New Studies Confirm the Surprising Relationship Between Sugar, Insulin Resistance, and Heart Disease.
IMPORTANT health information follows. More people need to know about this so please read this article and reblog or send those you care about the link to my blog. Heart disease is still the #1 killer in the western world… Accounting for 17% of all deaths (according to the WHO) and killing over 94,000 people in the UK every year. In 2006, heart failure cost the NHS £625 million, community based drug therapies cost £129 million (NICE 2003). In 2006 CHD cost £29 BILLION with 69 Million work days lost. (2004) As you can tell, heart disease not only kills but it weighs heavily on the economy and health care system of our country.
For years it was believed that eating too much fat was the cause of heart disease. And for that reason, the 1980s saw a a new “low-fat” movement. However, heart disease is still increasing. And so is obesity. If fat was the problem then why are people still having more heart attacks, getting fatter, and more of them developing Type 2 Diabetes?
Well, a big part of the answer is SUGAR. As I’m about to show you in this article, sugar is a big reason why 1/3 of us have high blood triglyceride levels, making them (maybe even you) more susceptible to a cardiac event – heart disaster! Don’t be fooled by low-fat products because if fat has been reduced or removed, then manufacturers know that something else has to take its place. In many cases, it’s sugar.
So why is sugar so bad? Well, it can destroys every cell and system in your body and although I won’t be touching on every one its negative health effects here, I will be discussing the rarely talked about relationship between sugar, insulin resistance, and heart disease. After reading this article, I guarantee you’ll never look at sugar the same way again.
New Study Finds Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Increase Risk of Heart Disease This really comes as no surprise (after you understand how all this works) but a March 2012 study in the journal Circulation (USA) with 42,883 men found a significant and positive association between drinking sugar-sweetened beverages and the risk of coronary heart disease. In fact, the researchers revealed that for a one serving per day increase in sugar-sweetened beverage intake, the risk of CHD increased by 19%.
If you thought that drinking a pre-packaged fruit juice or soda pop was only doing damage to your waistline, then think again. This is just one of many studies showing sugar’s detrimental effects on the heart and cardiovascular system. As we’ll see below, fructose (which makes up roughly 50% of the sugar molecule sucrose as well as poisonous high-fructose corn syrup) is perhaps the main culprit here.
Why? Well, among other reasons, the liver has a very tough time metabolising fructose (as opposed to glucose). In fact, roughly 30% of fructose intake is converted to fat in the liver. One of the ways this happens is through a process known as de novo lipogenesis (or “new fat creation”). There’s dramatic rise in DNL after fructose consumption? Crazy, right?
Fructose and Uric Acid Not only does fructose (ie. sugar) add more fat (in the form of triglycerides) to your bloodstream – not a good thing by any stretch of the imagination – but also stresses your heart and vascular system by increasing blood pressure.
How? Well, one of the by-products of fructose metabolism is uric acid. You may have heard of it before. It’s the precursor to and associated with gout. But in this case, uric acid increases blood pressure by preventing the normal way your blood vessels open and tighten to control your Blood Pressure.
Does that make sense? The combination of increased fat production and the creation of uric acid are just 2 ways that sugar puts you at greater risk of heart disease. No wonder heart disease is still killing more of us than any other disease!
What About Fruit? So, does that mean that fruit is bad for your heart too? Well, first of all, fructose is only a portion of the sugar found in fruit. Some fruit have more, some have less. But either way, fruit is a natural whole food and if anything should be eaten in greater amounts to prevent heart disease.
Case in point… A 2011 study assessed the effect of low glycemic index fruit intake in type 2 diabetes and whether or not it increased the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Temperate climate fruit, which are generally low GI, were the focus and included apples, pears, citrus fruit (oranges, tangerines and grapefruit), berries (strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, blackberries and blueberries) and the Prunus family (nectarines, peaches and plums).
Not surprisingly, the low GI fruit consumption is associated with lower blood pressure and CVD risk and supports a role for low GI fruit consumption in the management of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. FANTASTIC! This shows that WHOLE foods are an important ingredient to life-long health.
Fruits have a large amount of fibre, which naturally slows down the amount of fructose that reaches the liver at any given time. Therefore, the liver can more easily process the fructose from fruit, meaning less of it is converted to fat. Fruit is also loaded with antioxidants, which are very important for fighting off free-radicals and preventing oxidative damage in your arteries. So go ahead – get your 8-12 servings of fruits and veggies! Yes I said 8-10 servings!!
