In Studio: Health expert talks about link between sugar, heart disease


On average, someone dies of heart disease every 40 seconds — that’s about 2,200 deaths each day. The good news? It’s one of the most preventable. You’re likely aware that eating too much sugar adds empty calories to your diet and inches to your waistline, but did you know it can increase your risk of dying with heart disease — even if you’re not overweight? Health expert, Karen Owoc explained why to KRON 4’s Marty Gonzalez.


Karen says a 15-year study on “added sugar” and heart disease found that participants were twice as likely to die from heart disease who consumed 25 percent or more of daily calories from added sugar compared to those that consumed 10 percent or less.

• Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared. This does NOT include naturally occurring sugars found in fruits and milk.

• Dietary limits on added sugar (American Heart Association recommendation):

• Women: Less than six teaspoons or 100 calories

• Men: Less than nine teaspoons or 150 calories

• Biggest sources of added sugar in the average American diet are sodas, energy drinks and sports drinks:

• 12-oz soda: 39 grams (9 1/3 teaspoons) of added sugar

• 16-oz energy drink: 78 grams (19 1/2 teaspoons)

• 32-oz sports drink: 56 grams (14 teaspoons)


Karen advises to be sure to read labels carefully. For example, a 12-ounce can of soda label may list the ingredients for an 8-ounce serving. Right now, food labels do not differentiate between added sugar and naturally occurring sugar.

• Other major sources of added sugars for Americans include:

• Cookies, cakes, pastries

• Fruit drinks, frozen yogurt, ice cream

• Candy, ready-to-eat cereals

• Even if your diet matches up to federal dietary guidelines (i.e., you eat heart-healthy foods like fruits and vegetables), the odds of dying rose in tandem with the percentage of sugar consumed — regardless of age, sex, physical activity level, and body-mass index.


Karen says sugar increases heart disease deaths:


• Sugar clings to proteins and clump together — known as ‘crosslinked’ proteins — which are responsible for “stiffening” tissues.

• The most vulnerable proteins are collagen and elastin. Collagen is one of the most prevalent and longest-living protein molecules in the human body. These proteins not only provide structure, support, and elasticity to your skin, but to other organs like your heart, arteries, joints, and tendons. When your heart and arteries become stiff and inflexible, they lose their contractility and can’t pump blood through them due to their inability to fully expand and contract.

Break the Sugar Habit

• Substitute fresh fruit for foods made with added sugar (e.g., fruit-based dessert or a little fruit juice mixed with seltzer water to curb the soda habit)

• Reduce stress

• Get seven hours of sleep per night



Bay Area News

Video Center

Trending Stories


Latest News

Stay Connected

  • Download the free KRON4 News App
    Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.