Your heart on sugar: The truth revealed

“A high-fat diet is bad for your heart.”

You’ve heard this for so long — you know it like the back of your hand. But you know better now…

Fish oil, coconut oil, olive oil and the healthy fats in avocados and nuts contain fatty acids that support good health. These are the fats you’ve been encouraged to include in your diet to help fight against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and heart disease.

But here’s something you probably didn’t know…

It’s sugar that presents the real heart attack danger.

And for at least fifty years, the sugar industry has been footing the bill to make sure this sinister truth was hidden by its low-fat propaganda campaign…

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Putting profit ahead of health

In 1954, the president of the Sugar Research Foundation gave a speech describing a great business opportunity.

If Americans could be persuaded that eating a lower-fat diet was good for their health, he said, they’d eat less fat, and more sugar.

But research was already being published that suggested a connection between sugar and coronary disease. So, the SRF president commissioned a study of his own, one that would disprove this research.

Harvard scientists conducted the study. They looked at a variety of prior research into the dietary causes of heart disease.

Their conclusion: much of this prior research was badly flawed. Especially studies that named sugar as the problem. It seemed that dietary fat was the real culprit.

The Harvard study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1967. One of the researchers was the chairman of Harvard’s Public Health Nutrition Department — and a member of the SRF board.

The SRF paid $50,000 in today’s dollars for their study. Of course, this funding source was never made public.

Today, the Coca-Cola company is following in these deceptive footsteps. They’re not happy that the amount of full-calorie soda Americans drink has dropped by 25 percent since the 1990s.

Coca-Cola supported the now-defunct Global Energy Balance Network, a non-profit that promoted the idea that lack of physical exercise, not bad diet, was primarily responsible for the obesity epidemic.

Another attempt to divert our attention from the real problem…

How much is too much?

Despite this type of deception, we’ve seen the light…

If you’re getting 25 percent or more of your daily calories from sugar, you’re a heart attack in the making. Studies show that this much sugar doubles your chances of dying as a result of heart disease.

This is true even if you’re eating an otherwise nutritious diet. Sugar puts such a strain on your heart, that even healthy people can fall victim to its effects.

A high-sugar diet causes your body to mimic the effects of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD. Your liver will produce compounds that cause plaque buildup in the arteries, making stroke and heart attack almost certain.

So, how much sugar is OK?

According to the American Heart Association, women should consume less than 100 calories of added sugar a day (about 6 teaspoons), and men less than 150 calories a day (about 9 teaspoons).

To put that in perspective, a 12-ounce can of soda has about 9 teaspoons of sugar. Just one can puts you over the recommended limit.

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Ways to avoid the sugar trap

Here are some great ways to limit your sugar intake, and protect your heart:

  • Give up sodas. Just a can a day triples your stroke risk. But don’t make the switch to dementia-causing diet drinks.
  • Cut back on the sugar you add to coffee or tea.
  • Buy fresh fruits or fruits canned in water or natural juice. Avoid fruit canned in syrup.
  • Instead of adding sugar to cereal or oatmeal, try fresh or dried fruit (beware: dried fruit often has sugar added).
  • When baking cookies or cakes, cut the sugar called for in the recipe by one-third or one-half. Or, substitute unsweetened applesauce for sugar. You often won’t notice the difference!
  • Try using spices in recipes, like ginger, allspice, cinnamon or nutmeg.
  • Instead of sugar, try stevia. It’s a natural, safe sweetener derived from plant leaves.
  • Learn to read package labels. There are more than seventy different names for sugar. Sucrose, barley malt, cane juice and brown rice syrup are just some of these. Find more here.
  • Try plain yogurt. Instead of the sugary fruit-on-the-bottom version, try plain, and add your own fresh fruit.
  • Fruit is better than fruit juice. It has more fiber, and usually fewer calories.
  • Watch the condiments. Ketchup, barbecue sauce and some mustards have added sugar.
  • Chew fennel seeds. They’re naturally sweet, but have no sugar, and curb cravings.
  • Eat dark chocolate, not milk. Not only does dark chocolate have half the sugar content, it’s rich in minerals and antioxidants that protect your heart.
  • Buy sugar-free versions of tomato sauce, peanut butter, salad dressing and other frequently used foods.

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Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.