By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
“Sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening, sugar at suppertime. Be my little sugar, and love me all the time.”
– “Sugartime” The McGuire Sisters
You may not be old enough to remember the 1958 music chart topper “Sugartime” by the McGuire Sisters, but the tune serves perfectly as the theme song for that harmful habit known as sugar bingeing.
Excess sugar, as I tell everyone, is the foremost enemy of cardiovascular health because it generates inflammation in the body, promotes weight gain, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, and accelerates the aging process.
Cholesterol is not the problem, as most people think, and as I emphasize in my bestselling book, The Great Cholesterol Myth. Your body makes it and needs it. The problem is too much sugar. Humans did not evolve on the quantity of sugar and sweeteners that we consume routinely and excessively today.
New Research on the Lethality of Sugar
Many studies have shown that higher intake of added sugar is associated with increased cardiovascular risk factors and now a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concludes, for the first time on a national level, that such intake actually heightens significantly the risk of DYING from cardiovascular disease! To be precise, such consumption actually may double the chance of dying from heart disease.
Researchers aren’t just referring to the sugar you may drop into a cup of coffee or tea. The big problem is the so-called added sugar that’s packed into processed foods and sodas.
The key thing here is that if you want to have a bit of sweet, that’s fine. But too many people overindulge without any idea of the accumulating damage they are doing to themselves. Overindulgence is, of course digestive sin, leading often to digestive upset; it also leads to increased cardiovascular events. Furthermore, if you combine sugar with too much food and alcohol – the results can be deadly.
I recall a doctor friend of mine who was experiencing cardiac arrhythmias – his heart was skipping beats. He was also overindulging in sugar and alcohol. Luckily, I was able to set him straight. I remember thinking that if a doctor doesn’t get it about sugar consumption, what about the public at large? Well, the public obviously doesn’t get it. People are too fixated on the cholesterol and fat nonsense and are basically oblivious to the fact that sugar is the big hit man − and can kill you.
According to this latest research, if your sugar intake is roughly a quarter or more of your daily calories, you have twice the risk of a cardiovascular-related death than somebody whose intake is about 7 percent more. At around 19 percent more, the risk is about 38 percent higher. The new study also confirmed the danger of overconsumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, noting that seven servings a week – the equivalent of a 12 ounce can a day – is specifically linked to risk of death from heart disease. This finding isn’t surprising since a common lifestyle choice for many people today is to consume sweetened drinks like sodas, energy drinks, and sports drinks – the top offenders in terms of items with the most added sugar. As if drinking too much sugar wasn’t injury enough, many people worsen the problem by also consuming large servings of carbohydrates throughout the day such as sweets, bagels, snack foods, pasta, and grain heavy meals. A high carbohydrate diet, compounded with sweet drinks and junk food, can easily burden your body with a potentially dangerous sugar load.
According to recommendations from the American Heart Association, a prudent upper limit of intake is no more than 100 calories per day for women (about 6 teaspoons or 36 grams) and 150 calories for men (9 teaspoons or 36 grams) from added sugars. Most people, unfortunately, exceed these guidelines.
Help me get the word out. Share this article with the known sugar-addicts in your network of family and friends – help them prevent sugar induced health problems, before they start!
- Yang Q, et al. Added sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases mortality among US adults. JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(4):516-524. Published online at http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1819573
- Johnson RK, et al. American Heart Association Scientific Paper: Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health. Circulation. 2009;120(11):1011-20. Published online at http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/120/11/1011.full
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