Blood Sugar: Getting too much added sugar in your diet could significantly increase your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, and contribute to obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Ideal Number: 100 mg/dL. Measured with a blood test after fasting.
In a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine in January 2014, researchers found that the odds of dying from heart disease rose in tandem with the percentage of sugar in one’s diet, regardless of a person’s age, sex, physical activity level, and body-mass index (a measure of weight).
Specifically, those who got 17 to 21 percent of calories from added sugar had a 38 percent high risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those who consumed 8 percent of their calories from added sugar. The risk was more than double for those who consumed 21 percent or more of their calories from added sugar.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons (or 100 calories) a day of sugar for women.
There are two types of sugars in a typical American diet: naturally occurring sugars and added sugars.
Naturally occurring sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose).
Added sugars include any sugars or caloric sweeteners that are added to foods or beverages during processing or preparation (such as putting sugar in your coffee or adding sugar to your cereal). Added sugars (or added sweeteners) can include natural sugars such as white sugar, brown sugar, and honey as well as other caloric sweeteners that are chemically manufactured (such as high fructose corn syrup).