Consuming too many sugary sweets, desserts and drinks can triple your chances of dying from heart disease, a study has shown.
Scientists in the US found a striking association between the proportion of daily calories supplied by sugar-laden foods and heart disease death rates.
One sugar-sweetened beverage a day was enough to increase the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD) affecting the heart and arteries.
For people obtaining a quarter of their calories from added sugar, the risk tripled compared with those whose sugar contribution was less than 10pc.
Sugar consumption in the top fifth of the range studied doubled the likelihood of death from heart disease.
The researchers specifically focused on added sugar in the diet – that is, sugar added in the processing or preparing of food – rather than natural sources.
Dietary guidelines from the World Health Organisation recommend that added sugar should make up less than 10pc of total calorie intake.
Yet a single can of fizzy drink may contain 35 grams of sugar providing 140 calories.
The new study, led by Dr Quanhe Yang, from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, used US national health survey data to determine how much added sugar people were consuming.
Between 2005 and 2010, added sugar accounted for at least 10pc of the calories consumed by more than 70pc of the US population, the research showed. Around a 10th of adults obtained a quarter or more of their calories from added sugar.