Avoid This Morning Habit At All Costs

It happened again just yesterday.

The gentleman was in his mid-50s, with a little belly hanging over his belt. Blood pressure a “little high”. Cholesterol a “little high”. Then the chest pain hit. 

A few minutes after wisely calling -911, he was lying on a bed in my emergency room being prepared for the cath lab. Heart attack.

Something that may have made his heart attack even worse?

That sugar–laden coffee he picked up in the drive through on the way to work.

A new study out of England suggests that elevated blood sugar levels could potentially worsen a heart attack. Researchers at the University of Leicester demonstrated, for the first time, that sugar has a direct effect on arteries–causing them to constrict.

And this constriction of arteries could be especially dangerous during the morning hours.

A Sugar-Heart Attack Connection?

Not only do heart attacks occur more frequently in the morning hours than at any other time of the day, they are also more severe during that time.

Have a heart attack between 6:00am and noon, and you tend to kill 20% more heart muscle than someone who has their heart attack later in the day.

During a heart attack, the coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle is suddenly blocked. The problem is made worse by inflammation, which triggers spasm of the artery itself.

Now add to this problem the additional constriction of the coronary artery by an elevated sugar level, and a big problem could quickly become catastrophic.

The Problem Is More Than Diabetes

What kind of sugar level elevations are we talking about? Less than we originally thought.

The sugar levels that could cause a problem are lower than diabetes level…and are the kind of increases you might see after a large meal. Or a sweet dessert. Or a flavored, sweetened grande café.

Top 3 Morning Drink Hazards

The takeaway—sugar matters.

Not just for long-term health, but for short-term complications as well.

To help minimize your risk, start by avoiding these top three morning drink hazards.

1. Sweetened coffee.

It seems every week or two I review another study showing the potential health benefits of drinking coffee. But those benefits are quickly flushed away, and even converted to health risks, when you add sweetener. Do your heart a favor and persuade your taste buds to favor your coffee black, or with cream only.

2. Concentrated juice.

This nearly ubiquitous morning serum is devastating the health of many Americans, including our children. With as much sugar as a soda, juice is finally being recognized as a public enemy. If you need some help breaking the habit, try the 80/20 rule. Add a splash of juice (20% of the cup or less) to a nearly-full glass of water. A little flavor. A lot less sugar. And much better health.

3. Soda.

You wouldn’t believe how many people walk into the emergency room each morning with a soda in their hand. Seriously. And not just the ER…to work, the store, church, and yes…to school. Zero health benefit. 100% health risk. If you need that caffeine pick-me-up, switch to black coffee (cream if you like) or tea (unsweetened, of course).

When it comes to sugar, we now have to think not only about long-term health problems, but short-term consequences as well.

What is your strategy for curbing that morning sugar fix? I’d love to hear from you. Please post your comment below!

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