A study from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) published in February of 2014 analyzed what role added sugar plays in terms of cardiovascular risk. They took the data from the NHANES study, which stands for National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) and found that the majority (71.4%) consumed 10% or more of their daily calories from added sugar in their diets. There was a minority (10%) in the group who consumed so much added sugar that it accounted for 25% or more of their daily calories consumed.
The researchers followed these subgroups over an average of 14.6 years and looked at the association of added sugar consumption and their risk of cardiovascular deaths (heart attacks and strokes). There were 831 cardiovascular deaths that occurred among the 11,167 people over the time period of the study. The top 20% (high sugar intake) of the group had an adjusted risk of twice the amount of cardiovascular deaths than the lowest 20% (low sugar intake). The subgroup mentioned above where sugar intake accounted for 25% or more of the daily calorie intake had a cardiovascular risk that was 2.75-fold higher than the lowest subgroup that took in less than 10% of their calories per day from added sugar.
We know from other studies that sugar oxidizes LDL cholesterol, which gets deposited under the lining of arteries leading to heart attacks and strokes.
My conclusion is to continue to cut out sugar and starchy foods (refined carbs) as I have done since 2001 and to stick to vegetables and fruit as a source of complex carbs.
More information is available at Metabolic Syndrome.
Reference: JAMA Int Med. 2014 Feb.3