by Maylin Rodriguez-Paez, RN
Have scientists been looking at heart disease from the wrong angle? The answer may be yes, according to the results of a new study.
Since the 1980’s, the consumption of sugar has been rising steadily, and it has become a significant source of calories in the United States.
Naturally, many experts agree that Americans are eating way more sugar than they should.
Researchers wanted to evaluate if this increase in sugar intake was linked to cardiovascular death. And what they found was pretty alarming.
Study Links Sugar with the Risk of Cardiac DeathData were taken from nutritional surveys and analyzed after a 14-year period. Researchers looked at the amount of added sugar consumed in the American diet.
They found that most Americans had been consuming about 10% or more of their calories from added sugar, and 10% of the population had been consuming as much as 25%.
Those who consumed 17–21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% increased risk of cardiovascular death compared to people who only ate 8% of their calories from added sugar. People who ate more than 21% of their daily calories from added sugar doubled their risk of cardiac death.1
Sugar Contributes to Plaque Build-UpThe results of this study weren't really that surprising to us. For years, we’ve been warning people about the dangers of excess sugar.
Cholesterol gets all of the attention, but sugar plays a key role in heart disease. It damages blood vessels and contributes to plaque build-up.
So if you want a healthy heart, you need to cut back on your sugar intake.
Watch Your Sugar IntakeSugar creeps up in the most unlikely of foods. And it can really add up.
The natural sugars found in whole fruits are okay, but processed foods are notorious for containing added sugar.
Always check your food labels. This includes yogurt, health bars, salad dressings, condiments, and even organic cereals.
For optimal health, it’s best to avoid all added sugars.
Check your Fasting Blood Sugar LevelCheck your fasting blood sugar level. Many people are under the impression they don’t have to worry about it unless they’re diabetic, but nothing could be further from the truth.
More than 80% of American adults have fasting glucose levels over 85 mg/dL.2 A fasting blood sugar level above 85 mg/dL has been shown to increase the risk of heart attack.3
Maintain a Healthy Blood Sugar LevelIf your blood sugar is not at an optimal range, take measures to support it. Exercising, eating a low glycemic diet, and taking certain nutrients can help to maintain a healthy level.
Please take special note of these nutrients, which have demonstrated significant blood sugar lowering effects:
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- Nagendran MV. Effect of Green Coffee Bean Extract (GCE), High in Chlorogenic Acids, on Glucose Metabolism. Poster presentation number: 45-LB-P. Obesity 2011, the 29th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Obesity Society. Orlando, Florida. October 1-5, 2011.