Health

These are high sugar foods that you need to stop buying as soon as possible

These are high sugar foods that you need to stop buying as soon as possible

packed aisle in the grocery store

packed aisle in the grocery store

When you think of foods to avoid for heart health, some obvious offenders probably come to mind: greasy McDonald’s meals, fried foods, red meatetc. However, it’s important to remember that consuming excess sugar can also take a serious toll on your cardiovascular health over time, putting you at risk for problems like high blood pressure and, ultimately, heart disease.

Of course, it’s no surprise that sugar is unhealthy, but what are the worst options when it comes to heart health? To answer this question and learn more about the dangers of high-sugar foods, we spoke to health experts Dr. Leonard Ganzchief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs for Abbott’s cardiac rhythm management division, and Sara Whipkey, registered dietitian and owner of The Plant Potential. They told us that ultra-processed foods with added sugar are the biggest culprits to watch out for.

Ultra-processed food with added sugar

When it comes to the worst sweet food for your heart health, dr. Ganz and Whipkey agree that you should avoid processed foods that contain added sugar. “Diets high in processed, sugary foods often lead to high blood pressure, unintended weight gain and inflammation, which are linked to a range of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease,” warns Whipkey.

Among the worst culprits are foods that are ultra-processed, meaning they contain mostly manufactured, artificial ingredients, instead of natural whole foods. As Whipkey explains, ultra-processed foods “have gone through several different types of processing, have a lot of added ingredients, and are highly manipulated.” The ingredients in these foods have undergone extensive processing that has stripped them of all their nutritional value, making them a terrible addition to your diet. “They don’t provide any nutritional value, but they’re high in sugar, fat and/or salt to reward our brains,” she says.

It all added up sugar, in particular, can be detrimental to almost every aspect of your overall health, including heart health. “Added sugars can affect heart health by increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity and coronary artery disease,” Dr. Ganz. Yikes!

Ultra-processed foods to avoid

So now that you know how terrible sugary, ultra-processed foods can be for your heart, which ones should you definitely avoid at the grocery store? Unfortunately, there is no cut and dry answer because they are the absolute worst options. However, dr. Ganz says being wary of any food with added sugar is a good rule of thumb. “While there may not be one single worst sugary food for your heart, added sugars can sneak up on you,” he says, noting that these hidden sugars are found in foods and drinks such as:

Regular sodasenergy and sports drinks
Fruit drinks and punches
Candy
Lots of energy and meal replacement bars
Sweetened pastries
Dairy desserts and dairy products (including flavored yogurts)
Sweetened breakfast food (cereals, shakes, bars, etc.)
Fancy coffee drinks like lattes or mochas

What to eat instead

We get it: sometimes there’s no stopping your sweet tooth. Luckily, when you’re craving a sweet treat, 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! “Some of my favorite plant-based sweets include: fine cream (frozen bananas, cocoa powder, almond butter, unsweetened plant-based milk and flaxseed – mix it all together for an ice cream-style treat), minimally processed dark chocolate combined with a handful of nuts and berries fruit, frozen grapes and dark chocolate-dipped strawberries,” she says. Yum! Sign us up.



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