Help Prevent Heart Attack by Avoiding Sugar

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Food and Nutrition, Heart Attack
Last Reviewed 04/17/2014

Just the other day, I sat down to film some video footage for my Web site. One of the questions I answered was, "What's the one thing you would recommend people do to prevent heart disease?"

That's an easy one. Eating better is the best way to minimize your heart risk factors and, ultimately, to prevent heart attack and stroke. Regular exercise, nutritional supplementation, and stress management are important, too, but good cardiovascular nutrition is at the top of my list.

Optimum heart health requires eating the PAMM way—that is, in keeping with my Pan Asian Modified Mediterranean diet. It emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans and legumes, healthy fats, and small amounts of lean meats and fish. Best of all, it has an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. A number of studies have confirmed that people whose diets are rich in these foods have a lower incidence of heart disease, and research published earlier this year again showed this eating plan to be associated with reduced risk.

Unfortunately, many of the foods prominent in the American diet are toxic to the cardiovascular system. One of the absolute worst is sugar. I suggest you stay away from it as much as possible—as well as breads, potatoes, pastas, pastries, rice, and other high-glycemic carbohydrates—because they sharply raise insulin levels in the body. You hear about insulin all the time, particularly in the context of diabetes. However, not many people understand that high levels of this hormone also cause inflammation that damages arteries. (This is one of the reasons why people with diabetes are at higher risk for heart disease and other circulatory problems.)

If you're serious about preventing heart disease, start with what you eat. Good cardiovascular nutrition is the cornerstone of good cardiovascular health, for more information, visit


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