Heart disease is one of the most common complications of diabetes. Indeed, most diabetics who fail to control their blood glucose levels are killed by heart disease.

In addition, if you are diabetic then there is an 85 percent chance that you also suffer from high cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and this increases the risk of heart disease. If you smoke, you up the risk even further.

In order to beat diabetes and avoid heart disease you need-besides giving up smoking, reducing your cholesterol and getting your blood pressure under control-to reduce the amount of glucose your digestive system produces by limiting the amount of sugar you ingest.

But how much sugar should you ingest on a daily basis? What are the limits?

Calories from added sugar

The number of calories each of us requires on a daily basis depends on our age, height, gender and level of activity. On average, however, a healthy adult needs 2,000 calories a day and a child 1,200 calories.

Natural foodstuffs, such as fruits and vegetables, contain sugar. But it seems that this is not enough for most of us. Sugar is added by diners, chefs and food processors. How much of this added sugar do we need?

Not much. In fact, this added sugar is a major problem with our modern Western diet.

In March 2014, the Journal of the American Medical Association published findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 31,147 adults which ran for 22 years from 1988 to 2010.

These findings show that people who get 17 to 21 percent of their calories as added sugar have a 38 percent greater risk of death from heart disease compared to persons who get only 8 percent of their calories from added sugar.

And the risk triples for adults who get 25 percent or more of their calories from added sugar.

The message is pretty obvious.

Calories in sugar

A gram of sugar contains four calories. Eight percent of an intake of 2,000 calories a day is 160 calories or 40 grams (160/4). Thus to minimise your risk of heart disease, you need to limit your intake of added sugar to 40 grams a day.

If, instead, you ingest 340 to 420 calories (85 to 105g) a day as added sugar you have a 38 percent higher chance of developing diseases of the heart. And if you take in 500 calories (125g) a day as added sugar you triple your risk.

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