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Research Updates | Cardiovascular disease

The link between dietary sugar intake and cardiovascular disease mortality

29 / 03 / 15

Dhurandhar and Thomas examined the association between added sugar intake as a percentage of energy and CVD mortality in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1988-2010. 

A time trend analysis was carried out between the NHANES and NHANES III Linked Mortality cohort (1988-2006): a prospective cohort of nationally representative sample of US adults. The percentage energy from added sugar was then compared to recommendations.

The only significant association between CV mortality and added sugar intake was observed by the small proportion of the population (10%) that were consuming more than 25% of energy coming from added sugar (2.75, P=.004). Among US adults, there has been little change in added sugar intake over time.  The percentage of calories per day coming from added sugars increased from 15.7% in 1988-1994 to 16.8% in 1999-2004 and then decreased slightly to 14.8% in 2005-2010. Most adults (71.4%) consumed more than 10% of calories from added sugars but almost all adults (90%) consumed less than the 25% calories from added sugars.

The Yang et al study does not support implementation of health policies limiting added sugar intake because only a minority of the population are ingesting excessive amounts of added sugars according to Institute Of Medicine (IOM) criteria.

This paper confirms the relationship between added sugar and CVD mortality remains unresolved. It would be helpful to adopt a single criterion for defining excess consumption of added sugar.