Friday, January 14, 2011

Added Sugar May Raise Blood Cholesterol in Teens

We know that our children are eating a lot more "empty" calories than they used to.  I wrote about this in a previous post and discussed the danger it poses because our children are not only taking in too many calories in general, but they are also not getting the vital nutrients that they need.  Now a new study has shown that all of the added sugar in the average teen's diet may also increase their risk of heart disease.

This study, which was published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, found the same results in teens that they had previously found in adults.  That is, those teens whose diets contained the most added sugar also had the worst cholesterol profiles. The more sugar in the diet, the higher the LDL ("bad" cholesterol") and the lower the HDL ("good" cholesterol) levels were in these teens. The problem is that these poor cholesterol profiles could raise their heart disease risk in the future. 

What can we do?  Again, it comes down to feeding our children and teens more whole, unprocessed foods and limiting foods with added sugars.  Teaching children and teens about the importance of eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods can help them develop good habits for the future.  Encourage the youngsters in your life to replace the sugary sodas, sports drinks and fruit drinks with water!  Limiting processed foods with added sugar such as candy, cakes, and sugary cereals is another important step they can take to decrease the sugar in their diets.

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