Heart Health:

Death By Sugar

Do you believe that saturated fats cause heart disease? Has your doctor recommended a statin drug to help you lower your cholesterol? Do you eat a standard American diet? If you are like many of us, you were taught your whole life that heart disease is caused by too much dietary fat. For two generations we have been sold a bill of goods — a low fat, high carb bill of goods. And now, both obesity and heart disease are debilitating Americans in astronomical numbers. A recent study shows that 20% of deaths in our country are caused by obesity related problems. At the root of both heart disease and obesity is metabolic dysfunction.

And what drives metabolic dysfunction? Fructose. Sugar. Refined fructose (as in high fructose corn syrup) is found in almost every processed food. When you consume fructose, your body breaks it down into an alcohol type substance that damages your liver and destroys healthy cells. Calories are not all the same! Calories from fructose are metabolized into fat much faster than any other source of calories. So you may only be eating 1,000 calories a day, but if 200 of those calories are from HFCS, you will struggle with too much fat, and are likely to develop metabolic dysfunction.

No one should eat more than 50 grams of sugar in a day, but most Americans consume far more than this amount. A recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association showed a significant correlation between consuming too much sugar and an increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. This study was carried on for fifteen years, and included more than 30,000 Americans. It studied the difference between those whose caloric consumption was less than 10% sugar vs. those whose diets contained 25% or more sugar. As you have probably guessed, those with the high sugar consumption were twice more likely to die from heart disease than those who limited sugar.

So how much sugar should you be eating? According to the American Heart Association, women should not consume more than 25 grams of sugar a day, and men should not consume more than 37.5 grams of sugar a day. When you stop to think that a snickers bar contains 27 grams of sugar, you realize that your snacking habits have to change. If you want to avoid metabolic syndrome, obesity, and heart disease, one of the best things you can do is to cut the sugar out of your life. Start reading labels! Read the sugar grams and realize that your “bank account” limit is 50 grams. If you exceed that, you are risking heart disease and obesity. If you are already struggling with health issues, your bank account sits at 25 and 37.5 grams (women/men). Don’t exceed your “bank account” limits! Also, avoid any “food” product that contains high fructose corn syrup as it will derail your best attempts at good health. The best advice I can give you about sugar is: Read and heed (the label) before you proceed!

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