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

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“With all the prep work from Winterim ramping up and classes continuing as usual, it's a busy time to be a Forman teacher. Imagine my delight, tired as I was, when I delved into the upscale-restaurant-quality chicken parmesan our dining hall served last night. Forman is all about support, and providing our students with a dinner of that quality is just as important a measure of support as anything that happens in a classroom.”

“I just wanted to express my thanks and give two thumbs up for the updates to our lunch menu. My selections have been quite tasty—corned beef Reuben, jambalaya—and I appreciate that, too! I am looking forward to trying some new items in the coming weeks. Keep up the good work!”

“We are so thankful and so impressed by your immediate attention to our power outage. It was such a relief to see all the equipment and workers coming in within a few hours of the outage. Thank you for serving dinner to all [the] students in a very difficult circumstance. Please extend our thanks to your workers who braved cold weather to grill hamburgers and hotdogs.”

“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.”

“What a wonderful dinner we had tonight for our international families. The food was delicious and well presented as well.”

“You know that I haven't been home (India) for a long time now.  I miss my mama, I miss the food, I miss the smells, I miss the people. Starting yesterday, I started to smell my mama's kitchen at Parker.  I KNEW something Indian was brewing; I could smell the garam masala!  Thank you for the delicious tofu curry.  It made my belly and soul happy.”

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“Thank you and your staff for all the care and thought you give CSW adults and students. You approach events with such care and elegance- I don’t know how you do it! Especially day after day. Please thank all your staff for their wonderful work and kind manner with all of us. Here is to a great year!”

“We can’t thank you enough for all the time and effort you put into getting this emergency shipment of water to our Waco, Tx office. As always, you guys pulled out all the stops and did everything possible to help! I know it doesn’t seem like much to you, but our employees in TX that need drinking water are truly grateful. I feel so fortunate to work with such true professionals. I think you set the bar that your competition wishes they could match!”

“Thank you so very much for the AMAZING dinner you provided for the President, Dean and Jim & Marilyn Simons. They really enjoyed it!! It was perfectly thought out and delicious. Your expertise and impeccable presentation and taste were truly appreciated!”

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