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Overindulging in sweets may lead to unhealthy cholesterol for adolescents

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Teenagers who consume high amounts of sugar may receive alarmingly unhealthy cholesterol test results, according to a new study from Emory University researchers.

In recent years, Americans' consumption of sugar has skyrocketed. Food manufacturers now add high-fructose corn syrup and other types of sugar to a broad range of products to extend shelf life and make them more appealing to consumers. However, this has had a dangerous impact on the heart health of the nation.

The new findings, which were published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, indicate that this may be having the greatest impact on adolescents.

After surveying the dietary habits of a group of 646 adolescents and administering cholesterol tests, the researchers found that those with the highest sugar consumption had 9 percent lower levels of HDL, or "good," cholesterol. LDL, or "bad," cholesterol levels were also elevated.

For the researchers, the problem is matter of sugar sweetened items being too available.

"Adolescents are eating 20 percent of their daily calories in sugars that provide few if any other nutrients," said Jean Walsh, who led the study. "Sweet things have lost their status as treats."

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