Heart Health and Diet

We are only born with one heart to to keep us living on this side of the dirt. Yet so many will continue a lifestyle which is harmful to this precious and essential muscle which keeps us alive. For the intent of this article, I am not talking about the obvious example of street drugs and alcohol abuse. Nope, I am talking about poor dietary habits that according to Tufts University in Boston, the University of Cambridge in England, and Montifiore Medical Center in New York, account for 45 percent of heart disease deaths. This 45 percent of deaths are attributable to unhealthy eating habits heavy on foods and nutrients that have long been associated with influencing cardiovascular and metabolic health. These organizations studied the deaths of more than 700,000 people in 2012 from heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, and examined 10 dietary factors among the population such as the consumption of sugar sweetened drinks, processed meats and sodium intake to come to their conclusions.

The largest number of heart disease deaths was associated with high intake of processed meats, sugar sweetened beverages and low intake of nuts.

What constitutes processed meats? Bacon, ham, sausage,lunch meats, corned beef, beef jerky, canned meat, and meat based sauces. Meat processing includes all the process which changes fresh meat with the exception of simple mechanical processes such as cutting, grinding or mixing. A good amount of these processed meats contain sodium nitrates for preserving the red/pink color of meat, to improve flavor by suppressing fat oxidation/going rancid, and to prevent the growth of bacteria to cut the risk of food poisoning. Processed meats are the main dietary source of nitrosamines. Other sources of nitrosamines include contaminated drinking water, tobacco smoke, salted and pickled foods. Let that last sentence sink in a little, contaminated drinking water and tobacco smoke… Besides being harmful to the heart, this substance also increases your risk for bowel cancer.

The good news is you do not have to completely give these foods up, you really need to occasionally consume them in moderation. Of course, a key part of my methodology, my lifestyle, I recommend quitting all processed foods entirely or only on a rare occasion as whole healthy foods can be prepared just as simply with little effort. By making this a part of a lifestyle, it is just what you do and little thought goes into food preparation being a hassle as it can be seen to those who want to live on drive through or microwave foods.

Now I will get to that other white crystalline substance so many of us are addicted to in western society, sugar. Sugar can be found in damn near everything now days and it is wrecking the health of millions around the world. According to Harvard Health, a sugar laden diet may raise your risk of dying of heart disease even if you are not over weight. I have hammered type 2 diabetes and sugar in the past, and touched on the issues it causes with the heart as well. In this article I am going to get more in depth how sugar consumption affects your heart.

According to Harvard Health: added sugars make up 10% of the calories the average American eats in a day. But about 1 in 10 people get one quarter or more of their calories from added sugar. I always say that if you do not want to look like a jelly donut, then you have to quit eating jelly donuts. But, the health implications go deeper than your obesity when you consider that sugar can harm your heart health even if you are not over weight. This would be especially true if you what is considered to be “skinny fat”, or, you might not be over weight, but your ass is not fit either. You can still have a high body fat percentage while not Being over weight, hence the term “skinny fat”. You know the type, they are soft and have no muscle tone even though they are in a healthy BMI range.

Over the course of a 15 year study on added sugar and heart disease, Participants who took in 25% or more of their daily calories from added sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as those whose diets included less than 10% added sugar. Over all, the odds of dying from heart disease rose in tandem with the percentage of sugar in the diet. And this was true regardless of the persons age, sex, physical activity level and Body Mass Index (BMI). Think about all the health troubles you can avoid, the health care expenses you can avoid, the misery, and the grief of your family once you have passed on that can be avoided by a simple lifestyle change of cutting added sugar from your diet.

Take a good hard look at yourself and the people you are surrounded by, and count how many rarely or never drink plain water, yet sip on sugary drinks all day long as if they are a newborn on their mothers breast. Take away that soda pop and they are crying the blues like an infant hungry for milk. If this is not you,odds are sky high you know this type of individual.

