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Sugar not so sweet for your health

Metro Creative Connection

Whether you're single or taken this Valentine's Day, you are bound to be bombarded with chocolate and candy. From the office candy jar or a gift from a loved one, you will be tempted by something sweet.

But the American Heart Association notes that the average American is consuming nearly twice the amount of sugar he or she should be, a mistake that could be jeopardizing sugar consumers' long-term health.

If sugar is a staple of your diet, then the following are a handful of factors that might make you reconsider your relationship with the sweet stuff.

Excessive amounts of sugar can negatively affect your heart. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who got 25 percent or more of their calories from added sugars were far more likely to have low levels of HDL, also known as "good cholesterol," than those whose diets included less than 5 percent sugar. Low HDL levels increase your risk of stroke, heart disease and heart attack.

Sugar may increase risk of diabetes. Studies have shown a link between sugar consumption and diabetes. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care revealed that subjects who drank one to two servings of sugar per day were 26 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who drank one serving of sugar per month or none at all. Sugar-sweetened beverages contribute to weight gain, and overweight and obesity are risk factors for diabetes. And the quick delivery of sugar to your body from sweetened beverages can lead to insulin resistance and inflammation over time.

Sugar may negatively impact mood. A sugar high may temporarily boost your mood, but researchers from Baylor College of Medicine discovered a correlation between sugar consumption and depression. The exact link is unknown, but some researchers feel insulin resistance resulting from heavy sugar consumption forces the release of stress hormones, negatively affecting mood.

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