. Bob

    I eagerly await the study that says "sugar not as bad as once thought."

    February 4, 2014 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Noah Fence

      Studies now show that every person who has ever eaten sugar has died at some point in their life.
      The government has authorized a similar study to examine the effects of water. The result will be published next month.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:52 | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      I'm not quite dead yet!

      February 4, 2014 at 12:02 | Report abuse |
    • SKR

      @Eric Yes you are, you'll be stone dead in a moment.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:42 | Report abuse |
    • JLXvsElvis

      That report will be out in June.....

      February 4, 2014 at 13:03 | Report abuse |
  4. Noah Fence

    Oh, honey honey.
    You are my candy girl
    And ya got me wantin' you!

    February 4, 2014 at 10:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. chriseg

    This is not new information. Who didn't already know that sugar (and pretty much any simple carbohydrate for that matter) causes heart disease? Still, knowing this has not motivated me to put down the cupcake, or the bowl of ice cream. The real issue with sugar is how addictive it is. Report on that. No one considers it an addictive substance. There should really be rehab facilities for the sugar addicts out there. Just like any drug (yes, it is absolutely a drug) no amount of bad information is going to sway an addict. Intellectually we know it's bad, but it isn't even possible to stop using it.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Me_da_man_la_la_la Me_da_man_me_da_man_la_la_la

    I agree with the Media's attack on Sugar. Sugar is a killer..it killed my mom so I know all too well. What I dont agree with is to condemn sugarless soda. I like Sugarless soda, and there is no proof at all that it does any harm...my son says that it may expand your stomach and thus cause you to eat more..a plausible theory and in this way it may do some damage, but that's no reason to condemn it....all these drinks were made, from the start, with the idea that they would help digestion of food. In many ways they do so though I agree sugar is a real killer, the same should not be said of sugarless drinks.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Illogical

      Of course, the thing that I like can't be bad for me. Only condemn those who like the things that I don't care about.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:23 | Report abuse |
    • John

      Part of the problem with "sugarless soda" is the presence of the other chemicals added to "fool" the body and brain into thinking it's sweet. Try carbonated water - the only true "sugarless soda".

      February 4, 2014 at 11:28 | Report abuse |
    • Shape

      The one problem with sugarless soda is it keeps you desensitized to sweet tastes. Once you cut out sugar for awhile, then you'll start to notice how overly sweet processed foods and sodas really are. Try it. It'll change your life and really make you angry at the food industry.

      As mentioned, carbonated water is a good choice and I love it. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime to add new flavors.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
    • Chopper

      I can empathize with those that have lost loved ones to poor diet and or addictions. The problem I have is people trying to Enforce their life decisions on everyone else. I happen to be able to manage my lifestyle and intake of less than healthy substances and don't want my choices limited because other can't. We are all going to die one day and I would like to balance my health concerns with quality of life. I don't need a sterile life to see how long I can exist on this planet. Put all the information you want out their for people to base their own personal choices on, we don't need any further intrusion into our lives by government.

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

      Oh, I see you use the same common sense my 3 year old does.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:19 | Report abuse |
    • Saboth

      Seems like everything we enjoy kills us. If some people had their way, we'd all drink water and eat tofu and apples every meal. I don't smoke, don't drink, don't do drugs, but you've got to have SOME vices in this life.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:32 | Report abuse |
  7. jrh1524@hotmail.com

    *puts down the Dr. Pepper and backs away slowly*

    February 4, 2014 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Noah Fence

      It wasn't the airplanes.

      It was sugar killed the beast.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:10 | Report abuse |
  8. LarryT

    Nowif they will only address the massive high fructose content of foods, or the deadly artificial sweeteners who's makers bought their way into the food chain. The "sweetener" content of commercial foods is not unlike what tobacco companies did when they sprayed tobacco with more nicotine to make it more addictive.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Nate

    I am surprised that a lot of people here did not get the fact that refined sugar (which is what we use widely) is the cause of trouble and not whole sugar. For example, daily consumption of small amounts of pure raw sugar (jaggery) is just fine. Mankind has been consuming this type of sugar for thousands of years.

