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.
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?
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.
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.