Skip to content

One Major Side Effect Eating Sugar Has on Your Heart, According To Experts

A Cleveland Clinic dietitian says avoiding sugar's dangers can lower your chance of heart disease death.

Sugar is one of those ingredients that you know you should practice more discipline with… except it adds such a treat to your day. If you've been pondering kicking your sugar habit to trim down and level out your blood sugar levels, the move could help you more than you think. A Cleveland Clinic preventive cardiology dietitian explains four significant ways that wiping out sugar can be a huge boost to your heart health.

The Cleveland Clinic, which U.S. News & World Report rates as the top heart hospital in the country, mentions research that's shown people who eat a good bit of added sugars are at greater risk of dying from heart disease when compared to individuals who tend to avoid sweets.

The 7 Healthiest Foods To Eat Right Now

Cleveland Clinic registered dietitian Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD specializes in preventive cardiology nutrition and told the Clinic's blog: "Excess sugar can increase the risk of heart disease, both directly and indirectly." She said that's because a diet that's high in sugar can contribute to obesity, which "drives up the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol—all of which can increase the risk of developing heart disease," Patton explained.

Read on to learn more on the science behind why sugar is bad for your heart health.

Sugar raises your triglycerides.

franks and beans

The Cleveland Clinic's blog explains that when you consume too many calories, your body stores them as a type of fat known as triglycerides, which, in high amounts, can increase your risk of heart disease. Some foods that are said to be high in triglycerides are starchy foods like these beans, especially when they're prepared with sugar and pork.

1.6 Million Cases of Beans Are Being Recalled in These 22 States, FDA Says

Sugar raises your bad cholesterol.

dozen dunkin donuts in box
Julia Guerra/Eat This, Not That!

These donuts might look tempting, but their sugar (combined with possibly having been fried) puts you at danger for higher LDL cholesterol, which, the Cleveland Clinic says, "causes artery-clogging plaque that can damage blood vessels and your heart."

If you're concerned about your cholesterol, some researchers believe they found that just 12 weeks incorporating this one drink into your diet can lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol.

Sugar can cause high blood pressure.

nurse checking woman's blood pressure

Sugar consumption that leads to obesity is also associated with high blood pressure, which can raise your risk of heart disease. (Meanwhile, read up on the one cooking oil that's been shown to lower heart disease risk.)

Too much sugar causes body inflammation.

colorful sugary kids cereal in white bowl on blue towel

According to the Cleveland Clinic, "A sugar-rich diet can lead to chronic inflammation, which can stress your heart and blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease."

Hey, if you're disappointed that your sweet treats aren't great for your heart, it's not all bad news when it comes to the things you love. Check out One Major Effect Drinking Coffee Has on Your Liver, According To Experts. Keep reading:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Eat This, Not That! (@eatthisnotthat)

Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at Eat This, Not That!, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more about Krissy