Our country may be in the midst of a pandemic, but we’re also in the middle of an ongoing obesity and heart disease epidemic. And that’s due in large part to excess sugar intake. Americans consume, on average, 22 teaspoons of added sugar every single day.
And that wreaks havoc with our biochemistry. When we eat something full of added sugars, like candy or a cookie, that sugar enters our body and blood sugar levels rise. In response, insulin levels also increase. Insulin’s job is to store the blood sugar that is floating around in our bloodstream.
But insulin doesn’t just store sugar, it shifts our bodies into storage mode. And what’s the storage form of cholesterol? LDL the bad cholesterol. When insulin levels are higher, LDL levels go up. What’s the non-storage form of cholesterol? HDL the good type. When insulin levels go up, HDL levels go down. And what’s the storage form of sugar? It’s actually triglycerides, the levels of which can skyrocket.
The effects go way beyond cholesterol though. High insulin levels also make us calorie hoarders (remember, we’re storing everything) making weight gain more likely!
But not all sugar is created equal. If you’ve been reading this post carefully, you’ve noticed that I have been referring to ADDED sugars. Those are very different than natural sugars– like those found in fruit for example. And that’s because natural sugars come in a complex package – as part of delivery vehicle that is high in fiber, micronutrients, antioxidants and other very interesting nutrients. And all those nutrients make digestion of the food harder and more time intensive. Meaning blood sugar levels don’t spike after eating a piece of fruit – which means insulin levels stay low.
But the farther you get away from the original form of the fruit, the less healthful it’s likely to be. So eating an apple will have lower insulin stimulating effects than eating a bowl of apple sauce or drinking a glass of apple juice.
At Preventive Cardiology Clinic, care begins with a conversation. We spend time with you to really learn about what symptoms you are experiencing, what your risk factors are, and what you hope to achieve in terms of your health. A typical first consultation with Dr. Klodas takes approximately one hour. During that time, we will go over your general health history, your heart history, your cardiac risk factors and your diet. Please call 952-929-5600 to schedule your consultation today. Learn more.