    Refined sugar is what gets added to all the processed foods. Similarly refined carbs are also health hazards. The first time sugar and grains were refined was to increase their shelf life. It also tasted better and hence the addiction to them in recent history.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rick

      Sorry, but there is little difference if any on health between raw and processed sugar. Where you are correct is that "daily consumption of small amounts" of any form of sugar is probably not harmful. It's the amount much more that the type of sugar.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
  10. scottie

    Who gives a crap what you die from. There are two for certains in life. You will die and you will pay taxes. I am 34 years old and drink an energy drink every single day. I work out 4 times a week and keep active everyday. I also coach and play Soccer. This study is for lazy ass typical Americans that do nothing but go to work and eat. This will definitely cause issues. If you stay active and eat sweets in moderation and maintain your body with regular excercise, you will be just fine. I am 5'8 145lbs and only 11.2 percent body fat. I eat what I want when I want , but in moderation. The key is moderation.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael B

      Are you stupid and just wanna blabber about what you do and try to feel superior to others? I think you fit that mold. As for you saying to eat sweets in moderation...wow. That is the point of the freaking article!

      February 4, 2014 at 11:02 | Report abuse |
    • Stevez-Art!

      I've been preaching the same things for years! At 50 now, which I still can't believe, I still haven't really been hit by "the inevitable middle-aged spread" that I was warned about my whole life. Diet moderation and some rigorous exercise are the keys to a healthy life. Let the fat slouches sit on their couches and look 15 years older than they are AND die of cancer, it's their choice. You make your own bed – now go lie in it.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:16 | Report abuse |
  11. baconbacon

    More cities are banning sugary soda drinks and allowing pot. odd trend

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

      Yes, banning something that causes health issues and allowing something that has medical benefits. Very strange indeed.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:42 | Report abuse |
    • Eugene

      That's because the marijuana lobby has been telling everyone that pot is harmless. meanwhile, thousands die each year because of pot impaired drivers, others die of lung cancer and heart disease associated with pot smoking....
      If you dig into the medical literature, the data is there

      February 4, 2014 at 12:23 | Report abuse |
  12. JasonUTK

    The claim that added sugar is bad for you because it increases the risk for some diseases isn't fully explained in this article. It might be associated with certain disease states, but studies need to show causation instead of correlation. Added sugar is the cause of some obesity when coupled to lack of exercise, and lack of exercise is the cause of heart disease. I'd be willing to bet that someone who exercises regularly and consumes added sugar isn't at risk for heart disease in the same way as someone who consumes added sugar and doesn't work out.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jim

      This is CNN. They want headlines people will talk about. Science is definitely not a requirement around here.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:45 | Report abuse |
    • Shape

      If you consume too much sugar, exercise doesn't matter. Sugar increase the glucose response and can desensitize your body from insulin. This can still cause diabetes and metabolic syndrome, both linked to many diseases.

      But, exercise is important, but you can't say "I eat anything I want because I exercise."
      Moderation is still key.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:48 | Report abuse |
  13. Sweet J

    This is really getting sickening! What's next from these "scare mongers"... the air you breath can kill you?? I just wish this country could go back to the "mind your own freakin" business" days! All these so-called experts need to get their heads out of their asses and just find a hobby or something that keeps their opinions off the grid! WE DON'T CARE! God, it's amazing any of us are here with what our parents, and their parents, and THEIR parents ate and drank!

    February 4, 2014 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael B

      Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it isn't true. As for people like this, the entire country would still be a bunch of cancer-filled smokers if we didn't have scientific studies made on what we partake in.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:06 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      MIchael-Maybe you missed the lack of scientific studies in this article?

      February 4, 2014 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
    • Shape

      Your grandparents and great grandparents ate way differently than what the average person eats today. Depending on your age, your parents probably did as well growing up.

      It is much easier today to over consume sugar than at any other point in history. Sugar is in many goods, processed foods are readily available, and sugar sources are subsidized so it is cheaper than ever.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:51 | Report abuse |
  14. Jason

    The only thing causing all of this "cardiovascular disease" is stress and paranoia caused by every form of media bombarding you with the idea that anything you eat or do will kill you. It population control.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. svann

    I know sodas are bad for your teeth. Not because just there is sugar, but because of the way people drink it. Typically people sip a soda over the course of sometimes hours. In all that time you are soaking your teeth in sugar. If you drink soda all day you soak your teeth all day. Bacteria feeds off the sugar, multiplies, and begins eating your teeth.

