The effects of sugar on heart disease

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

“I’m beginning to wonder about the effect of sugar on heart disease. I’ve heard about new studies being done on sugar raising triglycerides and high blood pressure. If this is the case, I am truly in trouble!”

I can hardly believe I haven’t addressed this topic here yet (out of 328 previous Heart Sisters posts written so far) but this woman’s comment got me thinking about sugar. Not that I need much prompting to think about sugar. I’m a recovering choc-a-holic who, many years ago, once ate half a box of Turtles just to get them out of the house.  (Anybody else out there relate to this kind of choco-fueled craziness?)

I thought so. A landmark report in the journal Circulation called Sugar and Cardiovascular Disease reminds us that well over half of North Americans consume a tooth-rotting, belly-busting 40+ teaspoons of sugar per day.  Continue reading “The effects of sugar on heart disease”

How eating simple carbs raises heart risks for women – but not for men

Do you love a flaky croissant along with your morning coffee? A diet that’s rich in simple carbohydrates like that croissant (quickly transformed into sugar in your bloodstream) raises the risk of heart disease for women, a new Italian study has found.

The same effect, however, is not seen in men, according to the report, published April 12, 2010 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study, by researchers at Italy’s National Cancer Institute, looked not only at total carbohydrate intake but also at what is known as the glycemic index of those carbohydrates — a measure of how quickly and to what extent blood sugar rises after intake of specific carbohydrates.

Dr. Victoria Drake, director of the Micronutrient Information Center at the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University explains:

“A high glycemic index is known to increase the concentration of triglycerides in the blood and lower the concentration of HDL (good) cholesterol. Those adverse effects make it a stronger risk factor for heart disease.”

Surprisingly, no effect from total carbohydrate consumption or consumption of foods with a high-glycemic index was seen in men in the Italian study, a pattern also seen in other studies, Dr. Drake added.  “There is definitely a gender difference.”  Continue reading “How eating simple carbs raises heart risks for women – but not for men”