Sugar and heart health

Do you know where sugar lurks?

The risk of dying from heart disease begins to rise when calories from sugar make up more than 15 percent of the total calories.

The link between sugar and heart health is clear: The risk of dying from heart disease begins to rise when calories from sugar make up more than 15 percent of the total calories.

Sugar has recently been making headline news, thanks to a number of studies focusing on sugar and heart health.

Sugar has been linked to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. A recent study reviewing data from 10,000 United States adults (April 2014, JAMA Internal Medicine) found that, compared to people whose sugar intake was less than 10 percent of their calories, those who reported between 10 and 25 percent of their calories coming from sugar had a significantly higher risk of dying from heart disease, and those who had 25 percent or more of their calories from sugar were almost 3 times as likely to die from heart disease.

The risk of death from heart disease actually began to rise when calories from sugar made up more than 15 percent of the total intake. For a person eating 2,000 calories, this would be the equivalent of just one 20-ounce Mountain Dew a day. Clearly there is a link between sugar and heart health, but even the experts disagree on how much sugar is recommended. Continue reading

Exercise and heart health

Some experts call it the "magic medicine"

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Just 30 minutes of exercise a day offers significant health benefits.

Exercise is a critical component of good health. In fact, some experts have called it the “magic medicine” when linking exercise and heart health. Whether it’s a simple walk, a family bike ride or an intense workout, exercise plays a significant role in the reduction of certain diseases. So, if you’re at your ideal weight or 20 pounds overweight, participating in some form of exercise has benefits in areas of heart disease, diabetes and joint health.

Can you spare 30 minutes a day?

A study by Dr. Mike Evans, founder of the Health Design Lab, reveals that 30 minutes of exercise a day is the single best thing you can do for your health. In his educational video, Evans asks the question: “Can you limit your sitting and sleeping to just 23 and a half hours a day?”

Evans’ research shows that a woman who goes from no activity at all to one hour of exercise per week can reduce her risk of heart disease by almost half. Other research has linked sitting for long periods of time — whether watching TV or sitting at a desk — with a number of health concerns, including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Continue reading

Eggs and heart disease: New news is good news

Recent studies show the need for an individualized approach

brown-eggs-heart-yolkFor years, we’ve heard mixed messages about eggs and their role in a heart-healthy diet. Many of us appreciated the value of eating eggs on a regular basis due to their overall nutritional value. However, over the years, we’ve been warned about the high cholesterol in egg yolks.

Now, current studies imply that the switch to egg white omelets may be a thing of the past, in other words, the news about eggs and heart disease is good.

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Making sense of statins

Patients who would benefit are worried about side effects

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Patients who could benefit from statins are often concerned about side effects, but usually a change in medication or dosage can solve the problem.

A person cannot “feel” their bad (LDL) cholesterol, and so it’s one of the few things where following the numbers (from a blood test) matters as much as how a person feels.

There has been much written about a class of drugs called “statins” (often prescribed to help lower LDL, or bad cholesterol). Patients who would benefit from taking statins are often worried about side effects, such as muscle aches, dementia or liver injury. Many people walk into a doctor’s office with a fixed idea in mind that, no matter what, they won’t take a statin.

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