(NaturalNews) A diet lower in sugar corresponds directly to lower cholesterol and other markers of improved heart health, according to a study conducted by researchers from Emory University and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"We found that the lower the amount of added sugar people ate, the better their good cholesterol and their blood triglyceride levels," said researcher Miriam B. Vos, author of The No-Diet Obesity Solution for Kids.
Researchers questioned 6,113 adults participating in the National Health and Nutrition Survey about what they had eaten the prior day, then used this information to calculate how much added sugar was included in each person's diet. Blood samples were also taken from each participant and evaluated for a number of cardiovascular risk factors.
The researchers then divided participants into groups based on whether they got less than 5 percent of their total calories from added sugar, between 5 and 10 percent, between 10 and 17.5 percent, between 17.5 and 25 percent, or more than 25 percent.
A full 18.5 percent of participants were getting a quarter or more of their daily calories from added sugar, amounting to 46 teaspoons of sugar per day. People in this group tended to be young, low-income, non-Hispanic blacks.
The researchers found that the less added sugar in a person's diet, the lower their levels of triglycerides and the higher their levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol. Less added sugar also corresponded to lower levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol in women.
In 1977-78, the average U.S. resident got 10.6 percent of their added calories from sugar. By the mid-1990s, this amount had increased to 15.8 percent.
"What it really means is we have to go back to things like whole grains and vegetables and fruit and eat things in moderation in order to be healthy," Vos said. "Plus, a good healthy dose of activity."