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A little sugar not all that bad [news]

I have struggled with sugar for most of my life. My mom recalls finding candy wrappers under my bed when I was a kid. I’d think nothing of devouring a whole bag of candy corn around this time of year. But for all my interest in sugar, and despite my being a nutrition writer, I’ve never really known much about sugar as a nutrient. With Halloween — one of sugar’s high holidays — coming up, I figured this was a good time to get the scoop on sugar.

We need some sugar. In the form of glucose, sugar provides the fuel our cells, especially those in our brain, need to function. But most of our sugar should come from food sources such as fruits and whole grains, says Christine Gerbstadt, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association and author.

Consistently eating too much sugar can, over time, lead to cardiovascular trouble. “Sugar influences blood release of fat or lipids,” Gerbstadt says. Eating a diet high in sugar increases the risk of developing high levels of triglycerides, the “fluffy fat” that can get caught up in arteries and form plaques or globules of fat, she says. When those plaques break loose and travel to the heart, brain or kidney, they can cause heart attacks, strokes or kidney failure, Gerbstadt says.

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