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Sugar and Heart Disease

Many of the anti-vegan, pro-meat podcasters, and YouTube low-carb diet gurus, like Joe Rogan, Chris Kresser, Dr. Mark Hyman, and others are claiming that the real cause of heart disease is the consumption of sugar and grains, and not saturated fat and cholesterol.

I’d like to quickly go over the reasons why that’s not scientifically correct.

In the excellent book “Cholesterol and Beyond,” a book was written by, and for researchers on heart disease and the best summary of what the science says (with no bias because it’s not written by a marketer), the authors explain why the “Sugar Hypothesis” is false in seven points:

1) Sucrose intake does not usually raise cholesterol, the building block of heart disease.

2) Sucrose intake does not also raise triglyceride levels if you don’t consume more calories than you need.

3) There’s no plausible mechanism that shows how sucrose could lead to heart disease.

4) Experiments done on primates showed that that heart disease regressed on a low-fat, high sucrose diet.

5) Several countries consumed a high amount of sugar and yet had a low rate of heart disease: Costa Rica, Cuba, Venezuela.

6) Prospective studies have not found sugar to be an independent risk factor.

7) “No prevention trial of Coronary Heart Disease with sugar restriction has ever been completed, started, planned or even contemplated.”

The only way sugar or carbs can contribute heart disease is when they are consumed in excess and cause weight gain.

This explains why many populations on a very high-carbohydrate diet, even with refined sugar or carbs (like white rice) do not ever develop heart disease.


Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.