Too Much Sugar Increases Heart Failure Risk
June 17, 2013 - News
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HOUSTON—Eating too much sugar may lead to an increased risk in heart failure, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. The findings suggest consuming too much starch and/or sugar can cause a buildup of a molecule called glucose metabolite glucose 6-phosphate (G6P), which causes stress to the heart by changing the muscle proteins and inducing poor pump function leading.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart failure kills at least 5 million Americans annually, and the 1-year survival rate after diagnosis is a paltry 50%. Add to that the fact that there are 550,000 new patients in the United States diagnosed with heart failure each year, and it becomes clear that the more and more consumers need to be aware of the relationship of food, heart health and diet.

“Treatment is difficult. Physicians can give diuretics to control the fluid, and beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors to lower the stress on the heart and allow it to pump more economically," said Heinrich Taegtmeyer, M.D., D.Phil., principal investigator and professor of cardiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School. “But we still have these terrible statistics and no new treatment for the past 20 years."

For the study, UTHealth researchers performed preclinical trials in animal models, as well as tests on tissue taken from patients at the Texas Heart Institute who had a piece of the heart muscle removed in order to implant a left ventricle assist device by O.H. “Bud" Frazier, M.D., and his team. Both led to the discovery of the damage caused by G6P.

“When the heart muscle is already stressed from high blood pressure or other diseases, and then takes in too much glucose, it adds insult to injury," Taegtmeyer said.

Earlier this year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics said a carefully planned diet can have significant impacts on managing symptoms of chronic conditions like hypertension or diabetes and improve health. Hypertension and heart disease can be managed by balancing calorie intake with physical activity to manage weight and by increasing the variety of nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products and seafood. Angela Lemond, registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson, also said it can be managed by consuming fewer foods with sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars and refined grains.

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