Tag: heart disease

HIgh Fructose Corn Syrup, Obesity & Heart Disease

word cloud showing junk food and high fructose corn syrup

Weight Gain & Heart Disease Courtesy of Big Food

Most processed food, like cereal, is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). When HFCS was first introduced about 30 years ago, we consumed about 1 pound per person per year. Today we take in almost 60 times that amount in drinks, hamburgers and chicken, cookies and cakes, breads and crackers, yogurt and granola bars, pizza and fast foods.

When we digest glucose, our body increases a hormone controlling appetite and fat storage called leptin, and decreases the hormone causing hunger pangs known as ghrelin. But with HFCS the opposite happens so we are left feeling not quite satisfied and hungry soon after eating. The University of Minnesota also found a diet high in fructose elevates triglyceride levels, long associated with obesity and heart disease.

If you recall the movie Supersize Me, the actor consumed nothing but fast food for 1 month and was tested medically before and after. Afterward he’d gained considerable weight, his triglycerides were high and there were signs of liver damage. The movie speculated that it was the grease from the fast food causing these, but it turns out it was the high fructose corn syrup in all the Supersized soft drinks that was the culprit.

Just say no to Supersizeing, or any size serving when it comes to high fructose corn syrup. Here’s one other word of caution, manufacturers are aware that consumers are trying to avoid HFCS and as a result, are now just labeling it as “fructose” in the ingredients, even going so far as to claim that the product contains NO high fructose corn syrup, when in fact it does.  Keeping processed foods to a minimum, or having none at all, is your best bet.

Get your fructose from a piece of actual fruit.

Want more diet advice? Our naturopaths are diet experts.  Call us at 416-481-0222 or book online now.

Vitamin D

vitamin D

Are you getting enough?

Recent research suggests that even those who get plenty of sun exposure – residents of Hawaii who get at least 22 hours of sun per week – can still be vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D deficiency is correlated with many health concerns: depression, heart disease, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, parathyroid problems, immune function — even weight loss. The RDA for vitamin D has recently been increased from 400 IU to 1 000 IU. Treatment of deficiency can require 2 000-5000 IU per day. Given the widespread deficiency, especially in northern climates like ours, I think it would be prudent to supplement with at least 1 000 IU per day, at least over the cooler months from October through March.

Healthy Heart Tips


  1. CoEnzyme Q10 – also known as ubiquinone, CoQ10 has been shown to help strengthen the heart muscle, help with infertility, breast cancer and diabetes.  It’s found in foods such as fish, organ meats, including liver, kidney and heart; and the germs of whole grains.
  2. Resveratrol – prevents aging-related decline in cardiovascular function including cholesterol level and inflammatory response.  It’s found in grapes, wine, grape juice, peanuts, and
    berries of Vaccinum species, including blueberries, bilberries, and cranberries
  3. Fish oils – Omega 3 fatty acids from eating fish or taking fish oil has anti-inflammatory effects, reduces blood pressure, and may also be anti-atherogenic.
  4. Get a dog!  Both adults and children who owned dogs reported greater levels of heart healthy physical activity and lower levels of stress than those without dogs.
  5. Reduce your stress.  Take up Yoga, Tai Chi, breathing exercises, meditation, a walking program, daily exercise, anything that helps you lower your stress hormones.
  6. Exercise every day.  Exercise flushes out the cardiovascular system, strengthens the heart muscle and helps all around because it reduces insulin, reduces stress and keeps blood sugar healthier.

Diet Pop is Dangerous

People who had diet soda every day experience a 61% higher risk of vascular events, such as stroke,  than those who reported drinking no soda.  Previous studies have suggested a link between diet-soda consumption and the risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Source: American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference, Los Angeles

Sitting Increases Risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Heart Disease

A sedentary lifestyle is associated with a worsening of several cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors, including higher waist circumference, lower HDL cholesterol, higher C-reactive protein, higher fasting triglycerides, insulin, and measures of insulin resistance.

Periodically standing up and moving about for as little as a minute was associated with beneficial changes in waist circumference and C-reactive protein.

Source: Healy G, et al “Sedentary time and cardio-metabolic biomarkers in U.S. adults: NHANES 2003-06” Eur Heart J 2011; DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehq451.

Poison Under Any Other Name Would Taste as Sweet

The makers of high fructose corn syrup are hoping to change their product’s image and get people consuming it again by changing the name from high fructose corn syrup to corn sugar. The runner-up names were corn nectar and corn sweetener.  Watch for the new name for the “quick-route-to-heart-disease-obesity-and-diabetes” on a label near you.  Hmm, I wonder if they would consider my name suggestion?

How Fish Oils Work in Insulin Resistance, Diabetes, Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease

The GPR120 receptor is found only on pro-inflammatory macrophages in mature fat cells. When the receptor is turned off, the macrophage produces inflammation. Unchecked inflammation has been linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease.  When exposed to omega-3 fatty acids, specifically those found in fish oil, the GPR120 receptor is activated resulting in broad anti-inflammatory effects and improved systemic insulin sensitivity.

Source: journal Cell, 9-2-2010