Even condiments like ketchup have been found to have 'hidden' sugars in them. (Facebook)

Americans are eating more hidden sugar in their foods than they think, and it is putting their hearts at risk.

That’s the warning from one of the nation’s top cardiologists in the wake of a new study showing that even moderate sugar consumption leads to a higher death risk from heart disease.

“Most people don’t realize how much hidden sugar is in the foods—and what they don’t know is killing them,” Chauncey Crandall, M.D., tells Newsmax Health.

“We’ve all been hoodwinked into thinking a moderate amount of sugar is OK, but that theory is falling apart with the new research,” says Crandall, author of the No. 1 Amazon best-seller The Simple Heart Cure.

“We don’t even realize how much sugar we are consuming. We think that sugar is in only candy or ice cream, but manufacturers sneak sugar into almost everything, including soups, catsup, canned salmon, cured meat—even toothpaste,” he says.

The new study found that consuming even a moderate amount of sugar translates into a higher rate of death from cardiovascular disease. Drinking only two cans of regular sugar-sweetened soda a day significantly increases death risk, according to the researchers.

Previous studies had linked diets high in sugar with increased risks for non-fatal heart problems, and with obesity, which can also lead to heart trouble. But the new research found that obesity didn't explain the link between sugary diets and death. Even normal-weight people eating sugar were found to have a higher death rate.

“My main concern has been that this higher sugar consumption leads to obesity, diabetes and hypertension, but now this new study shows that sugar can lead to unhealthy inflammatory changes, even in people who are not overweight. This means that everyone is at risk,” says Crandall, director of preventative medicine at the Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic.

The study, published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association, examined the dietary habits and health of more than 30,000 Americans over 15 years.

“The message is clear,” says Crandall. “We need to reduce the amount of sugar we consume—especially in soda—because it is more dangerous that most of us think.”

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