Subscribe to Dr. Mirkin's free FITNESS & HEALTH NEWSLETTER
Sugared Drinks Increase Heart Attack Risk

Among 43,000 men, 40-75 years of age, followed for 22 years, those who drank one 12-oz. sugar-sweetened beverage a day had a 20 percent higher risk of heart disease than those who didn't drink sugar-sweetened beverages (Circulation, published online March 12, 2012). Each additional daily serving of a sugared drink was associated with an additional 19 percent increased risk for heart attacks. The study also found that the more sugared drinks a person takes per day, the greater the increase in cholesterol, triglycerides, Lp(a), leptin, and the indicators of inflammation (C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factors 1 and 2). High cholesterol and inflammation both increase risk for heart attacks.

WHY SUGARED DRINKS ARE UNHEALTHFUL WHEN YOU ARE NOT EXERCISING: Sugared drinks raise blood sugar levels much higher than sugared foods. When food reaches your stomach, the pyloric sphincter at the end of the stomach closes to keep solid food in your stomach. It permits only a soupy liquid to pass into your intestines. When you eat solid food such as an orange, it can stay in your stomach for up to 5 hours. On the other hand, orange juice passes immediately into your intestines and then into your bloodstream. So you get a much higher blood sugar level rise after drinking orange juice than you do after eating an orange.

WHY SUGARED DRINKS ARE HEALTHFUL WHEN YOU EXERCISE: Resting muscles are inactive and can draw sugar from your bloodstream only with the help of insulin. Contracting muscles can remove sugar from your bloodstream without needing insulin. When you are exercising, contracting muscles remove sugar from the bloodstream so fast that you rarely get a high rise in blood sugar.

Also, sugar is the most efficient source of energy for muscles during exercise. The limiting factor in how fast you can move is the time it takes to move oxygen into muscles. Since sugar requires less oxygen than fat and protein do to be converted to energy, sugar is the fuel of choice for moving fast when you exercise. When you exercise for more than an hour, you can run low on sugar, but not on fat. You have a virtually unlimited source of fat in your body. Taking sugared drinks helps you to exercise faster and longer.

WHY A HIGH RISE IN BLOOD SUGAR IS HARMFUL: When blood sugar levels rise too high, sugar sticks to the outer surface of cell membranes and is eventually converted to sorbitol, which destroys cells to cause all the terrible side effects of diabetes.

* Your blood sugar rises.
* In response, your pancreas releases large amounts of insulin.
* Insulin converts sugar to triglycerides (HIGH TRIGLYCERIDES).
* Then you use up the good HDL cholesterol in carrying the triglycerides from your bloodstream into your liver (LOW HDL CHOLESTEROL).
* Triglycerides that are carried to your liver in large amounts cause a FATTY LIVER.
* A fatty liver causes DIABETES.
* Diabetes is the most powerful cause of HEART ATTACKS in North Americans.

HOW DO SUGARED DRINKS CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN AND HEART ATTACKS? When blood sugar levels rise too high, your pancreas releases extra insulin in an effort to lower blood sugar levels. Insulin acts directly on your brain to make you eat more. High levels of insulin also constrict arteries leading to your heart to block them and increase risk for a heart attack.

SHOULD YOU TAKE ARTIFICIALLY SWEETENED DRINKS INSTEAD? Probably not. A study following 2600 people for 10 years shows that those who drink diet sodas daily are at 44 percent increased risk for heart attacks and strokes. (Journal of General Internal Medicine, published online January, 2012;27(2):135-263). Less- than-daily consumption of artificially-sweetened drinks was not associated with heart attacks or strokes. Other recent studies have shown that diet soda drinkers are more likely to have high blood pressure and blood sugars. Sweet tastes turn on the pleasure center in your brain to make you eat more.


Reports from

Iron supplements

Type O blood and ulcers

Varicose veins


What's the Best Test to Predict Who Will Win a Race?

Before a 24-mile cycling time trial, scientists measured the maximum amount of oxygen that riders could take in (VO2max) and the peak power Output (PPO) adjusted for body weight. The Peak Power Output adjusted for weight is the maximum force that a bicycle rider can generate on his pedals. It is the best predictor for how fast the bicycle riders could race (British Journal of Sports Medicine, January 2012; 46(1):36-41). That's because cycling (and rowing) are power sports in which the strongest trained athletes usually win. On the other hand, running and cross country skiing are not power sports, so the best predictor of success in their races is the maximal amount of oxygen that they can take in and use.

The limiting factor to how fast an athlete can move over long distances is the time it takes for oxygen to get into his muscles. So for athletes in any endurance sport, the more oxygen they can take in and use continuously, the faster they will race. When you are exercising so fast that you can't get all the oxygen you need to convert food to energy for your muscles, you become so short of breath that you have to slow down.