    Solution: Dont sip soda. If you need a soda drink it then brush your teeth, or at minimum rinse with water. Also, carry a travel toothbrush and brush EVERY time you eat anything. It only takes 15 seconds. You dont need toothpaste. If you dont have a sink just wet the brush, brush the teeth, then take a drink of water. Try it. It works. Get that food off and you wont have bacterial decay.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Shape

      This is a good tip. I wish I learned about dry brushing a looooong time ago, but no one, even my dentist, talked about it. It wasn't until I moved out of my parent's house, got a new dentist, and had the new dentist explain to me the real causes of cavities. It's more than just brushing twice a day, especially if you have poorly formed enamel, deep crevices (me), or dry mouth.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:54 | Report abuse |
    • ser

      or you could just choose NOT to drink the soda.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:26 | Report abuse |
  16. Michael B

    The issue is not sugar itself. The issue is Americans and pretty much ONLY Americans partake in so much freaking sugar. Its in EVERYTHING we ingest these days. No other country acts like we do towards sugar. We typically ingest at least 5x the amount we are supposed to per day. Its not population control. Its not fear mongering. My goodness. Some of you just need to learn a little about the world we live in and the human body. Reading this, it would seem like most of the people on here are high school dropouts. This is BASIC stuff that anyone should already know. It is just more data is being revealed concerning the EFFECTS of it.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Bob

    Very poor article, as for all the talk about the risk of one soda, there is NOTHING in the article to back up those claims about what exactly happens with that one soda, what the sugar does etc.

    One of the worst articles on health I have ever read.

    And I do agree that sugar should be limited, but wow, what a terrible article.

    And what about the fact that despite decreased sugar consumption, obesity and heart disease goes up?

    February 4, 2014 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Alan S

    My heavens, people - did you think you would live forever? If the sugar in a Coca-Cola is the biggest threat to your health, then I'd say you're in good shape. Yes, we would all be healthier if we lived on lettuce, tomatoes, and distilled water, and our national average longevity would probably rise by a couple percent, but do we really want to live like that? If you're so worried about your health, concentrate on flu shots, and driving your car carefully, and flossing your teeth.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Erik

      First world problems, friend.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:25 | Report abuse |
  19. Romane P.

    How about Stevia sweetener?

    February 4, 2014 at 11:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Tom

    Exercise? how about that for cardio fitness. Burn the calories and the sugar. GET OFF THE COUCH!

    February 4, 2014 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • citizenUSA

      Yeah! It may just be me but since I started cardio workouts, (and it's just old-school calisthenics), I'm still eating like I used to but have lost 16 pounds in a month. Doesn't sound like a lot but consider I didn't gain any. You have to sweat when you workout to start the weight loss process.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:33 | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      citizenUSA, while I agree sweating while you exercise means you're burning calories at a faster rate than someone who isn't sweating; you don't have to sweat to burn calories. As an extreme example, some super obese people have lost tens of pounds just sitting in bed and clapping to music. Anytime you use your muscles you're burning calories.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:20 | Report abuse |
  21. Erik

    This just in: everyone who lives will die at some point in time. What can we do to stop this trend?

    February 4, 2014 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Michelle

    This article is missing a key point. 99% of the soda we drink in the U.S. does not contain SUGAR it contains HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP!!!! This is not sugar, it is a substance similar to sugar made from corn.

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

      There's a corn by-product is almost everything we eat. Trying not to consume any of that is near impossible, unless you cook everything from scratch.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:10 | Report abuse |
    • Rob Zamites

      Clue: Fructose is a sugar.

