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How Sweet is Your Heart?

Posted by itsupportgroup
itsupportgroup
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on Monday, 24 February 2014 in Health & Nutrition

sweet heartHeart disease is multi-factorial, with many factors that contribute to it, such as diet, physical activity level, tobacco use, genetics—and our sugar intake. Sugar is a carbohydrate that is present in many foods we eat.  Sugar can either be a natural component of food, like in fruits and dairy or it can be added, like in packaged foods and sweets.  Some foods, like yogurt, can be a mix of natural and added sugars.

 

When it comes to sugar in the diet, natural sugars are not as big of a concern as much as added sugars are. Eating too much added sugar can cause more than just a few cavities.  Poor oral hygiene overtime, can lead to periodontal disease, which causes inflammation.  This inflammation, if left untreated, can lead to atherosclerosis, which is a hardening of the arteries from plaque buildup.  When arteries are hardened and narrowed, clots may form and cause a heart attack or stroke. Foods high in added sugars are generally high in calories but low in nutrients, so eating these foods frequently can also contribute to obesity, which, as we know, is a risk factor for heart disease.


So how much sugar should you be eating to protect your heart?
  Presently, the American Heart Association recommends Americans limit their intake of added sugars, not natural sugars (fruit lovers rejoice).  They recommend women limit their intake to 6 teaspoons a day (100 calories) and men to 9 teaspoons (about 145 calories).  One 12-oz Coca-Cola® has 9¾ teaspoons of added sugar, which is more sugar than anyone should have in one day—from one product!


When reading ingredient labels, be careful: sugar is disguised by many names, which can make it difficult for the untrained eye.  Some of sugar’s aliases include, but are not limited to: glucose, dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, honey, fructose, invert syrup, agave nectar, turbinado, molasses, treacle and corn syrup.

Eat smart and protect your heart.  Enjoy what you eat and eat what you enjoy, but enjoy it in moderation.

 

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