Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, killing nearly 650,000 people. Studies indicate that heart disease risk is doubled by eating a diet which includes a high percent of calories from refined and processed carbohydrates. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that the typical American diet results in increasing blood sugar, insulin and triglyceride levels and ultimately culminates with a group of diseases known as metabolic syndrome.
The prolonged effect a high carbohydrate diet contributes to stiffening of the arteries, higher blood pressure and reduced blood flow to the heart. Dietary modification is the answer to reducing this life threatening risk.
Excessive Blood Sugar Produced by Refined Carbohydrates
From an evolutionary perspective, our body is not genetically enabled to process the massive calories we eat in the form of breads, sweets, rice and starchy foods. Our metabolism has evolved to be highly efficient in breaking down our food into glucose for use as energy. The refined carbohydrates we consume begin to break down into sugar in the mouth and produce a surge into the bloodstream every time we eat.
In an effort to ensure our survival, the excess sugar is converted into triglycerides so it can be stored as fat, causing weight gain and leading to heart disease. Even more devastating, the excess sugar and fats in the blood are abrasive to the inner lining of the arteries and along with higher blood pressure, cause micro cracks to form. These cracks are then efficiently plugged with available minerals and oxidized cholesterol in an effort to avert bleeding, and a foamy plaque is formed which is the beginning of Coronary Artery Disease, the most prevalent form of heart disease.
Processed Carbohydrates Lead to Fatty Liver
The body converts excess sugar from processed carbohydrates to triglycerides and fat for storage in the liver. Eventually the liver is unable to keep up efficiently processing the high carbohydrate load, and begins to store fat itself. The liver is not designed to store significant amounts of fat, and liver function begins to decline.
When this happens, the breakdown of fat becomes inefficient and excess quantities in the form of triglycerides remain in the blood where they wreak havoc on our arteries, vessels and capillaries. High blood pressure and even obesity are the end result, all leading to a doubled risk of developing heart disease from refined carbohydrate consumption.
Healthy Diet Reduces Heart Disease Risk
A culinary lifestyle based on eating dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean proteins and non-processed fats has been shown to reduce the risks associated with a highly refined carbohydrate diet. Blood sugar and insulin spikes are kept in check and excess triglycerides are not formed as a result of carbohydrate excess.
The body has an amazing capacity to heal itself, and helping the process through dietary modification will eliminate the need for a lifetime of prescription medications which will only cure the symptoms of heart disease. Studies have shown that it is possible to reverse arterial plaque and progressing heart disease through a healthy diet, and the results can be measured using a Coronary Calcium Scan. Start by slowly replacing processed carbohydrates with healthy low carbohydrate alternatives, and be persistent for at least two weeks. Most people find that it becomes much easier to adopt a new dietary lifestyle after the initial adjustment period.
Heart disease risk can be eradicated by eliminating the primary cause of this killer disease. Refined carbohydrates have been identified as the key cause of a cascade of metabolic changes in the body which result in illness and eventually death. Everyone knows that eating our greens is a healthy choice, but most people are unable to eliminate the addiction created by a lifetime of eating wheat and corn based food items, even though we know that reducing processed carbohydrates can cut our risk of heart disease in half. Making the change today will lead to an extended and healthier future.
About the author:
John Phillip is a Health, Diet and Nutrition Researcher and Author of the popular Optimal Health Resource Blog who regularly reports on the alternative cutting edge use of supplements and lifestyle modifications to enhance and improve the length and quality of life. Health problems can be avoided and overcome with a sensible approach to monitoring key health factors such as weight, blood glucose, blood pressure and body temperature. His mission is to discuss the relevant findings on nutritional factors as they become available, and how you can incorporate this latest information to better your lifestyle. Read John’s latest healthy articles, updated regularly at his Optimal Health Resource Blog.