If you want to improve your cardiovascular health, start avoiding sugar. Learn about the connection between sugar and heart disease.

Consuming sugar is natural due to its availability in fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy – all natural food products. In fact, getting your sugar from these natural sources can offer a steady supply of energy to your body. Moreover, eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and more.

sugar and heart diseaseHowever, if you consume too much added sugar, it can negatively impact your health. Some of the main sources of added sugars include soft drinks, cookies, candy, bread, cured meats, and most processed foods.

According to the National Cancer Institute, American adult men take in an average of 24 teaspoons of added sugar daily. Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, had this to say:

“Excess sugar’s impact on obesity and diabetes is well documented, but one area that may surprise many men is how their taste for sugar can have a serious impact on their heart health.”

Sugar and Heart Disease

According to Dr. Hu, “the higher the intake of added sugar, the higher the risk for heart disease.” While not completely understood, high sugar intake may overload the liver and contribute to diabetes, increasing heart disease risk.

Furthermore, added sugar can increase chronic inflammation and raise blood pressure levels, two factors that lead to heart disease. “The effects of added sugar intake – higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease – are all linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke,” says Dr. Hu.

While 24 teaspoons of added sugar per day are too much, it’s hard to say how much is okay to consume. Since sugar isn’t a required nutrient, the Institute of Medicine in charge of RDAs hasn’t set a formal number.

However, according to the American Heart Association, men shouldn’t consume more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugar daily. To illustrate, this amount is close to how much added sugar is in a 12-ounce can of soda.

Limiting Sugar Intake

mediterranean diet benefitsIf you want to limit your added sugar intake, start by reading food labels and avoiding or limiting food products. Sugar added can be listed as brown sugar, corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, honey, malt sugar, molasses, and more. However, you should be smart about limiting your sugar intake, otherwise, it may backfire.

“You may find yourself reaching for other foods to satisfy your sweet cravings, like refined starches, such as white bread and white rice, which can increase glucose levels, and comfort foods high in saturated fat and sodium, which also cause problems with heart health,” says Dr. Hu.

Cutting back on sugar is all about supporting your heart health, which you can also do by exercising, eating healthily, and taking supplements like HeartBeet Complete. Try HeartBeet Complete as a way to promote better circulation, blood pressure, and overall heart health.