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”

Heart-healthy homemade ice cream – with just one ingredient!

My new favourite food – and it’s not only easy, it’s also heart-healthy.  You can whip this up with just one ingredient that you probably have in your kitchen right now. That mystery ingredient, of course, is banana! Frozen bananas turn creamy instead of crumbly in the blender, with a smooth and delectable texture.

Here’s a step-by-step recipe:  Continue reading “Heart-healthy homemade ice cream – with just one ingredient!”

Here’s your basic heart-smart grocery shopping list

Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days! Drop One Dress Size a Day!

Rapid weight loss can be so quick and easy – if you believe all those fad diet advertising claims. A fellow heart attack survivor, for example, tells of losing nine pounds in the past five days. She has accomplished this feat, she explains, thanks to a miracle diet she heard about while watching the Dr. Phil show on television.

Phil is always a font of reliable evidence-based health information. (I’m kidding about that last part, my heart sisters).

She was so inspired by this TV interview with a telegenic, fit and very convincing young author of yet another miracle diet book that she went out and bought the expensive best-seller, and says she is now “thrilled” with her resulting nine-pound weight loss results. She does confess, however, that she’s already had to “cheat” on the strict diet a few times in the past five days, and is “struggling” to stay on it so far, but she still seems thrilled nonetheless.

Trouble is, strict weight loss diets typically result in regaining that lost weight – and more.  Continue reading “Here’s your basic heart-smart grocery shopping list”

Mindless eating: 8 reasons women eat when we’re not even hungry

by Carolyn Thomas

Cornell University researcher and food psychologist Dr. Brian Wansink knows that there are other reasons to eat besides just being hungry.

Dr. Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, a book described by CBC television as the “Freakonomics of Food“, says:

“If we knew why we ate the way we do, we could eat a little less, eat a little healthier, and enjoy it a lot more.”

He is talking about that bag of corn chips your hand keeps dipping into while you watch TV, or that big 13-inch dinner plate you load up – whether you’re hungry or not.

He says that we make about 200 food decisions a day, like:

  • Should I have coffee?
  • Should I put milk in it?
  • Whole or skim?
  • Should I butter my toast before I spread the peanut butter on?
  • Do I pour my orange juice into a short, wide glass (you’ll drink more)
  • or a tall, narrow glass (you’ll drink less)?

He also cites these eight factors that can influence what goes into our mouths that have nothing at all to do with hunger. Do any of these sound familiar to you?   Continue reading “Mindless eating: 8 reasons women eat when we’re not even hungry”

Eggs: good or bad for your heart?

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

“I cannot lay an egg, but I am a good judge of omelettes.”

George Bernard Shaw

Eggs were once vilified for their high cholesterol content and were thought to be a major contributor to heart disease.

According to Harvard University’s Harvard Heart Letter, however, it is not the cholesterol in eggs or other food that’s a major culprit. It’s saturated and trans fats (which our bodies may convert to artery-clogging cholesterol). Here’s how Harvard cardiologists unscramble the dietary facts and myths about the egg.

Fact: Eggs are a good source of nutrients. One egg contains six grams of protein and some healthful unsaturated fats. Eggs are also a good source of choline, which has been linked with preserving memory, and lutein and zeaxanthin, which may protect against vision loss.

Myth: Eating eggs is bad for your heart. The only large study to look at the impact on heart disease of eating up to six eggs per week (reported in the April 2008 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) found no connection between the two. In people with diabetes, though, egg-a-day eaters were slightly more likely to have developed heart disease than diabetics who rarely ate eggs.  (Ed. note: Quelle surprise . . . this study was done on men only). UPDATE January 2015: A new study (Katz et al) on egg consumption in heart patients also found no significant link between eating eggs and heart disease; Quelle surprise . . . study was funded by the American Egg Board (a minor improvement: this study included six women!) Continue reading “Eggs: good or bad for your heart?”