Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the single largest cause of mortality in the United States and worldwide. Numerous risk factors have been identified for CVD, including a number of nutritional factors. Recently, attention has been focused on fructose-containing sugars and their putative link to risk factors for CVD. In this review, we focus on recent studies related to sugar consumption and cardiovascular risk factors including lipids, blood pressure, obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome. We then examine the scientific basis for competing recommendations for sugar intake. We conclude that although it appears prudent to avoid excessive consumption of fructose-containing sugars, levels within the normal range of human consumption are not uniquely related to CVD risk factors with the exception of triglycerides, which may rise when simple sugars exceed 20% of energy per day, particularly in hypercaloric settings.
Keywords: fructose; high-fructose corn sugar; metabolism; sucrose; sugars.
© 2015 American Society for Nutrition.