Most of us are aware of healthy diet options. We’re told to eat fresh vegetables and fruits, fish, poultry, nuts and healthy oils like olive oil. In addition to eating those healthy foods, a better understanding of a key offender that can wreak havoc on our cardiovascular systems might surprise you. This little guilty pleasure is called—SUGAR.
Why is sugar so bad for us? Well, for many reasons, but in regard to our heart’s health, sugar raises our risk of heart disease by contributing to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a condition in which the insulin and leptin levels are high and resistant. Usually, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides and visceral fat are prevalent. This can also lead to issues like diabetes and liver dysfunction.
Individuals that consume high amounts of refined carbohydrates (white flour based baked goods and pasta) and sugars have higher risks of developing metabolic syndrome because their bodies store fat, especially around their midsections.
Insulin is a hormone that helps move sugar into the blood for energy, in the case of an insulin resistant person, they have too much sugar, and the body cannot adequately utilize the source. This leads to weight gain, obesity, and a more sedentary lifestyle. Leptin is a hormone that helps regulate body weight by sending signals to the hypothalamus in the brain. When this is distorted, the body becomes leptin resistant. A person may feel extreme hunger and irritable, contributing to a vicious cycle of overeating foods that are high in sugar and unhealthy fats.
The metabolic syndrome is a major factor in heart disorders and other diseases like stroke, diabetes, and cancers. Metabolic syndrome is becoming a more commonly identified risk factor for cardiovascular disease because a vast amount of Americans are overweight and their bodies are literally inflamed.
The average person consumes 30 teaspoons of sugar per day. It’s hiding in everything from salad dressings to white bread. Sugar is a major staple in the American diet.
Cutting back on sugar is often difficult at first because it’s an addictive additive. It’s important to read labels and look for things like high fructose corn syrup, glucose, dextrose, and fructose to name a few.
Cutting back on sugary drinks like soda and even fruit juices is important. Instead, eat a whole piece of fruit, because the fiber helps to counteract the way that the insulin is digested. Stop eating candy and sugary baked goods, cut back on pasta and white flour products like bread and pretzels and saltines. Try to incorporate more fresh vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, like brown rice, quinoa and oats.
Along with cutting back on sugar, losing weight is a key component of healing metabolic syndrome, so talk to your doctor about starting an exercise program and diet that is right for you.
Cardiac Care Group are experts in taking care of patients with established and complex cardiovascular disease. They recognize the importance of preventive care in those with high-risk factors for the heart.
They offer one of the most advanced tests that show even the tiniest biomarkers and hints of cardiac and vascular disorders. This simple chemistry test allows them to put together a customized plan, which includes early disease management of risk factors and aggressive lifestyle modifications.
Dr. Joseph Freedman MD, MBA
Dr. Freedman brings many years of experience as a cutting edge cardiologist specializing in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of all cardiac disease. He trained at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, continually ranked #1 in Cardiovascular Care, where he focused on cardiac imaging. He achieved five board certifications in Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Comprehensive Adult ECHO, Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT. During his tenure as the lead noninvasive cardiologist at Florida Medical Center in Ft. Lauderdale, he helped lead the hospital to achieve Level 5 chest pain certification, the highest designation of cardiac excellence.
Please call Dr. Freedman’s Office at (239) 574-8463 to make your appointment today.
Cardiac Care Group
3208 Chiquita Blvd S., Suite 110
Cape Coral, FL 33914