Do you know what sugar’s doing to your cholesterol?

If you’ve been reading here for any length of time, you surely know about the dangers of metabolic syndrome.

This cluster of symptoms includes high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and too-high levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides.

Heart disease, stroke, and diabetes are just some of the outcomes of having even a few of these symptoms.

Of course, your diet is key to whether or not you develop these symptoms. To that end, research into the specifics of which foods are best, and worst, at preventing metabolic syndrome is ongoing.

And the findings of a very recent study are interesting indeed…

Sugar sabotages cholesterol and increases heart dangers

Late last month, scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University published the results of a long-term study that confirmed the fact that sugar doesn’t just lead to metabolic syndrome by causing pre-diabetes and eventually full-blown diabetes…

It comes at you in another serious way…

These researchers found that middle-aged and older adults who drank sugary beverages daily were at greater risk of developing abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, compared to those who rarely drank those beverages.

Over a period of four years, adults who drank at least one sugary beverage per day (soda or sweetened fruit drinks) had a 98 percent higher chance of developing low HDL (good) cholesterol and a 53 percent higher chance of developing high triglycerides.

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Drinking sugary beverages was not linked to the risk of higher LDL (“bad” cholesterol). However, high triglycerides (fat from calories your body doesn’t need) in combination with low HDL levels is enough to cause concern…

HDL absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver so it can be flushed from the body. Without enough HDL, fat builds up in the artery walls.

In other words, high levels of HDL lower your risk for heart disease and stroke — so the last thing you need to do is let sugar lower it!

Time to send sugar packing

This latest research is yet another wake-up call to the detrimental effects of sugar.

That means it’s time to look closely at what you’re drinking and avoid drinks with added sugar, like sodas, lemonade or fruit punch…

You may already know that just one 12-ounce can of soda contains a whopping 10 to 13 teaspoons of sugar.

But you should also keep fruit juices to a minimum, even if it says “100 percent juice.”

Related: A can a day triples stroke risk

Even though a review published in the journal Nutrients last May found significant evidence linking the ingestion of added sugars in sugar-sweetened beverages with metabolic risk factors, it’s still unclear if the same consequences apply to drinking fruit juice.

But if you’re drinking glass after glass every day, there’s no doubt you’re getting much more sugar than your body can deal with… and your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol will pay the price.

According to the USDA, a 12-ounce glass of 100 percent:

  • Orange juice has about 179 calories and almost 43 grams of carbs with 30.96 of those coming from sugar.
  • Apple juice has 171.6 calories and 42 grams of carbs with almost 36 grams coming from sugar.
  • And grape juice has them both beat with about 223 calories and almost 55 grams of carbs with 52.8 coming from sugar.

What about everyone’s healthy juice — cranberry? It falls most in line with grape juice!

You’re much better off drinking water and getting your fruit fix from the whole fruit, so the fiber content can help you manage healthier cholesterol numbers.

Remember, it’s not just about the food you’re eating when it comes to balanced cholesterol levels. So, give yourself some slack worrying about an egg a day, and get serious about sending all that sugar packing.

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  1. Sugary drinks a sour choice for adults trying to maintain normal cholesterol levels — EurekAlert
  2. HDL (Good), LDL (Bad) Cholesterol and Triglycerides — American Heart Association
  3. Triglycerides: Why do they matter? — Mayo Clinic
  4. Metabolic Syndrome Diet — Healthline
  5. Juices With the Highest Sugar Content — Livestrong
Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.