A study published in the journal BMC Medicine has found that a diet enriched with free sugars, which includes both added sugars and naturally occurring sugars present in the foods like honey and fruit juices, tends to pose a high risk of Cardiovascular diseases, like Ischaemic heart disease.
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The study supports the Global Dietary Recommendation of limiting free sugar consumption to less than 5 percent of total daily energy consumption.
Since the study was done on the citizens of the UK, an average person in the UK gets nearly 12 percent of a day’s calories from free sugars if this was escalated by even 5 percent even by having an extra chocolate bar, the risk of undergoing a stroke was considered to be raised by 10 percent according to the study. This extra intake was linked to an increased risk of Ischaemic heart disease by 6 percent.
A co-author of the study, professor Tim key, from the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford stated that not just fizzy drinks but free sugars, in general, are linked to heart disease and strokes.
He also added that people with a sweet tooth can get non-free sugars from healthier sources like fruits.
Researchers at The University of Oxford analyzed data from a total of 110,497 individuals who had completed at least two Dietary Assessments from the UK Biobank. These individuals were tracked and analyzed for nearly 9.4 years, during this time, the study showed, total cardiovascular disorders (heart disease and stroke combined), heart disease, and, stroke occurred in 4,188 3,138, and, 1,124 individuals respectively.
Cardiovascular Disease :
The study has discovered that total carbohydrate intake was not associated with cardiovascular disease outcomes.
Although, when the types and sources of carbohydrates are considered, the study found that higher sugar intake from foods like fruit juice, sugary drinks, and sweets were linked with an amplified risk of cardiovascular disease outcomes.
According to the researchers, the associated risk of cardiovascular disease was 7 percent higher for each 5 percent or higher total energy from free sugars. Furthermore, the risk of ischaemic heart disease was 6 percent higher, whereas, the risk of stroke of 10 percent higher.
Rebecca Kelly, University of Oxford, study author, suggested people must replace the added sugars amount in their food with naturally occurring sugars that are present in fruits and vegetables.
The study also stated that consumption of 5 grams higher fibre per day was linked with a 4 percent lower risk of total cardiovascular diseases. However, after accounting for Body Mass Index (BMI), this connection did not remain significant.
The researchers concluded that replacing free sugars with naturally occurring sugars, in addition to a diet with higher fibre intake may help protect against cardiovascular diseases.
Ischaemic Heart Disease
Also known as Coronary Heart Disease or Coronary artery disease is considered a major cause of death globally and especially in the UK where the study was conducted.
The condition is caused by the narrowed arteries of the heart. Due to the narrowed arteries comparatively lesser amount of blood and oxygen reach the heart muscle. This can scale from no symptoms to chest pain and can even lead to a heart attack which is caused by blood clots.
Simple lifestyle changes such as controlling sugars, physical exercise, and not smoking can help prevent this condition.