      February 4, 2014 at 13:24 | Report abuse |
  23. citizenUSA

    Wow. And people make a fuss over pot. At least that's a personal choice. Hard to get around "added" sugars unless you're a vegitarian.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. JL

    Isn't it just possible that the people who get 17-21% of their calories from added sugar are larger and live unhealthier lifestyles than the one's consuming less. With the details given, I don't think this study can prove anymore than what we already knew about eating too much sugar. It can lead to obesity and thus to diabetes, heart disease, etc.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Mom

    Yes. Sugar is bad. We avoid it. Even with some bread and a bowl of Wheaties, and random stuff but NO sweets put us at the daily limit (of what's suggested). You would be shocked how careful you have to be, but it's worth it for our health and our children.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Mom

    And we only drink water or milk. Milk has some natural sugar, but we don't do added sugar or even juice with natural sugar. Only real fruit, the whole fruit. I see too many relatives who are obese, or not living long and full lives. Cultures that stay active and eat only whole foods have many people reach 90 or 100 with NO health problems. That tells you something.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Erik

      Show me a person who is 80 who has NO health problems whatsoever. The human body was not designed to live indefinitely. It doesn't matter what you do or how well you take care of yourself, sooner or latter it breaks down. I'd rather die at 70 than linger on as some husk of my former self for another 20 years.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:39 | Report abuse |
  27. Bob

    It's weird how natural foods proponents are also some of the biggest sugar haters. Sugar is a natural substance compared to HFCS etc.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. oldaquarius@mail.com

    I have drank two 2 litres of Coke a day for 40 years. I also have smoked 2 packs a day during the same time. I guess I should be dead by now.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Mass Produced

    Sugar is sugar. Fructose has the same chemical formula and structure whether it's in an apple, a banana, or a Coke. The sugar used in "processed" foods is chemically and structurally identical to the sugar found in nature.

    As usual, the media establishment ignores this fact in whipping up a bunch of populist anti-corporate sentiment. What we really need to be talking about is the AMOUNT of sugar consumed in excess of the body's NEED.

    All carbohydrates – all of them – are built from the same monosaccharides of the basic sugars. Humans have survived on them since the dawn of our species.

    Our whole problem is not caused by the sugar itself. It's an improper deflection of blame. The problem is people and their poor decision-making ability. An obese individual has only him or herself to blame for being obese, whether it's from consuming too much sugar, too much steak, or too much broccoli (yes, many vegetarians are obese).

    As a society we have to get better about making dietary decisions. Blaming or banning sugar won't solve the problem, because the problem is in our heads.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Shape

      ****insert required, "some people are fat because of medical conditions" excuse****

      February 4, 2014 at 12:06 | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      Overall a good comment. But I have to qualify your "many vegetarians are overweight" comment. I agree. Many are...but it's not from eating broccoli. It's usually from all the starches like rice, pasta and potatoes they tend to consume. It would be really hard to eat enough broccoli to become overweight. 🙂

      February 4, 2014 at 12:27 | Report abuse |
  30. Kevin

    This article is disappointingly void of any actual explanations or information about the study, how the study came to the conclusion, or even what the conclusion of the study actually was.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rob

      Then try doing your own research instead of relying on others?

      February 4, 2014 at 13:25 | Report abuse |
  31. Roland

    This research was paid for by the makers of CORN SYRUP. Since CORN SYRUP is what is in our SOFTDRINKS. I don't many soft drinks that actually use Sugar.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Caspersass

    Your all going to die of something, so lets try to choose something slow and painful, or you could just go with a heart attack like so many others if it really mattered. Seems like the world got stupid and then got in the dumber line for good measure, cause 1 way or the other, something is going to cause your health to go south. Darwin, the sun, the air, the water, the food.
    Ehhh.... See yah

    February 4, 2014 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. soulcatcher

    Wondering how to solve the National Debt Crisis?
    Wondering why your retirement will last only 2 years or get wiped away by Enrons and Worldcoms?

    Eat more Sugar. And bacon. Skip the exercise. move to Colorodo not for the Hiking.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. D R

    The leading cause of death has been known for a long time now. It's birthdays. We all know it yet no one puts in the time or effort to do anything about them. The more birthdays you have, the more likely you are to die.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. CherryMama

    My mother in law really needs to hear this. She drinks nothing but Diet Pepsi. She hasn't drank a glass of water in decades. She has (it seems) every chronic condition you can imagine, but I wonder if it a result from so much faux sweeteners and being dehydrated all the time. She is sick all the time, yet she thinks I'm wierd because I juice vegetables and work out!