The Beginning of the End – To further understand how sugar eventually leads to a greater risk of heart disease, we need to start at the beginning. When you eat sugar (specifically glucose), it causes a spike in blood sugar. The greater the glycemic index (load) of a food or meal, the greater that spike will be. Generally, refined grains (white bread, pasta, pastries, etc…), sweeteners, and sweets are the major culprits here.
But, your body is amazing. It knows that high levels of sugar in your blood is dangerous, your pancreas produces and then secretes a hormone called insulin. Insulin is like a VIP tour guide that takes excess blood sugar and brings to your muscle, fat, and liver cells. Without insulin, blood sugar (glucose) almost always would not be able to enter and do its job in your cells. So, in order for things to operate smoothly, your pancreas must first produce and secrete insulin and, second, your cells must be “sensitive” (or responsive) to it.
However, eating a lot of sweet/sugary foods creates a cascade of events that can eventually lead to a condition called “Insulin Resistance” or Diabetes. When this happens, your cells are no longer sensitive to insulin. So, no matter how much insulin you produce it has no effect.
The reason? You’ve simply been exposed to too much of it over the years and no longer respond to this important hormone. This creates a deadly scenario… You have sugar in your bloodstream but cannot store or move it into your muscle, liver, or fat cells, which means you have elevated blood sugar. If, your blood sugar remains high for a prolonged period of time, disastrous consequences can occurr.
Too much sugar EATS AWAY at your blood vessels, nerves, and other tissues in your body causing eye, nerve and digestive damage
BAD News. But that’s just the beginning. Let’s assume that you have become insulin resistant (that you have Diabetes) like the 2.9 million other sufferers in the UK alone.
How Insulin Resistance Can Hurt Your Heart Under healthy conditions, insulin stores sugar in your cells. It also encourages fat storage too. You might not like that about insulin but that’s the way it goes. If you don’t want as much insulin circulating in your blood, and less sugar stored as fat, then don’t spike your blood sugar with poor quality foods, biscuits and sweets.
When insulin resistance occurs, your cells NO longer respond to insulin. Therefore, no sugar can be stored. At first glance, if you want to lose weight you might think that’s a good thing but let me explain why it’s not. Apart from the fact that too much sugar in your blood WILL ruin your arteries, nerves, and other precious tissues… It also increases triglycerides (fats) in your blood, raising your risk of heart disease. In fat cells – insulin resistance triggers an increased release of a hormone (HSL), which increases fat breakdown into free fatty acids. These free fatty acids (FFA) then move to your liver. In the liver FFAs can either be converted to energy in your muscles OR… Converted back into triglycerides for storage OR incorporated into dangerous VLDL particles. (High blood triglyceride levels)
Side note: When your doctor measures your “blood triglycerides” he/she is measuring the amount of triglycerides in VLDL particles in your blood. A higher the number means you’re at greater risk of heart disease.
Not only does insulin resistance increase your blood triglycerides by increasing VLDL formation but it also activates all of the fat-forming genes in your liver. This essentially means that more processes occur to convert sugar into fat, rather than energy.
Similarly, HYPERGLYCEMIA (too much sugar) causes enzyme processes in the liver to favour cnverting excess sugar to more fatty acids. They are converted into triglycerides (yet again) rather than being burned as energy. All of these events lead to one major problem… High blood triglyceride levels (aka. VLDL) which is big time risk factor for heart disease.
Thankfully, this level can easily be attained through lifestyle changes such as diet, weight loss, and exercise.
The Take Home Message…… SUGAR – directly related to diabetes and weight gain – could be such a big problem for your heart as well?
But after reading this article, I’m sure you can see why sugar (yet again) should have a very very small place in your diet.
Disease doesn’t just happen. Genetic factors are extremely minimal (5-10%) in comparison to what really matters…
What you’re putting in your mouth and whether or not you’re moving your body.
If you want to avoid heart disease and diabetes (insulin resistance), then start by limiting your sugar intake.
Doing so will also improve all other aspects of your health as well!
Don’t add sugar to your food, never eat anything with HFCS, avoid added Fructose. Diabetic Sugar is often made from corn syrup (Poisonous stuff).
Look at labels on packages and don’t buy anything with sugar as the first few ingredients.
Example – Just have a look at flavoured yoghurts… if Sugar is the first ingredient – it’s mostly sugar – not yoghurt!! Buy plain greek yoghurt and add your own fruit – fresh or frozen – kind to your heart and completely YUMMY!!
JaxAllen miclub Cheltenham follow me @miclubtweets