As you take down Christmas decorations, gently folding tinsel and garland, safely wrapping your favorite ornaments, and tucking unused rolls of wrapping paper into closets, you might be tempted to save those leftover holiday treats. Snagging a red sprinkled cookie or munching on peppermint bark over the next week never hurt anyone. And if your New Year’s resolution falls under the spectrum of “get healthy” or “eat better,” you can justify that one sweet treat a day doesn’t ruin your goal. But perhaps you don’t realize the danger of sugar. A recent study has proven that consumption of sugar greatly increases your risk for heart disease, even if you are otherwise “healthy.” Maybe it’s time to rethink your New Year’s resolution and specifically determine to cut out added sugars from your diet. Being disciplined in 2018 might mean a healthy heart for the rest of your life.
How Much Is Too Much?
Most people don’t realize how much added sugar is in the foods and beverages they consume on a daily basis. So many of the processed snacks, cereals, and pastries we enjoy have a dangerous amount of sugar. On average, added sugar makes up 10% of a person’s daily calorie intake. However, for every one person out of ten, 25% of their consumed calories comes from added sugar. The study reveals that people within this category were twice as likely to die from some form of heart disease. The risk of death due to heart problems rose incrementally with the amount of sugar intake. The American Heart Association recommends that women consume a maximum of 6 teaspoons of sugar each day and that men consume a maximum of 9 teaspoons. Surprisingly enough, a 12-ounce can of soda contains almost 9 teaspoons of added sugar. So one soda a day is already more than the recommended serving for women.
Linking Sugar And Heart Disease
The exact reason that sugar causes heart disease is still under study. However research has shown that sugar-sweetened beverages can raise blood pressure. We also know that high-sugar diets prompt the liver to deliver harmful fats into the bloodstream. Added sugars are also known as “empty calories” because they are included in your calorie count but provide zero nutrients, thus adding those unwanted extra pounds. Each of these results are known for increasing the risk of heart disease. You might be tempted to argue that the amount of sugar intake can be balanced by an otherwise healthy diet. This is untrue. The effects of sugar are not dependent upon your consumption, or lack of, fruits and vegetables. People who eat too much sugar are still at a greater risk of heart disease and death even if they also eat a relatively healthy diet.
A New Resolve
Sugar is everywhere! In order to truly avoid added sugar and keep your heart healthy, you’ll need to replace several items on your grocery list and commit to reading labels. By and large, avoid sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, and fruit drinks. Grab fresh fruit instead of cookies, cakes, pastries, ice cream, and candy. Consider oatmeal and unsweetened yogurt instead of cereal. The first few weeks may be really difficult, but the more disciplined you are, the sweeter that apple is going to taste!
TrustCare Heart offers heart screenings starting at $25. Early diagnosis through a screening and treatment can significantly reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. TrustCare Heart Clinic is here to guide you down a path that keeps you and your heart healthy. If you have questions or concerns about your heart health, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment. Let’s make 2018 the year of finally getting—and staying—healthy.