Teens: Added sugars = Heart disease risk

(IVANHOE NEWSWIRE) - New research shows teenagers with a big sweet tooth could be putting themselves at a higher risk for heart disease.

In a new study, reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers examined the correlation between high amounts of added sugars and the risks of heart disease in teenagers.

"This is the first study to assess the association of added sugars and the indicators of heart disease risk in adolescents," Jean Welsh, M.P.H., Ph.D., R.N., study author and post-doctoral fellow at Emory University in Atlanta, was quoted as saying. "The higher consumers of added sugar have more unfavorable cholesterol levels. The concern is long-term exposure would place them at risk for heart disease later in adulthood."

Added sugars are any sugars or syrups that are added to food and drinks during processing and preparation. Studies show the largest contributors of added sugars are sugary drinks such as sodas, fruit drinks, coffees and teas.

In the study, nearly 700 teenagers were asked to recall everything they consumed during a two-day period. Researchers found those who had a higher intake of added sugar had lower levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL), which is the good cholesterol and higher levels of triglycerides and low density lipoprotein (LDL), which is the bad cholesterol. Adolescents and adults should "use the labels of the drinks and food they consume to become familiar with the amount of sugar in them," Welsh said.

The AHA says teenagers shouldn't get more than 100 of their daily calories from added sugars. However, a recent National Health and Nutrition survey found teens are getting nearly five-times that amount.

Doctors say an easy way for adolescents to cut back on calories and sugar is by drinking less soda and more water.

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