Addicted to sugar? A new study finds that eating too much sweet stuff will not only contribute to weight gain but can set people down a pathway to heart failure.
A single small molecule, the glucose metabolite glucose 6-phosphate (G6P) -- which accumulates from eating too much starch or sugar -- causes stress to the heart that changes the muscle proteins and induces poor pump function leading to heart failure, researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston reported.
Their findings, announced Friday, appear in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
"Treatment is difficult," said Dr. Heinrich Taegtmeyer, principal investigator and professor of cardiology at the UTHealth Medical School. "Physicians can give diuretics to control the fluid, and beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors to lower the stress on the heart and allow it to pump more economically."
For the study, the researchers relied on animal studies, as well as conducting tests on tissues collected from patients at the Texas Heart Institute.
According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, most U.S. adults get a whopping 13 percent of their total calories from added sugars alone. Not only does that add a lot of extra calories which contribute to making us fat, but sugary items often displace healthier items, such as fruits, vegetables, and foods packed with nutrients.