Sugar: Often listed on labels as sucrose or high fructose corn syrup, doesn’t just pack on the pounds.  It also damages your vascular system by triggering inflammation, increasing triglycerides and driving down HDL levels.   Based on recent studies, the American Heart Association now recommends limiting your intake of added sugar daily.  Products with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are sweeter and cheaper than products made with cane sugar.  This allowed for the average soda size to balloon from 8 ounces to 20 ounces with little financial costs to manufacturers but great human costs of increased obesity, diabetes and chronic disease.  Drinks containing HFCS, as the main ingredient like most soft drinks throughout the world, increased your triglyceride levels and your LDL (bad) cholesterol.  These effects only occurred in the study participants who drank fructose.  Sodas, of course, are not the only source of HFCS (though they represent one of the main ones).  This dangerous sweetener is also in many processed foods and fruit juices, so to avoid it you need to focus your diet on whole foods and if you do purchase packaged foods, become an avid label reader.