Sweet Heart Health

Our local newspaper published an Associated Press article last week titled “Study Says Sugar Can Be Deadly.” According to Lindsey Tanner, the author of the story, “The biggest study of its kind suggests diets high in sugar are linked to fatal heart problems.”

candies,chocolates,food,hearts,Photographs,special occasions,Valentines Day“Yeah, yeah,” you say. “I know sugar is bad for me, but I don’t eat that much.” Have you ever stopped at the end of the day to total the amount of sugar you consumed that day? From the sweetener found in your breakfast cereal and in the two sodas you drank between phone calls to the candy bar or cookie you ate with your latte during your coffee break? Don’t forget the sugar in the sandwich you enjoyed at lunch (check the bread and mayo labels) and in the spaghetti sauce and salad dressing you consumed at supper. How about that after-dinner scoop of ice cream with chocolate syrup and maraschino cherries on top? It all adds up, and a high score does not mean you’re a winner.

The study found that “adults who got at least 25 percent of their calories from added sugar were almost three times more likely to die of heart problems than those who consumed the least     less than 10 percent.” Dr. Joseph Mercola says, “sugar is a primary dietary culprit in the development of heart disease. To protect your heart health, you need to address your insulin and leptin resistance, which is the result of eating a diet too high in sugars and grains.”

Dr. William Douglass writes that in a recent study, “more than 100 healthy teens were given milkshakes with varying levels of fats and sugars as their brains were scanned. Fat content almost didn’t matter. What did matter was sugar: the more sugar in the shake, the crazier the brain’s reward center went. The biggest burst of activity came with a shake loaded in sugar, but relatively low in fat.”

He added: “This study focused on pure sugar, but all carbs have a similar effect, leading to cravings, hunger, overeating and eventually weight gain and obesity. Fats, meanwhile, do the opposite     leaving you feeling full and satisfied and far less likely to overeat.”

You may have heard of sugar’s connection with metabolic syndrome. The YouDocs, in a February 4 column, explain that a person with any three of five certain conditions has metabolic syndrome. Those conditions? A large waistline, elevated triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, elevated blood sugar, and elevated blood pressure. Metabolic syndrome predisposes a person to “diabetes and heart disease. And it seems that elevated cholesterol and elevated or fluctuating glucose levels are what amp up the grouch.”

If you’re not feeling sweet and loving this Valentine’s Day, you might ask your doctor to check your numbers. Even before the test results come back, begin to heed the You Docs advice: Reduce stress, walk 10,000 steps a day, and eliminate the “Five Food Felons      saturated and trans fats, added sugar and sugar syrups, [and] any grain that isn’t 100 percent whole.”

Be kind to your heart this Valentine’s Day and always!




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