Sugar restriction: the evidence for a drug-free intervention to reduce cardiovascular disease risk
Article first published online: 4 OCT 2012
© 2012 The Authors; Internal Medicine Journal © 2012 Royal Australasian College of Physicians
Internal Medicine Journal
Special Issue: The Proceedings of the Victorian Heart Centre
Volume 42, Issue Supplement S5, pages 46–58, October 2012
How to Cite
Thornley, S., Tayler, R. and Sikaris, K. (2012), Sugar restriction: the evidence for a drug-free intervention to reduce cardiovascular disease risk. Internal Medicine Journal, 42: 46–58. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-5994.2012.02902.x
- Issue published online: 4 OCT 2012
- Article first published online: 4 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 11 MAY 2012
- Manuscript Received: 24 APR 2012
- dietary sucrose;
- coronary artery disease
Uncertainty exists about what dietary component is most likely to cause coronary heart disease. Over the last thirty years, attention has focused on saturated fat and salt as guilty parties. More recently, evidence suggests that excess sugar intake is more likely than either traditional factor to lead to atherosclerotic disease. Some researchers have also speculated that sugar is addictive, in a similar manner to caffeine and established drugs of abuse.
Here we review the epidemiological, biochemical and psychological evidence that implicates excess sugar intake as an important cause of ill-health.
We found relatively consistent evidence of association between markers of sugar intake and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, or the disease itself. This evidence contrasted with rather weaker evidence which linked either saturated fat or salt with cardiovascular disease endpoints. We also found some evidence of a sugar addiction syndrome.
We suggest that advice to restrict sugar intake should be a routine part of clinical care, particularly when patients are being counselled about cardiovascular risk.