Sugar is one of those things that seem unavoidable these days. If it doesn’t have salt in it, it probably has sugar, right? But what does sugar do to your heart and how does it affect your heart health? Let’s explore the effects of sugar on your heart in this week’s blog.
What is Sugar?
Sugar is actually a class of carbohydrates, meaning that not all sugars are the same. And we’re not just talking about white and brown sugar. The most common types of sugar that you’ll encounter in your everyday food palate consists of 5 choices: sucrose, glucose and fructose, lactose, and maltose. While they have some chemical differences, they are relatively the same. The important thing to note here, is that sugar in natural form is the best form of sugar you can get.
No single type of sugar is bad in its own regard, but when it becomes ‘added sugar’ is where the issue starts. Natural sugars such as fructose found in fruits or lactose in milk are considered good sugars and can help manage your blood sugar levels. But when processed foods like your typical supermarket treats start listing ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, that should immediately start flagging some warning signs in your head. Added sugars are where unnaturally high levels of sugar start creeping into your diet. The best way to check sugars is looking at the nutrition facts and seeing the daily levels of sugar that the food item meets, and if that’s not enough, look in the ingredients list for buzz words like high fructose corn syrup and other sugar derivatives.
So What’s The Deal With Sugar?
Sugar has a variety of adverse effects on your heart and cardiovascular system such as an increased risk of diabetes which can lead to heart disease and stroke. Increased blood sugar levels also increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. It also increases blood pressure by an extra buildup of sodium in your body, not to mention how it lowers the levels of beneficial cholesterols and trades it with bad cholesterol accumulating in your body. All in all, taking in more sugar than you should be has some significant consequences if not monitored properly.
We need to be more conscientious on what we eat and what goes into our bodies. Simple things like sugar may seem harmless short term, but in the long run has a variety of adverse effects that could wreak havoc on your long term goals. Using alternatives such as Stevia and doing activities such as exercising help mitigate some of the issues of elevated sugar intake. But the best way to keep your sugar levels down is to make sure that you keep yourself in check and only consume the daily recommended amount of sugar to ensure that you and your heart can last.
Forbes Aggabao -Alexander’s Hope Intern