Sugar and Heart Health – The Not So Sweet News - CulinArt Group

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Sugar and Heart Health – The Not So Sweet News

In the United States Cardiovascular Disease remains the leading cause of death; responsible for 1 in 4 deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control. When it comes to heart health, many people are aware of the link between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease. For decades, dietitians and other medical professionals have cautioned the public against consuming large amounts of red meat, full fat dairy products, and other saturated fat-laden foods. But did you know that excessive amounts of added sugars can be just as damaging to heart health?

Sugars are found naturally in a variety of foods including dairy products, fruits, and vegetables. When we consume these sugars, they come packaged with heart protective nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Added sugars, those that are added to foods during processing, cooking, or at the table, have become extremely widespread throughout the food supply with the average American consuming around 22 teaspoons, or 88 grams of added sugars every day! Sugar-sweetened beverages including soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are the biggest sources of added sugar in the average American’s diet-accounting for more than one-third of the added sugar we consume as a nation. Baked goods, ice-creams, cold cereals, fruit juices, and jarred sauces are other major sources of the sweet stuff! Dietitians use the term “empty calories” or “energy dense” when describing sugar-meaning that these foods that are made up of added sugar deliver calories but not much else that our bodies need such as fiber, vitamins, heart healthy fats such as Omega 3 or monounsaturated fats, and minerals. When we over consume added sugars, it fills us up and decreases the amount of nutritious, hearth healthy foods we can eat.

How sugar actually affects heart health is not completely understood, but it appears to have several indirect connections. For instance, high amounts of sugar overload the liver and the carbohydrates from sugar are converted to fat. Over time, this can lead to a greater accumulation of fat, which may turn into fatty liver disease, a contributor to diabetes, which raises your risk for heart disease. Consuming too much added sugar can raise blood pressure and increase chronic inflammation, both of which can lead to heart disease. Excess consumption of sugar, especially in sugar-sweetened beverages, also contributes to weight gain because liquid calories are not as satisfying as calories from solid foods making it easier for people to add more calories to their regular diet when consuming sugary beverages.

Label reading is very helpful when trying to reduce the amount of added sugar in your diet; added sugar goes by many names including:

  • corn syrup
  • fruit juice concentrates
  • high-fructose corn syrup
  • evaporated cane juice
  • invert sugar
  • malt sugar

Federal guidelines offer specific limits for the amount of salt and fat we eat. But there’s no similar upper limit for added sugar. According to the American Heart Association’s recommendation, women should consume less than 100 calories of added sugar per day (about 6 teaspoons) and men should consume less than 150 per day (about 9 teaspoons).

During American Heart Month (and all year round) continue to enjoy the sweetness of life, but consider the sources of sugar you are consuming and try to opt for naturally sweetened foods.



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  • February 19, 2020


What our clients are saying

“What a difference a top chef makes to student satisfaction and enjoyment of campus life!  At a recent boarding school conference, food was mentioned as a key retention method and it is really true. The comforts of home are found in good food and meals enjoyed with friends. We couldn’t be more pleased with the healthy and delicious daily options presented by our chef and his team. Frank even has a suggestion box, so he is always open to new ideas and he even offers cooking classes for our students!”

“Thank You for once again going above and beyond to ensure that our programs are a success. Your willingness to customize menus as well as provide your expert guidance to develop a well-rounded selection of offerings is what keeps us coming back! The food is always exceptional! Our programs would not be a success without the CulinArt team!”

“I wanted to take this moment to thank you and your staff for making the Athletic Celebration absolutely wonderful. I cannot say enough great things about the event. The food was outstanding and the service was fantastic. Thank you for your help from start to finish.”

“The CulinArt team has been great to work with and has been super flexible. Having worked with other dining services at different institutions, having a dining team that is open to menu changes has been a great resource for our events. ”

“What a night! You and your team rocked it and made us look like stars. Great working with you and know we will have more chances to work together on future events.”

“I just wanted to give a huge compliment to the cook at Main Street. Today I had the Salmon Super Bowl and it was amazing!!!! Every day I go in there she always has something that looks too wonderful to pass up! Thank you for always having such a variety of food!”

“Yesterday I ordered the special (Bloody Mary Burger) which was one of the best burgers I’ve ever tasted, [but] this e-mail is not to praise the burger.  Eating the burger reminded me of the great service, professionalism, the smiles, the knowledge and the great food that I have come to love each and every day.  Your team, who really work as a team, take their time to explain nutrition and meal ideas, and encourage healthy eating.  I wouldn’t change one thing about this crew. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude for their hard work each and every day.”

“Thank you for including me today in the food waste demonstration/[chef competition] and flattering me with the role of “judge.” I will proudly don the [Stop Food Waste Day] apron the next time I plan an “event” in our own kitchen. I think this is a very worthwhile cause and the statistics you read off are staggering. They, alone, can intimidate a home chef, let alone be the “driver’ for a professional one.”

“I just wanted to send a quick note acknowledging the wonderful food and service provided by our new vendor.  The food was delicious and the students consistently commented on how amazing everything was.  What a difference! In addition, the staff and management were so easy to deal with – very professional.  They were punctual, responsive and attentive to our needs.  Thank you again for making a positive change to the quality of life of our students.”

“Even though we see challenges every day, each one of you rises to the occasion and makes it seem so easy. I cannot express how impressive it is to see you all work in such a fashion. You are true professionals.”

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