Imagine you’re at the theater watching the latest action film. You know there’s going to be a classic bad guy, a hero, and most likely some sort of damsel in distress. In a lot of films you already have the bad guy pegged – I mean c’mon, he’s showing all of the classic bad guy signs AND he just LOOKS like a villain, right? Well, what if you were wrong and that bad guy was really one of the good guys… and that other nondescript guy in the background – HE is really the bad guy, only everyone had no clue. Sneaky, huh?
Ok, so let’s take this movie character/role scenario and insert some new players. Imagine that the victim in this film is your heart. The “good guy” is cholesterol – (yes, cholesterol), and the “bad guy” role goes to… (drum roll, please) SUGAR!!
Are you surprised? It seems that sugar has been flying under the radar for quite some time, while cholesterol has been demonized and been thrown under the bus. You know you’ve heard that you shouldn’t eat too many eggs because they are high in cholesterol, and many other myths and wise tales. Poor cholesterol.
Not only does cholesterol NOT cause heart disease (this was disproved in the Framingham Study), but also it is essential to the body for cellular function and hormone production. The body both has the ability to synthesize its own cholesterol, as well as obtain it from certain dietary sources, such as eggs and animal fats. Your body wouldn’t do this unless cholesterol was essential for a healthy body, wouldn’t you agree? The human body is a very smart machine.
The body is so smart and does so many things for itself, but yet is still vulnerable to attacks by the “bad guy”, aka SUGAR. Not only is this powdery, sweet, and addicting substance everywhere these days, but it’s not being realized for the real villain it is. A deadly villain.
You can find it in everything from fruit juices and sauces, to infant formula. Americans are consuming more sugar than ever before, while at the same time seeing rising obesity, heart disease, and diabetes rates. The more processing and the more sugar we add to our food, the sicker we seem to get. Coincidence? I think not.
Not only is sugar guilty of spiking blood sugar, and causing tooth decay, but according to The American Heart Association and a study published in January 2014:
[pull_quote_center]Getting too much added sugar in your diet could significantly increase your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.[/pull_quote_center]
It seems that more and more research is coming out vindicating healthy fats and cholesterol, but shedding light on the harmful effects of sugar. Cholesterol and fats have been demonized needlessly for far too long, so it’s great to see more and more research, as well as medical professionals, coming forward to vindicate them and to place more of the blame where it belongs – on sugar.
According to Dr. Stephen Sinatra,
[pull_quote_center]The real villain in heart disease isn’t fat – but sugar. With Americans eating a diet that’s high in sugar, and other refined carbohydrates that are converted to sugar, we’re unwittingly giving ourselves heart disease in record numbers.[/pull_quote_center]
So how does sugar contribute to heart disease? Well, put simply, sugar causes inflammation. When sugar is eaten, it spikes insulin levels, which if insulin is continuously spiked, it can be rough and hard on the fragile endothelial lining of blood vessels. When this vital lining is damaged, other cells flock to the site to try and repair and protect it, ultimately leading to an inflammatory response and potential atherosclerosis, or clogging and hardening of the arteries. This reduces blood flow and can eventually lead to heart attack or stroke.
This kind of makes me want to put down the bag of cookies. How about you?
Not only does sugar taste good and make you want more, but it can be deadly. Plus, sugar and big food manufacturers are VERY sneaky in where they put it and on how they can even sneak it into your food. Sugar goes by MANY names, such as: dextrose, fructose, sucrose, saccharin, barley malt, agave, beet sugar, cane sugar, molasses, brown rice syrup, cane juice, corn syrup, and the list goes on and on.
So how can you take control of your health in a world of overly processed food? Glad you asked! There are a few ways – You can start by embracing healthy fats and cholesterol in your diet and limiting the sugar and processed carbohydrate intake. All carbs turn into sugar once they’re in your body, so eating too many of them won’t do your arteries any favors. When at the grocery store, be sure to read all of the labels and ingredients lists (sugar is sneaky!), checking for any added sugar.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons, or 100 calories a day of sugar for women; and no more than 9 teaspoons, or 150 calories per day for men. By keeping your sugar and carbohydrate intake on the lower side, you’ll be keeping your insulin and blood sugar levels more stable, as well as your arteries. Less sugar intake is definitely a step towards better health, as well as less obesity. Don’t let the “bad guy” win.
Republished by Blog Post Promoter