As concern increases around the world about the consumption of sugar and obesity, The World Health Organization (WHO) confirms that cutting sugar can lead to weight loss. Recently, the WHO has gone so far as to say that free sugars should be less than 10 percent of total energy intake in one’s diet (free sugars are sugar granules that manufacturers, cooks, and consumers add to food or beverages). And if this wasn’t enough for people to start watching their sugar intake, new research recently taking front stage in the science community is now showing that weight gain is not the only problem when it comes to eating sugar – in fact, you’re entire life could be at stake.
The Trouble with Sugar
The University of Texas Health Center at Houston reports that the white, crystallized substance that so many people around the world are addicted to could actually be extremely danger to your heart. A small molecule called glucose 6-phosphate accumulates when we eat too much sugar or too much starch. It causes stress on the heart, alters muscle proteins, and can make it more difficult for our heart to pump blood, ultimately leading to cardiac arrest.
Doctors made the discovery after performing preclinical trials in animal models. After testing tissue taken from patients who had a piece of heart muscle removed, they found that heart damage was caused by glucose 6-phosphate or G-6P. The lead investigator points out that many Americans already have stressed heart muscles due to high blood pressure and that adding too much glucose can only cause “insult to injury.”
Heart patients can be treated with diuretics to control the fluid around the heart, as well as beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors to lower the stress on the heart and allow it to pump better; but such approaches could increase your risks for cardiac arrest. The Centers for Disease Control reports that heart failure kills approximately 5 million Americans every year. There are about 550,000 new people diagnosed with heart failure each year in the United States.
We Are What We Eat
Statistics show that most American adults consume an overwhelming 13 percent of their calories from added sugars. This adds up to a lot of extra calories contributing to fat, as well as stress on the heart. Nutritionists add that, when we eat a lot of sugary foods, we also tend to avoid healthier items such as fruit and vegetables.
How to Reduce Your Sugar
There are ways to reduce your risk of cardiac arrest and obesity and still enjoy sweets. You can cut back on foods with added sugars and make it a lot easier to get the nutrients your body requires. Here are some suggestions offered by the world renowned Mayo Clinic:
- Choose fresh fruits for dessert instead of cakes and pies
- Add fresh fruit to water as opposed to sugary sodas and sports beverages
- Use condiments sparingly, they all have sugar in them
- Avoid sugary, frosted cereals
- Consume low-fat cheese and yogurt and avoid snacks like pastries and cookies
For those who are really concerned about heart health, it may be worthwhile to keep a food journal. Many people don’t realize just how much sugar they are actually consuming. Keeping a food journal can help you keep track of just how much sugar you’re ingesting. You might be surprised to know your daily sugar intake. So much so that it could get you to cut down before it’s too late.