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The Real Dangers of Sugar: Quit Eating This Poison

Sugarcane was first cultivated for pig food, and now millions of humans consume it daily. It is likely that you eat it and don’t even know it. This toxic substance is an addictive drug that is bad for your heart and bad for your health. It’s time to shed light on the truth: the dangers of sugar are very real. Here’s why sugar is enemy #1 of your 100 Year Heart. 

The history of sugar is long and marred in scandal. Since its discovery centuries ago, sugar has been medicine, a form of currency, and a symbol of oppression. Much like the tobacco industry, the success of the sugar industry depended on slave labor. Once a symbol of wealth, sugar is now readily accessible to all and is incredibly difficult to avoid. 

Sugarcane is the largest grown crop, surpassing corn, rice, and wheat, covering more than 60 million acres of land across the globe. This very profitable industry is expected to reach $90 billion worldwide within the next few years. 

Per capita, the United States consumes more sugar than any other nation in the world. The average American consumes 17 teaspoons of sugar per day, or 130 cups a year! In fact, adults consume 30 percent more added sugar in their diet today than they did just three decades ago. 

How sugar replaced fat

In the fall of 1955, US President Dwight Eisenhower had a heart attack at the age of 55. Dr. Paul Dudley White, a leading cardiologist, and President Eisenhower’s chief physician, led a press conference the following day. To avoid the same fate as Mr. President, he recommended cutting down on fat, cholesterol, and smoking. Unfortunately, this pivotal moment in history may have contributed to the rise of sugar. 

Around the same time, research was being conducted by the sugar industry, examining the role between cardiovascular disease and sugar. Recently discovered documents revealed that the sugar industry paid Harvard scientists to shift the focus away from sugar as the culprit and point to fat instead. 

By the 1970s and ’80s, Americans began to embrace the low-fat fad, trusting physicians and scientists with very little evidence. The removal of fat caused processed food to become less palatable. To make low-fat food more desirable, manufacturers began adding more sugar to products. Much like the modern-day “keto,” “low-fat” labels caused products to fly off the grocery store shelves. 

Sneaky ways sugar makes it into your diet

You might think that your sugar intake is not high because you usually skip dessert or forgo an ice cream cone with your family. However, most people drastically underestimate the amount of sugar that they consume.

Most sugar hides in processed products. Of all the added sugars in the average American diet, sugar-sweetened beverages top the list. Often people underestimate the dangers of sugar added to many brands of iced tea, sports drinks, and energy drinks. Even store-bought smoothies are sugar bombs! 

In addition to beverages, sugar hides in many everyday food items. The biggest culprits are yogurts, cereal, condiments such as ketchup and BBQ sauce, and peanut butter. Surprisingly, sugar is even in bacon and bread! While the amount may seem small, it certainly adds up over time.  

Sugar by any other name 

The food industry is brilliant. They have found a way to hide sugar in products by giving it over 50 different names. So, when looking at an ingredient list on a package, here are some clues that sugar is in the product: 

  • An ingredient ends in “ose,” such as dextrose, lactose, sucrose, fructose, glucose, or maltose.
  • An ingredient includes syrup, such as rice syrup, corn syrup, malt syrup, sorghum syrup, golden syrup, or buttered syrup.
  • The word “sugar” is in the ingredient: cane sugar, beet sugar, date sugar, invert sugar, corn sweetener, or raw sugar.

Other forms of sugar include agave, molasses, maple syrup, and fruit juice concentrate.  

Sugar addiction 

Anyone who has children can attest to the addictive nature of sugar. Even for those who don’t have kids, the witnessed tantrums in the grocery store’s candy aisle should provide all the proof needed. Children aren’t the only ones taken in by sugar’s siren call, however.

Just as with alcohol or other substances, sugar is a very addictive drug. The level of craving and withdrawal may vary from person to person, but science has confirmed the addictive nature of sugar. Sugar induces the same response in the pleasure-seeking reward center of the brain as alcohol, cigarettes, and even cocaine. In one study, scientists reviewed PET scans and found significant changes in the brain after only 12 days of sugar intake. In fact, the part of the brain associated with well-being was affected after only one dose. 

Sugar stimulates the brain to release dopamine, a powerful neurotransmitter that elicits positive feelings. However, the more an individual consumes sugar and experiences that rush of dopamine, the less the body releases dopamine on its own. The result is that we need more sugar to feel the same pleasurable response. Thus, the cycle of sugar addiction begins and the dangers of sugar become prevalent.

