Cardiovascular or heart diseases are the primary cause of premature deaths, particularly in developing countries. Blood lipid disorders, including low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and high levels of triacylgycerols and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, constitute a crucial risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Such adverse changes in blood lipid parameters may result from excessive consumption of simple sugars such as monosaccharides and disaccharides, which are added more and more frequently to foodstuffs for technology and flavor purposes.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugar consumed to no more than 100 calories per day for women and 150 calories per day for men, which equates to about 5% of the daily discretionary calorie allowance. But for most of the population meets these requirements seems to be impossible.
Numerous studies link high sugar intake with adverse changes in lipoproteins. Several studies have shown an inverse association between dietary sucrose and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL). HDL cholesterol is known as the “good” cholesterol because it helps remove other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream. Higher levels of HDL cholesterol are associated with a lower risk of heart disease and high sugar intake significantly lowers HDL cholesterol thus increasing cardiovascular disease risk.
Furthermore, a diet high in sucrose (>20% of energy) is associated with an elevation of plasma triglyceride concentrations. This increase is due to both increased hepatic secretion and impaired clearance of very-low-density lipoprotein. An increase in the triglyceride concentration is exposed to a higher risk of CVD events.
High blood pressure is another risk factor for cardiovascular disease such as myocardial infarction, heart failure, stroke, and renal failure. In numerous studies rats were given a sucrose solution instead of water to drink, showing that in some period of time their systolic blood pressure was elevated. Sucrose consumption stimulates the sympathetic system. Studies have shown that glucose intake can also significantly raise cytosolic free calcium concentrations in vascular smooth muscle cells. Increases in vascular smooth muscle calcium concentrations are associated with vasoconstriction and vascular resistance, which can increase blood pressure. A 15-years study found that people who got 17% to 21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those who consumed 8% of their calories as added sugar. Obesity, hypertension and dyslipidemia induced by high sugar intake are significant cardiovascular disease factors, which are persistent as well in patients with diabetes.