You’ve heard of “good” cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol–now meet their wicked stepbrother, “ultra-bad” cholesterol…so bad, it forms stickier plaques, and makes its carrier even more susceptible to heart disease and stroke.  Who’s got this badass sticky-plaque cholesterol?  Diabetics.  But before you think that’s not you…let me add prediabetics to the mix as well.

British scientist have found the super-sticky cholesterol by essentially recreating in the lab.  By glycating low density lipoproteins (LDLs), that is, by adding sugar groups to the molecule, they turned the “bad” LDLs into “ultra-bad” MGmin-LDLs.  The added sugar groups change the cholesterol’s shape, making it stickier and more likely to attach to blood vessel walls.  Once cholesterol sticks to the arterial walls, the plaques narrow the lumen (space), reducing blood flow and thus increasing the probability of heart attack or stroke.  Diabetics and prediabetics are at risk due to the higher levels of sugar circulating through the blood.

Of course, the discovering scientists (University of Warwick in the UK) and the medical community is excited because the findings uncover how a common type 2 diabetes drug, metformin, fights heart disease by blocking the transformation of normal LDL into the super-sticky LDL.  Which of course means greater possibilities for new drugs.

But my interest is from a different angle.  It’s for me to stand on a soap box and say: Please people, listen, decrease your sugar intake or remove it from your diets altogether.  Processed sugar is one of the greatest health impediments of the modern world.  The number of illnesses and organ diseases attributable to excess sugar in the diet are astronomical.

While in doctor school, I read 1,500 pages of pathology text required for the curriculum, and it was my observation that excess sugar (along with tobacco and alcohol use) is one of the primary causes of disease in contemporary civilization.  And our foods are filled with it.  Sugar is in everything!  From cookies and cakes, to sauces, meats, breads, cereals, soups, stews, children’s food…and the list goes on and on.

Fast food is laden with sugar.  But be not afraid…here, wash it down with a soda.  Yes, the American drink of champions!  I know I’m a freakin’ bummer, but somebody has to say it.  Drop the sugary, frosted, high fructose corn syrup-laden CA-RAP before your arteries get filled with super-sticky MGmin-LDLs.  Dang!  Seventy-nine million people in the United States today have prediabetes.  Freakin’ duh!

Let me put it in perspective: You know how you think the guy or gal you see smoking a cigarette is going to have a heart attack one day?  Now you can do the same for the soda drinker.  Think about it.

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