Sugar linked to heart disease deaths in national study; most eat too much & soda's a culprit

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For those who got more than 15 percent — or the equivalent of about two cans of sugary soda out of 2,000 calories daily — the risk was almost 20 percent higher than the safest level.

Sugar calories quickly add up: One teaspoon has about 16 calories; one 12-ounce can of non-diet soda contains has about 9 teaspoons of sugar or about 140 calories; many cinnamon rolls have about 13 teaspoons of sugar; one scoop of chocolate ice cream has about 5 teaspoons of sugar.

Dr. Jonathan Purnell, a professor at Oregon Health & Science University's Knight Cardiovascular Institute, said while the research doesn't prove "sugar can cause you to die of a heart attack", it adds to a growing body of circumstantial evidence suggesting that limiting sugar intake can lead to healthier, longer lives.

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Online:

JAMA Internal Medicine: http://www.jamainternalmedicine.com

American Heart Association: http://bit.ly/MTkZm8

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AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/LindseyTanner

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