In a new study, researchers found that eating sugar could have a greater impact on coronary heart disease than saturated fat.
They found sugar consumption, especially in the form of refined added sugars, is very harmful to people’s heart health.
It is known that saturated fat in a diet could increase heart disease risk because it can increase blood cholesterol levels.
However, recently, research has shown that sugar intake was more closely related to the incidence and mortality of coronary heart disease.
It can be hard to distinguish effects of the two ingredients in normal food intake because dietary sources of saturated fat are also often dietary sources of sugar, and people who eat lots of sugar often also eat lots of saturated fat.
In the current study, the team evaluated the evidence to date linking saturated fats and sugars to coronary heart disease.
They found that eating sugar, especially refined added sugars, could contribute to the disease more than saturated fats.
In addition, they found that certain saturated fatty acids may measurable benefits for lipid profiles and coronary heart disease risk.
For example, some saturated fats can increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), which is often referred to as “good cholesterol”.
High levels of HDL are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.
The team also found that when carbohydrates such as sugar replace saturated fats, it can have a negative impact on lipid profiles: HDL tends to fall and triglycerides tend to rise.
Eating a diet high in sugar for just a few weeks could lead to high total cholesterol, insulin resistance, and abnormal glucose tolerance.
The researchers suggest that higher intakes from dairy sources of saturated fat may actually decrease the risk.
However, high intakes from processed foods may increase the risk of heart disease, because many low-fat, ultra-processed foods have huge amounts of hidden added sugars.
The study is published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases.
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