From eggs to dairy products, from bread to cereals, from fruit to sweets, there’s one common ingredient in most products that can slow the heart and brain development of those at risk of both diseases: sugar.
And while it may not seem like it, the link between sugar and heart disease is becoming more clear every year, with more studies showing that it is linked to both.
What’s the truth about sugar and the heart? Read moreThe heart and the brain have different roles.
The heart pumps blood and oxygen, while the brain controls movement.
The brain’s cells use sugar as energy.
The sugar in fruits and vegetables is a carbohydrate called glucose, which the brain can convert into energy.
“If you have a lot of sugars in your diet, it’s going to slow your metabolism,” says Dr Jennifer Gagnon, a professor of nutrition at Harvard Medical School.
“If you eat lots of fruits and veggies, you’ll use the sugar as fuel to build up your blood sugar, so your brain is going to use the energy you get from eating them as fuel.”
“The same thing happens when you have high levels of sugar in your body,” says Gagno.
“Your brain doesn’t use that glucose as fuel and your body is going, ‘I’m not getting the energy from eating that food’.”
Gagnon is also concerned about sugar-containing foods, like desserts, candy, cereals and pastries, because they can lead to a sugar spike that can lead a person to become dehydrated and even sick.
A few years ago, Gagnons team at the University of Arizona found that high-sugar foods increased a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while sugar-rich foods such as chocolate and sugary cereals were linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
“There are a lot more studies, but we’re starting to get some results that the links are clear,” says the nutritionist.
“But it’s hard to tell exactly how much of the relationship there is.”
The link between sugars and heart diseases is not new.
Researchers have known for decades that eating too much sugar can slow down the growth of the heart, which is an important organ in the body.
But there is a growing body of research showing that sugar is a more potent cause of heart damage than previously thought.
“People are generally aware of the potential health risks from high levels, but there is still a lot to learn about what that means,” says Jennifer Gaskin, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, who is an expert in the relationship between sugars, heart disease.
Gaskin has worked on the link for many years, but she says that it was only recently that she began to look into it more closely.
“I was surprised that the sugar industry is really working on these questions and trying to influence public policy,” she says.
“That’s really interesting.”
The latest research into the link is the latest piece of evidence in a growing effort to explain how sugar is linked with heart disease at a time when the food industry is trying to sell us products that are full of sugar.
“It’s hard for the industry to say that they are not doing anything because the data is clear that they do,” says Kelli Schulze, a nutritionist and author of the book Sugar and the Heart.
“There are studies that have shown that sugar consumption can slow brain development in children.”
They are saying that they’re not contributing to heart disease.”‘
It’s a very complex issue’: Gagnas researchThe latest studies from Gagnis team have focused on the amount of sugar a person can consume daily, not just how much sugar is in the food.”
We’ve known for a long time that eating sugars in a high amount can slow growth in the heart.
But what we’re finding is that there’s a lot less information about the exact amount of sugars a person needs to eat daily,” says Schulz.”
The current literature does not support that sugar causes an increase in the risk of Alzheimer’s.””
What we’ve learned is that people who are obese, who are diabetic, who have metabolic syndrome and are at high risk of diabetes are most at risk,” she adds.”
In that group, eating sugar is the only thing that they can get away with eating.
“For Gagnoni, that meant focusing on foods with lots of sugar, including breakfast cereals such as cereal, crackers, cakes, chips and fruit.”
What’s really fascinating about this is that the vast majority of sugar is actually added in the form of sugar substitutes,” she explains.”
You may not notice it, but the sugars in cereal, snack foods, cracker bars, even some fruit juices and other sweeteners are all sugar substitutes.””
That sugar can actually be added in as a substitute for sugar,” she