Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is responsible for one in every six deaths in the United States. Healthcare professionals have been focusing on prevention and, from a dietary guideline, on limiting saturated fats. But here is a question and something to think about: Does sugar have a greater impact on Coronary Heart Disease than saturated fat? Have you ever thought that sugar may also be a factor in Heart Disease?
Based on studies that were done by Keys research, a British physiologist John Yudkin argued that sugar intake was more closely related to the incidence of and mortality from CHD. From the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, DiNicolantonio and O’Keefe evaluated the evidence to date linking saturated fats and sugars to CHD. The authors concluded that sugar consumption, particularly in the form of refined added sugars, is a greater contributor to CHD than saturated fats. “While the original studies upon which the longstanding guidelines were based were largely observational,” said DiNicolantonio, “We now have more than a half-century of data as well as increased understanding of how nutrition impacts the body and specifically coronary Heart Disease.”
Eating a diet with high sugar for just a few weeks has been shown to cause many abnormal blood test findings. Just to verify, sugars in fruits and vegetables do not increase the risk for CHD. It’s the issue of refined sugars that are in processed foods. The increased sugar in your diet causes increased inflammation in the body. The impact of this inflammation can be tested through Homocysteine which can be a better indication for CHD because it will detect inflammation of cardiovascular and nerve tissue. Ideal homocysteine should be under 6µmol/L. Often with traditional lab testing and wellness screenings this key marker, Homocysteine, which can detect CHD is NOT being looked at because the focus is on cholesterol which is not the best way to evaluate risk for Coronary Heart Disease.
What can you do to prevent taking in too much sugar, reduce the risk for CHD, and really know what to focus on so that you can prevent CHD?
Try these easy step by step actions to reduce the risks of Coronary Heart Disease:
1. Avoid processed foods as much as possible. Focus on a whole food type of diet, such as Paleo or Mediterranean diets, which are similar in the focus of eating whole foods and limiting or consuming little to no grains and starches.
2. In addition to your typical blood test include these tests too: glucose, hemoglobin A1C, LDH/lactate dehydrogenase, homocysteine.
3. Exercise- We have to get moving and increase our heart rate to a healthy level with a focus on building and maintaining muscle through resistance-based exercise.
4. Prevention is always the best cure. If you happen to have heart disease in your family, then take preventative measures as soon as possible.