Sugar sweetened beverages such as soda pop, energy and sports drinks are in fact, the biggest sources of added sugar in the American diet per Harvard Health. I know people who only drink soda or energy drinks all day long and never anything else. I used to work with a young man who drank two 2 liter bottles of Mountain Dew every day. He went in to get his physical for driving commercial vehicles and his blood pressure was high enough he was at risk of eminent stroke. His kidneys had failed and the poor bastard was placed on dialysis and a transplant waiting list right away. These types of things become a vicious circle where high blood pressure harms the kidneys. The damaged kidneys elevate the blood pressure, meanwhile this fool had caused it all by thinking he could live on two 2 liter bottles a day of Mountain Dew. Does it take being a rocket scientist to realize how foolish this is? These sugary drinks account for more than one third of the added sugar we consume as a nation. Other important sources include cookies, cakes, pastries, and similar treats; fruit drinks; ice cream, frozen yogurt and the like; candy; and ready to eat cereals. You have to know that by eating all this crap on a daily basis, you are not doing your health any good at all. If you allow your child to eat like this, ponder the health issues you are likely going to cause them as a result of poor dietary choices. It is not uncommon in today’s world that we have children suffering preventable ailments that we used to only see in senior citizens. All this added sugar is only contributing to empty calories devoid of nutrients. Sugar does not contain fiber, vitamins, minerals or any other nutrients. Too much added sugar typically crowds out healthier choice foods.

Based on the assumption that heart issues would affect people who eat a lot of sugar and small amounts of fruits and vegetables, if any, research has been done in this area to see if there was any difference between these folks and those who do eat more vegetables and fruits. It has been found that no matter how healthy an individuals diet might otherwise be, despite their high sugar consumption, people who consumed too much sugar still had a higher cardiovascular mortality rate than those who consumed little to no sugar according to Dr. Teresa Fung, adjunct professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Exactly how much excess sugar might harm the heart is not clear. Research has shown that drinking sugar sweetened beverages can raise blood pressure. A high sugar diet may also stimulate the liver to dump more harmful fats into the blood stream. Both factors are well known to boost the risk of heart disease. Think about this and how you want to live your life. In life, you may get some do-overs by expensive medications and surgeries, or you can often get a do-over by changing your lifestyle to one which is healthier. At David’s Way we promote a lifestyle and not a diet. We promote a life style that involves healthy dietary habits where you eat zero added sugars or processed foods, We promote a diet high in protein and lower in complex carbohydrates. Our bodies require carbs for a main source of fuel, just ensure they are complex and not simple from sugars. You should target 125 grams of complex carbohydrates per day plus or minus 25 grams. The higher protein is not only for building and maintaining muscle, but also to keep you more satiated between meals. We promote physical fitness activities that your doctor has cleared you to perform, in order to not only strengthen your heart and body, and to help you to lose weight, but also to greatly help you with keeping your levels of stress at minimum levels. We teach to keep your world small. In other words, minimize your exposure to stressful people and situations that you can avoid.

Healthy eating, physical fitness, and stress reduction are all key components to David’s Way. For the record, David’s Way was not my idea for a blog name. It was given to me by a friend because of my writings which were helping people on another commercial weight loss sight in meeting their weight loss goals. Because people were having much more success with my methodology than they were having with their paid for food points plan, I decided I could help more with my own website. Today, we have been read and followed by folks in 63 countries. We have many new ideas in work right now which are going to take this blog over the top as a world class source of information in helping you to live a healthier life.

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9 thoughts on “Heart Health and Diet

  1. Hearing the facts really reinforces how much we don’t need sugar! It’s a tough one for me, and I regularly fight the cravings. Have heard a bit more about liver and gallbladder function lately too; just did several tests for my gallbladder (which luckily showed nothing wrong) and got to watch on a screen how your liver and gb work together.
    Food can definitely either hurt us or heal us! Thanks again to you, David and Brenda Sue, for your time and wisdom!

    1. Hi Jen, it is great to hear from you my friend. I hope your health is good, having tests is alarming.

      Thank you for your kind words of affirmation my friend. We put a lot of work into ensuring our articles are both quality and accurate.

      I hope you continue to follow us, and please share this blog with others. We have big agenda items in work.

  2. Thank you for this great information, David.

    I am trying to follow your blog so I can read it in my WordPress app reader on my telephone which will only pull the blog in if I am following it. I cannot find where to follow this one. I have subscribed but that does not pull the blog into the reader.

    Carla

      1. It is the articles. Do you have a follow button or option on your blog? That seems to be what WordPress reader is looking for, blogs I am following.

      2. David your reply came up as a notification in my WordPress app and I replied to you from there. After I sent the reply there was an option to follow your blog from there. I clicked on it and now all the articles are coming up in the reader.

      3. Awesome! I’m glad this worked out as I was having difficulty in figuring out the problem. Internet technology is not actually my strong point, although I am learning more every day.

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