While our government recommends 25 percent, the American Heart Association recommends people consume merely 5 percent. That should make us stop and think before blindly following these guidelines. Certainly we should pause before serving this amount of sugar to our children each day.
The research findings suggest that the sugar guidelines need to be re-evaluated. They showed consuming one fourth of the daily calories from fructose or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a genetically modified ingredient, increased participants’ risk of heart disease. It specifically increased their LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglycerides and apolipoprotein B, a protein that can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries.
Participants who drank the beverage sweetened with glucose did not see the same increases. The explanation lies in the fact that the human body has a mechanism to keep the liver from absorbing too much glucose, which is a sugar found in nature. However, no such stop sign exists for fructose – this includes all other dietary and artificial sugars as well.
Increased sugar consumption among Americans has become an epidemic, contributing to a rise in not only heart disease and high blood pressure, but also obesity and type 2 diabetes. This has been supported by numerous findings including the one recently reported by Bloomberg BusinessWeek – increasing soda consumption fuels rise in diabetes, heart disease. Consuming as little sugar as possible is ideal. At the very least one should try to adhere to 5 to 10 percent of their daily calories from sugar to help combat the onslaught of chronic diseases on the rise in America. For example, in the last decade there were 130,000 new cases of diabetes, 14,000 new cases of heart disease, and 50,000 more lives affected by heart disease.
It’s estimated that two out of three adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese. It’s time for all of us to be proactive about our health! The best place to start is by making lifestyle changes: adding physical activity and focusing on proper nutrition and diet. For example, try to avoid all trans fats or hydrogenated fats. Instead consume real fats, known as monounsaturated fats, found in olive oil, nuts, seeds and flaxseeds – consumption of these real fats has been shown to lower cholesterol as well as decrease the incidence of heart disease.
Avoid processed foods, which are stripped of essential nutrients, chemically altered and loaded with preservatives; avoid artificial sweeteners, these are molecular poisons that promote increased appetite and create an addictive cycle.
In particular, avoid diet sodas loaded with artificial sugars such as aspartame. If the thought of giving up Diet Coke is unnerving, there’s a healthy alternative– Zevia. Need motivation to make the switch? Read this article: Is Your Diet Soda Killing You? There are a number of other compelling reasons to say goodbye to diet beverages once and for all. Look for natural sweeteners such as Stevia and Xylitol that are free of harmful chemicals. Xylitol is slowly absorbed and metabolized, resulting in very negligible changes in insulin.
Additionally, plaque build-up can be prevented and reversed through proper vitamin and mineral supplementation. A great heart healthy vitamin protocol consists of the following: vitamin C, L-Lysine, L-Proline, Coenzyme Q10, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Omega 3 and Magnesium Citrate, as well as lowering homocysteine levels by boosting levels of B12 and folic acid.
The need to be proactive in approaches to improving our overall health is more urgent than ever. Please don’t wait another day to start making healthy lifestyle changes!
To learn more about heart disease prevention, be sure to watch Health & Wellness Solutions’ 6 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease.