Adolescents who consume excess sugar are more likely to develop heart disease, nutritional experts at Emory University have found.
Their study, published in the journal Circulation, stated that sodas and other beverages that contain high levels of sugar can contribute to unhealthy levels of cholesterol in the blood.
Teens reported consuming more than 830 grams of sugar per week, accounting for one fourth of their body’s calorie count, according to the National Health and Nutrition Survey.
The Emory group found that teens between the ages of 12 and 18 who consume the most sugar enough to provide 30 percent or more of their daily calorie requirement have the lowest levels of “good” cholesterol and the highest levels of “bad” cholesterol.
The American Heart Association has reported that the risk of plaque buildup in the arteries begins in childhood.
Researchers also found that those who consumed high amounts of sugar experienced an increase in insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes, a disorder in which the body can no longer process sugars.
They conclude that consuming sugar can dramatically change predicted health outcomes for youth.
The American Diabetes Association reports approximately 2 million pre-diabetic Americans are under age 20.