Monday, April 26, 2010

Added Sugars May Increase Heart Disease Risk Factors

I have talked a lot about the importance of cutting down on the amount of sugar our children are eating. So, you probably know by now that eating a lot of added sugars adds calories to our diets and not much else! In the U.S., our consumption of added sugars has risen dramatically in the last twenty years. This is unfortunate because products containing a lot of added sugars are usually pretty nutrient-poor choices. I have talked about the risk of children not getting enough of the nutrients they need if they fill up on foods like this. Eating lots of processed, nutrient-poor foods can also contribute to weight gain which is a problem for more children every year.

If all of this was not enough to convince you to avoid feeding children these foods, maybe a new study will change your mind. The study in the April 21 issue of JAMA shows that eating a lot of foods containing added sugars can actually increase the risk of heart disease. In this study, they found that eating foods containing large amounts of added sugar was associated with lower levels of HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) in the body, and led to higher levels of triglycerides (these are bad and we want these levels to be low). I always like to point out that you should never base your diet on the results of one study alone, but we already did know that eating a lot of simple sugars can raise your triglycerides. Also, there is no down side to eating less sugar!

With the rise in the number of obese and overweight children, we are seeing more risk factors for heart disease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.) develop at an earlier age. This is just another good reason to serve children more nutrient-rich foods that are whole, fresh and not processed!

If you would like to read the study, click here:

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