Dangers of sugar

Sugar most certainly contributes to the obesity epidemic, but the dangers of sugar far exceed weight gain. Sugar consumption contributes to multiple diseases, from diabetes to cancer. Nearly every health condition it linked to a high intake of sugar. 

Sugar is particularly hard on the heart. Studies have found that diets high in sugar may lead to early death. For example, one 15-year study concluded that individuals who took in more than 25 percent of their daily calories from sugar were twice as likely to die from heart disease than those whose diets included less than 10 percent sugar. 

Cholesterol levels have previously been associated with fat intake, but sugar may be the real culprit. A recent study found that drinking just one can of soda, or 12 ounces of any sugar-filled beverage, is associated with significantly lower levels of HDL cholesterol and much higher levels of triglycerides in adults.

Finally, sugar does a number on a system that we really want to be functioning at optimal levels these days: the immune system. Sugar spikes temporarily halt the immune system, and it can take hours for it to recover. 

Does sugar affect heart rhythm?

Have you ever had a strange sensation in your chest, such as a racing heart, a fluttery feeling, or a skipped beat? You may have experienced a heart arrhythmia, and sugar may be to blame. 

Blood glucose levels are meant to stay within a very tight range, regulated by insulin produced in our pancreas. Fluctuating blood glucose levels can cause changes in heart rhythm. In one such study, scientists discovered that high blood glucose levels could lead to irregular heartbeats. Sugar is also linked with instances of tachycardia, or an elevated heart rate, for some. This is just one of the terrifying dangers of sugar.

Are artificial sweeteners a healthier alternative? 

If diet soda drinkers think they are in the clear, think again! Artificial sweeteners are just as dangerous as real sugar. Diet drinks are packed with manufactured chemicals and are harmful to the gut, teeth, and the entire body.

French researchers were interested in understanding the link between cardiovascular disease and artificially sweetened beverages. After examining over 100,000 records, they concluded that those who consumed diet beverages were 20 percent more likely to have cardiovascular disease than those who stayed away from diet drinks. 

Raw honey is the sweetest way to go 

One of humankind’s oldest sweeteners, honey tops the list as one of nature’s most potent superfoods. Evidence exists that humans gathered honey over 8,000 years ago, as depicted in cave paintings of honeycombs and bees.

Honey has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. The father of medicine himself, Hippocrates, used honey in many of his ancient remedies. Ancient Egyptians, Romans, Indians, and Chinese used honey for various health conditions, including digestive disorders, heart conditions, oral health, and pain. Today, honey continues to be used for its incredible wound healing and antimicrobial properties. 

Choose the best honey

Not all honey is created equal. Honey is the third most adulterated food product globally, meaning that it is sometimes diluted with the less-expensive sugarcane or corn syrup. Therefore, consumers need to be wise when purchasing golden syrup. 

Most of the honey that you find on supermarket shelves is highly processed. To improve the shelf life and look of honey and make the bottling process more manageable, it is often pasteurized. The pasteurization process heats the honey at extremely high temperatures, thus killing many vitamins and minerals. Most processed honey is also highly filtered, removing all of the heart-healthy pollen. Sadly, most honey in the United States is not honey at all. 

When purchasing honey, it is absolutely essential to buy products that are raw and unfiltered. Raw honey is untouched by the manufacturing industry, preserving all the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that give honey its remarkable health benefits. Buying local honey may also provide health benefits, as the pollen exposure could help ward off seasonal allergies. 

Excellent health benefits of honey

The complex honey-making process results in a rich, golden syrup packed with healthy antioxidants, minerals, and enzymes. Nutrients found in honey include zinc, copper, potassium, calcium, selenium, riboflavin, folate, and phosphorus, to name a few. 

Honey contains approximately 45 percent fructose and 35 percent glucose. However, not all sweeteners are created equal. Compared to sugar, honey sits lower on the glycemic index, a measure of how quickly food affects your blood sugar. As such, honey keeps blood sugar levels slightly more stable.

Honey has been credited for assisting with many health issues, from reducing coughs to helping relieve diarrhea and speeding wound healing.

Does honey help the heart?

Honey contains a handful of nutrients that are especially good for the cardiovascular system. Antioxidants in honey, such as quercetin, decrease the incidence of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, flavonoids improve blood flow to the heart, thin the blood, and improve overall function. 

