Researchers in the United States (US) said sugar consumption was linked with larger fat deposits around the heart and in the abdomen, which are risky for health.
These are the findings of a new study published yesterday in the ‘European Journal of Preventive Cardiology,’ a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
Study author, Ms. So Yun Yi, said: “Our results support limiting added sugar intake.” Yi is a PhD student at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in the U.S.
Speaking further, she said: “When we consume too much sugar, the excess is converted to fat and stored.
“This fat tissue located around the heart and in the abdomen releases chemicals into the body, which can be harmful to health.”
Second study author, Dr. Lyn Steffen of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, said, “Our findings provide more evidence that consuming too much added sugar and sugary drinks is related to a higher amount of fat tissue.
“And, we know that fat deposits are connected with higher risks of heart disease and diabetes.”
The ESC in a release stated that excess sugar consumption was a worldwide problem. The six countries with the highest sales of sugary drinks per capita are Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, the US, and Saudi Arabia. The demand for sugar was expected to increase in Asia, Africa, and Russia, the release stated.
This observational study examined both sugar-sweetened beverages (such as soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks) and sugar added to foods and beverages for sweetness (for example when cooking or in processed foods). The researchers analysed the association between long-term sugar consumption and fat stores around the heart and other organs and found that sugar intake over the 20-year period was related to fat volumes later in life. Higher intakes of both sugar-sweetened beverages and added sugar were related to greater fat stores around organs in a stepwise fashion.
Steffen said: “On top of our individual efforts, governments, food manufacturers, restaurants, schools, and workplaces have a role to play in increasing consumer awareness of the sugar content in foods and beverages and offering healthier alternatives.”