    February 4, 2014 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rob

      If you use some common sense, you'd see that a soda, 'diet' or otherwise is 99% or more...wait for it....WATER. She's not dehydrated from diet soda,

      February 4, 2014 at 13:27 | Report abuse |
  36. Woody

    Artificial sweeteners were proven to cause tumors. So diet soda is extra poisonous... and who knows if any of that stuff is used in regular soda. But I wouldn't put it past those f*&%#@s

    February 4, 2014 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. charlieohay

    You know what's more lethal than sugar? Panicking over alarmist headlines.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. CNN needs to get with the program


    February 4, 2014 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. leprakawn

    I hate to point this out, but after reading the link, "Sugar in a daily soda can kill you," life itself is a lose-lose situation.

    Sure, there are perks along the way, but everything will disappear at some point.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Emily

    Laura Schmidt doesn't know what she's talking about. I have been drinking fake sure all my life and I'm fine. It doesn't matter if it's glucose, sucrose, fructose, etc. It's all calories but it's all the same.

    Just wait– Next, someone's gonna say alcohol is bad for my health lol It isn't, is it ???

    February 4, 2014 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Emily

      I mean fake *sugar*

      February 4, 2014 at 12:28 | Report abuse |
  41. GeoB

    eggs are good, eggs are bad, coffee's good, coffee's bad....what you should know is the every time you hear the words "a new government survey", YOU PAID FOR IT!

    THAT'S what killing everyone!

    February 4, 2014 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Ajax

    Sure too much sugar is not good for you just like too much of anything else. Even too much water will kill you. However it is not causing the sky to fall. Has anyone considered that in reality it could be all these genetically altered and overly medicated fruits, vegetables, grains, meats. Oh wait, that's all of our food.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. dgoren1

    Drink as much water, eat as much dark green vegetables as you can like kale and spinach, and eat as many blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries as possible, and get some omegas 3s from nuts, selected fish, or even a supplement, and you'll be doing yourself a lot of good, even if you cheat and eat some sugar from time to time. I just make a list of about ten foods and force myself to eat about half of them everyday, and I almost never drink soda, but then I do cheat and eat some junk so I don't deprive myself. You can't remember or believe everything, so people should make a list, use it everyday, and keep trying to learn.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Saboth

      Sounds very, very boring and monotonous.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:33 | Report abuse |
  44. mhcommuter

    This is not news. Anyone who's read Atkins, and followed his diet, seen weight loss, and improved blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, knows this is 30 years old. Good to see it get out on mainstream media. I think Atkins was flagged as a loony by a lot of mainstream doctors, apparently, not. (And Atkins didn't "invent" the hi protein / low-carb diet, he did popularize it).

    February 4, 2014 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rob

      Thank you for this post. I am a ketogenic dieter (the induction phase of Atkins) and have never felt better. Low carbs, moderate/adequate protein, fats to saiety. Lower blood pressure, vastly improved lipid panel, A1C under 90. Oh, and the 35 pounds I've dropped since mid-September is a bonus.

      February 4, 2014 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
  45. Daly

    How do you track "added sugar" ? I have a couple calorie counting apps that show me how much sugar I eat in a day but since I eat a lot of fruit, it is unreasonably high due to natural sugars. If you are going to give suggestions on how much to consume, it might be nice to have a way to track it.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rob

      check out 'My Fitness Pal'. Tracks that stuff pretty damned well.

      February 4, 2014 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
  46. The dude

    I am perplexed here. What are the differences between sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit juices and fruit drinks (which contain sugar)? Explain this one to me.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. cnnguest

    I don't like this doctor's alarmist views. Warren Buffett is drinking 3 cokes a day and he's in his 80s.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rob

      Way to pick an outlier to justify your soda habits and try to deny the facts.

      February 4, 2014 at 13:31 | Report abuse |
  48. DD

    Switch to honey. Save the bees.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Be 7

    Bitter medicines kill bad sick.

    True telling make others to hate.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Bud

    Gays and Lesbians are so High on Sugar that they can't think like straights, Therefore , I am developing a G&Ls Vaccines which will Eradicate G&Ls Mental Disease by Vaccination Process Just Like Many Human Diseases like Polio Vaccination, Chickenpox Vaccination etc etc etc.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rob

      Poor trolling effort: 2/10

      February 4, 2014 at 13:31 | Report abuse |
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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.