A British study has shown that elevated blood sugar levels cause blood vessels to constrict. This strains the heart, raises blood pressure, and reduces the blood supply to other organs. It is therefore sugar and not saturated fat that is the cause of cardiovascular disease. We should be far more focused on how to control our blood sugar levels. Proper diet means a lot, and so does adequate intake of a particular essential trace element that appears to have a special role.
Blood sugar (glucose) delivers a constant energy supply to all the body's cells. Glucose is taken up by the bloodstream after the breakdown of carbohydrate from sources such as grain, pasta, potatoes, rice, corn, fruit, and sugar from sugar beets and sugar canes. The more you refine and heat carbohydrates, like you do with white sugar, cane sugar, white flour, and chips, the faster the glucose enters the bloodstream. And the more our blood sugar levels increase, the more our blood vessels constrict.
Elevated blood sugar increases your risk of dying of a heart attack
The above mentioned British study was carried out on rats to begin with. Afterwards, the results were tested on blood vessels from pigs and humans. The study revealed that if blood sugar levels are high to begin with when a person suffers a heart attack, there is an increased risk of complications and subsequent death. This is because a heart attack in itself sets off a stress reaction with elevated blood sugar levels. If the blood sugar levels are already high, they increase way beyond the tolerable threshold, and that strains the heart and cardiovascular system and increases the risk that the heart attack becomes lethal. The same situation does not occur in people with normal blood sugar levels who suffer a heart attack.
It is primarily sugar and not saturated fat that causes cardiovascular disease
For decades, health authorities have assumed that saturated fat and cholesterol were major causes of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Actually, the result of recommending that people lower their intake of saturated fat has been an irrational fear of fat. In fact, if saturated fat is replaced with refined carbohydrates such as white sugar, white flour, or French fries, the result is certainly not heart-friendly. On the contrary.
As mentioned, our intake of carbohydrates makes our blood sugar levels go up, and our pancreas produces insulin, the hormone that literally unlocks the cells and allows glucose to enter. The refined carbohydrates are known to cause particularly large blood sugar fluctuations, which over time can exhaust the insulin receptors of the cells, thereby impairing their ability to take up glucose. This can cause untimely hunger, increased risk of overweight, and various other symptoms that arise when brain cells (and other cells) lack energy. There is also evidence suggesting that excessive intake of fructose (fruit sugar), which is found in fruit, white sugar, and corn syrup/HFCS, is even more harmful.
Sugar that does not get converted is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. Because of limited storage capacity, a high sugar intake increases the risk that the liver converts excess sugar into fatty acids such as triglycerides and LDL (low-density lipoprotein). In other words, not only does a large intake of carbohydrates such as starch, sugar, fruit, and corn syrup/HFCS cause insulin resistance, it may also lead to elevated triglyceride and LDL levels and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes.
Excess sugar gets converted in to unhealthy fatty acids
Unused glucose (from starch and sugar) and fructose get stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. Because of limited storage capacity the liver virtually turns into a "fat factory" that converts glycogen into triglycerides and LDL (low-density lipoprotein)
Chromium enhances the effect of insulin
When insulin transports sugar from the bloodstream into the cells, the body also needs a trace element called chromium, which attaches to the insulin molecule, thereby improving the cellular uptake of glucose. Together with insulin, chromium ensures an effective uptake of glucose in brain cells, muscle cells, and cells in other tissues, so the cells get the energy they need. This mechanism helps us feel satiated for a long time.
The best type of chromium supplement is organic chromium yeast, as this provides the highest degree of bioavailability. According to the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), organic chromium yeast is absorbed up to 10 times better in the body than synthetically manufactured chromium sources like chromium picolinate and chromium chloride.
More useful advice for controlling blood sugar levels
Jackson R et al. Distinct and complementary roles for ? and ? isoenzymes of PKC in mediating vasoconstrictor responses to acutely elevated glucose. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2016
DiNicolantonio JJ et al. The evidence for saturated fat and for sugar related to coronary heart disease. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases. 2016
Pernille Lund: Sådan får du styr på dit blodsukker og din vægt. Ny Videnskab 2013
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