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Fructose linked to teen heart risks

Sweet and deadly

Most of the time, when people talk about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), they talk in terms of waistlines and weight gain.

But we already know that there are much bigger risks associated with the sweet junk. Risks like cancer and liver scarring.

And now there’s new cause for concern–and it’s particularly frightening, because it deals specifically with our kids.

Most teens don’t think twice about guzzling a soda at lunch, another after school, and still another out at the movies with friends. And parents are usually pretty willing to, in the spirit of the high teenage metabolism, turn a blind eye.

But this spirit of “let them eat what they want while they’re young” could be doing far more harm than good. In fact, it could be opening the door to downright deadly risks.

Teens who consume lots of fructose, a form of which is HFCS (found just about everywhere in the typical teen diet) show evidence of heart disease and diabetes risk in their blood, according to a new study. Yep, these kids are already showing signs of risk for what are typically considered to be adult diseases.

In a study from the Medical College of Georgia, kids aged 14 to 18 with diets high in fructose (which research shows their growing bodies crave–a finding fully exploited by the food industry) had higher blood pressure, higher fasting glucose and insulin resistance (both measures related to diabetes), and inflammatory factors related to heart disease.

They also had lower levels of heart protectors like HDL cholesterol and certain proteins in their bodies.

And for kids carrying extra belly fat, the associations between fructose and these risk factors was even greater.

It’s time to put aside the notion that kids can eat whatever they want. Sure, many of them can burn it off, but that doesn’t help what’s going on at a chemical level. And of course, our eating habits as teens have a lot to do with our eating habits as adults (think of all the people you know who hated vegetables growing up and still won’t touch them), so it’s important to encourage healthy choices now. It could very well save your teen’s life.

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“Too Much Fructose Sweetener Tied to Heart Risks in Teens,” Medline Plus (