Honey may also have benefits when it comes to cholesterol. A 2013 study concluded that honey consumption significantly decreased total cholesterol levels, LDL, and triglycerides while increasing HDL cholesterol in the blood. In addition, other studies have confirmed that honey has a positive effect on lipids.

Honey is a great sugar substitute, but don’t overdo it! 

Raw honey is a remarkable superfood and certainly the best replacement for sugar. However, as with all good things in life, moderation is the key. Keep in mind that our ancestors did not consume honey all the time. Instead, they used this golden syrup sparingly, adding a delightful hint of sweetness to their day.

Next steps

Sugar is a drug. Don’t underestimate the dangers of this sweet poison or let it control your life. Once you start looking for it, you’ll find that sugar is hiding in even the most unlikely places. Avoid processed food and pay attention to labels, keeping an eye out for hidden sugar or artificial sugar substitutes. Consider enrolling in our four-week Foundational Nutrition program to help rewire your brain around food and break that sugar addiction for good.

Eat Well, Live Well, Think Well 

Medical Review: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD 2022

In order to live well, one must eat well.

Get the Natural Heart Doctor approved Diet and discover how to eat for your 100 Year Heart.

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Discover how we can help you achieve your 100 Year Heart.

About Dr. Keith Smigiel NP, DC

Dr. Keith Smigiel

Dr. Keith Smigiel is a regenerative medicine physician and pain management specialist. He takes an integrative approach to medicine, focusing on customized solutions tailored to individual needs. Using advanced, non-surgical treatments, Dr. Smigiel stimulates your body’s ability to naturally heal itself.

Dr. Smigiel helps people suffering from conditions such as chronic pain and erectile dysfunction, to hair loss and weight gain. Combining treatments such as PRP Therapy, Ozone, Neural Prolotherapy, and IV Infusions with functional rehabilitation, he helps you look and feel better.

He heals the body, instead of just treating the symptoms!

With his professional qualifications as a certified family nurse practitioner, a doctor of chiropractic, and a fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, Dr. Smigiel offers patients comprehensive care from a broad perspective of conventional and alternative medicine. He also has extensive experience in functional rehabilitation and chronic pain management.

Dr. Smigiel is married to Angela and has two children, Sophia and Larz. When he’s not busy helping patients, he enjoys hiking, mountain biking, motocross, and boating.

About Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

Beyond guideline-directed therapies, Kneller is passionate about optimized personal health. With a deep interest in complimentary alternative medicine (CAM), he strives to reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, invasive procedures, and exposure to harmful radiation. With Natural Heart Doctor, he strives to help each and every client to Live Well, Eat Well, and Think Well to attain their 100-year heart!

About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

Dr. Lattanza Office Visit with Patient

As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

I dedicated the next 4 years to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona where I attained my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine. I served as Class President all 4 years, Board of Trustees – Student Trustee, spoke as the Club President for our branch of Toastmasters, and was voted by my peers and attending physicians to earn the Outstanding Leadership Award for the Class of 2020. Throughout medical school I took it upon myself to work alongside MDs, DOs, chiropractors, and functional medicine practitioners in addition to naturopathic physicians.

As a Spanish speaking student, I was able to volunteer with community clinics around Phoenix and provide free healthcare to low-income families. Due to this combined exposure, I came to find my passion in treating cardiometabolic and digestive disorders that are all too common, yet largely preventable. I took the opportunity to learn the broad spectrum of healthcare so I can ensure that I am able to provide my patients with the best options.

About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

Dr. Wolfson Office Visit with Patient

Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

For more than two decades, more than one million people have enjoyed the warmth, compassion, and transformational power of his natural heart health courses and events.

Dr. Wolfson is the founder of Natural Heart Doctor Scottsdale, his heart health practice in Arizona, and Natural Heart Doctor, an online resource center with natural health information. Doctors from across the globe reach out to Dr. Wolfson for training and education in holistic health practices.

He has been named one of America’s Top Functional Medicine Doctors and is a five-time winner of the Natural Choice Awards as a holistic M.D. Dr. Wolfson’s work has been covered by more than 100 media outlets, including NBC, CNN, and the Washington Post. His book “The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health” was an Amazon #1 best-seller.

Dr. Wolfson and his wife Heather have four children and are committed to making the world a better place to live. They provide for those in need (including animals) and support natural health causes through their philanthropic efforts.

Chiropractic

Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Acupuncture

Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.