Hold the sugar

I’ll admit it; I am a sucker for processed food. Put a bag of ships or communal candy nearby and I simply can’t resist. Just this morning, I grabbed a couple of chocolate-chip cookies that a kindly colleague put out for public consumption.

This sweet tooth has made it difficult to lose those 25 pounds I pledged to shed on New Year’s Eve, but a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association gives me more cause for concern.

Researchers from Emory University in Atlanta reported that heavy consumption of high-sugar, processed foods can raise heart-disease risk. The researchers found that the higher the participants' consumption of such sugars, the higher their triglyceride (blood sugar) levels, and the lower their HDL cholesterol (aka "good" blood fat) levels.

My colleague Marie McCullough did a brief story on the study for the Personal Health column in Monday’s Health & Science Section. Another interesting piece in the column by colleague Sandy Bauers looks at the safety of children’s playground equipment, pointing parents to a check lists provided by researchers from the University of Alabama in Birmingham.