(AscendHealthy.com) – Keeping our hearts healthy seems easy to do: eat right, exercise, don’t smoke, maintain a healthy weight and keep stress in check. Even when we think we’re eating right, there can be surprising causes of heart troubles, and one of those causes is excess sugar consumption.
Hidden Sources of Sugar in Beverages
A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA) showed consuming sugary drinks can lead to cardiovascular disease. This included the obvious sugary beverages like soft drinks and packaged sugary fruit drinks, but the study also included fruit beverages like orange juice, grape juice and apple juice. The study concluded that sugar, whether in sucrose or fructose forms, is bad for your heart in large quantities.
Fruit beverages strip out the majority of what makes fruit healthy for us, including the fiber of the fruit that makes us feel full. Juice can actually increase our hunger and cause us to consume as much as 150-250 more calories per meal than a meal consumed with water.
Energy drinks often contain a lot of sugar to help produce the desired energy spike, but lead to an inevitable crash leaving consumers of these drinks to reach for another can to combat the crash. Because of the excess sugar and the cyclic effect, it might be best to avoid them completely.
Sugary Sodas May Lead to Early Death
One study concluded that just two sugary sodas per day could lead to early death from all causes of mortality. That means you’re at a higher risk of dying from cancer, obesity-related disease, heart problems and more — all of which can be prevented by swapping sugary drinks for water instead.
Cohort studies also found a direct link between the regular consumption of sugary soft drinks and heart disease, primarily because of the amount of sugar that people consume and how it affects them.
How Sugar Affects the Heart
As mentioned above, there is also a direct link between sugar and heart disease. Excess consumption of sugar causes weight gain, and obesity causes the heart to work harder to perform normal functions. This may cause your heart to enlarge. Once the heart is enlarged, you may be on your way to suffering irreversible cardiovascular disease.
Sugar spikes may also reduce your energy, which might reduce your exercise or physical activity, potentially leading to heart disease. Sugar spikes might also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Nearly one-third of U.S. adults have high cholesterol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sugary foods and drinks are linked with high cholesterol — which is linked with cardiovascular disease. Sugar is one culprit in the chain that leads to heart attack and reducing sugar in your diet lowers that risk.
Less Sugar May Mean Less Decrease Heart Disease Risk
Sugar should make up less than 10% of your daily caloric intake. One in ten Americans get 10% or more of their dietary intake in the form of sugar, and usually fructose or high-fructose corn syrups. It can be insidious and easily found in foods you might not expect to contain sugar.
Sugar and salt — two ingredients that may increase the risk for heart disease — are added to processed foods to help make them taste better. Reading labels carefully and eating more whole foods might help you better control the amount of added sugar you consume.
We each only have one heart, and it has to last us a lifetime. Taking all the steps we can to protect our hearts only makes sense. It’s the little, hidden things that sometimes trip us up — like excess sugars. By reading labels, cutting back on some sugary treats and drinks, and eating a well-balanced diet, we might decrease our risks of heart disease and all the other factors that might lead to it.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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