A packed road in the grocery store

A packed road in the grocery store

When you think of foods to avoid for heart health, some obvious culprits probably come to mind: greasy foods from McDonald’s, fried foods, Red meatinter alia. However, eating too much sugar can seriously damage cardiovascular health over time, such as high blood pressure and ultimately: Heart disease.

Of course, it’s no surprise that sugar is unhealthy, but what are the worst options for heart health? We spoke to health experts to answer this question and learn more about sugary foods. Dr. Leonard GanzChief Medical Officer and Divisional Vice President of Medical Affairs at Abbott Cardiac Rhythm Management Division and Sarah Whipkey, registered dietitian and owner of The Plant Potential. They told us that highly processed foods with added sugar are the biggest culprits to watch out for.

Highly processed foods with sugar

When it comes to the worst Sweet foods For heart health, Dr. Ganz and Whipkey both agree that you should avoid foods with added sugar. “Consumption of processed and sugar-rich foods can lead to high blood pressure, unintentional weight gain, and inflammation, which are linked to a variety of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease,” Wipke warns.

Among the worst offenders are highly processed foods, meaning that most contain manufactured, synthetic ingredients rather than natural whole foods. As Wipke explains, ultra-processed foods “have gone through different types of processing, have a lot of added ingredients and are highly processed.” The ingredients in these foods have undergone extensive processing which destroys all of their nutritional value, making them terrible additions to your diet. “They don’t provide any nutritional value, but are high in sugar, fat and/or salt to reward our brains,” she says.

All that is added SugarIn particular, it can affect every aspect of your overall health, including heart health. “Added sugar damages heart health by increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and coronary heart disease,” Dr. Ganz tells us. all right!

Highly processed foods to avoid

So, now that you know how many sugary, ultra-processed foods can wreak havoc on your heart, which ones should you avoid at the grocery store? Unfortunately, there is no cut and dry answer to what are the worst options. However, Dr. Ganz says a good rule of thumb is to be careful of any food with added sugar. “There may not be a single sugary food worse for your heart, the added sugar will sneak up on you,” he says.

Normal SodasEnergy and sports drinks
Fruit drinks and punches
Lots of energy and snack bars
Sweet baked goods
Dairy desserts and dairy products (including flavored yogurts)
Delicious breakfast dishes (cereals, shakes, bars, etc.)
Favorite coffee drinks like lattes or mochas

What to eat instead

We get it: sometimes there’s no stopping your sweet tooth. Fortunately, when the urge to treat diabetes hits you, there are plenty of healthy options that won’t put your heart at risk. Whipkey says fruit is one of the best choices – and it doesn’t have to be boring! “My favorite plant-based desserts include: whipped cream (frozen bananas, cacao powder, almond butter, unpasteurized plant milk, and flaxseed — mix it all together for an ice-cream), combined with lightly processed dark chocolate. A handful of nuts and berries, frozen. Grapes and dark chocolate dipped strawberries,” she says. Yum! Sign us up.

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