Sugar and heart health

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) rates remain high in Australia and New Zealand

Diet, physical activity, smoking and genetics all play a role in CVD

A healthy diet that is naturally low in saturated fat, salt and added sugars can protect against heart conditions

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) continues to be one of the highest causes of poor health and death in Australia and New Zealand. CVD encompasses a number of conditions of the heart and blood vessels such coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, stroke and heart attack.

It is important to look after your heart and cardiovascular system for good health and longevity.

Diet, physical activity, smoking and genetics all play a role in CVD. There is no one cause of CVD, but there are risk factors that can increase your chance of developing CVD such as having high blood pressure, high cholesterol and lipids, being overweight or obese, and having diabetes.

Most cardiovascular conditions are preventable and manageable through lifestyle changes.

The role of sugar

Sugar itself does not directly cause CVD. Being overweight is a risk factor and consuming too much energy from any source, including sugars, can increase your weight.

It is not necessary to avoid sugars all together to prevent CVD. For health heart, research shows that following an overall healthy eating pattern, as well as having regular physical activity, helps lower blood lipids, lower blood pressure, reduce insulin resistance and maintain a healthy body weight, all of which reduce the risk of CVD.

Your diet and heart health

Heart Foundations provide the following advice on healthy eating to protect your heart and cardiovascular system:

  • Focus on an overall health dietary pattern in-line with dietary guidelines. This type of diet is naturally low in saturated and trans fats, salt and added sugar
  • Include a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, lean meats and healthy fats in your diet
  • Reduce your intake of highly processed foods
  • Watch portion sizes to prevent eating too much energy (or kilojoules)





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