How Sugar Affects Your Heart Health

Sugar and Heart health
By: Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist

We all know sugar isn’t good for us, so you’re right if you know that it’s not good for your heart either. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and diabetes is one of seven major controllable risk factors. The stats are staggering: Adults with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to have heart disease than adults without diabetes and almost 70% of adults over age 65 with diabetes, will die from heart disease.

What’s the link between diabetes and heart disease?

Persons with diabetes tend to have other cardiovascular risk factors, like:

These modifiable risk factors can help keep your blood sugar in check and also promote a healthy heart. Eating a plant-based diet with mostly whole and minimally-processed foods can also help to control insulin resistance.  Beyond steering clear of refined carbohydrates like white bread, limiting alcohol intake is important for keeping triglyceride levels under control.

Avoiding smoking cigarettes is another important strategy to keep your heart healthy.  Did you know that eating more vegetables may help you quit?

More Support for Less Sugar

The New Dietary Guidelines support reducing intake of added sugars found in obvious foods like cakes or pies but also sneaky sources like chocolate milk served in schools, tomato sauce, salad dressings and many yogurts. Reducing your sugar intake is not only good for helping cut diabetes risk, but is also essential for supporting heart health.

Biggest Heart Disease Myths: Fat vs. Carbs

With the war of macronutrients and heart disease raging on, it can feel overwhelming to figure out what to put on your plate at your next meal.  If you think replacing saturated fats like red meat and butter with refined carbohydrates is heart healthy, think again.  Recent research from Harvard supports this fact, along with swapping saturated fats for heart healthy options like nuts, seeds, avocado and certain plant-based oils.

Don’t fall for these seven hearth myths.

Try some of these deliciously heart healthy recipes this February:

Tags: ,

Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist

Stacy is a Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition and an Integrative Nutritionist. She consults for various companies, focusing on health, wellness and innovative strategies to help increase individual’s fruit and vegetable intake. Stacy is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Health Fitness Specialist; she holds a BS degree in Dietetics from Indiana University, completed her dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital, and earned a Masters in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a Senior Clinical Nutritionist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School teaching affiliates, in Boston, MA, with more than 20 years of experience. Stacy created and now serves as project manager and lead writer for nutrition services content on the Dana Farber website and the affiliated, nationally recognized nutrition app. Stacy is regularly featured on TV, radio, print and social media on behalf of Dana Farber and other organizations. Together with her husband, Dr. Russell Kennedy PsyD, they have a private practice, Wellness Guides, LLC. Stacy is an adjunct professor in Wellness and Health Coaching at William James College, currently teaching a graduate course in Health Coaching. Stacy is featured in the award winning documentary films, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” and “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2,” and serves on the Reboot with Joe Medical Advisory Board. Stacy lives in Wellesley with her husband, two sons and three dogs. She enjoys cooking, yoga, hiking and spending time with friends and family. Stacy is also one of the nutritionists who runs our Guided Reboot programs.

More posts from