The winter holidays are upon us. There are family gatherings and all kinds of festive sugary snacks to help us brave the cold. Why consider hear health? It seems that a research study last year cited evidence that foods and drinks with added sugar may be heart health threatening. Who knows what the future brings? Eat, drink, be merry, and sit. In this gambling game of life, enjoy a happy holiday season and a very happy new year.
Mary Poppins believes that “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Do you regularly add spoons of sugar to your morning tea or coffee? While those spoonful or packets may help those beverages go down, they may also be hurting your hear health. According to an article in the Journal of American Medical Association or JAMA, getting too much added sugar in your diet might significantly increase your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in January 2014.
The study concluded that. “Most US adults consume more added sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet. We observed a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk for CVD mortality.”
While there are many risk factors that may lead to an eclipse of the heart or some form of heart failure, the results point that added sugar rather than salt may probably influence cardiovascular health and possible mortality (or life reduction).
The American Heart Association recently updated a section devoted to heart health issues and added sugar. They indicated that sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest source of added sugars in the American diet, often as many as 9 teaspoons of sugar as carbohydrate calories. Those excess carbohydrates may also lead to weight gain and diabetes – other potential risk factors against heart health. The problem is many people consume not one 12-ounce can but as much as 2 liters or nearly a half-gallon of these beverages daily.
That prompted a Congress representative, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), to propose an excise tax on sugared soft drinks, much like those already imposed on cigarettes and alcohol. While there are many supporters of The SWEET Act, there are many that oppose the act from passing.
We are not only talking about sodas and iced-teas/fruit drinks but also sweetened energy and sports drinks. I might accept electrolyte enhancing sport drinks if you exercised intensely but many are consumed while sitting in front of a TV or at a desk.
Can you have your cake and eat it too? I was sitting at Starbucks and noticed someone ordering coffee and a cupcake. A typical cupcake weighs about 3 ounces. It is about 235 calories, mostly from fat and sugars, based on 1 ounce. That’s 700 calories. Keeping in the Christmas spirit, the person ordered an Espresso with steamed milk and caramel brulée flavored sauce. The 16-ounce beverage contains 52 grams of sugar. Then the customer went to the convenience stand and added 3 more packets of sugar. I was drinking an espresso straight with 5 calories.
So, here we are, armed with a study that heart health may be compromised by adding sugars and beverages aren’t the only culprit. Then there are foods that add high fructose corn syrup that say “no added sugar.” Sugar is deemed as sucrose. The problem lies in economics and taking sides with the investment quotient.
Mary Poppins may have been correct about adding sugar to medicine. You’re only sick for a brief time. Not adding sugar is an acquired taste and often requires lots of adaptation.
Few people below the age of 30 would never consider heart health issues as threatening. Most of them continue their dietary habits and, with age, start noticing the consequences. Is it likely that added sugar will shorten your life with deteriorating heat health? Who knows? There are many habits and diseases that make up the ingredients.
This JAMA study on added sugars from last year has stirred new debate amidst health concerns, tastes, and economics.
Whether added sugar will result in diseased heart health over time may still be an open case. One can always say that life is a gamble. Any threatening research may lead with “not me” responses. So smoke, drink booze, and have sugar-rich foods. If you encounter diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular issues along the way, there are always treatments (or not).
Happy holidays! May this be a year that leads to many others with increasing happiness. We hope this won’t be your last.