17 January, 2016    #69

How Sweet It Isn't

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With coronary heart disease (CHD) killing more than 370,000 people every year in the United States, a team of researchers were interested in seeing what's worse for the heart — saturated fats or refined sugars?  Findings indicate that after years of believing fat was worse, it was sugar all along.


"With more than a half century of data, as well as an increased understanding of how nutrition impacts the body, specifically coronary heart disease, it seems appropriate to recommend that  dietary guidelines shift focus away from recommendations to reduce saturated fat and toward recommendations to avoid added sugars. Most importantly recommendations should support the eating of whole foods whenever possible and the avoidance of ultra-processed food." (Heart Institute Press Release)


The research team put its theory to the test and found after just a few weeks of participants consuming a diet high in refined (processed) sugar, those with CHD began to experience several signs of heart abnormalities, like higher levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL (bad cholesterol), and lower levels of HDL (good cholesterol), all of which increase their risk of heart disease. Meanwhile, saturated fats increased levels of LDL, but in doing so also increased levels of HDL, making the impact less dangerous.   Ultimately, it was concluded that sugar consumption, particularly in the form of refined added sugars, are a greater contributor to CHD than saturated fats.


In addition, consuming large quantities of processed sugar, such as high fructose corn syrup and table sugar can lead to leptin resistance — leptin is a hormone responsible for regulating normal body weight. Diets high in processed sugars promote type-2 diabetes, which also lead to a much greater risk for CHD compared to patients maintaining a healthy diet.


Eat less sugar! The USDA's most recent dietary guideline has gotten some pretty long-winded responses from dieters, foodies, and health experts alike—and with good reason. This is the very first time the US government has issued added sugar guidelines, recommending that we keep our consumption of the stuff to no more than 10 percent of overall calories. That's equal to about 180 calories or 45 grams a day for women and 200 calories or 50 grams for men. To put things into perspective, the average American eats a whopping 82 grams of added sugar a day.



Mike Kohut, President, DDMS




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