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Category Archives: Heart Health

Is eating high sugar foods related to developing heart disease?

This might actually be a surprise for some people.  Although there is not a direct link to between sugar consumption and heart disease, there are certainly some indications that there is a link between the two.  Here is why more and more scientists are making that link:

 

1) The more high sugar foods that are consumed by a person, the more likely they are to consume a lot of fat, especially saturated fats.  Most of the sugar that is in our diet is added to foods like baked goods, cereals, and other sweetened foods.  Rarely do people consume lots of sugar because they eat it by the teaspoon.

2) What’s really bad may not be the sugar that you are eating, but what you are not eating.  Most foods that are high in sugar do not contain vegetables, or fruits or fibre pr other important nutrients.  The more high sugar foods you eat the more unbalanced the diet becomes. That means that important nutrients like soluble fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants are not part of the diet.

 

3) Sugar seems to be addictive for some people.  The more they have the more they want.  This makes it difficult to break the cycle and to add foods that contain more nutrients to the diet.

 

4) Inflammation is being linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, and higher levels of C-reactive protein, both of which are know to be risk factors for the development of heart disease.  A high consumption of foods that have a high glycemic index, which are often foods that are high in sugar, is linked to an increase in inflammation.

 

The take home message is that some of us have to avoid foods that contain added sugar completely.  Others can have a bit.  So treat sugar and high sugar foods with respect, and eat them only on an occasional basis.

 

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February is Heart Month

February is heart month, so this month I will highlight some of the food choices that you can make to reduce your risk of heart disease.  It is becoming more apparent that there is more to a heart healthy diet than consuming less saturated fat.  Every week this month I will look at one food or food group that can influence your risk of developing heart disease. 

 

Diet Soda

Did you think that diet soda was a healthy choice?  Some people think that since it has no calories they can drink as much as they want….and they consume it on a daily basis.  Think again!!!  A new study that was just published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that people who drank diet soft drinks daily had a 43% greater chance of having a stroke than people who did not consume any soft drinks at all. 

 

The researchers do not know exactly what is happening in the body to cause this reaction.  What we do know is that soft drinks (diet or regular) do not add any nutritional value to the diet.  We do know that they can be an occasional treat because they taste good. 

 

The take home message here is: Soft drinks can be included in the diet on an occasional basis.  They are a treat to be enjoyed on a special occasion, not  something that we need to have on a daily basis.

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