Even if you’re not overweight and your general health is good, eating sugar can raise the risk of future heart problems. A new study has shown that just 3 months of a high sugar diet alters fat metabolism in your body in a way that raises heart disease risk. The research was conducted by a team from the University of Surrey in the UK, and their findings were published in the journal Clinical Science.

Interestingly, the researchers discovered that your liver processes fats differently if you eat a high sugar diet. Men who were in overall good health developed higher levels of bad fats in their blood and liver after consuming a high sugar diet for 3 months. This happens even if a person doesn’t gain weight on the diet.

The fat profile in the liver was consistent with non alcoholic fatty liver disease, and the men would likely have developed a fatty liver if the research study went on for longer. Fatty liver affects between 30 and 40 percent of North Americans, and is most common in people with obesity or type 2 diabetes; however, you can look outwardly slim and still have a fatty liver. Fatty liver raises the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Approximately 92.1 million adults in the USA currently have cardiovascular disease, or are living with the aftereffects of having a stroke.

In this particular study, two groups of men were researched. They both consumed the same number of daily calories, except in the high sugar diet, sugar comprised 26 percent of daily calories, while in the low sugar diet it comprised 6 percent. So even if you don’t overeat, sugar in your diet is bad for your blood fats (cholesterol and triglycerides) and liver fat.

Most people think that if you eat too much fat you’ll end up with fat clogging your arteries and liver. The truth is heart disease and fatty liver are far more complicated than that. Saturated fat has very little effect on overall cholesterol levels in most people, and it even has the ability to raise the “good” HDL cholesterol. Sugar on the other hand is capable of causing a range of metabolic disturbances that lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Each person has a different tolerance level for carbohydrate and sugar; some people can get away with eating more of it and not suffering the consequences….(yet!). If you have a family history of type 2 diabetes or if there are overweight people in your family, your tolerance for carbohydrate will usually be lower. As you get older, it will be lower.

For more information about protecting your heart and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, see my book Cholesterol: The Real Truth.


The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.