Sugar is a type of carbohydrate, which is a source of energy for the body. Research shows that consuming too much dietary sugar can lower levels of “good” cholesterol and increase levels of its “bad” counterpart.
Both adults and children may experience health problems in later life if they consume too much sugar in their diet. However, a person can reduce sugar intake for a healthier diet.
This article explores the connection between sugar and cholesterol. It discusses what cholesterol is and the effects of sugar consumption on both good and bad cholesterol. It also explains how a person may manage sugar intake and when to contact a doctor.
Cholesterol is a
That said, cholesterol is also important for other reasons. For instance, the body can use cholesterol to synthesize molecules such as vitamin D, alongside a range of steroid and sex hormones. Additionally, cholesterol in bile salt allows the digestive system to extract fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Scientists divide cholesterol into two types: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. People sometimes call the former “bad” cholesterol and the latter “good” cholesterol.
This is because people who have higher amounts of LDL cholesterol may be at an increased risk of developing serious medical conditions such as coronary artery disease, aortic aneurysms, and stroke. In contrast, people with higher amounts of HDL cholesterol are less at risk of developing these conditions.
Sugar is a kind of carbohydrate. There are
Many people use sugar as a food sweetener and preservative, but it also affects cholesterol levels in the body. This section discusses the effects of refined sugars on cholesterol levels.
According to a
Scientists have observed similar effects in children. For instance, a
However, a 2022 review of scientific research found that consuming low levels of added dietary sugar has minimal effects on long-term LDL and HDL cholesterol levels. However, the researchers noted that further studies into this topic are necessary.
People who are concerned about their cholesterol levels may not need to cut added sugars out of their diet completely. However, reducing their added sugar intake may be beneficial.
There is some debate about how much sugar adults can healthily consume on average, as the amount
However, according to the
Some scientists estimate that, on average, people in the United States consume between
- nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- metabolic syndrome
- type 2 diabetes
- cardiovascular disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- cellular aging
- some cancers
People should speak with a healthcare professional for further advice about how to modify their diet safely.
A doctor can diagnose elevated LDL cholesterol levels or hypercholesterolemia. This condition can cause the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, which can lead to an increased risk of:
- coronary artery disease
- peripheral artery disease
- aortic aneurysms
Anyone who is concerned about their cholesterol levels should speak with a doctor. A doctor can offer further advice about lowering cholesterol intake and perform tests to determine if a person has healthy cholesterol levels, if necessary.
If a person has high levels of LDL cholesterol and low levels of HDL cholesterol, they may be at risk of serious health problems. Eating too much added sugar can lead to this imbalance of cholesterol levels. People may consume too much sugar from a young age.
However, a person can reduce their dietary sugar intake. A healthcare professional can help a person manage their diet and lower LDL cholesterol levels.