Heart attack: high sugar consumption makes the heart fat

Heart attack: high sugar consumption makes the heart fat

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Fat deposits around the heart due to too much sugar

The excessive consumption of sugar promotes fat deposits on the heart, according to a recent study. This so-called pericardial adipose tissue is an independent risk factor for the development of heart diseases.

Researchers at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) observed a link between excessive sugar consumption and unhealthy fat deposits in the abdomen and heart. The study results were recently presented in the "European Journal of Preventive Cardiology".

Excess sugar is converted to fat

“If we consume too much sugar, the excess is converted into fat and stored,” says study author So Yun Yi. This adipose tissue accumulates predominantly in the abdominal cavity and in the area of ​​the heart. There it releases messenger substances that can be harmful to the body's health.

Heart attack risk increases due to high sugar consumption

In fact, numerous studies have already shown that pericardial adipose tissue is an independent risk factor for heart attacks but also for type 2 diabetes. The current study underlines the limitation of added sugar in foods.

The biggest sources of sugar

In this observational study, the effects of long-term sugar consumption were observed over a period of 20 years. A total of 3,070 healthy women and men between the ages of 18 and 30 participated in the study. The consumption of sugar from sweetened beverages and sugar added to food was documented. After 25 years, computed tomography (CT) imaging of the chest and abdomen of the participants was carried out to determine the fat volume.

Added sugar makes our organs fat

The researchers concluded that sugar intake over 20 years was related to the volume of fat in the abdomen and around the heart. A higher intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and added sugar from foods was gradually linked to larger fat reserves around the organs.

Higher risk of heart disease and diabetes

"Our results provide further evidence that the consumption of too much sugar and sugary drinks is related to a higher amount of adipose tissue," emphasizes Dr. Lyn Steffen from the study team. These fat deposits are in turn associated with a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Water instead of soda

"Drink water instead of sugary drinks and choose healthier snacks instead of foods that are high in added sugar," Dr. recommends Steffen. When shopping, the food label should be checked for added sugar. Sugar is often declared as syrup, glucose, fructose, sucrose or maltose. Increased awareness of hidden sugar can already achieve huge sugar savings.

Governments and food manufacturers also need to respond

Dr. Steffen is also in favor of increasing the regulation of sugar consumption by governments, food manufacturers, restaurants, schools and workplaces "to raise consumer awareness of the sugar content in foods and beverages and to offer healthier alternatives". (vb)

Read also: These ingredients in food cause inflammation.

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • ESC: Excessive sugar intake linked with unhealthy fat deposits (published: June 29, 2020),
  • So-Yun Yi, Lyn M Steffen, James G Terry, et al .: Added sugar intake is associated with pericardial adipose tissue volume; in: European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 2020,

Video: What causes a heart attack? (October 2022).