The general term that describes a disease of the heart or blood vessels is cardiovascular disease and it is one of the commonest and most dangerous complications of diabetes.
Our regular readers will know that the mainstream’s first line of defence against cardiovascular disease is cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. In fact, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that people who have just a 10 per cent risk of developing cardiovascular disease should be offered statins.
Apart from the fact that recent research has shown that your cholesterol levels have little bearing on your risk of developing heart disease, the mainstream still prescribes statin drugs while ignoring the huge range of dangerous side effects associated with statins, including depleting your body of co-enzyme Q-10, a vital molecule for healthy heart function.
In fact, new research has shown that there is a very simple way of reducing your cardiovascular disease risk factors, without exposing yourself to drug side effects: Simply cut added sugar from your diet.
This latest study found that 71.4 per cent of US adults consumed more than 10 per cent of their calories from added sugars – defined as those present in processed foods, including sugar-sweetened drinks, desserts, confectionery, packaged cereals and baked goods, but excluding the naturally occurring sugars in fruits and vegetables.
For 10 per cent of the people studied, added sugar accounted for a massive 25 per cent or more of calories consumed. The data showed that, over a 15-year period, eating this amount of sugar was associated with a 2.75 times greater risk of death from cardiovascular disease, when compared with an intake of less than 10 per cent.
This study makes it clear that high sugar consumption is not, as previously thought, simply a marker for an unhealthy diet or obesity. As an independent risk factor for heart disease, it is actually far more significant than intake of saturated fat.
To help you on your way to cutting sugar from your diet, here are the ten most important dietary changes you can make to cut your risk of cardiovascular disease:
- Cut out sweets and confectionery (except dark chocolate with 70 per cent or more cocoa solids) and reduce the sugar you add to drinks and food to an absolute minimum.
- Keep desserts, biscuits, cakes and pastries as once-in-a while treats rather than a regular part of your diet.
- Replace sweetened drinks with water or herbal teas.
- Ditch sweetened breakfast cereals, ready meals and junk foods, which are often loaded with added sugar.
- Make sure you eat five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Snack on nuts and fruit if you need something between meals.
- Make fish a regular part of your diet, especially the oily kind that is full of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Use extra virgin olive oil for cooking, salad dressings and pouring over vegetables.
- Increase your intake of whole grains, pulses and seeds, for instance by having wholemeal pitta bread with hummus (made from chick peas and sesame seeds).
- Be plentiful with garlic and herbs such as rosemary, sage and thyme.
- OK, this last one isn’t a dietary change, but reducing the time you spend sitting, as well as making sure you exercise regularly, could just save your life!
Here's to keeping your heart strong and healthy
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Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone’s personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
Yang Q, Zhang Z, Gregg EW, Flanders WD, Merritt R, Hu FB. Added sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases mortality among US adults. JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Feb 3 (Online ahead of print).
Bertoia ML1, Triche EW, Michaud DS, Baylin A, Hogan JW, Neuhouser ML, Tinker LF, Van Horn L, Waring ME, Li W, Shikany JM, Eaton CB. Mediterranean and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension dietary patterns and risk of sudden cardiac death in postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014; 99(2):344-351.
Category: Cardiovascular Risks