Just like true love, financial security, Santa, and overall contentedness, everything we've been told about sugar is a lie.
If you ask the media and pretty much anyone ever, fat is the only thing the human heart really has to worry about (you know, aside from divorce and living with crippling debt). Thankfully, a few researchers were all like, "Don't play us like that, sugar industry."
They went ahead a did a deep-dive into sugar's role in cardiovascular disease, and what they figured out will make you want to set that low-fat peanut butter on fire and leave it all behind.
Let's start with a trip down memory lane.
First, there's this big sack of nonsense. The Sugar Association is a thing that really exists.
According to CNN's Jacqueline Howard, these fools once "sponsored research that cast doubt about sugar's health risks and promoted fat 'as the dietary culprit' in heart disease — and didn't disclose it." Nice. Off to a great start.
About 60 years ago, the Sugar Association (then called the Sugar Research Foundation) funded research that essentially ended up pegging fat as the primary offender in the development of heart disease.
Although downing gram upon gram of saturated fat certainly isn't good for the ol' ticker, their "findings" indirectly positioned sugar as being a safer alternative.
If you look at the labels on low-fat foods like this reduced-fat Jif peanut butter, for example, you'll notice that the sugar content is higher in low-fat versions of your favorite foods. In this case, it's nearly double.
Adding sugar and carbohydrates is how companies bring back the flavor that gets lost when fat is taken out of the equation.
So here's where things went wrong. According to the same piece from CNN, two researchers published findings in the aftermath of President Eisenhower's heart attack. British physiologist John Yudkin posited that high sugar intake increased triglyceride levels in the blood, which led to heart disease and heart failure.
American physiologist Ancel Keys, on the other hand, went ahead and said that consumption of bad fats is what really does people in.
As often happens in medicine because everything is awful, one theory beat out the other. Who needs nuance, anyway? JUST PICK ONE! It was this mindset that allowed the "sugar is bad, but fat is definitely worse" narrative to prevail and pervade.
In an effort to redeem Yudkin (and prevent heart disease or whatever), researchers went ahead and confirmed that increased sugar intake wreaks havoc on the human heart. That's bad news for anyone who thinks they're sashaying away from heart disease with a cart full of low-fat everything.
As stated in their report, "Most U.S. adults consume more added sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet. We observed a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk for [cardiovascular] mortality." That's not alarming at all!