It is the Sugar NOT the FAT

Just what I (and a few other holistic nutritionists, scientists) have been saying for years.  It is the sugar that is killing us – not cholesterol and saturated fat!

Front page news in the Globe and Mail last Tuesday (February 4, 2014), the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine has published concrete research demonstrating that a high sugar diet has been shown to triple your risk of dying from heart disease.  This conclusion was from a large study, conducted in stages between 1988 and 2010 involving 43,000 people.

It has long been understood that eating too much sugar significantly increases your chances of developing obesity and diabetes.  We can now also say that eating too much sugar damages the heart. 

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The research showed that people who received 25 % or more of their daily calories from added sugar almost tripled their risk of dying of heart disease.  Added sugar includes all sugar, corn syrups, honey and maple syrup.  It does not include sugars that naturally occur in fruits, vegetables and dairy products.  So for the average 31 – 50 year old male with a low level of activity, 25% of daily calorie requirement is  125 – 163 g or more of sugar per day.

1 can of coke has 36 g of sugar.  A cookie from Tim Horton’s has 19 g of sugar.  There are approximately 4 g of sugar in 1 tsp of sugar.  How many teaspoons do you put in your coffee each day?  How many coffees?  It can add up fast!  The biggest contributors of sugar to the diet are sugar-sweetened drinks (pop, iced tea, sports drinks), candy, cakes, cookies, dairy desserts and breakfast cereals.  But sugar is everywhere, even in your bread.  Read labels!

The study also showed that even those with more moderate levels of sugar consumption, from 10 – 25 % or their daily diet, still increased their cardiovascular risk by about 30%.  And the risk of mortality associated with heart disease increased exponentially with increased sugar  consumption.

Canada (Canada’s Food Guide) and The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada do not have specific guidelines on sugar consumption other than vague recommendations to limit excess sugar.  However the World Health Organization sets the threshold at 10 % of daily calories and in the United States the Institute of Medicine recommends that people do not consume more than 25% of their daily calories from added sugars. 

The American Heart Association takes an even more firm approach with no more than 5% of daily calories for women (25 g) and men are not to exceed 7.5 % of daily calories (37 g) from added sugars.

Sugar = inflammation = heart disease.

Wake up without the sugar in your coffee!