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Sugary Drinks, Foods Might Put Teens at Risk for Heart Disease
Date:1/11/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Jan. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Teens whose diets include lots of sugary drinks and foods show physical signs that they are at increased risk for heart disease as adults, researchers from Emory University report.

Among 2,157 teens who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the average amount of added sugar eaten in a day was 119 grams (476 calories), which was 21.4 percent of all the calories these teens consumed daily, the researchers noted.

"We need to be aware of sugar consumption," said lead researcher and postdoctoral fellow Jean Welsh.

"It's a significant contributor of calories to our diet and there are these associations that may prove to be very negative," she said. "Sugar-sweetened soft drinks and sodas are the major contributor of added sugar and are a major source of calories without other important nutrients."

Awareness of the negative effects of added sugar may help people, particularly teens, cut down on the amount of sugar they consume, Welsh added.

"Parents and adolescents need to become aware of the amount of added sugar they are consuming and be aware that there may be some negative health implications if not now, then down the line," she said.

The report is published in the Jan. 10 online edition of Circulation.

Welsh's team found that teens who consumed the most added sugar had 9 percent higher LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, and 10 percent higher triglyceride levels (another type of blood fat), compared with those who consumed the least added sugar. Teens who took in the highest amount of added sugar also had lower levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol than those who consumed the least amount of added sugar.

In addition, teens who consumed the highest amount of added sugar showed signs of insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes and its associated risk of heart disease, the resea
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