However, there is an increase in oxygen requirements as you pedal with more force. The harder you have to press on the pedals to move your bike, the greater your needs for oxygen.

Muscles are made up of millions of muscle fibers. When you contract a muscle even as hard as you can, you rarely contract more than five percent of your fibers at the same time.

If you are stronger than your opponent, you need to contract fewer fibers at the same time to move your pedals. Therefore, you require less oxygen and should be able to go at a faster pace. At the end of a race, the stronger rider almost always can ride faster. So the maximal amount of oxygen that you can take in is important, but stronger trained riders win.


More Evidence That You Should Avoid Red Meat

120,000 men and women were followed for up to 28 years (Archives of Internal Medicine, published online March 12, 2012). Eating one serving per day of mammal meat, the size of a deck of cards, increased their chances of dying by 13 percent, dying from a heart attack by up to 21 percent, and dying from cancer by up to 16 percent.

SUBSTITUTES FOR MEAT THAT PROLONG LIFE: The risk of death decreased by 7 percent by substituting fish for meat, 14 percent by substituting poultry, 19 percent by substituting nuts, 10 percent by substituting legumes, 10 percent by substituting low- fat dairy products and 14 percent by substituting whole grains.

The researchers estimated that 9.3 percent of deaths in men and 7.6 percent in women could be prevented if the participants had eaten less than 0.5 servings per day of red meat.

Another study of more than 500,000 Americans over 40 shows that those who consume the equivalent of at least a hamburger a day have a 30 percent increased chance of dying during the next 10 years, mostly from heart disease and cancer (Archives of Internal Medicine, March 2009). This study also found that eating fish, chicken, turkey and other poultry decreased the risk of premature death.

WHAT IN MEAT CAUSES PREMATURE DEATH? Mammal meats, and particularly processed meats, contain ingredients that have been linked to increased risk of heart attacks and cancers. These include heme iron, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, nitrites, and certain carcinogens that are formed during cooking. Unprocessed red meat includes beef, pork, lamb, or hamburger and processed red meat included bacon, hot dogs, sausage, salami, and bologna.

NOT JUST DIETARY SATURATED FATS AND CHOLESTEROL: These researchers, and many others, suggest that saturated fats and cholesterol in meat are likely to cause the increased risk of death, but this makes little sense since 1) poultry is also a rich source of saturated fats and cholesterol, and does not increase premature death, cancer or heart attacks; 2) people who eat a diet rich is saturated fats from palm, palm kernel and coconut oils are not at increased risk for premature death; and 3) eggs and shell fish are extremely rich sources of cholesterol and they are not associated with premature death.

HEME IRON: Iron in meat is a potent oxidant. Before the bad LDL cholesterol can form plaques in arteries, it must first be converted to oxidized LDL. Iron oxidizes LDL to form oxidized LDL cholesterol.

INFLAMMATION AND Neu5Gc: The researchers did not mention the theory that I think is the most powerful explanation for the increased risk for heart attacks, cancers and premature death in meat eaters: inflammation from the glycoprotein Neu5Gc.

In 1982, Ajit Varki of the University of California, San Diego discovered a molecule called Neu5Gc that appears in the tissues of every mammal except humans (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 29, 2003). He has put together the pieces of a puzzle that may explain why, if we want to live into old age, we should probably avoid eating meat from any other mammals (Science, October 31, 2008).

WHAT IS INFLAMMATION? Your immunity is good for you. It turns on and tries to kill germs when they invade your body. However, if your immunity stays active all the time, it eventually uses the same forces that kill germs to destroy your body. Your immunity makes cytokines that dissolve the outer membranes of attacking germs. These same cytokines can destroy the outer membranes in your body. Indeed, long before plaques that cause heart attacks form in your body, the cytokines erode and punch holes in the inner linings of your arteries. Plaques form long after a clot has formed to try to heal these lesions.

NEU5GC CAUSES INFLAMMATION: When humans ingest the flesh or milk of any mammal, they absorb Neu5Gc and treat it the same way as an invading germ, so they make antibodies against it. This turns on their immunity and keeps it active so it eventually attacks the host itself, the human body. This chronic inflammation can cause heart attacks, strokes, cancers and premature death.

NEU5GC AND CANCER: Since humans cannot make Neu5Gc, any amount found in human cells comes from the mammals that they have eaten. Neu5Gc is found in high levels in tumors, with the highest levels in metastasizing tumors. Dr Varki has shown that mice genetically engineered so that they are unable to make Neu5Gc, make antibodies against Neu5Gc and develop cancers when they are given meat that contains Neu5Gc and antibodies against that sugar- protein (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 11/13/08).



Recipe of the Week:

Baked Sweet Potatoes and Onions

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book
- it's FREE


March 18th, 2012
|   Share this Report!

About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
Copyright 2016 Drmirkin | All Rights Reserved | Powered by Xindesigns