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By Lisa Shaker-Knopp (
I am convinced that sugar is the culprit for so many of today’s health issues, especially heart health. If the pancreas is overworked, and not producing the right amount of insulin, this leads to something called insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. This is very close to my heart, as so many of my family members have succumbed to this epidemic. 
Most people believe that salt is the heart’s main enemy, however, I have learned that there is a lot of evidence that suggest that added sugar might be even more dangerous for our heart health. 
Besides your waist line, limiting the amount of sugar you consume might also help you live longer and healthier. It’s the amount of sugar we consume that reeks havoc on our cardiovascular system. Years ago the average American consumed about 5 pounds of sugar per person per year and now the average person consumes over 150 pounds; that is over 42 teaspoons of sugar a day! 
According to the Center for Disease Control(CDC), heart disease is the number one cause of death today. Even though doctors have people watch their sodium intake, the real culprit may be the added sugar in so many of our food resources. 
Too much added sugar in the diet is linked to many conditions; high blood pressure, high LDL (the “bad” cholesterol), high triglycerides, reduced HDL (the “good” cholesterol), inflammation, and insulin resistance. WOW! That is really scary to think that little white crystal is this dangerous to our hearts. 
So, how much sugar is too much? I have read many articles that say that women should not consume more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day (or about 24 grams) and men no more than 9 teaspoons (or 36 grams). That is hard to do if you consume even one soda (that is about 11 teaspoons). It is so important to learn how to read labels to calculate how many teaspoons of sugar per day you are really consuming. Your life can depend on it. 
How do you limit the added sugar in your diet? There is natural occurring sugar in fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose); however, added sugars are incorporated into many prepared foods. So many of our foods, like bread, cereal, and condiments also have high fructose corn syrup added, which is another culprit. 
It can be quite confusing to read labels, because not all foods list the word “sugar”. Ingredients like fructose, fruit juice concentrate, molasses, organic cane sugar, honey, corn syrup, and agave nectar are all essentially the same thing; sugar! Sugar is the culprit. 
There are many ways to protect our heart health, and one sure way is to start paying attention to your sugar intake. YOUR HEART DEPENDS ON IT!