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Sugar & Heart Disease

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Heart disease: Cutting out one type of food significantly reduces your risk says new study

HEART disease: There are around 7.6 million people living with a heart or circulatory disease in the UK: four million men and 3.6 million women according to the British Heart Foundation. You can significantly reduce your risk by cutting out one food type, says latest study. What is it?

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a major cause of death both in the UK and worldwide. Heart disease is caused by the blood supply being blocked or slowed by a build-up of fatty tissues in the arteries. A new study advises on cutting out one type of food which could significantly reduce your risk of developing the potentially life-threatening condition.

Cutting 20 percent of sugar from packaged foods and 40 percent from beverages could prevent 2.48 million cardiovascular disease events including strokes, heart attacks, and cardiac arrests, found a new study.

A team of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOH) created a model to see the impacts of a pragmatic sugar-reduction and how it affects one’s health.

Consuming sugary foods and beverages is strongly linked to obesity and diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of mortality. 

“Sugar is one of the most obvious additives in the food supply to reduce to reasonable amounts,” said Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, co-senior author and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

“Our findings suggest it’s time to implement a national program with voluntary sugar reduction targets, which can generate major improvements in health, health disparities, and healthcare spending in less than a decade.”

Another study published in JAMA Internal Medicine looked at the damaging effects of added sugar for the heart.

Dr Frank Hu and his colleagues found an association between a high-sugar diet and a greater risk of dying from heart disease.

Over the course of the 15-year study, people who got 17 to 21 percent of their calories from added sugar had a 38 percent higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared with those who consumed 8 percent of their calories as added sugar.

"Basically, the higher the intake of added sugar, the higher the risk for heart disease," explained Dr Hu.

Consuming too much added sugar can raise blood pressure and increase chronic inflammation, both of which are pathological pathways to heart disease.

Eating too much sugar can also lead to tooth decay which is linked to heart disease.

While this link is still subject to research, there is enough evidence linking tooth decay to cardiovascular disease that dentists and cardiologists recommend reducing sugar consumption and regular dental check-ups and cleanings to combat this risk.

There is some evidence individuals with gum disease have thicker blood vessels in their necks and that constant low-level infections can negatively affect the heart.

Sugars damage on the heart may include:

·         Increasing the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease and stroke

·         Spiking blood sugar levels (and so insulin levels), which increases your risk of obesity and heart disease

·         Stopping triglycerides (fat in the blood connected with cardiovascular disease) from breaking down.

·         Lowers the level of HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) while raising LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels

·         Increasing blood pressure through increasing sodium accumulation in the body.

  According to the American Heart Association, symptoms of heart disease may include:

·         Chest pain

·         Feeling sick

·         Stomach pain

·         Sweating

·         Leg pain

·         Arm pain

·         Jaw pain

·         Choking sensations

·         Swollen ankles

·         Extreme fatigue

·         Irregular heartbeat




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