Excess sugar in teen years ups heart disease risk later in life

January 11, 2011 in Heart Health, Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News

Excess sugar in teen years ups heart disease risk later in life
According to new study findings published in the journal Circulation, teenagers with diets high in added sugar may be in store for heart problems later in life.

To investigate, researchers from Emory University School of Medicine in the U.S. studied data on more than 2000 teens aged 12 to 18 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES).

The survey showed the average daily consumption of added sugars for teens was 119 grams (28.3 tsp. or 476 calories), accounting for 21.4 percent of their total energy. 

Researchers found teens with the highest levels of added sugars had lower levels of high- density lipoprotein levels (HDL), the good cholesterol, and higher levels of triglycerides and low-density lipoproteins (LDL), the bad cholesterol.  

In fact, teens with higher intakes of added sugar had higher LDL levels of 94.3 mg/dL compared to 86.7 in those with the lowest levels, a 9 percent difference.  While triglyceride levels in those with the highest consumption were 79 mg/dL compared to 71.7 mg/dL among the lowest, a 10 percent difference.

Researchers say such poor cholesterol and triglyceride profiles may lead to heart disease later in life.  

The study also finds that overweight or obese teens with the highest levels of added sugar intake had increased signs of insulin resistance, often a precursor to diabetes.

Researchers say previous studies suggest the biggest contributors of added sugars to the diet are sugar-sweetened beverages such as sodas, fruit-flavored drinks, and sweetened coffees and teas.

Wondering how to help the teen in your life optimize their diet?  Click here to learn more about Leslie Beck's book, Healthy Eating for Preteens and Teens, a practical family guide that covers every aspect of essential nutrition to help raise healthy teens.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.